Interview: MISTUR
Title: In remembrance for Viking victory

From the Norwegian area of Sogndal they hail the modern world with archaic Nordic powers, which are carried on their sheer incredible atmospheric Viking Black Metal art.

Yes, art, by any means of the term! Surrounded by marvellous fjords, majestic snowy mountains and the stunning spirits of mother Nature, the outstanding band managed to get one of the very best acts in this profession at all, beside unforgotten fantastic genre mates Windir. The highly epic sound of Mistur contains a unique mix of raw and dark desires, truly awesome musicianship, gorgeous catchy heroic melodies and immense beautiful, partly even sacral symphonic orchestrations of timeless class. Uplifting creations for all eternity, so to say.

Founded in 2003, already their exciting well done demo masterpiece „Skoddefjellet” took my heathen heart by storm. And now, after immense long felt years, they’re back with their new album strike, „Attende”.

Recorded in September 2008 inside famous Akkerhaugen Studio just outside Notodden, Norway, produced by the band itself and master Thorbjorn Akkerhaugen, „Attende” is easily able to rub your complete mind.

A damn well working apprehension on the other hand, rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist André Raunehaug verified in our dialogue.

André, which way has developed the unique epic Viking Black Metal Metal style of Mistur over the years? Under which influences? People always speak about Windir, when it comes to Metal out of Sogndal. Are you also still a fan of Windir?

„Espen and I have been playing and listening to lots of different music throughout the years. Not only Metal. All the music we have created during the last years, on both "Skoddefjellet" and "Attende" is somehow a result of this. To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure what style of Metal we play. I don’t think that matter much. The important thing is that we play the music we feel comfortable with. We have had a close relationship to Windir throughout the years, and of course it is an inspiration for us and probably hundreds of other bands both in Norway and abroad. But we are also inspired by other famous Metal bands such as Emperor and Old Man’s Child, among many many others.”

Btw: would you categorize your own music as Epic Viking Black Metal at all?

„As mentioned in the first question; we are not sure what style of Metal it is. It is probably a question for all the music journalists to answer. If we have to we would simply categorize it as atmospheric Black Metal, with a touch of folk music and symphony.”

The Vikings – they didn’t knew any fear, as we can believe all the ancient tales so far. In nowadays times modern people bear more and more fears in their minds and hearts. Why? What’s your opinion about?

„Hehe, the Vikings were probably pretty fearless. I think people in ancient times had a totally different view on life, which is hard to compare to nowadays. Back then it were probably more a fight for life. Today we don't have such view on life, at least most of us.”

Please explain the readers the meaning behind the new great „Attende” frontcover artwork by Kris Verwimp, which was drawn a time ago!

„First of all I want to thank Kris for his tremendous job! His great oil painting has become an important part of the album, and made it very unique. The painting is based on the landscape from Kaupanger, just outside Sogndal. Kaupanger is the place where Espen, Stian and I have grown up. The fjord with the Viking ships is the famous Sognefjord, one of the longest fjords in the world. This is also the fjord where the famous battle of Fimreite found place in 1184. In the Viking age, Kaupanger used to be a trading place, so it is also a historical Viking village. For us, the painting reminds us about this historical event. The lyrics from the opening track, "Slaget", are based on the cover-art. The lyrics tell the story of a Viking village and the forced Christianity. There are two Vikings sitting in the hills when suddenly unknown ships are heading towards their homes by night. The unknown people are the Christians, coming to force their religion upon them. This of course ends in a battle where the victory belongs to the Vikings.”

For what exactly stands the new album title „Attende”? Please explain it as detailed as possible!

„If you look it up in your Norwegian dictionary, it is directly translated to "eighteenth". We have used the word in another sense. Let me try to explain the meaning of the word. The lyrics are a story of a family, where a mother has lost her husband and sons in battle, all except one. When the time comes she does not want her son to leave, but he leaves against her will to become a Viking. By that time she understands that he will never return. He is later killed in battle and does not come back. From this song’s lyrics we use the word "attende" meaning "to come back". We named this song "Attende" before we decided that it also should be the title of the album. This song has very emotional, brutal and tragic lyrics, which suits the music very good. The terms brutal and emotional also reflect our overall impression of the songs on the rest of the album. That is mainly the reason for the album-title as well.”

Btw: what means „Mistur” at all?

„Mistur is an Icelandic word and it simply means "mist" in English. Mist is a word which is moody and mystical and therefore it also describes our music in many ways.”

Please tell the readers about the content of the lyrics of your new album!

„The lyrics are all fictive Viking stories. The themes ranges from death, faith, love to revenge. Some songs deal with the forced christening of the Vikings, as mentioned before with the lyric from "Slaget". We will probably translate them into English and put them on our website, so all you guys abroad can read them as well.”

Why do you still do this music at all? Which is also nowadays the most inner driving force within your creative heart to do such a kind of Metal music?

„We are listening to lots of music and it is our main interest. We are probably most into Metal. We simply just feel like creating the type of music we would seek. If I was not a musician and a member of Mistur, I would definitely become a "die hard" fan of Mistur! [laughs] We simply love atmospheric music and therefore we also do what we do.”

