Interview: FEJD
Title: With both legs on the floor

The two Rimmerfors brothers Patrik and Niklas, together with the band, have already proved comprehensively that the two previous Fejd releases have been performed with high standards and a timeless class.

Now these extraordinarily ingenious Swedish persecutors honor the global Folklore scene with the new and third album „Nagelfar“. Completely seamless in terms of authenticity and equipped with driving drum-rhythms, the new compositions are all very welcome.

The fine musical performance of singer Patrik, who vocalizes the new songs as self-forgetful as if he had been born into them, crowns the whole with blissfully delight.

And the fact that the Scandinavian quintet embellishes its engaging songs with wonderfully harmonious and often enchanting, natural mystic atmospheres can lift the whole thing once again in high manner out of the genre-happenings. I talk again to drummer Esko Salow. 

How successful was the previous Fejd album worldwide?

„It’s hard to measure success for a band like Fejd these days, you have many aspects to care for. I know Germany has always been a stronghold for us and I guess it’s explainable with all the gigs we’ve done in Germany through the years. But if we see in terms of fans and fan mail, most parts of South America is very dominant. The most important thing for us in any case is that we see growth, we want to expand and get out and play more, everywhere. So for us every album we get to record is a success and every fan we hear of, that contacts us in one way or another is a proof that we do something right. At least sometimes, hehe.“

In which part of the world have Fejd the most dedicated fans?

„I guess it’s the same here as above, Germany and South America. Germany in the aspect that we have lots of fans that are learning Swedish to be able to understand our lyrics fully, it’s a great honour to meet these people out on our shows. But then again, we have people who travel very far to catch a show with Fejd and meet us and every time that happens you have to be both proud and humble. We’ve had people coming from Mexico to see us and that’s very cool for a bunch of childhood friends having some fun together.“

What's your personal view about the ‚main spirit‘ of the new album „Nagelfar“?

„I guess the main spirit was to make an album as close to how we sound live as possible, straight forward, no excuses just showing what we are, how we sound and what you can expect to hear live. Music of today tends to be too perfect, everything is corrected and there’s no space for individuality or charisma, everything sounds the same. We are not flawless but we are not ashamed showing it, this album breaths of presence and life, the nerve and feeling of the music is more important than the personal performances. I hope people hear our intention and understands what we are aiming for, this is honesty for your ears.“

It seems on the new album that the total dedication to old traditional and spiritual values ​​of the far north is really one of the greatest collectively felt loves you have. Or?

„Not necessarily, we are happy singing about it, but I don’t mind living in a modern world, hehe. But you are right, it’s really cool history. I guess we today have lost the connection we once had with nature and the creatures living in it, we are far too obsessed with ourselves to see what happens around us. Mythology has an effect on me where ever it comes from, parts are most lightly real and might have happened and other parts are purely fiction, just like I would like a movie or book. I love the Norse mythology, but there have been other cool civilizations, mythologies or religions as well, ancient Egypt, Maya, even the Bible. Our planet has a interesting history and probably an equally interesting future.“

The bounded cooperation of all the instrumentalists on the new release is touching to my mind. What's your ‚secret‘ to reach such a transparent wise of playing?

„We use instruments that has their own spectra when it comes to sound. Nothing collides or really disturbs each other. Every instruments has an own lane at the highway and becomes quite “visible” as all you have to do to hear a specific instrument is focus on it. Playing Metal you have two distorted guitars, maybe distortion on the bass, some has keyboards to make it more atmospheric and maybe growl, together it all makes a mess, sometimes a really great mess but still, a mess. I guess our sound is more seventies in a way, simpler and more dirty, organic but real. We didn’t filter the natural sounds of our instruments; we used lots of ambiance and the natural sound of the room together with our instruments. We have a rehearsal recording as bonus track where you can hear that we are quite close to the real thing, ok in a studio we use better recording equipment than the Zoom H2 we use when we rehearse. The truth sounds like a demo, hehe.“

The new vocal lines sounding truly unique! How difficult has been the work for, to bring 'em to such high perfection? 

„Ha ha ha, I guess the perfection is in the ear of the listener. We have some “kulning” from Sandra Karinsdotter on the album, a unique way of singing that originally was a way to call for cows, hehe. She does a truly great work but I don’t think she worked too hard with it, as she is very talented. I don’t believe we worked harder with the vocals on this one compared with our older albums. The main thing is probably that you tend to think more live oriented already in the writing mode. You learn where you are comfortable and that’s something you get better at with every gig and every album. We concentrate more on the backing vocals and gave them some more space at this album and that’s something that I personally think was successful. And … Anders “Theo” Theander has a great ear for vocal productions, I guess the input he has was really good, enhancing the original ideas.“

Which noteworthy differences to the previous album release are waiting now for the listeners?

