Grimner is a Swedish Viking Metal band that is really starting to get their recognition as a strongly talented band. With their 2nd album (and 5th release overall), Frost Mot Eld, the band keeps up their fresh take on Viking Metal with catchy melodies, traditional Folk elements, heavy when need, mellow when called for, and above all, a very fun album to listen to. I just got to talk with Ted to talk about everything that is going on in the world of Grimner. Hope you guys will enjoy this great conversation!
That Drummer Guy: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I found out about you guys from your first album Blodshymner, and it's an honor to be able to talk in promotion of the brand new album, Frost, Mot Etd.
Ted Sjulmark- Thank you as well, glad to do it!
TDG- So what went into the writing process for Frost Mot Eld?
Ted- Well, I wrote the music, then we all gather together to discuss what to change in the songs more dynamic and "alive", like we have always done it. The songs came together faster this time, though, since we had a lot of old songs mixed with new ones on Blodshymner, but on Frost Mot Eld, all the songs where written together to make the album more consistent, to make them more dynamic and alive.
TDG- Would you say that the album consistency is the biggest thing that changed from Blodshymner and Frost Mot Eld?
Ted- Hmm, not really. The biggest change is that we experimented a lot more with everything, I think. We have used elements and influences which are not commonly used in folk/viking metal, and it feels really good to have been able to do that. We will probably continue along that line, too. It's a lot more fun to think a little bit outside the box, especially when you belong to a genre in which musicians aren't really known for doing so.
TDG- I was definitely going to say that this album really has a fun atmosphere that you don't get in a lot of this style of music. Where a lot of the music is about very serious subject matter that matches the music; Frost Mot Eld feels very like it would have something for anyone who can appreciate the Folk and Viking Metal genres.
Ted- Thank you, glad to hear it! Well we've heard that our music reflects on the fact that we really love and enjoy what we're doing, even if many of the lyrics on the album are very dark and melancholic. For example on the song "Vargarnas Tid".
TDG- Oh, very much so. It really feels like the band is tighter overall and not afraid to do what will feel appropriate, but stay fun. Was this a conscious effort to try to make the album more fun musically?
Ted- Indeed it was. When we started out, the writing process was very constricted and I guess we were afraid to go outside our comfort zone, or at least the zone of what people think folk metal should sound like. But from the writing the first note of "Frost Mot Eld", that changed. It's more fun to not limit ourselves, as long as we convey the feeling of battle or living in the viking age.
TDG- It really does have that feeling to it. Because in the Viking age, it wasn't just about conquering and pillaging. They have fun as well, usually with Alcohol. It's fantastic to see the fun side that can come from this music.
Ted- Exactly! There are many findings of old viking games, which they enjoyed themselves with. And it is no secret that they loved their beer and mead, of course. Although, unlike our previous releases, there is no short, jolly drinking song on Frost Mot Eld, such as Bastu from our EP Färd or Hinn Heidinn Sidr from Blodshymner.
TDG- Absolutely! So have you heard much reception for the new album yet?
Ted- We have, and it's been above our expectations! Or mine, at least. The first two reviews we got both gave it 10/10, and that was mind blowing. The rest that we have seen have all been very positive, so it really feels like this album will take us to the next level. I think we got one other full score from some magazine too, which feels great.
TDG- That is great to hear, as it deserves all of the praise it has been receiving. I am enjoying the album immensely as well and I hope to have a full track by track review up in the near future. Was there any songs or riffs that was writing during the time of the new album that didn't make the cut that may end up being used in the future?
Ted- That sounds great, thank you very much! There are always riffs, songs and melodies for every release that doesn't make the cut. I am always writing music, so there's bound to be a lot of songs piling up, but every now and then we all revisit a lot of old stuff to see how we feel about it, and sometimes we hear an old melody or riff and think "maybe this could become something good with a little modification". So we may use a modified melody or something on the next release, but probably not an old entire song.
TDG- Very Cool. You never know when that riff that didn't work at the time, just may come back and help you write one of your favorite songs in the future.
Ted- That's true! We do have a couple of old melodies used in a song that will probably be featured on the next album, we'll just have to see how that song holds up.
TDG- Awesome. Back on Friday, you recently announced a short, but sweet 6 date summer tour. That's gotta be exciting being able to get the new songs played live.
