Friday, April 1, 2016

interview: Bifröst

Bifröst’s music encompasses the pagan/folk/black metal spectrum with both melody and energy and this multiple-sided identity gives the Austrians their own particular twist. The band has been cultivating its sound for a long time now, and in 2106 they have a new album called “Mana Ewah,” their fourth album. The band’s discography is as follows:
Mana Ewah 2016
Tor in eine neue Welt 2013
Heidenmetal 2010
Schlachtklänge 2006
The band’s Facebook pages gives the following line-up:
Ragnar: vocals
Matthias van Mattherhorn: guitars, keys
Nordolf: rhythm guitar
Mario Leão: bass
Severni Veter: drums
Ragnar the vocalist is the one answering the interview. Thanks to Ragnar for being so accommodating and responding in a timely manner.
Greetings, Bifröst! Who is answering this interview?
Hello there, USA. My name is Ragnar, frontman of BIFRÖST and I will be answering your interview.
I have been listening to your new album "Mana Ewah." I am familiar with your previous album "Tor in eine neue Welt." Is it true that your band is based in Vienna and Salzburg?
That´s partly true. Matthias, who writes the songs, was born in Salzburg but lives in Vienna now for years. The rest of us was born in Carinthia, which is in the very south of Austria and lives in Graz, Villach or Vienna at the moment. So basically we are based in different big cities of Austria. We rehearse and meet in Vienna, which is a maximum drive of four hours for those not living there.
What is life like for your band in Austria?
Well, life is quite different for everybody, since we are in totally different situations. Some of us are working while others are studying, but what unites us is that everybody is a musician with passion for metal music, especially Pagan and Black Metal.
Is there an audience for your music? How has the musical environment changed in favor of your music during that time?
Yes, there is quite an audience for metal in Austria. Of course, the scene isn´t as big as in Germany but it´s okay. We have quite a lot of venues and proper promoters here in Austria which makes playing metal a lot easier. During the last years there was not really much changing within Austria´s scene—some bands disbanded, others were formed—everyday business. But I have to say that some festivals stopped existing, which makes me quite sad of course, but I´m sure there will be new ones to replace them. Keep thinking positive!
What can you tell us about the new album and its lyrical themes? Your 2006 album "Schlachtklänge" had lyrics about ancient Germanic beliefs, like "Walhalla" and "Fimbulwinter."
The title of the present album means "the everlasting human being" and our lyrics have strongly developed from 2006, where "Schlachtklänge" was released. At that time Matthias was writing lyrics and music for BIFRÖST since it was a solo project with just session musicians. With "Tor in eine neue Welt" everything changed, I joined the band and started doing all the lyrics. Due to the fact that I´m not a big fan of classic pagan lyrics, I slowly changed the style of BIFRÖST´s lyrics to something different. When we have a closer look at the lyrics on "Mana Ewah" they are all about topics like life, feelings, death, nature and personal development. So the lyrics are inspired by life with all it´s emotions and varieties. But I have to admit that I also like to write short stories about ancient times like I did with the "Hofnarr"-Songs or "Die Rückkehr des Mönchs" on "Tor in eine neue Welt". On Mana Ewah there is no such track, because there was simply no song fitting to ideas I had in mind at that time.
Where did you record the new album? Does your band work with a producer?
We recorded the album at Daniel Fellner´s Studio, who is the guitarist of "Seiler & Speer", a quite popular music project here in Austria. He is a very good musician/technician and was on our side through the whole recording, mixing and mastering process. Basically you can say that we don´t have a producer, we do it according to ideas of Matthias and myself.
Now that the new album is finished, what plans do you have? What is the reception that your music gets in Germany?
Of course, we are going to play a few big shows like WGT festival or Gaahlen Moscht, also in Germany. The reaction on our album is quite good in Europe. What´s the reaction in the USA? Is the scene big enough across the big ocean? Have people already heard of us?
On Metal Archives it says that all the members of Bifröst are in other bands. What are the objectives of your musical endeavors?
We are all active in various music projects and I can actually only speak for myself right now. For me music is fun and it´s no aim to earn any money with it. I´m doing it because it´s emotionally catching me and because I like to write lyrics, play guitar and be on stage. I would describe myself as a showman, presenter and maniac with passion for metal music when it comes to stage-acting, so it´s all natural when I transform myself on stage. Music is definitely not the most time consuming thing I do. I work in two very good jobs and I have a lovely wife. Beside of THAT, I´m making music in my free time as long as it´s fun for me and I enjoy working on it.
When Bifröst began in 2005, what was happening in your life? What did you like about metal music that you decided to make it such a big part of your life?
Due to the fact that I joined BIFRÖST much later, I can´t really tell about the beginning but what counts most is the present. We all like listening to metal as well as many other kinds of music. Personally, I like the pounding rhythms of metal music, the quick drumming, harsh, aggressive screaming and shredding guitars. It´s heavy stuff and that´s what it´s supposed to be and what I appreciate about it.
Besides guitar, bass and drums, what other instruments do you use on the new album? Are the keyboards the main way that you make the sounds of melody/folk? It seems that Matthias Sollak plays various instruments.
Matthias is writing all the songs while I´m responsible for all the lyrics. In studio there is Lukas playing the drums while all other instruments are played by Matthias. When they are finished, I start doing the vocals. We use keyboards/samples as well as real traditional instruments, that are being recorded and played by Matthias. Rhythm guitar and Bass guitar are definitely part of the band, but don´t participate at studio work.
How can people support your band? Do you have any news?
The best way to support is, is organizing us gigs all over the world. We love to travel, see a lot of places and play our music on stage. Of course you should also buy our album via Einheit Produktionen or directly at our concerts. Spread our Youtube Videos and like our Facebook page. Maybe we will come to a place near you next time! It´s worth seeing us. Keep supporting metal music!
Greetings from AUSTRIA,
Ragnar / BIFRÖST

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