FALKENBACH Heathen Pride

Falkenbach is one of the most influential bands for me, especially in the beginning. “Magni Bladinn ok Megintiri…” is one of the best albums I’ve had the opportunity to hear and I still go back to it regularly. After a six year pause since their last album, the man behind Falkenbach has release the third album and a fourth is already in the making. Good news in any case, because we won’t have to wait long for new material. I tried to familiarize the readers with this interview about the entire body of work which represents Falkenbach.

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Hello Vratyas! Some time has passed since your latest record, are you preparing/recording any new material?
At the moment I am working on the material for the new album “Heralding – The Fireblade”. As far as I can say now, the last recording session will take place in July this year.

If I compare the new record with “Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty” and “Magni Bladinn ok Megintiri…” the new record is much more peaceful then its predecessor. Do you agree with my statement? Which other elements separate those two albums?
In the end you’re right. I’d not say it was due to the way the songs were composed, but more a result of the sound of the whole album. We had to keep an eye on all those small details, like acoustic guitars etc., things that were not used that much on the former albums. This lead to a less rough sound for the guitars all in all, and so the album sounds a bit more “peaceful”.

As a matter of fact you have never had a gig (but I have read that you would like to have some). What has happened to make you feel that way? Would you still like to have live performances?
At the moment it’s not sure if Falkenbach will play live one day or not. When the idea of playing live came to my mind, I simply wanted to play 1-2 small live shows, not for big promotional reasons, not on big festivals, no tour or something like that. I just wanted to give back something to all those people who supported Falkenbach throughout all those years, and who constantly asked me to play a couple of live shows.

You have recorded your third full-length with a full band. Could you compare this working with the ones when you were working alone?
In the end the last album wasn’t recorded with a real full line up. Boltthorn did the whole drums, Hagalaz added some acoustic parts, and Tyrann some vocals, that’s it. They were not involved in the song writing process, too. Nevertheless I am very glad to see them being featured on the album. The main difference between the last and the former albums simply is the fact that Boltthorn played the drums, the rest was also on the last album done by me mainly.

Many people who listen to Falkenach are also fans of Summoning. Have you noticed this? Do you like their music?
So far I did not realize this combination. Beside that I can tell you that I like what Summoning did so far, though I have to concede that I probably do not know all their songs.

At this moment you are working with Napalm Records. Any comments on their contract with you? It seems that they have grown into a very professional/bigger label?
Napalm Records grew bigger without any doubts during the years. Of course I am no going to give away any details of the contract.

Do you listen to any bands from Napalm Records?
They signed a couple of bands I listen to rarely, most of their releases I do not like that much to be honest. On the other hand Napalm is meant to do a good job for Falkenbach, and not to sign bands I like to listen to in my spare time. I simply don’t care.

You are also running your own underground label Skaldic Art. Is it hard to have a record company? Do you earn enough money to live from Skaldic Art and Falkenbach?
It’s more than hard to run a label, and to work on a fair basis. Skaldic Art is not meant to be a business label, making profit etc. The earned money is reinvested in the bands, there is not win I could live from.

Rivendell, Obsidian Gate, Menhir are some of the bands that you have released through your label. Which one has sold the best so far?
Sales are also one of the aspects I do not use to talk about. It’s something personal between the label and the band. I know most labels use to spread rumors about great sales of their bands, letting you know that band xy sold 5000 copies within 4 weeks, but in the end they are just crappy liars. If a band wants to reveal their sales, ok, but it’s not my turn to do so.

This may be a little off topic, but please tell me what was/is happening with Obsidian Gate. There has been no news from then for a while.
They are no longer on Skaldic Art, same goes for a couple of other bands. The last thing I’ve heard about Obsidian Gate was that they did split up and started a new death metal band.

Many groups from Napalm Records now have at least one video-clip. Are you thinking to record one? Videos could be great tool for promotional issues-do you agree?
Probably you’re right regarding the promotional aspects of a video. Between the 2nd and the 3rd album were about 6 years of silence, also something that’s not that good regarding promotional aspects. Well, I do not give a fuck about promotional aspects you have to know. If I wanted to create a video, it probably was far too expensive. Napalm asked me once, I told them what I needed, and we stopped thinking about it. A video would be nice, yes, but far too expensive, and probably also too long for TV people.

Lyrically you were always in historical waters. Which period of human civilization has inspirited you the most?
None. Falkenbach is about religious aspects, not about history. Of course most of the lyrics are playing in front of a historical background, but the main thing is the religious aspect in it. Do you think that monotheistic religions are better or worse then polytheistic and why? Some would say that polytheistic religions are far more open.
To me there is no need to compare religions with each other. I never had to chose the way I wanted to go, the way simply belongs to me, the way is a part of my very self. If one has to compare religions, to find out which one fits most, he/she probably won’t find what he/she is searching for.

Could you compare Falkenbach’s three full-lengths from your point of you? Do you have a favorite track or album?
Obviously, all three albums are different in some way, but on the other hand absolutely typical for what Falkenbach stands for. “En their…” is a rougher album, also the songs are faster here and there. The 2nd album “Magni…” came up with a different sound, more power for the guitars, a bit less black metal influences music wise. The 3rd album “Ok nefna…” turned out to be a more folk inspired album, with a lot of acoustic guitars, choirs and so on, and with less important distorted guitars, though it’s still a metal album in the end. All tracks mean a lot to me, and I do not have any favorite ones.

Falkenbach has many folk influences within its music and art. Which bands have inspired you the most to create such a music? Also, do you prefer to listen to only bands from the metal genre or are you an open-minded person?
No band did ever influence Falkenbach regarding the final results of the demos and official releases. I do not use to listen to well known metal acts, neither black metal, nor folk or what so ever, since quite some years, except for demos and self produced albums.

Back in the beginnings of Falkenbach, was it hard to record a demo then? It seems today that is pretty easy to record any material (even whole albums) on a PC.
In the beginning it’s been rather hard to find a way to record instruments, yes. Even a 4-track recorder was pretty expensive for a young guy like me. Throughout the years I bought a 4-tracker first, later a 6 and 8-track recorder. Up to now I do not use the PC for recordings at all, when ever I record demo-material, I use the old 8-track recorder.

Before you started to create music for Falkenbach you had a band called Crimson Gate. What happened with this group? As I have read somewhere you finished your career after two demos.
Well, I did not start with Crimson Gate, but played in this band when Falkenbach existed for a couple of years already, some when ’92 or something. We recorded 2 demos, played a couple of live shows, and in the end we decided to split up. All the members of C.G. are still in touch, we use to have nice meetings a couple of times per year, but we are probably not going to start a reunion within the following 100 years 😉

At the end please explain the word Falkenbach. Answer I’ve noticed that many people have always wondered themselves about what it means. Does it have any historical or personal background?
It’s neither the name of a person I know, nor of a place, though I’ve heard there’s a small town called Falkenbach in Germany. Anyway, it has got a deep meaning for me, but in the end no one should care about it, and I will not explain the reasons for it.

Interview done by Marko Miranovic in 2005

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