Interview with Battle Helm, 2012

SKALD might have been scorned in most reviews but give them a chance and you'll notice that there are more to them that meet the ear. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I've thought hard and long on it but I still have no idea why people want to play folk metal. What is folk metal exactly?
-Why people would want to play folk metal? I have no idea actually. For us in Skald, I think it came naturally because of our shared enthusiasm (at least in the past) for Otyg. The term folk metal is, as I have understood, very personal for me these days. I don't think that just by adding weird instruments upon a foundation of black metal, it automatically becomes folk metal. For me, it is much about a certain feeling and melody. Good examples of folk metal bands that I like are Otyg, Isengard, Storm and Grimm. It has something to do with a certain Nordic folk music feeling that is transferred into metal. Thus, you get folk metal. At least that's my opinion.

How much better is the name Skald than if you'd been called Bard?
-If we've been called Bard – I would associate it with that annoying character in the Asterix-comics and the old drummer for Emperor. I never associated Skald with anything in particular, we just felt that it suited our type of music quite good.

Is there a greater tolerance to bands not singing in English today?
-I have no idea actually and I don't care. I like bands that uses lyrics in many different languages and I cannot speak for the rest of the metal community. But I guess there might be a greater tolerance today, now that folk metal has become more "popular" to some extent.

What made you want to sing in Swedish exclusively?
-It had less to do with singing and more with the fact that I had so many lyrics written before we even started Skald and they were mostly in Swedish. And since the original idea was to start a band in a similar vein to the (then defunct) Otyg, it was natural.

What kind of lyrical topics do you deal with?
-Earlier it used to revolve much around nordic folklore and old fairytales. I've changed that approach somewhat during the years and nowadays my lyrics are a little more rooted in reality and less fantasy-like.

You seem to divide people in two camps. Those who like you and those who can't stand the vocals. I'm somewhere in between. How little do you care about what people think about your vocals?
-Haha, I've yet to come across anyone to actually say that they like my vocals. But in reality, I don't care that much at all. Truth is – I am very much aware of the fact that I am not a good vocalist in any way whatsoever. I have actually changed the way I am singing a lot if you compare the demos and the MCD to the full-length, but I can't say that I'm constantly working on improving my vocals since I don't have the time for that. We'll just see what the future brings.

Your album has been out a while now. What feelings do you have now that it is behind you?
-Mixed feelings indeed. There are some good tracks here and there and some that had been with us for way too long, but in the end, we just wanted to get the (already delayed) album out as soon as possible. Therefore, the entire recording, producing and mixing was very rushed to say the least. But this was our debut album and we learned a lot from it and there are definitely some things that we will do differently the next time.

When do you start to think about the next step for the band? As soon as you're done with the album?
-No. We just basically let Skald drift into the periphery once the album was done. "Vitterland" was a very tiring process and we kind of put Skald to a rest once it was released. I did some minor, minor promotion but that was it. We have tried to do something new since, but were are lacking both ideas, direction and passion right now.

What is the best way to promote your band; playing live or relying on the social media?
-The best way is probably playing live, but since we're more of a project than a band – we don't play live at all and don't plan to either. Social media can be good, but I wouldn't say that we rely on it either. As I stated earlier, Skald is more of a project than a real band and we're just glad that some people like our music. But in all honesty, we make music solely to satisfy ourselves. We just got damn lucky and landed a record contract out of the blue. That made it easier to spread our music and I like it for what it is, but apart from keeping our website and Facebook page updated – there's very little promotion involved.

What does the future look like for Skald?
-I would say bleak. We're currently taking a break due to work and longtime illness, but I'm sure we'll be back in one way or another. David is composing stuff whenever he finds the inspiration and time and the things I've heard so far sounds great. I have just started to write lyrics again for the first time in a couple of years, so things are moving somewhere on the horizon. If I were to take a guess, our future material will sound more blackened and less folkish than earlier.
/Henrik

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