Interview by Matteo BussottiWe’re extremely proud to have here today Nanna Barslev, the singer from Huldre, a Denmark folk-metal new band. I listened to their first Album, “Intet Menneskebarn”…and I was simply stunned by the songs, the melodies, Nanna‘s voice and the general atmosphere it manages to create. Everyone of you should listen to it at least one time. This said…how could I not ask Nanna for an interview? I’d be crazy! And…here it is! Enjoy it! Hi Nanna! Welcome to Femme Metal, we are very pleased to have you here with us! How does it feel, after 6 six years, to have your first full-length released?
Thanks a lot Matteo. I am happy to be invited to your awesome zine. We are very proud to present our debut album “Intet Menneskebarn”. I feel things are making sense, when we finally share our songs and strange folklore universe with people worldwide and we are honored that so many like our debut album.Your live performances are been compared to Korpiklaani‘s ones, for the energy of your audience. From your point of view, what do you try to convey to your audience in your exhibitions? I bet you’re really happy when you see a reaction from the “other side” of the stage!
We are trying to give people a whole experience, and like the huldres from the folklore do, luring the audience into our music and world, with dance and song, making them forget everyday life.We balance between seriousness and irony. My mission is to be present and interact with the audience, bring them through many emotions, fun, sadness, tragedy, brutality, love etc. Our songs are all in different moods, so we can go from a tragic song to the next song where we invite to folk dance. And yes, that’s makes me very happy, when I see the audience respond with energy to our concerts, and of course we have fun on stage as well.In these 6 years, how have Huldre matured, both artistically and as people?
It took sometime to find the right people to form the band, but when we got all of us who are present now, the music started to make sense. And yes, I am sure that we all in Huldre over the years have developed both personally and musically. I think we have learned more about working together with accommodating both individual and collective needs. Musically and on stage I think we all have come closer to both our individual expression and common expression.And, after 6 years, how’s the relationship with the other members of the band? Do you feel like you’ve become very close with them?
We knew each other from other projects before we made the band Huldre. We are all friends and very open to each other. We cooperate with almost everything and like in any other band we have our fights but I think we mainly have the same ideas and dreams about the music and the band, which helps us to agreements, and I think it makes us strong together.This will maybe sound stupid, but I’m going to ask you anyway. Usually Metal from North Europe is associated with themes which regard nature. And you’re a folk-metal band, very close to your roots as a country, such as medieval nordic music. Why is nature so important to you? I mean, all around the world nature is important, but I feel like in North Europe the bond between men and nature is treated in a special, almost mystical way. So…why? How nature is such a strong element in your culture (and in your songs, this goes without saying)?
This is actually a very good and interesting question. First I think that it is not that common to sing about nature in metal in general but you are right in different subgenres of metal it is. In Denmark our genre is still a subgenre and a contrast to more mainstream genres. We all in Huldre have a connection to the nature and are inspired of folklore, so it’s easy to hear in our music.
In the North, as you mention, there is an old tradition of seeing the nature like a mystical thing, which leads back to our old culture that was based on believing in the nature, personified through heathen gods and nature-spirits. Later on when the Christianity took over these nature-spirits turned to diabolic creatures with characters symbolizing anger, sin, sexual pleasure etc. The north with its dark and cold during a half year, it effects peoples mood a lot, and before the electricity, people could be frightened to go out at night and dared not leave the village by crossing the stone dike to the forest. There were a lot of respect for the natures hidden creatures.
The theme about nature and nature-spirits in lyrics, have been popular since the Viking/medieval- ages to the romantic period, but not that common nowadays. I think we now in our culture seem far away from living near and with the unspoiled nature, but some people, me included, seeks back to the mystique and spirit of the nature with both the heathen and old folklore belief.
In your biography we can read that: “The 6 members of Huldre have backgrounds in genres such as trad. acoustic medieval music, death & black metal, reggae, trad. Danish folk music, classical music and from bands such as Gny, Lurpakket, Asynje, Virelai, Submission, Eldjudnir, Roskilde Symphony Orchestra and Voodoom.” …Reggae? This really hit me, since reggae it’s the last musical genre I’d expect to find in a bio of a folk-metal band! So…how’s your experience with Reggae, and how did it influence your sound as a band, if it does?
We have all been playing other genres now and in the past, so we are influenced from different styles, but i don’t think you can hear the reggae in our music, but Lasse, the guitarist, have a background in reggae he played in a hard reggae band called Voodoom.Are there any very good ideas you took in consideration for your first release but then discarded for various reasons? I mean, I know usually LOTS of ideas are discarded for every single records, but I’m talking about some ideas which seemed really good at the beginning, but were discarded after some time for…various reasons (musical tastes? A change in your musical style?)
We actually put all our finished song on the album, I think we just changed tiny things during the recordings.Talking about you, Nanna, how long have you been singing? Did you consider singing as an important part of your future from (almost) the beginning, or did you start it “for fun” and realized it was important for you after a long time?
I started singing when I was around seven years old. I was very shy at that time, but i dared express myself through lyrics and singing on stage in school etc.. I have always dreamt of being a singer and had my first job in a church girls’ choir 😉 After that I have been experimenting with my voice in different styles especially folk and rock/metal. The folklore themes, -lyrics and -melodies have always been in my daydreams and i have been holding on to it since. Singing is now a great part of my identity and im happy to have found other musicians with the same ideas.Apart from folk-metal, are there any other musical genres you confronted or would like to confront with?
Besides Huldre I am the leadsinger in two other bands you mentioned before, Gny with medieval/folkmusik and Asynje with new and inspired Viking/ folk/electronic. I also sometimes meet with a “living room jamband” where we improvise dusty Pop/rock. I will, when I get the time, work on a Nordic relax album, and I also consider to make some doom metal.Can you remember one special moment from your artistic career, one which maybe made you laugh a lot, or inspired you for your future?
Mhh, I often get very excited when I play concerts and make music, I cannot remember any special moments right now.Thank you so much Nanna! We really hope to see you in concert worldwide (but especially here in Italy) soon!
You are welcome and I will like to thank you very much too for the very interesting questions and for the interest in our band. Yes I hope that we will come to Italy soon and please tell us if you can recommend us to a fine festival or club.
Photos by Lunah Lauridsen