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Interview: GLITTERTIND
Title: Time critical retrospect

Glittertind was founded in early autumn 2001 by unusual young and talented artist Torbjørn Sandvik, which was born in 1985.

Spellbounded by mighty mother nature, ancient Nordic tales, -art, -traditions and -history, Torbjørn wanted to dedicate his music to these themes which fascinated him so much. Glittertind is the name of one of the highest mountains in the majestic mountain rage Jotunheimen in Norway. The just released great debut album „Evige Asatro” is an intoxicating hybrid of heavy Folk music riffs, some Punk and gorgeous Viking Metal beats.

The overwhelming frontcover artwork by guitarist Skrymer of Finntroll gives „Evige Asatro” a wonderful last touch.

Hey Torbjørn, how are you these days and which expectations do you have regarding the new album and the new label-situation?

„Yeah, Glittertind’s debut is hopefully hitting Europe with striking force by now! I really hope people will burn, buy, play, and download my record and spread it to the masses even though this is not a typical metal release. It requires that people are a bit open minded towards something different, but I hope people interested in Nordic history, tales, folk-music and that like other bands inspired by this will check out „Evige Asatro”! As for the new label-situation I am very satisfied to get my first record contract and so far the relationship between Glittertind and Karmageddon Media is excellent! I have done a lot of interviews the last month and seen one good review come in after another so I am very satisfied! People are in general very positive to my approach and that is of course a great compliment!“

Please tell your story as an artist and musician and mention where are you located!

„I live in the southern part of Norway in a town called Lillesand, but half of my family lives on the north-western coast of Norway in a county called Sogn og Fjordane. So I am hailing from two very different parts of Norway. I started to play the guitar when I was thirteen years old and on high-school I started to play in several bands. At some time between fifteen and sixteen years old I reached the limit of patience for playing in bands just trying to be copies of bigger bands or so called rip-offs. I wanted to do my own thing and play the music I liked the most with lyrical themes that fascinated me the most. And thus I started Glittertind. Glittertind is one of the highest mountains in the very mystic, mighty and vast mountain-range Jotunheimen. It’s in the heart of Norway (middle of Norway) and when you pronounce Glittertind it sounds really Nordic so the band name was very suitable! Well, let me continue my story. I had earlier bought some recording equipment for money I won in a lottery and with this equipment I recorded my first demo called „Mellom Bakkar Og Berg”. The demo was pressed in 1.000 copies and distributed by Swedish Ultima Thule Records. People seemed to like my music, but this demo never led to anything more. So I started to record my second demo „Evige Asatro” (same name as my debut record) which also was pressed in 1.000 copies and distributed again by Ultima Thule Records. This time I decided to send some copies properly around to labels, but still I heard nothing from them. However the press got more interested in Glittertind and I received some very good reviews. In the beginning of January 2004, I recorded my third demo with keyboarder Trollhorn of Finntroll on synths. This demo led to interest from labels like Nuclear Blast which wanted me to send them more material before they decided to do anything, but it also led to a record contract proposal from Karmageddon Media. I decided to go for Karmageddon Media, because they said that they really liked my old demos as well but wanted to see how I developed as musician before they signed me. And with the third demo they no longer had any doubt. They wanted to release „Evige Asatro” properly all over Europe. So my debut is two songs from my first demo, ten songs from my second demo and a new drinking song from 1771 recorded this spring. The last touch on the album is done by Skrymer and his fantastic cover-artwork really suites the music and the concept of Glittertind!“

You, as a multi-instrumentalist, did play all instruments for the release?

„Yes, I played all the instruments and I did the entire work of programming myself! I have learned to handle most instruments from the time when I played in several rip-off bands. Hehe… But on my next album I will hire some session-musicians to handle drums and synth. Perhaps I will also put some folk instruments into my sound. But all this depends on how much Karmageddon Media is willing to spit in to the recording budget… So we’ll see!“

Which musical and other influences had especially led to this specific moody style?

„Thank you very much; I am glad you like it!! I guess I have been influenced from many different musical genres. I have always listened to punkrock bands like Bad Religion, NOFX and Rancid, but I have also listened to a lot of metal bands like Emperor, Immortal, Windir, early-Vintersorg, Otyg, Einherjer and Finntroll. I am also influenced by Oi-bands like Dropkick Murphys and Ultima Thule and of course Nordic Folk music! So perhaps I am a hybrid of all those bands and some how it turns out like Glittertind. Hehe.. I don’t know really!“

What means the album title?

„The album title „Evige Asatro” means „Eternal belief in Æsirs”. Æsirs are Thor and Odin and all the other gods of Åsgard. This title is taken from a part of the play about the Norwegian king Olav Tryggvason (He died around year 1000) written by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. The Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg composed the music to the play. These great names are from the middle of the 19th century when the Norwegian cultural elite was deeply inspired by the German romanticism and Herder’s word that every nation got its own folk-soul. With this title I want to honour those men who let them be inspired by our culture to do art, music, books, poems and plays. I also want to carry on this legacy today in this world of globalization. I think it is very important to know your own culture in these times, be proud of it and tell your children about it. Europe is changing very fast and if these changes are continuing in the same speed as now then perhaps there is almost nothing left of European culture in about 100 years.“

Which deep inner feelings have been gone through your mind during the process of composition for the new album?

