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Solefald is back! With their new album 'Norrøn Livskunst' Solefald turned their attention to the early days of the Norwegian nation, and as always they do this completely in their own way. Crazy, complex and catchy. Or in other words: a bit strange, but rather tasty. Lords Of Metal sent some questions about the new album to drummer, singer and keyboardist Lazare.

By: Roel de Haan | Archive under black metal

A good day to you! How are you doing?
I'm good, thanks. Dividing my time between work and interviews, so it's all good.

I wanted to congratulate you with your new album 'Norrøn Livskunst', I think it's great! How has the response been in general, and how do you feel about the album?
Thank you, we are very pleased with how the album turned out ourselves. It's still early in the process of reviews and feedback in general, but the signals we have received so fare are all very positive. As usual some people are somewhat shocked about the twists and turns of the album, but for Solefald, that's normal.

'Norrøn Livskunst' means something like “Norse art of living”. What does this art consist of, according to you?
This time around we took a dive into our nation's cultural as well as exploratory history and heritage to uncover the Norse Art of Living: The idea of being proud of where you come from and enthusiastic about where you are going. Explore the continents and expand your mind – all with a sense of wonder and adventure.

This time you took a look at the early 1900-Norwegian culture. What is it that fascinates you from this period of a then young nation? How is this reflected in your music?
I think the sheer will to investigate your surroundings and the pride in the old, Norse heritage from that period is very fascinating. To be able to conquer the poles and thrive as a nation while at the same time honouring your heritage and seamlessly weave old and new thoughts and principles together – that is pretty impressive.

The Icelandic odyssey records were relatively consistent in style and mood. 'Norrøn Livskunst' sees you more or less returning to the eclectic style of 'Neonism' and 'In Harmonia Universali'. What style do you think suits you best and why? How do you decide which approach is needed?
We always thrived as a band by not restricting ourselves. On 'Red For Fire' & 'Black For Death' that method resulted in stylistical consistency, while on 'Norrøn Livskunst' that same approach resulted in a more diverse mixture of styles. Our approach to writing is very organic: We sit down with a guitar and a keyboard, and we make the songs that come to us naturally, so I think that the style that suits us the best is whatever style we feel like utilising.

Some of the lyrics are thematically linked to the prose or poetry one of you produces. Is it difficult to translate these to music? How does the fact that the music is made by two persons influence this, as the textual part was done by one person in probably a different setting?
The music and the lyrics are made separately and put together when we lay down the vocals.

Your music is usually very layered and complex. Yet you always seem to manage to have it sound very catchy and addictive. How do you accomplish this effect?
Well, we work a lot with the transparency of the production so that the listeners will be able to hear all the things that are going on in our songs. At the same time, we're preoccupied with melodic hooks and a general drive, and we aim for a punchy sound, so I think that when all these things are put together, you get complex yet catchy music.

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Prominently featured on the album is Agnete Kjølsrud. How did you come into contact with her and how was the collaboration?
I have known her for a few years, and I absolutely loved her former band Animal Alpha. When we recorded this album we ended up with a few songs that we wanted some really strong and unconventional female vocals on, so I called her to hear if she would be interested in collaborating with us. Luckily she was. She has such an amazing voice and a very unique approach to singing. I worked together with her in the studio and we tried out a few different ideas, but she found the expression that you hear on the album pretty fast, so the whole process was very smooth. She's great!

Where do you get your musical inspiration from?
Oh man, from all over. From the books I read and from the music I listen to. From the films I watch and from the art I enjoy. From living, loving and loathing. Everything can be turned into an inspiration.

How did the recording process go? I can imagine that recording this kind of music demands a special approach.
Yeah, it actually does. 'Norrøn Livskunst' was recorded in a lot of different studios over a long period of time. It's a bit like making a movie: You move around to different locations gathering the pieces you need to be able to put the whole picture together in the end. Also, me and Cornelius record separately, so there's always an element of surprise when we continue to work on each other's recordings. It's inspirational to work that way. In addition, the mix took ages and included just about a ton of vintage hardware electronics. Our excellent mixer, Endre Kirkesola, has such unique outlook on the mixing process, so that brought a lot into the album.

You are now on Indie Recordings. Is it once again a two-album deal? How has the collaboration been so far?
Indie are good guys. They marketed and distributed our two former albums, so we know their work ethic and competence well. We're excited to see what they can do for us this time around.

It's time to look at the future. What are the plans for Solefald in the near and distant time to come?
We will start the writing process for out new album soon, and we have grand plans. Just you wait and see…

A question for those who are interested in your writings and poetry; are they or will they be available in English or other languages?
I guess that's up to Cornelius' publishing house, but I certainly hope so. His believe his debut novel 'Fall of the Gods' is already available in Danish and Finnish, but when it comes to English, I don't think there are any plans as of yet.

Thank you for your time. I guess that wraps it up for now. Is there anything you would like to add? Here is your chance!
Thanks for showing interest in Solefald. Have a great day.

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