So… True Norwegian Balkans Black Metal. I like the description and strange as it may be, it actually covers your musical spectrum. Could you please explain the term, and as such your music, to the unsuspecting masses?
We have, during our last albums, incorporated more and more folk music from non-Scandinavian countries; mostly folk music from the Balkans. So we started joking around with terms such as "New wave of Norwegian Balkan Metal", "Black Balkan Trash", "Balkan Blast Box" etc. And the term "True Norwegian Balkan Metal" felt most describing. Both because it makes fun of the term "True Norwegian Black Metal", and the fact that we felt it fitted our music well. It's true, it's Norwegian, it is Balkan and it's Metal. But we never know where we will move creatively on the next albums, maybe we will drastically change our musical style and call it for instance "Trollish Tibetian Emo Core".
You first got into Lords Of Metal's spotlight with your 'Villanden' album, and it's fair to say that my colleague wasn't that impressed. In fact, judged by her review it's probably fair to say she was very confused by your music. Do you have this effect on people more often?
It's not our main intention to confuse people, but it's a bonus when we confuse musically narrow-minded metal fans with our music. I don't know about any other Black Metal based bands incorporating Latino elements, Greek Rebetica and Fiddle music from Little Asia, so it will obviously confuse people and we understand that many people won't like it. But we would never adapt our music to please the masses. That is why we decided to quit doing the standard Norwegian Pagan/Viking/Folk stuff after the ´Willkommen Folk Tell Drekkafest´ Album.
Next stop was the 'Uraltes Elemente EP' and hell, that one even confused me. There's some weird shit going on there. I suppose the second half of the EP contains material that was inappropriate for 'Villanden'? In other words, that one was a bit of a stopgap EP?
Okay, that EP even confused us I guess. We wanted to release a couple of song recorded in the ´Villanden´ sessions which didn't made it on the album, but we also needed a couple more songs. And we recorded a couple of acoustic songs which where a bit different I admit. We had so much fun doing these recordings, so we felt the songs deserved being released. In TrollfesT we just do whatever comes to our minds without worrying about what people may think.
Now there's a new full-length out, of course. To what extent is 'En Kvest For Den Helligen Gral' different from its predecessors?
We started off releasing the ´Willkommen Folk Tell Drekkafest´ album, which was a spontaneous album made and recorded during heavy influence of various alcoholic beverages. We just wanted to have fun and didn't care so much about musical song structures and such. It was all about having a good time. For the ´Brakebein´ album we used more time and were more serious considering composing. We also started to incorporate styles such as Reggae and Balkan. But the main element was still Nordic folk tones mixed with black metal and stoner rock. On the ´Villanden´ album we decided to dedicate most songs to Balkan scales and rhythms. All the three first albums where recorded and mixed by ourselves in our rehearsal places, apartments, our parents living-rooms and other suited location which didn't ruin our economy. The music, lyrics and lyrical arrangements on our latest ´En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral´ album, were more thought through and complex than on our previous albums. Some consider TrollfesT to be a humour band, but we have become very serious in song structures, variation, melodies and such. On this album we also incorporated new musical elements, such as Flamenco and mariachi. We also decided to use a professional studio this time, which meant a heavier and more brutal sound.
You seem to have developed a bit of a language of your own, combining German with Norwegian. Please explain, and help us in understanding the lyrical themes you're dealing with.
The new album is a concept album, actually a grail story. Its a story about a Troll-village, taken by a terrible famine. It tells the story of five Trolls heading out to find food and save their village and fellow Trolls from starvation. Along their way, they hear rumors about a holy grail, and they get this brilliant idea of stealing this grail. Everybody knows that Trolls eat Christians. Ant the fact that the Grail is a Christian magnet, they will use the Grail as bait, meaning free instant fastfood (Christian Crusader / Grailseekers etc) for the entire Trollvillage. The language is something Trollmannen came up with while we recorded our first demo. He thought that German is a fitting language to use for metal songs because of its strict caracter. Since none of us knew how to speak and write lyrics in this language, we decided to use a combination of this language and Norwegian.
'Villanden' appears to be recorded at a home studio. Was this also the case with the new album? How was it recorded?
We recorded the entire ´Villanden´ by ourselves. We rented a litle location for the drum tracking, but we recorded and mixed the rest in our apartments. On the ´Kvest…´ album we wanted to take the production a step further, so we recorded drums, bass guitar, vocals and electric guitar at Strand Studio in Oslo. Because of the time consuming process of recording an additional 80 tracks on each song (acoustic instruments, choirs, percussion etc.), we decided to do this by ourselves, mostly in Psychotroll´s apartment. Strand Studio also had strict rules against farting, drinking, puking, peeing, eating junkfood while editing drums etc, so it was a relief to enter Psychotroll´s apartment where the rules were a bit less strict.
A stupid, but ultimately inevitable question: with several band members being active in more 'true' black metal bands like Urgehal, aren't you afraid that being involved in a more 'fun' band like Trollfest will create something of a backlash?
We play music for music´s sake. Urgehal is a brilliant band and so is TrollfesT. The genres are totally different but the musical quality is equal. Everyone in Trollfest has a huge urge and love for music in general and we aim to first and foremost satisfy people with a deeper musical knowledge and understanding. Extremely Trve bm fans, with opinions about questions such as this, most likely don´t have any musical understanding at all. The funny thing is that most True Black Metal bands are even more "fun" and humoristic than us, even though they don´t know themselves.
I expect Trolfest's music to be especially suited for the live environment. Any plans for that?
I must say TrollfesT is very suited for live performances. Each TrollfesT show is something special and unique. The audience never know what will hit them. We have had engagements during a show, barbecues and other suitable/unsuitable happenings on stage. These days we are preparing for four shows this month. Starting next weekend at the Rage of Destruction festival in Belgium, followed by the Metalfest Open Airs in Germany, Switzerland and Austria the weekend after. This summer we will play at the Metalcamp festival in Slovenia, and this autumn we will join the Heidenfest tour around Europe.
Thanks for the interview. Any closing comments?
If anyone wants to see a different kick ass metal show, and have a blast of a party, show up at our shows this summer! Then we will show you have to play True Norwegian Balkan Metal, and how to drink like Trve Balkan Metallers!