„I am very inspired by Mother Nature and the vast Nordic nature. I am also inspired by our history, tales and traditions. These things mean much to me and it is something that I really feel running through my blood. I think it is important to have roots and to be proud of your roots. I don’t like that more and more people connect to urban lifestyles and deny who they really are. I think it’s sad.“

Which lyrical contents do have the new tracks?

„In the songs that I have wrote on „Evige Asatro” I focus on the Christianization of Norway. This is a very bloody and sad chapter of our history. It is really about power-sick men in Norway which didn’t get the power they wanted at home and went over to England to get in an alliance with the church over there and to Christianize Norway. The English gave those Norwegian traitors soldiers and priests, so that they could Christianize us by force. In the end the Norwegians lost this battle and every Norwegian that wouldn’t be baptised got murdered in the most dreadful ways. Christianity brought torture methods to our country like putting a worm down a mans throat, killing a mans children if he wouldn’t be a Christian etc. They burnt Norse „churches” and replaced them with their Christian ones. Today we see the same thing happen, but it is just a modern version of the history repeating it self. This time it is capitalists hungry for money which import a lot of labour without thinking on the cultural clashes and the long term consequences; they sell our soil and nature-resources to foreigner capitalists and do the same betrayal once again. One thing is for sure, the human being has not changed at all. It is still the power sick people which have the people in their might; it is only the methods that have changed.“

Which of them are cover-versions? And why especially they were chosen to be a cover-song?

„I have also done some covers of great classics, yes! “Sønner Av Norge” which means „Sons Of Norway” was our first national anthem, but most Norwegians these days don’t even know this song. And with its brilliant melody and lyrics I wanted to give it a new birth! „Nordmannen” (Eng: „The Norseman”) is also covered by the Norwegian Folk Metal group Storm in 1994, but I wanted to do my own version. It can be considered as a tribute to Ivar Aasen and his work. He was the one that founded our second written language in Norway called Nynorsk. We have two languages one for the ones in the cities and urban areas which is called Bokmål and one for the ones living in rural areas based on dialects which is called Nynorsk. „Om kvelden”( „In The Evening”) is another cover which have a wonderful Norwegian folktune and mystic lyrics. I really like this song and want to bring it on to new generations. „Norges Skaal” is a cover which is a kind of „bonus” on this record since that is the only song recorded this year. It is a patriotic drinking song from 1771 which was very controversial at that time because the Danes were the Head of the union between Norway and Denmark and they didn’t like that the Norwegians were proud of their land and culture. Therefore they forbid this song until we got our constitution in 1814! I have also done a version of the German song „Ein Jäger aus Kurpfalz” which has got the Norwegian name „Se Norges Blomsterdal”! First of all I did this because of that the lyrics in Norwegian are brilliant, and the music is of course awesome! But you can also consider it as a tribute to the cultural elite (i.e. Novalis, Schellig, Herder and the Grimm brothers) of Germany at the end of 1700 which had a deep and important impact on the Norwegian cultural-elite at that time. Thanks to the ideas from the German romantic époque, the „upper-class” (They were the one who had the education to write down things) started to look into Norwegian culture at the countryside (in the cities the culture was Danish because of 400 years in „union” with them) and it was not anymore considered „dirty”, „cheap” and for the „lower-classes”. They started to look upon the Norwegian folk culture as a treasure and they got a positive relationship between man and nature. They also started to write down folksongs, folktales etc. because people were now moving into the cities because of the dawning industrialism. The old knowledge had been given orally from father to son, mother to daughter, but in the cities families got divided, they worked a lot and people got drunk all the time to escape from the dreadful conditions.(There were no unions)...I have a lot to thank Herder and the other Germans in Lübeck for. They woke up our cultural elite at that time and made them save great pieces of our culture (and of course woke up other Europeans to save their culture in other parts of Europe)! Which I indeed, and many others, are happy for today!“

The cover-art of your new album looks truly fantastic. Please tell about it!

„I contacted Skrymer (Finntroll) because I know that he is an expert in catching the mood of Northern environment. I have seen his work with Finntroll and other bands, so I really knew that he was the guy for the job. I sent him my material and what I had in mind for the front-cover. It had to fit the term „Evige Asatro” (which you who have read the interview hopefully know by now what means, hehe..). If you look on the elements on the cover, they are all there. All from Nordic nature, to Odin, dragon-ship, two ravens in the sky, the stars and the fullmoon, storming seas, a viking, Norse art-pattern etc. He has really done a brilliant job, and I consider him being an art-genius!!“

In which position between all the other Viking Metal acts do you see Glittertind?

„That’s a tough one. Finntroll got the punk and metal attitude mixed together, but at the same it is very epic and synth based while on „Evige Asatro” there is no synth and it does not have grim vocals and ompa (!!!), hehe.. Storm has got no synth and clean vocals, but Glittertind is more melodic and punk oriented than them again. So somewhere between these bands perhaps „Evige Asatro” is situated!? Hehe… I don’t know really, it’s up to others to decide how to label me!“

Plans for the future?

„I am working on a follower to „Evige Asatro” which will be out in 2005! It will be harder, with more Metal influences and less punk. I will also use some grim vocals, synth and most probably hire a studio-drummer. That last thing depends a bit on Karmageddon Media and studio-budget. I feel that what I wanted to achieve with „Evige Asatro” is achieved, so now I am moving on towards a second strike! But even though the music will be a bit different from this record, it will still be Glittertind and have the same influences! I will also see about live performances, more band members and that stuff after the response on that second album… However I think the future looks bright!“

© Markus Eck, 07.10.2004

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