Hey Morten, nice to talk to you again and thanks for your time! How are you?
Hey there! I'm fine, thanks! Quite busy though but never mind.
So to begin, let's start with the the foundation of Thulr: When did you get the idea to create a pagan metal band like Thulr? And what is your connection to that kind of music? What does the name mean?
Actually, there has never been a plan as such to form a Pagan Metal band. I had been writing riffs and songs for quite a while, stuff that I didn't use or couldn't use in the bands I was playing in at that time. When the bands broke up I started focusing on the material I had written so far and after a holiday on Forsitesland (modern day Helgoland) I decided to put the songs together on a demo, lyrically based loosely on the history and myths around said island.
The word Thulr is of Old Norse origin and means something like poet, seer or speaker at a Thing. But the sources are rather scarce so that no clear answer on the name's meaning can be given. Though, from what we know I thought it fit the context or the idea behind the band.
I came across Pagan Metal when Enslaved, Kampfar, Vintersorg and Menhir released their first albums. I was intrigued by their combination of Metal and folkloristic tunes and arrangements (I used to play in a folk ensemble as a child). But, frankly speaking, most of nowadays Pagan Metal doesn't speak to me anymore as one can too clearly see where the bands got their "inspiration” from, if you know what I mean.
You do everything on your own, beside the guest artists. Is there any special reason for that? Or is it just that you don´t have any lads in the near, with whom you would want to make a band?
The latter. When I started I didn't know many people up here who were into Metal or were looking for someone to make music. Luckily, this has changed in the meantime.
Between "Forsitesland” your first demo and the somehow debut-album "The Seafarer” (also reviewed at "Pest Webzine”) are many years. Why?
What it comes down to is a lack of time due to work, university etc. I spent some time abroad and then began with my final exams which took about a year as well. So that's why it took me so long.
Let's continue talking about the new masterpiece. There is again a big topic, the journey on the waves. Has the sea, as a northmen (he comes from the north of Germany), a special meaning for you, that you chose this topic? Or are there either some other influences?
Well, as a child we always spent the summer holidays on island in the North Sea or somewhere on the coast of Denmark, so I guess that's where the love for the sea, coast and the north in general originates. When I was living in England I came across the poems written in England's Anglo-Saxon period and I instantly liked their beauty, their choice of words, their strong imagery and the stories they told. Thus it felt only natural to let them be a source of inspiration.
So can you tell the readers a short introduction about what your lyrics are and what the concept is?
The album is named after a poem later entitled 'The seafarer' which describes the journey of a man exiled after the loss of his lord. He is now bound to roam the oceans, always hoping to be able to return to his home and family one day. Other poems such as 'Widsith' (which translates 'far-travelled'), 'The wife's lament' and others were also of great inspiration as they all in their way deal with the same or very similar problems. The songs of the album describe the journey of that exiled man from the day he has to leave his home to the day he finally returns and then ends with his death after which he sets out for his final journey.
Topic change: How do you see the development of the pagan metal scene? Is it for you a problem, that so much labels and bands are forgetting what pagan metal or metal commonly once was and what it really stands for?
Well, to be honest, I'm sick and tired of reading lyrics about Odin, Valhalla, Thor's hammer and the like. There is so much more to explore in what is today called paganism and the pagan past of Europe and the world. At the moment the same thing is happening to Pagan Metal what happened to Black Metal in the mid-90's. But luckily there are still bands that have their own approach to the aforesaid topics.
I know that you are a teacher. I am curious to hear, how the pupils and the other teachers are reacting to a metal guy in their lines, or are you not an obvious black metal fan? Were there any problems yet?
Hehe, well, I'm not the obvious Black Metal fan (I didn't leave my heart in England but my hair...), though my pupils and the other teachers know about my love for Metal and so far there haven't been any problems, the students rather seem to see it positively.
Lets talk about your other projects. You have many other activities. Can you give us a overview?
Eldborg is a band I started with some dear friends of mine. We've recorded one demo called "Ut i det fjerne”. Some people compared it to old Borknagar, but I guess everybody has to make up his or her own mind about that (www.myspace.com/eldborg).
Since Eldborg had to be put on hiatus as our second guitar player went to study in Iceland for a year, some three of us formed another band (yet unnamed) with the help a friend on bass. As soon as the demo is out, information will be found on the Eldborg and Thulr pages, I suppose.
Herne is a project I created with my good friend Sceot Acwealde of Symbel/Bretwaldas. The demo is nearing completion and should be out at the beginning of 2010 (www.kingpenda.com/herne).
I still have the plan to record some atmospheric Black Metal songs sometime soon but I've no idea yet what the name or lyrical content will be.
What can we expect in the future of those and your own project Thulr?
At the moment, I'm thinking about re-recording some Thulr songs as acoustic versions. I guess that could be very interesting as they were all created on an acoustic guitar originally. But I think that won't be happening before Easter 2010....we'll see.
Do you have yet the wish to change Thulr into a "real” band and show yourself live? Or do you think that the unique atmosphere would be lost on the stage?
I'd love to present Thulr on stage at least once. I think the songs would work live as well as they work on Cd. The problem is to get all people necessary together for rehearsals since not all of them are living here in Kiel anymore.
Alright, I thank you again very much for your time, I know you don´t have that much, hehe. I wish you all the best for your projects and your life! You have the last words!
Thank you for the chance to present Thulr to a broader audience & good luck for you and Pest Webzine!
Interviewed by Robert