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Folk metal seems to be very much alive and kicking… Grimner are about to unleash their latest album “Vanadrottning” and Johan Rydberg andTed Sjulmark told Metal Imperium all about it.

M.I. - Grimner has been around for 10 years. What have you learned in this decade of existence?

J: Hmm, don’t drink to much before the gig?
T: Haha, that is true. That doesn’t work if we want to give the audience the best possible show.


M.I. - 2018 is here and the band's 10th anniversary celebrations! Have you planned anything special to celebrate this occasion besides the release party of "Vanadrottning"?

J: Well, we have more gigs planned during the year than ever before. And a few countries we haven’t visited before.
T: We also have a very special release party planned together with our friends in Månegarm and Midvinterblot.


M.I. - A few years ago, there was a boom of folk metal bands and you are described as Folk/ Viking Metal. Why? Why were you attracted to these genres in particular?

T: It was a natural thing that felt right. Henry (drums) and I started the band in 2008, and back then we listened a lot to Ensiferum, Månegarm and Turisas, and they ended up influencing my song writing in the very beginning of Grimner. We are also interested in Scandinavian history and mythology, and folk influenced metal is the perfect type of music to accompany those themes, I think.


M.I. - “Vanadrottning” is the band’s 3rd full-length. Does it get easier or more difficult to write new material and release it as time goes by? Is there more pressure to surpass the previous one?

T: The difficulty writing new songs goes up and down all the time. It depends a lot on mood and inspiration. Some songs just come to me, and some songs require a lot more work.
J: Well, there is always some pressure, especially if the previous album was well received.
Also the productions of the recordings grow with the band which means the amount of work of recording grows as well.


M.I. - Do you think the new album will get you even more attention than the previous one, which catapulted you into worldwide fame?

J: Well, I guess only time can tell. But I feel that the songs on the new album are more thought-out in how they are built up.
T: Together with more promotion and a lot more shows, I think this album will definitely get us further out into the world. But like Johan said, time will tell. We ourselves feel even more satisfied with the album this time around though.


M.I. - What are “Vanadrottning” lyrical themes about?

T: It’s very varied, even though they are all rooted in either history or mythology. The themes range from Scandinavian folklore to the viking voyages to Constantinople where they became soldiers for the emperor, as well as the afterlife that awaits the warriors who drown at sea, among other themes.


M.I. - What does “Vanadrottning” mean?

T: It means “Queen of the Vanir”. The Vanir where a tribe of deities, like the Aesir (Oden, Thor etc.). Those two tribes began the first war of the world, according to Norse mythology, and that war is what the title track is about, told from the perspective, or rather in favour, of the Vanir.


M.I. - Marcus Brattberg used to be the one who wrote the lyrics but he left the band in 2017. Why did he leave? Who wrote the lyrics for this album then or did he leave after the writing and recording were done?

J: Ted and Marcus was the ones who used to write most of the lyrics. I joined in writing a few songs on the previous albums as well. So for this album Ted and I (Johan) wrote the lyrics. Although Marcus participated in writing the lyrics for some of the earlier songs written for the album while he was still in the band.


M.I. - The band explores the bonds between gods and humans from different perspectives… where do you get inspiration from?

T: We like to look at the relationship between gods and humans not only in a historical or religious way, but very much through a philosophical lens. A lot of times we focus on the life lessons we can learn from the old tales. The inspiration, I guess, comes from a desire to dissect the myths and show that there is more to them than just being fantasy stories.


M.I. - Next Friday (January 12) the official music video for “En Fallen Jätte” will be released. How have fans been reacting to the new material?

J: So far the only response we have had is for the single release of “En fallen Jätte”. But the feedback from that song has been very positive.
T: We also got the very first review of the album recently, which was extremely positive. So we are hoping for mostly positive reviews in the future as well, of course, haha!


M.I. - If I am not mistaken, most of the band’s material is written in Swedish. Why do you use Swedish? Isn’t it more complicated to gain more fans?

J: Not really, I think. A lot of the big folk metal bands sing in their native tongue. And it is easier to express ourselves in Swedish, as well as fitting the lyrical themes more than English.


M.I. - In the packages one can get a lot of limited Grimner goodies and the most exclusive one is a 100% hand forged bottle opener by Johan. Who came up with this idea? How are sales going?

J: Well, I think we had talked about making something for the release packages for a while. We have had some competitions before where i have forged som limited products as a  price. I don’t know an exact number but i know we have already exceeded last albums pre order sales.


M.I. - You have signed a deal with Despotz Records about 2 years ago. How’s it going? Are you pleased with their promotion and attitude towards the band?

J: We are very happy with our work together. They are great people and are really great at digital promotion and what to do in modern metal scene.
T: Indeed, our cooperation was already pretty good from the beginning, and it has gotten even better with time.


M.I. - On February 10 you’ll be celebrating the new album "Vanadrottning" together with the mighty Månegarm and Midvinterblot in Linköping, Sweden. How excited are you to showcase the new album to the world?

J: Very excited! Can’t wait to hear what the fans think of the new album.
T: The release party is sure to be an awesome one! And yeah, releasing the album to the world is gonna be great, and to see what impact it may have.


M.I. - The band has some live shows coming up. How important is touring for Grimner?

J: Playing live as a pretty big part of Grimner. It’s where get to meet our fans and experience some really great moments. And people seem to really enjoy our shows even if they haven't heard us before.


M.I. - What’s the best place/venue you’ve played at? Why?

J: I would probably say when we got to close the Sabaton Open Air festival right after Sabaton. But also when we played at Hörnerfest in germany a year or so back when we managed to fill up the whole crowd area while playing as early as 14.00.
T: I agree on both of those. Ragnarök in Germany was also amazing last time we played there, I myself am really excited to get back there this year.


M.I. - What would be the perfect tour for Grimner? Where would you go? Which bands would go with you?

T: I think a tour almost anywhere would be perfect, we want to play in every country we are able to, after all. As for who we would be touring with, I think Månegarm, Finntroll and Turisas would be an awesome line-up.


M.I. -I’ve searched but couldn’t find if you have already played in Portugal. Have you or have you not?

J: No, at the moment we have not played in Portugal. Would love to play there sometime though.


M.I. - Are you acquainted with the Portuguese metal scene? Do you listen to any of our bands?

J: Hmm, not sure. Don't think i can come up with a band of the top of my head. I’ll have to look into that!
T: I’m not sure if I know any Portuguese bands either. Sometimes I listen to bands without knowing where they are from, so it’s possible I know some bands subconsciously, haha!


M.I. - Please share a message with the Portuguese fans and readers of Metal Imperium Webzine.

J: Hi there! Just want to give a BIG thanks to all of you who support us in Grimner. And we really hope you will enjoy this new album as much as we enjoyed making it for you. Cheers!

For Portuguese version, Click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca