Greetings FEJD! I hope you are currently enjoying the same beautiful weather in Sweden, as we are doing in Northern Germany – sunny and about 20° C. Although the weather doesn’t fit the title of your new album “Storm”, let’s start with the release of your first album via your new label Napalm Records: How does it feel, finally releasing the first “official” record instead of producing, promoting and selling your records by yourself? After so many years of your very own management, why did you take the step of signing to a label?
It really felt like the right step to take for us. Taking care of everything yourself just take to much time from what we really want to do and there are people who can handle all the promotion and selling much better than we could ever do. It was really our producer Marko Tervonen who thought that the album was too good to be released by the band, and he was the one making all the connections for us with the labels that were interested. I guess we own him a big Thanks;)
Which aspects were of high importance to you, when you chose Napalm Records as your record label? Why did you choose Napalm?
Napalm is a label with a great portfolio of Folk related bands. Maybe not as much folk as Fejd but definitely in the right direction. And of course all the contact we had with them both before and after signing has been easy and very good, for us its important to have good communication with the label and to feel that you connect in a certain level. It just feels like Napalm Records are the right once for us.
Did the fact of signing to a label influence your recording process in any way? Did you feel some kind of pressure or stress, finally being bound to a label and having some new but also losing some old responsibilities?
Not at all, the album was already finished when we first talked to Napalm and they seemed very happy with the album already from the start, and talking about responsibilities it probably goes both ways. We have things to fulfil in order to make Napalm happy and they have things to fulfil in order to make us happy.
As I am unfortunately not very good at understanding the spoken Swedish language (reading is better), maybe you can tell me and our readers a little bit about some of the lyrics of “Storm” (maybe your favourite ones)?
Offerrök is about the sacrifice feasts they used to have at Uppsala Högar about one thousand years ago, it lasted for nine days and it was held too honour the great Nordic Gods. Three days for Oden, three days for Tor and the last three days for Frej so its a great party song;)
Vid Jore Å is a song about a river close to where Patrik & Niklas grew up and the impact it had on their childhood until today, with the dark woods, old ruins and running water.
I think I got as much out of the press-sheet and some words of the lyrics to assume that your lyrics mainly deal with your native folklore and legends or am I totally wrong? So you seem to be very connected to your cultural roots and the Swedish heritage. It would be nice to get an insight of what you think are the most typical and interesting aspects of Swedish culture and life.
I believe that this would be much easier to answer if you were standing on the outside, its so easy to become blind for the things you have right in front of you. We have a strong and living tradition of Folk musician with assemblies taking place in every corner of the country. I guess much of what is done in Sweden is characterised by our landscapes and the space we have at our countryside. Nature and seasons of the year has a big part in our lives as have darkness and light as we spend half year in almost complete darkness and second part in twenty hours of daylight. ;)
In my opinion FEJD create some sort of typical Nordic folklore sound, which can also be found with bands like GARMARNA or TRIAKEL. Do you also see any typical elements concerning the sound of Nordic folklore or would you disagree? What do you think is very unique and special about Nordic folklore music?
I guess there are as many styles as there are bands but I guess that in our kind of music compared to for example the Irish we probably reflect more sadness in our music. It has a certain kind of longing in it and a search for something that maybe can't be described. It could be a longing for a place, for lost love or for better times. And of course the instruments used and the way to use the voice also might be special in the kind of Folk we have played and still play up here in the north.
Are there any certain bands you would recommend to a fan of folklore music? Maybe not only from Sweden, but from around the world?
Difficult one but.. Gåte & Folk & Rackare from Norway Gjallarhorn & Värttinä from Finland,
Hedningarna & Garmarna from Sweden
You use some “old-fashioned”, authentic instruments for your music. Did you build these by yourselves? Can these kinds of instruments still be found in many Swedish homes or are they somehow obsolete instruments with only few people left who know to play them?
Well, some of them we built ourselves and some are bought, I need to say that we got great help from other builders and musicians along the road and it probably would have been hard without their help. Alban Faust and the guys in Hedningarna and Leif Eriksson to name a few. I guess that the more advanced type of Moraharpa the Nyckelharpa can still be found in many homes in Sweden and they still have classes in places where you can learn how to build them yourself. We have a great tradition of traditional Folk music in Sweden that always seems to survive and every year at different occasions ( Midsummer's eve is one) it always seems to blossom.
As stated in the press-sheet, FEJD merged to its present state by the combination of a metal and a folk band. In my opinion both influences can still be recognized in the sound and the structure of your songs. How did this birth out of two bands happen?
We all played metal before we started Fejd so we all knew each other as musicians. It was Patrik who first got caught and started to play and he soon involved his twin brother Niklas, and when the question came to the rest of us it only felt natural to join. It was relaxing to play something else than metal that we all had done for such a long time. We could play for the fun of it and just play around experimenting in a way that we felt was not possible in our other bands at that time, at least not in the same matter. We did things in our own pace and didn't feel the need to rush anything and maybe that's the reason why it took so long to record our first full length album, cause enough with songs has never been a issue, I guess we had songs enough to make every release in the past a full length.
What kind of audience do you want to reach with your music? Well, of course as many people as possible, hehe. But do you see yourself connected to some kind of “scene”? Do you reckon yourself a folkish metal band, or a medieval folk band or maybe something completely else?
I think the label Napalm (Nadir) gave us suites great, Nordic Medieval Folk. You can almost taste it. What we have discovered is that almost anyone can listen to our music but it seems that the bigger part is metal heads. We don't want to put our music in a special genre its more fun to invite everybody to the party. But of course, we are metal guys from the beginning so it always feels great to play for that kind of audience, and sometimes they even forget about the head banging and starts to dance. ;)
Will there be any chance in the future to see you live on stage? Maybe there are plans for an extensive European tour or just some single dates?
For now we have some smaller festival gigs booked (this year, something bigger next year) and we are looking on some tour options later this autumn but nothing is certain at this moment. Of course we would like to play as much as we possibly can and we'll try to reach a plan that works for all parts.
As you are right at the beginning of a new era for FEJD: What do you hope for the next ten years in FEJD's future?
We hope that we can still make people happy with our music and that people can find a refuge in what we do, I believe that its important that you can find a place to run away to when you need to escape from your every day life and I hope our music has the power to do that. I guess in ten years we should probably have managed to do at least six more albums and had the time for some nice tours as well.
Well, that's it. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions! All the best to you and the future with FEJD! Last words are yours!
Feel free to visit us and drop a line either at our myspace at www.myspace.com/fejd or our web site at www.fejd.se or maybe both;) Hope to see you all on coming gigs in the future!
Cheers from Esko & Fejd