Can you please talk a little about how Nordland started? Was is something that you had intended to do for quite some time, and were just waiting for the right moment, or was it more of a snap idea and decision?
I think it was a combination of certain things really. I had some ideas floating around for a while that didn’t do anything with initially and slowly they manifested into something larger that I shaped into Nordland. I mean the concept became clearer and that gave me some focus to push through. I did it because I like trying to write music it’s like a complex puzzle to try to piece together into something whole, something you can stand back from when finished and be satisfied with what you’ve created.
Your debut, self-titled album Nordland is a cold and powerful release, with true depth, and a bleak yet brisk mood. Can you talk about what the album means to you?
It’s a thought process a place in my head at the time, kind of a beacon I through out to see if anyone out there could be in the same place. Also it was a back step and a first step, I wanted to try and create something initially that could have sat with releases from the late 80’s into the 90’s in mood and feel, yet come up with something which had its own identity which I could develop as time progressed. I’m not saying its ‘classic’ and should sit beside them as such but that that it is where its roots lie musically to some extent. Never thinking anyone would be that interested as I did it for myself initially. Also it was a way to exercise some demons shall we say.
As well as doing all of the vocals and instrumentation for the album, you were also in charge of the design. (Which, by the way, is stunning.) How important was it for you to do everything, and is it a challenge you will be taking on with future releases?
I enjoying doing the designs for the albums. It’s a challenge in its own right. The art and images are the first point of contact for the listener so to speak, it sets the mood and gives an indication of concepts within the music. I have just finished all the art for the new album. It’s weird because I had settled on a design and was slowly developing it over a few months then I just totally changed it into something much simpler just keeping one element of the old design, you just know when something falls right.
One thing I really admire about the album is the density of the lyrics. They are rich, fascinating and full of old world flavour. Where do you source your inspiration for lyrics from? Do you have any strong, literary influences?
I don’t have literary influences as such no, although I’m sure some have sunk in somewhere along the way. I have to have a thread of an idea and weave it into something with a weight behind it. If I think about that idea and where I want it to go certain strings of words will pop into my head and I’ll take it from there. I’ll try and come up with different way of saying things. Lyrics are half the content and power of an album if they’re weak they weaken the music. I have certain things I want people to pick up on but they’re all hidden in metaphor.
As a Black Metal musician from the North East of England, how important to you is your surrounding landscape? Do you find yourself breaking away to the peace of the countryside often, and do you have a favoured location?
I have a few place’s I go regularly it feels cathartic to be in those places away from everyone. I like being alone always have always will. Landscape is important to me as a strong focus of the Nordland concept.
The North East has an immensely rich, cultural heritage. Is this something you like to explore and do you feel proud of it?
It’s something I refer to often in some songs there are many place names in this part of Britain ending in …’by’ meaning settlement or village from the strong links with our Heathen ancestry also a lot of places ending …’thorpe’ also meaning village or farmstead in old Norse. The North-East has strong connection to our cultural heritage which I try to remember in my own way.
Musically, who has fuelled your passion for Black Metal? Your music has a frosty Scandinavian feel to it, but are there bands from elsewhere that fuel the fire?
I suppose it’s a combination of bands and influences from older classic metal like old Maiden, Candlemass, Frost, Bathory through to Slayer and Mayhem, Burzum etc etc but alongside all the metal stuff I listen to loads of prog, not prog metal but 70’s British prog and later heavy prog stuff such as Anekdoten, Landberk, Magma etc. I find myself getting lost in that stuff the same as BM.
What are your thoughts of the way in which most music is distributed nowadays? Do you swim against the tide, and continue to purchase/trade tapes, CD’s and vinyl?
I would love to get some Nordland out on vinyl because I like that format. There is a tape release of ‘Bones of Ash’ that Glorious North Productions did but there are only 2 copies of that! Yes I have traded tapes etc. But I think it’s inevitable that things will progress into new formats and distribution. I mean it’s good that there are still underground releases going out on tape because it’s a grass roots thing, But there was a time when tapes where ‘new’ and it was the norm to put stuff out on them People didn’t rebel against tapes back then because they were ‘new’ they didn’t go back to 8 tracks, and now CD’s are the ‘norm’. But there is a certain respect and nostalgia for tape releases.
What can we expect from Nordland in the near future?
Well I’ve just finished the new album which is called ‘The True Cult of the Earth’, hopefully it should be out soon on GNP. I will try and develop as a song writer and explorer new ways of doing things. I don’t know we’ll see what comes.
Where in the great web can Nordland be found?
Many thanks for asking me to contribute to your blog.