Monday, March 20, 2017

Urskog Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Well, it’s metal sung in swedish. The main theme is pretty much nature striking back at humanity. It’s poisoned spores spreading, seas rising and flooding land, avalanches coming down the mountains - you know - a little death to make you feel alive.

2.Recently you have released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

It’s a minced meat of death/thrash/black/doom/punk - pretty much everything aggressive I’ve ever listened to since I got my first cassette with Judas Priest as a five year old. The listener will probably have a hard time fitting Urskog into any particular genre. And I’m not trying to fit into any specific genre. I’m sort of exploring the metal that I enjoy. In short it’s aggressive music with strong hooks.

3.Your lyrics cover environmental issues and Nordic Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in those topics?

Well I’m concerned about the environment and my worst fears I put into Urskog. When it comes to mythology, what I’m trying to do is to adapt it on our own time. For instance I’ve written a song called Gleipner that I’m going to release later this year or at least early next year.

Now in Nordic mythology Gleipnir is the binding that holds the mighty wolf Fenris. The Gods had attempted to bind Fenris twice with huge chains of metal, but Fenris was able to break free both times. Therefore, they commissioned the dwarves to forge a chain that was impossible to break. To create a chain to achieve the impossible, the dwarves fashioned the chain out of six supposedly impossible things:

• The sound of a cat's footfall

• The beard of a woman

• The roots of a mountain

• The sinews of a bear

• The breath of a fish

• The spittle of a bird

These are all obviously things that don’t exist so I see them as symbols of abstract ideas and

I interpret Fenris as mankind’s dark side, the beast within us, which we have bound with Gleipner - a rope made out of the ideas of peace, solidarity and so on. As we become more and more individualistic and greedy, as we give up on the ideals which we’ve bound Fenris with, Gleipner is weakened until eventually Fenris is able to break loose, causing Ragnarok, the end of this world.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Urskog'?

Urskog means primeval forest in english. Urskog is also a combination of the words Ur (Of) - and Skog (Forest) and I am literary of the forest since I grew up in a small town, in northernmost Sweden, surrounded by miles and miles of fir forests, so It also refers to that heritage.

5.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with a full band or do you prefer to remain solo?

I don’t play all the instruments on the record. I sing. I do however record all the parts before entering the studio and then let better musicians replace those parts with better performances.
I think it would be interesting working with a full band and write songs together as a band, but the few people I know that are good enough musicians are occupied with their own projects, so just getting them into a studio for a day or two is hard.
To tell you the truth I don’t know how I could even find the time to be in a band between my day work and being a father of two, but I won’t bore you with details about that.
There’s is also the fact that I really want Urskog to be my own project where I make all the decisions and explore the themes and music that I’m into. I really don’t want to have to compromise. That’s something I have to do all the time in all other aspects of my life, so in that regard Urskog is sort of a sanctuary. So given that I would be a total dictator - I don’t know how rewarding it would be for others to join Urskog?

6.The ep was released through Ididit Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

I can tell you very little since there isn't much to tell. It’s a label that I started myself (I did it) just to release my own music. Further down the road it would be interesting to sign some other bands, but as of know I’m just using it to release Urskog.

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal and punk?

I’ve gotten very good feedback and support actually from everyone who’s been able to find my music. I mean, so far I’ve only sold like 40 cassettes and 50 vinyls, but given that absolutely no one knew about me a couple of months ago and 90% of the people who bought the record are total strangers to me, I’d say that’s pretty good. Many have reached out to me in mails and messages to encourage me and that’s awesome. And given that I sing in swedish, I did not expect americans to be into it - so that came as a surprise.

8.Are you or have you ever been involved with any other bands or musical projects?

Nothing serious. I played in a band or two while in school. In total, I think we did four gigs.

9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

I got four new songs that I’m going to record this summer, so the plan is to release those, together with the two that’s already out there, late this year or early 2018. As for the future, I don’t know really. I’m going about this one hurdle at a time.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Mastodon, Entombed, Kvelertak, Metallica, Vanhelgd, Satyricon, Behemoth, Immortal, Vektor, Rancid, Roky Erickson, Bad Religion, Iron Maiden to name a few. Like I said before Urskog is a minced meat of everything I enjoy that I consider metal or aggressive music. I like to flood myself with inspiration and then let all that inspiration take me on a ride. I don't censor myself. If I'm writing a Thrash song and I get an idea for a part that's Black Metal or punk I go: yeah, let's see if I can make that work. So in that sense what I'm really doing is laying a puzzle of all kinds of inspiration and own ideas.

As for what I've been listening to lately, I don't really remember everything but I’ve listened a lot to Vektor. Their talent is out of this world. They’re so good I can hardly stand it. I also picked up a nice cassette - Sacrifice with Gravebreaker. If you’re into old school NWOBHM, you should check them out.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Binge watching TV-series. Playing video games (but I pretty much stopped to find time for music). Drinking and quibbling with friends. I'm reading a book about Ossuaries called Empire of Death, fascinating stuff.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Maybe a funny story? When I was sevenmy family and I visited the closest city some 20 miles (120 English I guess) from Dorotea where I lived back then. I followed my older brother to the record store and he bought Holy Diver. My mother had totally swallowed the bullshit about suicides, satanic worship etc etc connected to heavy metal so she tried to force my brother to go back and buy something else. My brother refused and tried to argue that the album was about a diver. Moreover a holy one! But my mother wouldn't budge pointing on the devil. My brother wouldn’t either so as we waited in the car, my mother changed it for a Duran Duran album. My brother refused to accept it though and my mother still has the Duran Duran album. And of course me and brother bought our own copies of Holy Diver behind her back.
I think heavy metal has a lot of outrageous parents to thank for getting so big.

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