André, please tell about the songwriting process for „Attende”!

„It is me and Espen writing all the music. The songs for "Attende" have been worked on for several years. Some pieces of the music were also started on when the demo was released the summer 2005. Whenever we are in the right mood and we have the right moment, we create music mostly separately. We then meet and play the stuff for each other, and we often end up with complete songs. Both "Attende" and "Skoddefjellet" are good examples, which have been written 50/50 by me and Espen. They both consist of themes from the both of us which just fit perfectly together.”

Where you`ve got all the creative ideas for your new specific epic art on „Attende”? And when they come regularly at best in your mind?

„When we are in the right mood and have the right moment, the ideas comes to our mind. It is a result of our interest for both Metal and music in general and our force to create the music we feel comfortable with.”

How ran the studio recordings for these album?

„We went to Akkerhaugen Studio here in Norway. Thorbjørn Akkerhaugen is probably quite famous for his close relationship to the guys in Emperor. He has also produced albums for Windir and Zyklon. We knew we would get a good sound if we went there. The time in studio went well and I’m very happy with the result. Luckily, the recordings of my rhythm guitar only took two days. So after that I could just let the rest of the guys do their job, while I could just sit back and consume all the beers we brought. [laughs] It was a great time and a fantastic experience. If I had the chance I would definitely visit Thorbjørn Akkerhaugen again, but we have not decided yet on what studio we will go to next time.”

Do you like it to play live?

„We all love to play live. We really hope we will have the opportunity to play some live-shows for you guys in Germany! I think "Attende" is a typical style of Metal that suits German metalheads.”

Are you planning Mistur live gigs in 2011? Are there any plans for a real tour?

„We have some shows ready here in Norway next year. And, we are working together with Einheit Produktionen on doing shows abroad, especially Germany!”

What do you think about nowadays genre-bands which do mostly anything, even change the style of music, just to become and stay popular?

„If people play the type of music they like and music that comes from their heart, it is of course okay. But if they change their style of music just to become popular, it is not a good thing. Then it is all about the money. And that is in great contrast to what we are dealing with in Mistur. We will never become very rich in what we are doing. But that is not what we’re looking for either. The best thing about our stuff is the great feedback we get. That is in many cases payment enough!”

And, what do you think, why so rare bands play really good epic Heathen/Viking Metal nowadays? Is it a question of the broad range of inner views and feelings?

„I think it is a result of the growing interest of Metal worldwide these days. More and more people likes Metal and more and more people starts to play instruments. When they listen to Heathen/Viking Metal music, they want to do the same we do, and that is to create their own Metal music. When we have so many bands playing Metal, there will naturally also be some of them playing good music. The more bands we have, the more both bad and good music will appear.”

Which are your favourite Metal acts?

„I didn’t listen much to Metal before early 1990’s. Before that I was very into bands like Nirvana. Later on, bands like Limbonic Art, Amorphis and Obtained Enslavement are some of the acts I have listened a lot to. But I’m also very fond of for example the great Norwegian act Emperor. I also listen to other famous bands from the North, like Satyricon and Immortal.”

Which is your preferred typical Scandinavian traditional meal and distillery?

„Deer meat and beer!” [laughs]

When you`re looking back in the beginnings of Mistur, have your musical dreams mostly fulfilled until now?

„We are on our way, hopefully this is just the beginning. We want Mistur to become a well-known name within the Metal scene. If we are able to follow up with a new great album, I think the name will become even more known and popular.”

With which expectation(s) do you looking forward to your upcoming career?

„Mistur has been a hobby for me and Espen. I think it will be a hoppy besides regular jobs also in the future. But we would really like to have the chance to travel a bit around to spread the words!”

Do you have in your country a dedicated fan-base?

„This style of Metal is also quite famous here in the North. But I think it is even more famous abroad, especially Europe and Germany. But we do have a little fans base here, yes. These days I also get quite a few mails and other forms of feedback from abroad, which is quite funny!”

What’s your personal view about the Metal scene in Norway?

„There are lots of great bands within the scene in Norway and it is always great to hear new good Metal. I was very fascinated by the Metal scene when I was younger, especially Black Metal. It was cool and at the same time scary with all the people putting on corpse paint, having smelly sheep heads on stage, cutting themselves etc. Some bands still do it. It was something different and got many people interested. This stuff depends of course on the genres. These days, to be honest with you, I’m not so fond of these extreme costumes and stuff. In some cases I think such things take the focus away from the music, where I believe that the focus always shall be the music itself. I have probably grown up. [laughs] Luckily, most of the bands I know of are much less extreme when it comes to image and live performances. We need the image, but sometimes it can be a little too much. The Metal scene is growing these days. More and more people are into Metal, and it has become a more accepted genre. Here in Norway in the early 1990’s, this type of music was more or less banned, because of all the things that happened back then. These days it is very popular and we have lots of talented people within the Metal scene.”

© Markus Eck, 26.12.2009

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