Interview: Resurrecting the Riff with Vredensdal

In the end it must be metal, the real way.

My first introduction to Vredensdal was last year’s truly magnificent full length «Silence is Eternal». To me, this was a refreshing take on the tried and tested black metal recipe, and if you haven’t listened to it, stop what you’re doing, and come back to this interview once it’s on full blast.

Vredensdal, a self-proclaimed part of «the new wave of US black metal» consists of one main composer, guitarist, and vocalist known as The Goblin Reaper with the support of an excellent drummer, Lord Mortkin, and more recently a bassist, Myrvandrer. In the short span of 4 years they have so far managed to put out a demo, some singles, 2 EP’s, and 3 full lengths. I was curious of what was the inspiration and aspirations for this project, and therefore grateful when Mr. Vredensdal himself agreed to this interview.

What sparked your interest in music and later what got you determined to make your own?

Well, I grew up around a lot of music, musicians, and people who were genuinely interested in being musical, but I believe I’m the only one who followed through with it.

What got me to make my own music was the realization that music as a whole was a natural second language for me. I understood it and therefore, being the infinitely creative person I am, I had to do it. They call me an eccentric man, I don’t believe I am.

When making a song, do you start off with a riff and build from there, or do you have a song structure in mind from the start?

The most important priority THE RIFF, I get so bored rapidly with songs that are purely chords and power chords throughout, often times for me, it’s so lacking of personality that way.

But it’s essential that feeling and emotion must perpetuate through the riffs, and that is where song structure comes in: to express the emotion.

Everything else is purely theoretical, coincidence or experimentation.

Your music seems to draw inspiration from many genres, while still being rooted in black metal, do you limit yourself regarding what you allow to become part of the Vredensdal sound?

This is a battle I have, almost daily.

Which is also the same amount of time I spend with my instruments.

This is both a yes and no answer, you see because I have my filter and that filter is my musical instincts.

There is music out there that calls itselves “metal” when it’s actually not metal at all and there is a HUGE difference in letting other genres inspire you and basically playing your influences covered in distortion, screams and blast beats.

As I have always said: life is not about “crossing the line” but defining it and knowing when is the right time to stand on either side.

Finally, it must be metal, the real way.

You seem very prolific in constantly creating and putting out new material, how and when was the first time you got a sense of that there’s a fan base out there appreciating your music?

I was very surprised after the first and only demo, actually, with all the feedback and response etc. While it was small compared to many things, at that time it meant inherently that much more for me because I’ve always had the mindset of coming from dirt, so to speak.

My motivation to create never ceases and seeing that what I create interests people motivates me even more, and most times in a very dark and twisted kind of way… which of course is excellent.

This is also the key power that comes with no obligations to touring, and I truly like that the ball is always in my court.

You have a drummer you’re working with and recently recruited a bass player, do you keep complete creative control or do you involve them in the process? Are there any plans to make it a complete live line-up at some stage?

It always starts with one riff, and we build up everything around that riff. We focus on good song structures and sound creation. We set the level for editing very low so that the complete songs sound as organic as much as possible. This music is handmade, and the listeners have to hear that. The only important thing is to keep the music real, that’s it.

Everything is written and composed by me.

However, when looking at a painting you think of the painter and not the paint manufacturer, wherein is just as significant because it was the artist choice to use such quality of paints. 

It’s the same for me.

When it comes to the other players, who lets be honest are background, they fill perfectly the gaps where needed. If I could play the drums like Mortkin I absolutely would, but there’s something very intriguing about energy and how it is transferred.

Where the song is defined by me, its layers are added and given extra flavor with each individual’s ability to reflect off my creations. They have their rhythmic and creative freedoms within the realm they are given. That’s important to me.

Fuck live, it ain’t happening man.

Having released 3 albums in the span of 3 years, are you en route for the 4th? The EP you released in August is excellent and showcases some different aspects of the Vredensdal world, is it a sign of things to come on the next album?

The 4th album is totally complete with music, art, and everything. We’re just waiting on the label go ahead to release the info.

If there is anything I want to get across as a musician, especially within the realm of extreme metal, it’s to never expect the same shit twice and neither want for it. 

I do what I want, when I want, and the listener will make their own interpretations… excellent chance I’m right on the money each time.

How do you find the experience of being part of the black metal underground scene? Is it mostly people and bands keeping to themselves, or is there some sense of community?

The “scene” if you can even call it that has been molested by internet whores, gear snobs and is filled with an intense amount of delusional people who only make music to get the approval of their superiors. I don’t have time for that, might is right.

The community is only there for those looking for one and to me, that’s not what this music is about, so I don’t get fulfillment from others in that way.

I’m not searching for it, I let things happen… go with the flow, stay groovy etc.

I’m only friends with people who actively use their brains, can have a good laugh, and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Anything you wish to add? The word is yours.

Of course, I would like to add that the sound you now know as Vredensdal is only just blossoming and soon you will be shot through the heart like a rainbow in the dark. I’m already 3 years ahead right now and… BIG news for the band is coming soon, don’t sleep on it.

Fuck saxophones & drink whiskey, cheers!

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