„I don’t think we decide from one album to another that we have to change something. We’ve found our sound, we are happy with the instruments we use so we play what we feel is right. On “Nagelfar” we wanted a mix between the two earlier albums as we feel that we got more feeling on “Storm” compared to “Eifur”. We decided to take a step back and record more live. “Nagelfar” is the darkest album we’ve done, the music together with the lyrics and booklet illustrations (by Kris Verwimp) fits perfect together and are a step away from what we have done in the past, but really captures the mode we were trying to find. Musically I still think it sounds Fejd, but a litter rawer and harder.“

How ran the work for these new release?

„Most recordings ran very smooth, we had no problems finding the sound we were looking for, I recorded the drums in about six hours, including breaks and tuning, listening and stuff like that so I never recorded an album faster. The biggest problem was to find time in the studio when we had the time to play. We did all the basic stuff in Trollhättan with Marko Tervonen (The Crown) and recorded vocals and mixed/mastered the album at Roasting House in Malmö with Theo Theander. Our aim was to record and release the album before the “Eisheilige Nacht” tour we did with Subway To Sally, but we didn’t have the time to get all the pieces together so we had to wait. Ok, the recording was finished before the tour but still it was way too late to pull off a decent release.“

Who have been the main songwriter(s) for „Nagelfar“? 

„Patrik and Niklas did most of the writing, as always, but Patrik probably did most this time around. All arrangements were made by the band. We recorded almost every rehearsal, every new idea, to hear the difference. Sometimes things can feel right when playing them but come out quite strange when you sit down and listen to it. I think we have like five – six versions of every song, not always with that big difference but yet different.“

How long did last the complete songwriting for „Nagelfar“?

„It’s really hard to say as the writing never stops, we have some stuff on “Nagelfar” that are very old. We have songs we wrote some years ago that we didn’t decide to use as they did not fit this album, but they might be just right for the next album. The first rehearsal recording I have for a song that ended up at “Nagelfar” is from February 2010, so you could say that we have been working with the songs for about three years, hehe. But on the other hand we have a song on the album that was made about the same time as the songs on our first demos but that we never recorded, so maybe we started around 2000 with this album, hehe.“

With which expectation(s) have been started the composing of the new songs?

„The first aim is always to have fun, if we don’t feel joy playing there’s no meaning with it. If we have fun and like the song our hope is that more people than us will like it and that it works out well live. So our expectation is that people will like the new songs we play live. Another thing we hope for, or expect is that people shall be able to think to other things than work or everyday life for the moment they spend with Fejd in their ears.“

Who of you guys have had the idea for the title and the conception of „Nagelfar“?

„I think we came up with it pretty much together, and I can still remember when and where it happened as we were all sitting in our Chevy Van together, planning the start of the recording and cover ideas, and the whole Ragnarök idea spinning around the ship “Nagelfar”. It was simply the best option as a cover. We feel that we made a quite big step this time as we’ve always had “natural” covers very close to nature and going from that to a totally painted booklet was necessary to get this the way we wanted it to be. It’s just too difficult to go out and take a picture on a Viking ship flying through space at the same time as a wolf swallows the moon, you don’t get that many chances for the perfect picture, hehe.“

Be so kind and bring the main lyrical content of the new songs a bit closer!

„The lyrics are as always a mix of folklore, mythology, fiction and self lived things. We don’t have a red line running through the lyrics as it is not a concept album. Nagelfar itself is of course about the mythological ship with the same name that sails out for war in the last battle at Ragnarök. And that’s actually where the wolf on the cover comes in, as the wolf Hate swallows the moon at Ragnarök and the ship Nagelfar sails out in space and gets lost, and they are still sailing around in universe. Every song on the album has a illustration by Kris Verwimp that he did on our instructions to show some of the content of that particular song. Now people, even if they don’t understand Swedish can follow the lyrics with the help of the pictures. But it’s not a book it’s a single moment from the lyrics captured as a painting, but you still get a clue about what we are singing or playing about.“

Which ones are your personal favourites among the legendary tales out of the Northern sagas?

„There’s really so many that it is hard to choose, I like the whole thing. There are lots of theories about the whole Nordic saga and true or not I like the one where they pinpoint our regions as the cradle of the worlds origin, just because it’s so close to us. But that doesn’t mean that I like the rest of the theories from the same people, hehe.“

How long do you plan to do such music?

„I think we will continue as long as we all feel its fun. That was the main driving force when we started and I still think it is, if you don’t like doing what you’re doing, quit. I’m in this for the love of music and I feel that we are blessed with people liking what we do and it’s really an honour to play for all those fans and hopefully find a few more along the way.“

© Markus Eck, 18.05.2013

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