Greetings over there. It is really a pleasure to interview you. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. First, I ask you to, please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi there. My name is Guðmundur and I play drums in Sólstafir.
I’d like to know how is everything on the Sólstafir camp. How excited is the band about the North American tour (well, depending on when you’ll be able to answer these questions, we should change to how was the North American tour, hehe) and if you guys can talk a little about the new album.
It‘s only been ca. Two and a half year between Köld and Svartir Sandar, and now Svartir Sandar and the new one. So I guess we are oicking up pace. We‘ve always placed the quality of the songwriting above anything else, but when we started to write for Svartir Sandar we tried putting some time pressure on ourselves by booking the studio although we didn‘t have the album fully write yet. So we wrote most of the album in about 3 months. This worked very well for us so we did it again for the new one.
We were very excited to be finally playing in the states. It’s an area we’ve neglected for way too long. Not willingly though, mind you. It’s not easy or cheep for a small Icelandic band to tour the States. Just too bad we could only do a small run on the east coast this time, but I’m pretty sure I can promise you we’ll be back to do a bigger tour soon.
The tour went well and it was an honour to have Junius with us. They are super nice guys and a killer live band!
The new album will be out 29.August (Europe) and 02. September (N-America).
What are the main inspirations when it comes to create the music and the lyrics for the band? And about your process, how do you guys work? Individually or the entire band together?
-We always work as a team. Someone might bring an idea to rehearsal, but never a whole song. Then we take that idea and work on it. Sometimes we jam a riff for hours, like in a trance. The lyrics come after Addi has written the vocal lines. Then he or I write the words.
The inspiration comes mostly from our selves; our experiences, our surrounding.
One you’ve asked on Facebook the following: “we’ve been told many times that our music is perfect for a cold winter night. But what about a sunny spring day? What Sólstafir song, if any would you play on such an occasion?”. I would like to know your answer on this, but, concerning every season. Which Sólstafir song would you play on a winter night, on a spring day, an autumn afternoon and a morning summer? And why?
This is a hard one, but I’ll try to pick the songs I personally fit these circumstances:
Winter night: Probably World Void of Souls. I think it is the bleakest song we’ve written. Or maybe that’s more a winter morning song. If it’s a stormy winter night I’d say Ljós í Stormi, ‘cause it’s about finding a light that guides you through life’s storms.
Spring day: Melrakkablús. Melrakkablús is about the artic fox surviving the winter, seeing another spring after having almost lost all hope in the hard, dark, cold winter.
Autumn afternoon: Fjara. Mainly because we shot the video during a few rainy autumn days, and the music fits perfectly to the rainy mood.
Summer morning: Ótta, because it has the upbeat feeling of a new summer day, but in a way like when you’ve stayed awake the whole artic summer night, alone in the wilderness with just one other person, someone that means the world to you.
Still on Facebook, you’ve been posting Icelandic music on your page. I’ve heard some very interesting material there. Iceland has always managed to “produce” unique and interesting acts, being them of your taste or not. It’s different from the rest of the world. To what do you credit this? And any suggestions on Icelandic music for our readers. Something different, perhaps non metal, for example.
-Maybe it’s because of our isolation and small market. We do of course have your standard run of the mill bands, but you will never hear about them. The bands that catch international attention are the bands that have something different to offer. And I think so many Icelandic bands have something different to offer ‘cause they just do what they want. Not expecting to ever make a living out of music, in such a small market, there is no reason to cater for anyone else but one’s own taste.
For non metal artists you could check out GusGus, Retro Stefson, Samaris and Valdimar to name a few.
Sólstafir will complete twenty years of existence next year. Are there any special plans to celebrate such an important milestone?
-Maybe we’ll finally make the dvd we planned for the 10years anniversary haha.
Connected to the previous question, what makes you to continue playing and creating metal after these years of existence? What’s the driving force that still motivates you to go on with Sólstafir?
I guess it’s simply the need to create. There is a hunger inside us that is only quenched by artistic creation. Without it we feel restless.
How important do you feel that videos are to, in a way, represent a song. Your videos are, in my humble opinion, breathtaking. Can we expect more in the future to come? Also, I don’t know if you had the chance to see a fan video of Djákninn with the images from Valhalla Rising. I think it was terrific.
Yes we have a few videos planned for Ótta.
We don’t think the videos are essentially necessary for the music, but the right video can definitely enhance the overall experience. This is why we put a lot of work and ambition into the video making.
The Valhalla Rising fan video was pretty cool yes. Basically you can’t fail with that movie. It was such a surprise to me. I watched it one night knowing nothing about it and expecting stupid Hollywood Viking shit but was blown away both by the movie and the soundtrack.
I am a movie buff. I watch movies from all over the world and it doesn’t really matter the genre (except for romantic comedy, I just can’t stand them). Are there any Icelandic movies that you’d recommend me or our reader as well?
Try Börn Náttúrunnar (Childern of Nature), Hrafninn Flýgur (The Raven flies), Djúpið (The Deep), Englar Alheimsins (Angels of the Universe). These are all very good.
The usual and often question, but I think we should have it here as it’s the first time I interview Sólstafir, what are your main interests outside music? And what first attracted you to music and metal?
Personally I am very interested in visual art, especially photography. I think the other guy’s interests are mostly music and spaghetti westerns.
I think we’ve all been interested in music since we were kids, but what was it about metal? I don’t know. The power maybe, the intensity.
And we reach the end of this interview. I would like to thank you one more time for answering this little conversation and I also want to wish the best of luck for the band. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Thank you for the interview and check out our new album Ótta, out on Season of Mist in late August/Early September!
All photos belong to their rightful owners.July 2, 2014