The album Nothgard released this summer was stunning Viking performance, heavy and with such bite that the muscles are still aching. We could not resist the opportunity to get the full picture of the tuff band with the German Viking attitude.
Please tell us about the beginning of the band, how you started up Nordavind? And when did it turn into Nothgard? And also why you choose the name Nothgard for the band?
Hey Lars, well Nordavind was founded by Toni (our ex-drummer) and me (Dom). After many jam sessions we decided to set up a real band and the result was Nordavind. We hired some guys to complete the band and so we found our first rhythm-guitarist a keyboard player and our bassist Vik. But the line-up broke up very very soon we could just perform one show before we had to face the break-up. But of course this was no reason to put the project on ice. From there on Vik and me worked on our first demo-tape which was singly launched via MySpace or YouTube. At that time we also found our keyboard player Rosh and our second rhythm-guitarist Daniel. From there on the band was complete again but there was a new problem: We recognized that our name Nordavind was already in use ….. So we had to search for a new name. Finally we chose Nothgard. It is an ancient sword combat in which you have to get prepared for a counter-charge. We all thought that’s a good name. First of all it's unique and the second reason is the intention behind our music: we just wanted to add a lot of guitars and solos to the common folky instruments. So we thought it might be a good link between the music and the bands ideology.
When did you start to write songs for Warhorns Of Midgard?
Hmmm, some of the songs have already existed for several years. Einherjer for example was one of the very first songs I've ever written. Also Warhorns Of Midgard is an old song. Of course we improved the songs over the years and everybody could add his ideas. So all in all, the writing process started about 3 years ago. Maybe it's a little bit paradox because our song Under The Serpent Sign occurred 1 week before we went into the studios. And the weird thing is that many people regard that song as the one with the best hook-lines.... ^^
Do you write songs as a band? Or is there a main songwriter?
Due to the first album I wrote almost every song at least the basic shapes. Daniel and Vik joined to improve the orchestra parts and of course we added some ideas of everyone. But we couldn't work on the songs as a band because we had a lot of troubles with the line-ups.
Right now we are working on our second album and the writing process is a bit different. Now Daniel and me sometimes sit in the rehearsal room for a couple of hours and come up with a several riffs and then we go home and improve them and arrange the songs. So far I'm very glad about the work. I think the style of Nothgard will be much more unique but I won't tell too much right now.
Have you succeeded finding a new drummer? Or are you still working with a hired gun?
Fortunately we were lucky and we found a new drummer. He is called Dominik Ziegler and he will perform his first show on September the 10th at the Metal Embrace Festival. He is a fantastic drummer and even more a great guy. The perfect basics for a great collaboration.
What inspires you to write music? And what made you go in that special direction: Viking metal?
It depends. Sometimes it's just the love to write music and sometimes there are current topics but the latter mostly refers to the lyrics. Actually we didn’t think about what kind of music we want to do when we started Nordavind. But it was clear which lyrics we wanted to have. All of us are very interested in ancient legends and mythology. But as you can hear our music contains a load of melodic death metal especially when you listen to the guitars.
By the way: what bands / artists made you start playing? And which bands / artists are you listening to these days?
Right now I can't talk for the others, but Metallica was a major influence on me when I was younger. After Metallica there was Norther, Children Of Bodom ,especially Alexi Laiho, Wintersun, Finntroll and so on. Now I don't listen to Metallica, but I frequently listen to the others.
Lyrically you are inspired by German mythology as well as German history... What makes this topic so interesting for you?
It's our history. I think everybody should know the important dates and incidents at least of his home country. There is also the fact that people can learn a lot if they consider the history and... it's just fantastic to digress into fairy tales and legends and escape from reality.
How long did the recordings take? Where did you record Warhorns Of Midgard? And who produced the album?
This was not a common recording as you may expect it to be. We entered 3 studios during the whole recording process. First of all we went into a small studio to record the guitars. We did the same with the keyboard . After the first 2 studios we still improved the keys till we were ready to mix and master the album. For this we went to the 3rd and last studio. It's called Stage one Studio and belongs to the German master producer Andy Classen. There we also reamped the guitars. Vik and me we joined the mixing and mastering process for 5 days. Andy did a great work and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. All in all the recording process lasted about 2 month because we couldn't be in the studios the whole time.
Who did the artwork? And how is it tied to the album title beyond the battlefield you are showing on the cover?
The final artwork was done by Kris Verwimp. And the idea of a battlefield came up with the album title Warhorns of Midgard. We think of a rough battlefield every time we hear that title.
Which songs do you think represent Warhorns Of Midgard best? And why?
In my opinion it's Lex Talionis, Blackened Sky and Warhorns Of Midgard. They contain a load of metal and are exactly that kind of music we wanted to put in Warhorns Of Midgard. Lyrically, Lex Talionis is my favorite track because it spotlights a current topic: the climate change and the disability of the humans to recognize it.
Will you do a video? Which songs would you like to visualize? Would be Arminius a track you would choose? You did offer that track on your YouTube channel, but not with a proper video...
Arminius could be a possible track, but it might be hard to visualize. Could be a bit hard to set up a Germanic and a Roman army. Or maybe that wouldn't be the main problem the main problem would be the difficulties to make look it real.
A few months ago we thought about visualizing Lex Talionis, but right now we regard it as more important to concentrate on the second album. Hopefully we are able to come up with video synchronal with the 2nd album.
I guess you already got some feedback. Are you satisfied so far?
Yes we are more than satisfied. The first review wasn't so prickling but the latter one were . We are very happy.
What about playing live? What's new in that department?
We've gained a lot of self-confidence and experience. Our performance has changed a lot considering moving, playing and charisma since we were on tour with Warhorns Of Midgard. It's a great development.
Do you plan to record some live footage from the Black Trolls Over Europe Tour 2 - not talking about Pro Shots - for YouTube or similar platforms?
Yes, we definitely do. We already have some footage we are just about arranging it. Hope to be able to upload it the next weeks.
Any stories to tell about that tour?
Hmm... there are a lot of stories. One interesting story is that we've almost lost our trailer with the whole equipment. It was early morning, when the driver recognized the waving trailer. The trailer coupling was damaged. Fortunately he stopped in time, so our whole stuff could be saved. We left it at a parking area and a transport company brought it to Berlin. We had luck because nothing happened and the company brought our equipment in time.
Talking about the internet - Social network is both a blessing and a curse. What's your opinion about it?
Yes, you are right. It's great to spread your music via the internet, but just have a look on the illegal downloads and all that crap. There are a lot of other problems like Facebook. Everywhere you go people come and can take pictures and they could upload the so fucking easily. Of course there is the risk of a total embarrassing photo is bad for your proper career due to the band or just for a regular job. So I think most of the time the internet is a curse.
What's next on your schedule? Anything you want to add?
Step 1. Compose the 2 album, 2. Record it, 3. Touring touring touring if it's possible