Swedish band Nattsmyg recently released Fylgja, their latest album, which got a nine star rating from me so we at Ice Vajal thought it would be wise to find out a little more about this project from main man Dan Heikenberg...
First of all, let me just say congratulations on the release of Fylgja, which is absolutely magnificent! How happy are you with what you've accomplished on this, your third album?
Thank you! We who worked on the album are very happy with it.
I had the goal to do something different with Nattsmyg this time, to write an even more keyboard-heavy album with female vocals for the biggest part, and I feel that we reached it.
What is the meaning behind the title Fylgja?
Fylgja is the name of a spirit that follows a person, in human or animal form. In the song Fylgja, a spirit reveals itself to comfort a soldier when he awaits his death on a battlefield.
Its taken four years for Nattsmyg to release a new album, which is a lot longer than previously, where a huge number of demos and two albums were released within two years! What has been going on in this time?
In 2008 I wanted to see if I could write anything that wasn't Nattsmyg with all its keyboards, so I recorded an unreleased album called Autumn Dreams which has a more dark and serious tone.
I also started re-recording När Solen Slocknar.
In 2009 I wrote and recorded most of the songs for Fylgja. I also experimented and recorded an unreleased techno/metal album called Cathexis.
In 2010 I tried to learn more about audio mastering, which I later applied on Fylgja.
I made the in-game music for the e-sport PC game Bloodline Champions.
I wrote most of the songs for another Nattsmyg album which will also be released by Unexploded Records.
I recorded an unreleased trance/metal album called C.G.L.
I spent a month learning 3D for the creatures in Fylgja's music video.
In 2011 I have been working on the re-mixes of När Solen Slocknar and Född Att Härska, and right now I'm continuing the work on the new album.
How different has it been for you to have your album released by Unexploded Records as opposed to the previous albums which were self-released?
Before, when I made a demo/album, I uploaded it in an hour and then just continued on to the next project. With Unexploded the releases feels a little bit bigger, and therefore makes it a little bit more fun to finish something, which makes it more fun to continue onward.
Do you plan on making any videos to support Fylgja?
Fylgja actually has a music video filmed by me and Linn Carlshaf, with the song I Irrblossens Sken on Nattsmyg.com and on Youtube.
You recorded two versions of the song Death Keeps Me Near, in both English and Swedish. Why did you choose this track? Will you release any of the other Nattsmyg songs in alternative languages?
It was the first song of the album I wrote lyrics to, and it was in Swedish. I then decided to make the entire album in English since I wanted to make something unlike previous albums/demos which had all been in Swedish, so I re-wrote the song to English. But as I wrote more songs to Fylgja I felt that some of those songs still needed Swedish lyrics, so I changed my mind again and wrote the album in both English and Swedish, and since I now had that song in both languages I thought it would be fun to record both versions and have one of them as a bonus track.
I have no direct plans to record more songs in alternative versions, but I will continue to write albums in mixed languages.
Linn Carlshaf's vocals are a huge part of this album and really give the whole thing a glorious, otherworldly feel. Do you think she will appear on future releases?
She sends her thanks! She will appear on other future releases, and has already recorded vocals to the re-mix of När Solen Slocknar.
Nattsmyg is still a solo project but do you have any plans to bring in full-time members in the future or is this a project you want to keep personal? Will you be doing any live shows?
In some way Nattsmyg has full-time members. Adam Nilsson for example has been around for some time to contribute with additional recordings. I always ask him if he wants to record bass for example. Linn also feels like a member.
It's still me who writes the music, but I'm open for change if it feels right.
We actually just started rehearsing with Nattsmyg for the first time in some years!
You're greatly inspired by nature but what aspect or part of nature would you most like to capture in song?
I often imagine a world of forests, fields, mountains, caves and its many different inhabitants when I record the keyboard which often makes up the core of the songs. The lyrics tells what's going on at the place the keyboards shows.
Tell us a little about your musical inspirations. Have film soundtracks played a big part in shaping your music?
I listened to Vintersorg in 2005. It was the first music I heard where the keyboard had a bigger role, and it gave me inspiration to write the songs which became Nattsmyg.
When I made the music for Bloodline Champions, I tried to mix in the feeling of film soundtracks.
Well hopefully Nattsmyg will keep on rehearsing and hit the stage soon! Would it be worth a trip to Sweden to see them? I think so! In the meantime check out Fylgja which is out now on Unexploded Records.