The US has had a dominating year in folk metal and the new album from Wilderun solidifies it even more. Their 3rd full length album “Veil Of Imagination” has recently been released and has been astounding every listener with it’s overwhelming musicianship and song writing. We had bassist Daniel Müller take these questions for answering regarding the new album, the song writing, the touring, the recording and a few other items of note (this interview was done prior to the album release on November 1st and the tour for it) …Check it out…
Congrats on your 3rd album “Veil Of Imagination”,how has the early response been to it so far?
“The response has been unreal. I don’t think I realized how much bigger our fanbase got after “Sleep….” and the onslaught of positive comments, reviews, and feedback has been tremendous. It’s really reinvigorating.”
Let’s go back to after “Sleep At The Edge Of The World” was completed, was there an idea or inkling of what the next album would be? How did you approach what “Veil….” would become?
“Right after? No. We spent a solid year or 2 just focusing on touring and promoting that album. It wasn’t until early 2017 that I started getting demos of new songs from Evan that any real work begun. “Veil….” was easily our most ambiguous album to us stylistically as we were writing. We had no game plan in mind and just kind of forged ahead to see what would become of it.”
I have read that there is a common concept or theme to the album, is it something tangible and could be explained? Or is it more of a feel/mood that you tried to convey thru the tracks?
“While the album does have an overall theme it’s not a concept album in the traditional sense. There’s no linear narrative but all the songs deal with some aspect of trying to see the world with fresh eyes again. We get so set in our ways as we grow older and all we seem to register when we walk down the street are icons of things. We see a house, for example, and we all just think “house” and move on. We don’t question or ponder all the meaning that surrounds that and this album deals with our trying to reconnect to that.”
How did you approach the writing and recording of the album this time around? Were there any major changes that you employed?
“When the songs were all pretty much complete in the rawest sense of the word, we actually all made a point to get together and play through them so we could hear what the songs actually sounded like when played by real people in a room. We’re not all local so in the past we’d just send each other demos through email, learn our parts, and get together for 3 days before recording and that would be the first time we actually knew what the songs were actually going to sound like on the record. This new approach really helped us dial in the finer details of the songs way in advance of being in the studio. We also recorded the drums, bass, and rhythm guitar live which I think brought way more energy into the performances on the record. It also helped us have more natural takes that aren’t overly scrutinized and surgically edited. Granted that required us to be way more rehearsed going into the studio haha.”
Is it possible to weigh how important your lyrical content is in relation to the music? Equally important or more so?
“I’d say it’s equally important. We’re certainly not a band that leaves lyrics as an afterthought but it’s the way the lyrics and the music work together that’s most important. Certain words or certain styles of singing just won’t work over particular musical backdrops.”
How many tracks did you have going to make it on to the album? Did you have a fixed amount in mind or were there tracks that didn’t fit in one way or another?
“Every track that’s on the record is what we had on deck. Going in we wanted to have the mindset that we’d be okay with cutting a song if it made the album flow better but we quickly realized that every song was integral to the whole.”
The cover is both beautiful and though provoking, could you give us a little detail on the creation process and how it fits the album?
“We had approached Adrian Cox early on about doing the album cover and at the time he was very busy so he couldn’t do an original piece but he offered a few unused works that he’s already completed that we could use. We looked through them and pretty much the instant we saw that piece we knew that was going to be the cover. It just really resonated with us in a real primal way so that’s what we ended up using. As far as how it fits the album, I like to leave that to the audience to decide.”
There are a couple of longer tracks on here (8 minutes plus to almost 15)…are these tracks that you could have written a few years ago or has it taken your experience up to this point to be able to create them?
“This whole album is very much a culmination of everything we’ve accomplished thus far. There’s no way we could’ve written any of these songs without first having gone through the process of making “Olden Tales….” and “Sleep….”. Every time we make an album we take some time and reflect on things we learned and maybe could’ve done better and that’s no different now. We learned a lot making “Veil of Imagination” that we’ll be applying to the next record.”
You are still an independent act, have you talked to or been approached by labels to be signed? If so, what has made you decide not to? If not, is it a decision to stay independent?
“We’ve been in talks with a few labels of different sizes and they’ve all ended up with either the labels deciding against sending us a contract or with contract negotiations just not working out for both parties. We’re open to working with a label because it might potentially free up more time for us to focus on the creative side of things instead of dealing with all the business aspects too but we’re also happy to stay independent. It’s all just a matter of weighing the positives and negatives.”
The US folk metal scene is extremely diverse… where do you fit in as far as the overall scene? Do you still feel that “folk metal” is the genre that most fits your style?
“I kind of stopped putting a label on Wilderun after “Sleep….” was released. Folk metal is absolutely a part of our sound but so are many other things. In the end I think we know deep down what Wilderun is even if we can’t express it verbally and when we write music it has to sound and feel like Wilderun – whatever that may be.”
You have an upcoming tour to support the album with the mighty Wandering Oak thru the northeast US… how did this come about? Any plans for additional touring?
“We’ve played a good amount of shows with Wandering Oak in the past and they’ve always put on a good show. They happened to be releasing their album around the same time as we were planning to and we figured we’d team up booking a small tour to celebrate. I’m really looking forward to it. There is also more touring in the works which will hopefully be announced in the coming months.”
How do you feel about the overall playing live experience? Is it something that this time around has more challenges due to the complexity of the new album? How will you approach playing the new songs live?
“Playing live is great but it’s also very stressful. Between the click and backing tracks needing to be set up, lights programmed, songs rehearsed, and logistics planned out it’s sometimes difficult not to get overwhelmed. There are so many times when I wish we were just a punk band that plugged in and played but when I finally get up on stage and everything is set up and working it all clicks. Everything about Wilderun is grandiose and there’s no excuse for the shows not to be the same. Luckily these new songs are really no different to play than our older material other than us being excited to play new material for the first time in awhile. We did just revamp our whole stage presentation though so I’m thrilled to see that in action.”
Any favorite music from 2019?
“There’s a lot of new stuff I’ve been meaning to check out this year that I haven’t gotten around to but Rammstein and Opeth’s new albums have been on constant rotation for me.”
“I’m grateful for all the kind words received this far and I’m excited for you all to hear the album in it’s entirely. Also come out to our shows with Wandering Oak in November. We’re upping our live game and we’ve never sounded tighter. Hope to see you all soon!”