Interview by Miriam Cadoni
Every Wardruna‘s album release is a true worldwide event. The whole musical panorama fell in love with its tales of ancient runes, populations and unknown traditions. After the conclusion of the saga “Runaljod” that spanned throughout 3 full-lenghts and 7 years between the release and extensive touring, for the folk/ambient masters Wardruna it’s time for new musical endeavors. Let’s learn more about together with the other half of the official core members, the singer Lindy Fay-Hella. Enjoy!
Hi Lindy-Fay, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. I’m so thrilled to host you here. How are you and how these precarious days are treating you?
Thank you. These days are a bit surprisingly busy because there’s a lot to do. Unfortunately, in these special days we are still struggling with the Corona pandemic but I feel lucky to have enough distractions to fill my time with. However, like everybody, I’m looking forward to when all this band period is over.
Today, we are to talk about Wardruna’s fifth album “Kvitravn”. How did feel to produce this new chapter of Wardruna?
Actually, it has been interesting and different from the last release “Runaljod – Ragnarok” due to Einar’s recent relocation at the other side of Norway and the ongoing pandemic. So, I had to record my vocals here in Bergen and then, send it over to Einar.
Given to all these reasons, we weren’t able to physically meet for our sessions but the communication throughout this process perfectly worked out. Now, it’s nice to the outcome of our labor to see the light. Additionally, I was nicely surprised by the featuring of this traditional Norwegian folk singers which represents something new in our sound palette.
Also, “Kvitrvn” represents the first release after concluding the acclaimed Runaljod trilogy back in 2016. How do you feel to start something fresh and how the whole trilogy has musically impacted on the band?
To be honest I haven’t really thought about it because the whole trilogy idea was conceived by Einar. On top of all, I was supposed to be part only of the first album and still I am here. Musically, we had a good chemistry since the beginning and I felt that it was correct to continue this endeavour.
Referring to the new album, it was really refreshing for me and, I didn’t even notice that the trilogy suddenly come to an end. Simply, the meaning of all this is just that new material is coming up and I just go with the flow.
As you have mentioned before, “Kvitravn” features the guest appearance of a small group of prominent Norwegian traditional singers. Do you mind introducing us these artists and in which way, their skills and artistry enhance Wardruna’s sound?
Actually, I didn’t have the occasion to meeting them because they live far away from Bergen. They are located in the Eastern coast. To be specific, their names are Kirsten Bråten Berg, Sigrid Berg, Unni Løvlid and Ingebjørg Reinholdt. If compared to my singing style, it’s quite the opposite from the one I have because they are much more influenced and inspired by Sami folk music.
So, with these singers are quite experienced and they really talented and skilled in their musical proposal. Personally speaking, it’s amazing to listen to their style which gets enmeshed with ours. Although, we might share some common musical influences with them, they are highly specialized on this genre. Trust me, it’s a unique style of music.
The press release does mention an important statement about “Kvitravn” that affirms the following: “it marks a distinct evolution”. Personally, how do you think that Wardruna has been evolving from the beginning until now?
Well, it has been steadily growing and the beauty of this, it is that we never talked about intentionally. We never ever planned anything. Even if, it was founded by Einar, it has been growing by itself throughout these 15 years of activity or more. However, if I had to answer this question, I’ll just say that Wardruna has been growing naturally without any impositions or by setting any plans.
Also, this brand-new album marks the beginning of your collaboration together with Sony Music/Columbia. Referring to this, I’ve always thought of Wardruna as something artisanal and homemade. So, how the plans of a big multinational can fit the rhythm and needs of Wardruna?
Yes, I understand what you mean. And, one of the main conditions that we have set is that we would sign only if we had full artistic control. Actually, if it wasn’t for that, it would be quite impossible to have a partnership with them. Indeed, in that way nothing has changed. The fact is that over the years, Wardruna has grown so much to the extent that it was unexpected for us and with this deal, it might be much easier to handle this side of the band’s business.
In the end, I’m a musician and I don’t want do anything which is business-related. Personally speaking, until we own the full artistic power, I really don’t mind partner up with a multinational. Also, with our Sony Music/Columbia referents, we share a really good chemistry because their background is metal-related. On account of that, they are quite familiar with our musical scene.
“Kvitravn” features 11 songs and considering that the trilogy is concluded, this time on what the lyrics focus on?
Ooh, that differs. As usual, I’m not involved in the writing session what is for sure is that Einar writes them or he picks it up from old Viking poems. But then again, what I can say on my behalf is that every time I read his lyrics, they speak to me and we don’t want to disclose too much about their meaning.
To some extent, we don’t even tell it to each other. I think that lyrics are meant to live their own lives and then, allow the listeners to come to conclusion themselves. I promise you we still didn’t talk about this one [laughs].
You know, Lindy-Fay, Wardruna has been almost 15 years old and between successful albums and tours, it still here to amaze me and the fans. Given that, how Wardruna manages to still sound so fresh and actual? How much challenging is all this?
I can only guess but on the main reasons is the freedom that artistically we hold. Then, our special friendship between all of us and all the members involved in Wardruna. Actually, this is part of it. Of course, it’s difficult to meet each other all the times.
But, we are working together and not against each other even if we live afar. I find it a bit struggling to explain it but I think that our friendship plays an important part in Wardruna because we always decided together and nobody tries to impose on each other.
Due to the current world-wide situation, many artists had several negative repercussions. In which way, this pandemic has impacted on Wardruna and how you feel about releasing an album which probably you won’t be able to tour for a long time?
Well, I’d lie if I said that it’s one of my last problems because we, all in Wardruna, would like to keep on touring as before. We totally miss that and between each other, we try to stay positive by saying that next year everything will be back to normal. However, on our side, we are lucky to live here in Norway because musicians receive some kind of compensation for the missed concerts.
However, I’m truly sorry to say this, it doesn’t happen in other countries all over the world. Naturally, we consider this a luxury and the whole reason that lies behind being a musician is to meet our fans and play for them. It’s an understatement saying that we miss that but are really hopeful for the next year.
What the future holds both for you and Wardruna for the next period?
Well, we have some plans coming up that at the moment I’m not allowed to share [laughs]. Nevertheless, as soon it’s possible, the first thing we’ll do is playing live and a lot of concerts.
Sadly, we reached the end of this interview and we always concluding by asking to the artist to say hi to your fans and our readers. Thank you.
Then, I’ll say hello to everybody, thank you for reading this interview. I really really really hope to see you very very very soon during one of our concerts. Unfortunately, nobody of us knows when that will happen but the only thing I’m sure about is that it will happen. I hope to see you there.