Icelandic Vikings – A Interview With Völva …   Leave a comment

Völva plays a vintage style of stoner/doom mixed with some deep psychedelic elements. Heavy, down-tuned Sabbathian riffs, occasionally with sludgy vocals in the likes of Eyehategod/ Weedeater. (Stonerobixxx: Völva – Völva (2010)) Völva are not only heavy but extremely different, no other band in the world really sounds like them in my opinion. Aleks Evdokimov put this interview together with Hrólfur from the band.

Q: Salute comrade! I’m glad that we do this interview and let our readers know a bit more revealing new doom-location onto world’s map, please introduce yourself to our readers! I was searching high and low but find only tiny remains of information about Völva, so it’s my sacred right to ask you about how the band was born, how you did gather and etc. What can you answer?

-Völva has only 3 members, Ingi, Hrólfur and Áki, who is currently “busy” in Cuba so our friend Tryggvi has stepped in as our drummer while he is gone. We are all 19 except for our Session drummer who is 21. We live in a small town in northern Iceland called Akureyri. Völva was formed in 2008 soon after we got the idea of playing psychedelic doom jazz, which slowly progressed into more traditional Stoner-Doom although the psychedelic influence is not far away. We all met in elementary school and formed the band shortly after we graduated from high school.

Q: -Völva was a trio but I read that each of you play at least few instruments, how do you combine your roles in the band and why don’t you just share your charges and instruments between yourselves?

-We all switch instruments, in almost every way, we can all play bass and guitar but Hrólfur, is not playing drums. Each one of our songs has it’s own character because of the switching of instruments. The songs are for example really affected by the guitar player.

Q: Ha! Now I see the reason why your songs differ from each other but the album has solid conception. Was it hard to compose music in such original way? I’m meaning that some of you could see that song must develop in some concrete way and maybe it’s far away from band’s main direction…

-Usually we just jam with our ideas to see if we like them and how we would like to change and work on them. We do not have any main direction, we simply play what we like to play each time. Sometimes a song we like is made from our jamming. Our songs are always developing over time.

Q: How old were you when you started the band? Which bands influenced your manner of playing ?

-We were all 17 when we formed the band and our biggest influences would be; Queens of the stone age which led to Kyuss which then led to Electric Wizard and from there into the entire fauna of stoner doom, sludge, drone etc.

Q: You’re young enough but I must admit that you’re skillfully musicians and you have your own original method of composing music, how much time do you spent onto the band, onto rehearsals and etc.?

-Not as much as we’d like but we also look at our studies and reading as part of our band’s development.

Q: What was your motivation to play in that musical style? I see that doom is a rare thing in Iceland, but somehow even play gigs… You know there’re a lot of bands all over the world, but you’re only representative of genre in your country, it’s cool…

-One of our big influences is that it’s really dark in Iceland during the winter. The sun barely shines for four months a year. Playing doom is fairly easy when it’s total darkness 18 hours per day, plus the cold and the snow. Our most basic concerts would be us playing with 1-2 punk bands and three death metal bands, but to be fair the doom scene is starting to rise up a bit here in Iceland.

Q: And don’t you have such thing like “white nights” at summer? We have it here – in Saint-Petersburg and at Murmansk for example, sun sets just for 2 or 3 hours since end of May till middle of July (or something like that). How could Icelanders spend traditionally these sunless periods? No all of your citizens play doom metal, right?

-Of course we have that. If we have long and dark winter days we are bound to have long summer days as well.

Q: You’ve started your career with CD “Völva”, what did this step mean for you? And how did you find such braincrushing art-work?

-After our CD came to live, we have got fairly known in the doom scene and we have got very good reviews all over the world. What influenced our art-work was the first line of the song “Vöknun” which says “Á milli ímyndunar og veruleika” (Between imagination and reality). On the front side we have an image that portrays imagination and on the back we have cold reality. The art-work was drawn by our friend Jóel Hrafnsson who is a satanic worshipper artist that makes dubstep in his free time (kind of a weird guy).

Q: Your band’s name is into Icelandic language, and more than this – your lyrics are into Icelandic too, it’s a really great deal because most of bands sing into English and sometimes listeners search for something distinctive. Why did you choose native language for your songs ?

-We write our lyrics in our own language simply because we like to have them genuinely well written. We find it more natural to express ourselves in a language that we have known since we were born. What is more doomish than Icelandic?

Q: I guess that Spitzbergen may be doomier! 🙂 But it’s a matter to discuss… Well, what can you say now – doesn’t using of native language put obstacles in the way of Völva to a world doomscene?

-We believe that people who listen to this genre of music have the respect of us to use our own language and culture. The usage of English is highly overrated. That is also a step towards popularity, which we do not care so much for.

