The Folk Metal Adventures of Grimner
A grand and glorious decade of the almighty Grimner is upon us! A folk metal brigade from the wilds of Sweden, Grimner presents a spiraling adventure in sound that is absolutely wondrous to behold. Vanadrottning is the name of the latest magnum opus, now available worldwide via Desptoz Records. Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with one of the Grimner warriors to find out about the captivating Vanadrottning story, the band’s exhilarating live shows, beer of choice, and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Grimner and how long the band has been together.
Greetings! My name is Johan Rydberg and I play the flutes,and various other folk instruments, in the folk metal band Grimner. This year it is 10 years since the band was formed, although Ted (singer/guitars) and Henry (drums) have been playing together since they were kids.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
The band was formed in the small Swedish town of Motala, which has been the base for the band for most of the band’s existence . Although we now have our rehearsal pad in the countryside outside Ödeshög. The music scene around here is quite varied. A lot different genres but there are a couple of somewhat well known metal band originating from the same county as us. Ghost and Falconer for example.
Is there any overall story behind the album title Vanadrottning.
Yes quite so. The song Vanadrottning tells of one of the older stories in Norse mythology from when the Asir and Vanir gods were at war. The queen of the Vanir, Gullveig, was captured by the Asir and was sentenced to die at the stakes. She was burned alive but after the fire was burned down she had been reborn. So she was sentenced to be burned once more. In the end she was burned and reborn three times before they stopped, and instead the two clans of gods settled on a truce. So this is the song that we chose to represent the album as well as its artwork were you can see Gullveig reborn anew in the ashes.
Select two songs from Vanadrottning and what inspired the lyrics.
On of my favourites from the album is “Kvällningssång” which lyric is inspired by folklore more than mythology. The song is about evil fairies who during daytime seduces a man into dancing with them in their fairy circle until dawn when they turn into evil creatures and kill him. It is based upon the folklore about fairies and that if you would find a circle of mushrooms in the forest it was a fairy circle. And if you entered it the fairies could get you and might trap you.
Another interesting song is “Vårt blod våra liv“ which also strays away from the usual mythology theme and instead tells about a historical event about the “Väringar” (The Varangian guards). This was when a lot of different people from a lot of different places and religion traveled east to Constantinople to become guards for the emperor.
Who produced Vanadrottning and what was it like working with them?
The album was produced by the band together with our sound enginer and good friend Alexander Oriz. We worked with him on our previous album Frost mot Eld as well, and it is good working relationship. He is very good with coaching drums and vocals.
Who did the cover artwork for Vanadrottning and how much input did you have on it?
Matias Frisk was the artist who we used for this album. He is a great artist with a darker tone and has done a lot of work for Black/death metal bands. We wanted a bit darker tone with the story about Gullveig which we felt he could deliver on. We actually visited him, talking about what we wanted, and from there he took the reigns and delivered just what we wanted.
What could one expect from a live Grimner show?
A show with Grimner is all about having fun together, our music is quite upbeat and there tends to be a lot of dancing and moshing. We are quite into character during the songs but also have a very relaxed feeling in between songs and a lot of interaction with the audience. In the end of the show you will probably be sweaty, drunk and in a very good mood.
If Grimner could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Hmm, there’s a lot of huge bands that would be cool to open for. But for the best show expereince, I think it could be one hell of an evening if we opened for Turisas.
Has Grimner ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We have not played in the states at the moment. And at the moment we have no booked gigs there. But of course we would want to play there! And hopefully we will someday. It’s just hard to arrange and get payments to travel there. If we could get a tour together with another band it could work out. but at the moment sadly, no.
What is the secret for keeping a band alive and thriving for 10 years? Did you ever think you would make the 10 year mark?
That’s a good question. Not sure how we got here, haha. But yeah there is a lot going on in a band and it takes a lot of time and work. And it has really been the latest 4-5 years that it really took off, and we have had to become really well organized to get everything working. We all have some kind of responsibility in the band outside of just playing music.
When you look back on the earlier Grimner albums, what do you think of them now?
Well, some of the earliest EP:s you kind of cringe a bit when listening back to them haha. But for the full length albums I think we have made quite a solid job even though the production has become better and better.
What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Ohh, that’s another tricky one. Personally I like most beers that has a bit more flavour than just a plain lager but if i just have to pick one I might just go with the Swedish pale ale “Oppigårds Amarillo”.
What’s up next for Grimner?
We have more gigs than ever before this year and we have finished about a third of them. We kind of have a bit of vacation at the moment but soon we will get back to playing again. And in September we will go in our longest trip so far for about three weeks.
Any final words of wisdom?
Hmm. Have fun, have a drink with your friends and don’t be an asshole. And thank you so much for taking your time to read this interview, hopefully we will met you on tour some day.
Martin – Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
David – Bass Guitar
Kristoffer – Keyboards
Johan – Flutes, Mandola, Bagpipes
Henry – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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