Vögguvísur Yggdrasils, the latest album from the Icelandic Viking/folk metal band Skalmold, was just released. Guitarist Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson lets us know about the album, his musical background, the metal scene in Iceland and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything different about the songwriting process for Vögguvísur Yggdrasils compared to your other albums?
Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson: No, not really. We pretty much did what we always do, locked ourselves in our rehearsal room and worked. We had more ideas this time around. Everybody had demos and we all got together and listened to the demos and picked out what we thought would work for this project.
What’s the lyrical concept of this one?
Lullabies from the nine worlds, although the songs are definitely not lullabies! How would you put a child to sleep in Helheim?
How had the band’s sound progressed/evolved on this album?
We have a new producer this time, and that was strange and awesome at the same time. I think we are always getting better at getting the sound that evolves through touring and transferring that to the studio. My sound is very basic, Mesa Dual and for the solos I used delay and compressor and a custom made Tube Screamer which is called i-scream.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I was very well prepared. It was a nice working environment. It was relaxed, although we did have a deadline to meet. So fond memories it is.
What has been your most memorable Skalmold live show?
I still have fond memories from our first London show back in 2011 on the Heidenfest tour. Hellfest this year was great and then our symphony shows were awesome, five sold out shows. We could have sold out more shows, but the venue was booked and we could not add more shows. Maybe we’ll do this again?
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We have a few shows here in Iceland before we head out on tour to promote our new album supporting Korpiklaani in Europe.
How did you get started in music?
I have been involved in music my whole life. I come from a musical family, my upbringing was in music. I wanted to be in a band for as long as I can remember.
How did Skalmold originally form?
In 2009, Björgvin and Snæbjörn sent an email to a few metalheads to tell them they were now in a metal band. I replied with a big YES!
What was the first concert you attended as a fan?
My first ever concert was KISS on the Crazy Nights tour in 1988.
Describe Skalmold’s first show.
Skálmöld´s first show was a benefit gig for our friend’s festival and I think maybe a 60-70 people were at that show. Our first “real” gig was at Eistnaflug (Iceland´s biggest and best metal festival) and probably about 34 people saw that show. Of course everyone I meet today says they were there!
What’s the metal scene like in Iceland?
It’s a good scene. We have some really great bands with some great original music. You can check out Angist, Beneath, Auðn, Ham, Saktmóðigur, Atrum, Dimma and Sólstafir of course.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Mgla, Behemoth, System Of A Down, Sepultura, Kreator, Iron Maiden and KISS are always on my playlist.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Our new album is out now and we are going on tour in Europe to support it. See you on the road!
(interview published October 4, 2016)