Interview: From the Vastland

From the Vastland from Iran & Norway have been active for a while now and so far released 7 full albums. We definitely felt it was time for us to have an in depth conversation with the main man; Sina.

– Firstly, thank you for the opportunity for this interview. Can you tell me something about the band and its members?

You are welcome, it’s a pleasure. Thanks to you as well! Alright, From the Vastland is a black metal band which I started in late 2010 in Tehran/Iran as a one-man band project. However, later on in 2013/2014 it became a full member band when I moved to Norway and started to work with Norwegian musicians such as Tjalve (Horizon Ablaze/Svartelder/Ex-1349/Ex-Den Saakaldte), DestrucThor(Myrkskog/Ex-Morbid Angel/Ex-Nordjevel), Vyl (Whoredome Rife/Ex-Keep of Kalessin/Gorgoroth) and later on Spektre (Gaahlswyrd/Immortal/Svartelder/Horizon Ablaze).

 – The band released seven albums in the course of 11 years, with the last one being in 2022. Are there any plans for a new album?

Yes, I have a new album ready to record and our plan is to record it in April. I have been working on this new album since the release of the last one, and now finally I have all the songs ready to record. Really happy about the songs and excited to hear the final result after recording. I’m hoping we can release it by the end of 2024; however, it also depends on the label company’s schedule. So, let’s see.

 – Can you tell the reader something about the creative process of making a new album?

Well, the inspiration basically comes from anywhere, but I would say most of the time I get inspired by other music I have listened to through the time. It can be from a long time ago, I’m probably not aware of that, or I’m not thinking about that right at the moment, but it’s somewhere in the back of my head. Plus, because of the concept of the band, I read a lot about mythology (specifically Persian mythology) which also inspires me a lot.

When it comes to writing new material, I start a song based on the visuals I have in mind, but of course, as a guitarist, the actual action of writing a song is mostly based on a guitar riff, and then I take care of everything else like the song structure, the arrangement, lyrics etc, however, there have been times when I started a song based on a drum pattern or just the lyrics. But during the process of making a song, I also review it a lot to see if it gives me the same feelings/image I had in mind and if not, then there will be changes… In the end, I have made the song based on that image I had in mind and the story that I wanted to tell.

 – A lot of the creativity you have comes from Mesopotamia. How did you incorporate that into the music? For example, do you do a lot of research on the subject?

Yeah, I have always been interested in history and mythology, reading books and articles about it (not only Persian mythology but also Norse, Maya, Egypt…) but as an Iranian, when it comes to the Persian mythology, which is the main concept of the band, I found it very proper theme and concept for the band.

You know, Persian mythology is full of epic stories about the battle between gods and demons, light and darkness, heroes, evil spirits, creation, the cosmos etc., It’s also strongly connected to the nature and all its elements and the power it holds in different forms.

So, yeah, writing the lyrics takes a lot of time for me since I do a lot of research to find different sources, choose the right subjects and make sure I have enough legit information about them to write the lyrics about. I also really try to stay loyal to the original story as much as possible. So, I always have to go through a bunch of books, online articles and different sources to write lyrics, but I really like it and at the end when I have the lyrics ready, it feels really good.

 – Are there other bands or genres that influence you, while making music?

Yeah, other music influences me for sure; however, I wouldn’t say it does directly while making my own music. I mean it’s somewhere in the back of my head, all the music I have listened to or what I have been listening to during that period even if I’m not thinking about it. I wouldn’t say only one genre, probably mostly black metal, that’s what I listen to most of the time, but also some other genres. When it comes to black metal, of course, you find great bands from anywhere in the world, and sometimes it comes as a surprise, but during all the past years I would say mostly the Norwegian and French scene. They have been a big part of my inspiration and have influenced me a lot.

 – You are originally from Iran; the country still has a small black metal scene, but it’s alive. Are you still in contact with some of the bands, or do you keep up with the scene?

Yes, that’s true. You know, it’s illegal in Iran and when it comes to the metal scene in general, everything happens in real underground, especially when we talk about black metal, which is considered blasphemy by the authorities. Indeed, they do whatever they can in order to stop, censor or control the music scene in the country, but still, there are really good bands out there that are taking the risk by being active in the scene. And with the help of social media today (even though they are all blocked in Iran and people have to use VPN to access them), they spread their music. It’s really not easy, you know… And yes, I’m following the scene, even though it’s not easy when there is not an official scene going on (no festivals, no record label, no gigs…) but I’m in touch with some old and new friends in the country and always try to keep up with the scene.

 – The first two albums were made entirely by you; how did you come in contact with the current members Tjalve and Spektre?

Right. So, it’s a long story, but I would say it all started back when I had my first black metal band in Iran (2003 – 2009) and in 2007 one of my albums was released on vinyl by a Norwegian label company. That release got me in touch with the Norwegian scene. Later on by that, I also got involved in a Norwegian documentary film about black metal (Blackhearts Documentary) as one of the main characters and finally by that I started to work with the Norwegian musicians. I got the chance to play my first-ever concert and the Inferno Metal Festival 2013 in Norway, and I was really lucky to have Tjalve on Bass (plus DestrucThor on Guitar and Vyl on drums). Since then, Tjalve has been an official member of the band. Later in 2014, I moved to Norway and we all kept on working together… And It was in 2015 when Spektre joined us for a gig at the Midgardsblot festival and since then, I have been lucky to have him as a permanent member of the band. I’m really happy that I have the chance to work and play with the guys, not only professional amazing musicians but also great people. I really enjoy working together with all of them. 

 – The Norwegian scene has been going on for a long time now; can you tell something about its current state in your own words?

Yes, right! I would say it’s still very alive and going strong! Especially the extreme metal scene (and of course, black metal on top). There are many festivals throughout the year, from big international ones like Inferno Metal Festival or Beyond the Gates to small local ones here and there, even if it’s a one-time event. Plus, every now and then there are new bands coming, super groups by known musicians or even unknown bands by local teenagers. You know, black metal is not unknown to no one here in Norway, you hear news about the festivals or bands on the main news channels (even the national TV/Radio channels), in newspapers. They get support from different governmental (or semi gov.) organisations. You can see Tips for blackpackers on the official website of the Oslo city from the municipality etc.

So, in short, for a black metal musician and fan it’s amazing here in Norway.

 – Is there anything you want to add?

I will take the oppurtunity to thank each and every one of our fans and friends, festivals, magazines/webzines, Podcasts, Radio shows, organisations who showed us support during the past 14 years. Your support always gives me more motivation to continue my path and follow my passion. So, thank you all! Keep up the great work and support your favourite musicians, that’s how you keep them going. Cheers to you all.

– Thank you for your time. It’s appreciated.

You are welcome. Thanks to you for this opportunity and the good interview. I highly appreciate your support.

Below you can check out From The Vastland’s latest album;

YouTube player


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