Ted- Oh yes, it feels great, gonna be a lot of fun! We played the album in its entirety at our release gig in our home town Motala, but it will be interesting to see how our Dutch and German fans react to them when played live as well.
TDG- I hadn't realized that the album was played in it's entirety. That would have been a fantastic experience to see. How well do you think the album translated live? Were there any songs that you felt sounded better live than expected?
Ted- It was a fantastic night! I think most of the songs were better than much of our previous material in a live environment. At first, we didn't think that "Enhärjarkväde" would do that well live, but wrong we were! It worked much better than we previously thought, so that's probably going on the setlist for some shows.
TDG- That is definitely one of my favorites off the new album, so I am happy that it translates so well live. The intro riff alone just calls for it to be experienced live.
Ted- Very glad to hear it, it happens to be one of my own favorites as well. Even if my absolute favorite is "Etter och Flammor".
TDG- I very much enjoy that one as well. A nice, speedy track. Which again goes back to why I enjoy the album so much. There is so much diversity in the sound and hits so many great territories.
Ted- It's great to hear. I mean, everyone in the band have a lot of different influences, and when we acknowledged that fact and let it lift the music, it became more unique. I myself don't really listen that much to folk metal in my free time, since that's what we do in the band and you kind of want to listen to other stuff then. But also, it's great to already have your sound thought out, and then listen to other music than folk metal and get your influences from many different types of music, resulting in many different rhythms and atmospheres.
TDG- Oh without question! Listening to any and all styles of music really does help with your creativity as a songwriter and keeps you inspired. So with that said, what were you listening to while you were writing the new album?
Ted- Very true! Actually, mostly video game music, film soundtracks and Asian folk music, along with the Scandinavian folk music that I always listen to. I don't know if that can be heard on the new album, but I can say for sure that it had a big effect on how it turned out.
TDG- A very diverse range, which I can appreciate. Even if it is not a direct influence in a song or album. You never know how it can affect your creativity such as a chord progression or song structure or even just the mood of a song. As far as video games, I am playing Witcher III at the moment and I could totally see the new album fitting in the background seemlessly.
Ted- I haven't made it past Witcher 2 yet, unfortunately, but I have heard the third one is good! I blame my computer. But that's flattering to hear since Witcher is one of my favorite game series! It would be awesome to have Grimner as a soundtrack for a good video game, haha
TDG- Witcher III rules. Definitely brings the new generation vibe while keeping the spirit of the first two alive. If there is ever a change of a Witcher IV happening, I'd love to see them ask bands like yourself to contribute to the soundtrack. Really give it that rich, thick, Folk aspect.
Ted- Awesome, I look forward to playing it. We would totally be down for that! I know Vader did a song for the first Witcher, but that's pretty far from folk metal, and even farther from traditional folk music.
TDG- Haha, that is very true. There are some Metal fans that work with the Witcher, so maybe there would be a chance some day. So getting back into the band. What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Ted- Let's hope so! Well, apart from our upcoming tour, we will be booking more shows, working on new material and just trying to spread our music to as many people as possible. We hope that we will be able to get some shows in countries we haven't played in before.
TDG- Being from the United States, I would love to see you guys come here some day. Of course, that is harder to do more than ever these days due to US visa issues and the total cost to come over here. If that never does get to happen, I will have to buy a ticket over to Europe and come see you guys play one day.
Ted- Yeah, that is a real bummer, because we would absolutely love to play in the US. I really hope that we can get over there someday. If not, you are indeed most welcome to come over here!
TDG- I would absolutely love to. I've always wanted to make it over to Europe one day, either to experience one of the legendary Summer European Metal festivals or check out bands that I wouldn't normally get to see here play in an intimate setting.
Ted- You should have been at Ragnarök Festival three days ago, it was an awesome festival! Not summer yet, I know, but it was still great.
Well thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I feel completely honored to be able to talk to you and help spread word of the brand new Grimner album, Frost Mot Eld. Before we go is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven't brought up yet?
Ted- Extremely happy to hear it, it was a pleasure to do it! Thank you so much! Not that I can think of, I think we've covered a lot.I can only say thank you, and thanks to everyone taking the time to read it!
Grimner- Frost Mot Eld is available NOW through Despotz Records