About Me

Interview with :Nodfyr:

Pagan Folk Metal! It is indeed a genre, that has a lot of beautiful tunes, such as “Driekusman”, where traditional instruments take an important role. “Eigenheid” was released, via Ván Records. 
And did you know that “Nodfyr” is the oldest Dutch word? Joris van Gelre (singer) needs no introduction and told us about the album, the guests, his influences and more. He even gave us an advice: to embrace our pagan roots. Therefore, life will be so much easier.

M.I. -  Hi there. I hope you are great. Welcome to Metal Imperium. First things first, let’s talk about the name “Nodfyr”. It is the oldest Dutch word. From which century and city does it come from? Does it come from the Pagan era?

Hi Raquel! Thanks for your interest in :NODFYR:! The word “nodfyr” is mentioned in an 8th century document, called the “Indiculus superstitionem et paganiarum”. It’s a list of pagan practices among the Saxons and other people, and it appears to have been copied in either Fulda or Mainz, after it was pertained to the first Christian synod, in the eastern parts of the Frankish kingdoms, around 744. “Nodfyr” can be considered one of the earliest (proto-) Dutch words. Sir James George Frazer wrote about later examples of the need-fire ritual in his book: “The Golden Bough”. It’s an interesting read: 

M.I. -  “Eigenheid” is your debut album, that was released this month (5th March), via Ván Records. You play Pagan Folk Metal. Was it difficult to find a label that could fit your needs, musically speaking?

It was easy, because I’ve worked with Ván Records with my other bands: Bezwering, Knoest and Wederganger (r.i.p.). I’m very happy with the quality of their work and, thankfully, owner Sven liked what we were doing with :NODFYR:. So, the choice was easy for both parts, I guess!

M.I. -  Your lyrics focus mainly on Germanic paganism, History and nature of Gelderland. For our readers that are interested in History, could you please share some details that inspired these songs? How long did the Paganism last in the Netherlands?

The songs on the “Eigenheid” album are all about different elements that shape our identity, such as our ancestry, our history, our folklore, out mythology and our environment. All these things define who we are and how we look at the world, and they are hugely inspirational to us. The first missionaries arrived here in the beginning of the 7th century and, from then on, Christianity slowly took over here. There was a lot of resistance by the Saxons and the Frisians. Around the 11th century, Christianity had become part of the lives of the common people, but pagan rituals continued to be practiced. Some traditions with pagan roots, such as bonfires and blowing the midwinter horns, survive to this day. Toponyms, grave mounds and dolmens also remind of the Heathen era. It’s good to see that more people are getting interested in their pagan roots nowadays.     

M.I. -  Apart from the guitars, bass and drum, did you add some traditional pagan instruments to create the perfect atmosphere? Which ones?

We mostly use contemporary musical instruments to tell our story but, on the song “Driekusman”, more traditional instruments can be heard. We actually used wooden shoes as a rhythm instrument there! The band Folkcorn, icons of Folk music, from the Lowlands, since 1973, joined us for this song.

M.I. -  We can hear a strong influence, from Bathory and Moonsorrow, since we can hear Black and Doom Metal, which is great. What more bands did influence you the most?

Bathory is, of course, the biggest influence, but also Isengard, Drudkh, Vintersorg, Falkenbach, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull and countless others have had a direct or indirect influence on how we sound. Big Boss from Root and Peter Steele from Type O Negative have been inspirational for my vocals, but I try not to copy and rather create my own style as much as possible.

M.I. -  You have some remarkable guests that come from your hometown: Folkcorn (with almost 50 years iofactivity), Ridders van Gelre (Regional media personalities Bas and René, who make series and events about History and culture of Gelderland, which is quite remarkable) and Tineke Rosenboom (Joris van Gelre’s vocal coach). How did you choose the songs for them to sing in?

For “Gelre, Gelre”, it was obvious to us that it would be perfect to have the Ridders in the choir. I often attend the events that they host so I decided to ask them, and they agreed! For the traditional Folk song “Driekusman”, which is about an impossible love, we knew there was no better group than Folkcorn. It’s not the first time they joined forces with a Metal band, as they also worked together with Mondvolland, a few years ago. Very kind people with a tremendous passion for traditional folk, an honor to have them on board. When I was recording my vocals, we came up with a few ideas for Tineke. She’s so insanely talented, she just sang it all on the spot without any preparation needed. On the song “Wording”, she voices the Norns and she can be heard in the choirs of other songs too.

M.I. -  Were you the ones who did all the mastering, mixing and recording of the album?

Mickeal, also in Bezwering, was in charge of recording and mixing, together with our keyboard player, Jasper. The album was mastered by Greg Chandler, of Esoteric; I’ve worked with him on several releases now and I’m really amazed how he always manages to bring recordings to another level.

M.I. -  Ten years went by and you also released an EP: “In Een Andere Tijd”. What are the major differences between the EP and the album?

We continued to build on the sound we developed on the EP to create an album, which sounds more solid. We also asked the guys from the live lineup, to join us for the recording of “Eigenheid”: Nico on drums, on bass and MJWW guitars. They all left their signatures on the recordings here and there!

M.I. -  The band members also have other projects. Vocalist Joris van Gelre is in Bezwering and Knoest; guitarist Mark in Alvenrad; keyboard player Jasper Strik, also in Alvenrad. Joris joined Heidevolk for a show, in which he sang songs from their first four albums. Will we ever see both bands touring as a support band with :Nodfyr:, while the boys make a “Eigenheid Tour”? How did the stream go and how long did the preparations take? 

We have no idea what the world will look like when Covid is under control and if touring like we knew will be possible in the foreseeable future again... I think with :NODFYR: we will try to focus on doing smaller shows, in more intimate settings that fit our style a bit better. But, of course, if there’s a big festival willing to book us, we’ll be more than happy to consider it, (laughts)! The show with my old band, Heidevolk, went well. We only had four rehearsals in two months, so we did an old school set. Even though there was no audience, I had a blast!

M.I. -  What does the concept of ”Eigenheid” mean to you and what do you hope that this album will bring for :Nodfyr:?

The concept lies close to my heart. It’s about (re-)discovering the foundations of our identity and honoring them. It was a very introspective journey, which brought together a lot of really nice people and I’m glad we managed to create an album, where all of us could put a lot of ourselves into. I hope this album will convey some of our enthusiasm for the topics we sing about, and maybe even inspire others to undertake a similar journey, because it can be very rewarding! 

M.I. -  Thank you so much for the interview and all the success for the album. Any final word and lesson from Paganism you would like to share with the fans that like the culture?

Thank you for the interview, Raquel! Hopefully we’ll make it to Portugal someday! (laughts), you saved the hardest question for the end. I’m not much of a pagan preacher I’m afraid, but let me share a personal insight. I discovered over the years, that exploring and honoring your pagan roots, can provide both an anchor and a sense of direction in life. I found harmony with my heritage, my environment, myself and my fate and I hope you will too!

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Raquel Miranda