Q: Völva is a woman-foreteller in pagan Northern mythology, what did you want to say with such name? What do you think about popularity of Northern mythology in metal genres?

 -I think that situation with some bands is absurd when they try to sing about something that they really do not know and try to fit great conception in some narrow idea “Odin – two ravens – hammer of Thor – Ragnarok” (and they do not think, for example, about Odin’s martyrdom for getting illumination). It’s like in modern “Thor” movie… We chose the name Völva because it is a cultural Icelandic name. Völva is the only on of our songs has lyrics from Norse mythology. We think that the popularity of Norse mythology is good for publishing it and introduce its extraordinary saga to the masses. Unfortunately most of the bands sound like a Disney version to those who know the tales well. For example, in “Thor” the movie why is Heimdallr (the whitest of Æsir) black? (No Racism, but WTF)

Q: I guess that it’s absurd; authors just did their best to be politically correct… I didn’t watch this movie and do not want for most of such films are terrible, disgusting and meaningless indeed and really… WTF?! Okay, but which movies with “Northern” topics can you mention as good ones?

Some good ones could be; Hrafninn flýgur, Myrkrahöfðinginn, Englar Alheimsins, Börn áttúrunnar, but we prefer the theatre to movies.

Q: Man, I would like to ask you comment lyrics of “Völva”, because I always like to know what bands sing about!

-The lyrics of “Völva” are about a man who meets a “Völva” and she offers him to see his future. Even though Norse mythology is the theme of “Völva” most of our lyrics are about psychedelia, depression. Our biggest lyrical influences are the environment around us here in Iceland and philosophy.

Q: Okay, which philosophical teachings you would like to mark out? It’s only between you and me but I’m bit tired to listen about “do that thou wilt” and same pathetic stuff 🙂

-Socrates, Taoism, George Orwell, Kristján Fjallaskáld, Davíð Stefánsson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kirkegaard Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, John Stuart Mill and many more people and ideas.

Q: I do not know who do sing in the songs “Andvaka” and “Völva”, but this screaming vocal sounds very “blacky”, did someone of yours ever played in other bands?

-The songs “Völva” and “Andvaka” are sung by Ingi. He is the “black” guy in the band. All of us have been in other bands or side projects. Most of those have been sludge, hardcore and stoner projects.

Q: “Völva” was released by MBC Skifur records – I’ve never heard about it, how did you find them?

-MBS is a DIY record company that we run ourselves for Völva and our sideprojects. We record all our music, mix, print and distribute it ourselves. The story behind the name goes as following: There is a mad hippie in our hometown who states that in the year 2012 everyone and everything will turn into slime. MBS stands for “Mannfólkið breytist í slím” which can be translated to “Mankind will develop into slime”.

Q: Iceland is suffering another volcano’s eruption, how is it? How is it to live with such things right at your side?

-The current Volcanic Eruption is in Southern Iceland and we live around 150 km north of the volcano and thanks to strong wind all the ash blows over to Great Britain and Western Europe. Living with these things by our side doesn’t affect us as long as it happens rarely and the wind blows the ash away. We suffered only a little more gloomy days.

Q: What are the negative and positive aspects of life in Iceland?

-The negative Aspects:

? Cold and darkness

? Ignorant people

? Money worshipping

? Weak music scene

The positive Aspects:

? Cold and darkness

? Long summer nights

? Magnificent landscape

? Comfortable atmosphere

? Clean water and fresh air (if there are no eruptions)

Q: Your songs are differ from each other and if the first part of the album is sludgy, then it’s ending sounds really differ: for example “Í Eigin Heimi” has a great rock solo in the end with good rock drive as “Vöknun” is more doomy, there’s a part with declamation and 18 minutes long… How will your new stuff sound? Do you have new songs?

-Our new stuff will introduce more sludge, more psychedelia and less traditional doom. We are working on a CD. It will be “Hinir viti bornu” (The Wise Ones (Homo Sapiens)) and will tackle the stupidity of mankind. The next CD will be a lot better and more sophisticated. Our first CD and the first songs that we made in this genre were more of an experiment for us. We are now more certain in what direction we want to go.

Q: How soon will you start a record-session of new songs? And do you have any ideas where will be new album released? Did you get any offers from labels?

Our record session will start as soon as possible. We will probably release it ourselves in Iceland but we may send our album to a record company outside of Iceland and hopefully they’ll wanna publish us.

Q: Thank you very much for such interesting interview comrades! I hope that no more volcanic eruptions will trouble you and you’ll be able to finish your second (3rd, 4th and 5th) CDs. Good luck men!

-Stay in school, don’t do drugs!
Be no fucking slaves.
You can contact us via mail if you wanna get a cd from us.

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Volva @ Myspace


Posted June 21, 2011 by doommantia in Völva

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