About Me

Interview with Grimner

When they think of Sweden, they think of incredible Metal bands. Grimner is one of those bands! They sing in their native language and cover topics such as Norse history and mythology, Vikings and much more. “Urfader” was released on November 18th via Despotz Records and it is a masterpiece!
Ted Sjulmark, guitarist and vocalist, spoke to us and presented us with his new release.

M.I. -  Guys, thanks once again for taking your time to answer some questions from Metal Imperium. Glad to hear from you and hope all is well.

Thank you too, our pleasure! All is well with us. Lots of work to do with the new album.

M.I. -  “Urfader” was released on November 18th, via Despotz Records, and it is a masterpiece. It still follows the same direction as the previous ones: lyrics in Swedish. How was the writing process this time, regarding 2018´s album: “Vanadrottning”? Did you use more mythology and Viking symbolism? 

Indeed, and thanks for the kind words. The writing process remained pretty much the same, but the difference is that we have been much more focused and particular about what we wanted, to stand out musically from each part of all the songs. We have worked harder than ever on a detailed level, basically. I don’t think we’ve used more or less mythology and symbolism, because all our songs are always about Norse mythology or viking history, so it’s pretty much the same, but we have decided to lean a bit more to the darker side of our heathen heritage, I suppose.

M.I. -  “Urfader” means ancestor in Swedish. Did you write about your heritage in that specific part of History? How important are the Vikings in Sweden, nowadays? Do you still celebrate any of their legacy, such as a holiday?

It does mean ancestor, but it also has the meaning of “ancient father”, quite literally. In this case, “Urfader” refers to Ymer (or Ymir), the first giant, who was killed and became the Earth. So, you could view the title and artwork as more of a homage to nature and creation, if anything. A couple of the songs on the album are indeed about historic events from the viking age though, as we like to deal with both History and mythology.
The viking age and all that came with it, will always be something important to a lot of us here, I think, even if most people aren’t actively interested in History or heritage. Our ancient History and beliefs, are all around us, in daily life, and indeed in holidays, as well. Midsummer is the best example of a pagan holiday, as it is celebrated much in the same way as in ancient times, and most people here do celebrate it. A lot of our small towns and streets are named after old gods, for example, and well, there are a lot of examples that we still have the legacy all around us, even if many don’t think about it.

M.I. -  What about the music? Which was more challenging? Did you use any traditional folk instruments? 

The music and the lyrics were equally challenging, just in different ways. It’s just a question of making it all fit together in the best way, to let the music tell the story as well.
We always have our flutes, but the rest of the actual folk instruments are often left for guest musicians.

M.I. -  Mikael from Apocalypse Orchestra, is guest-performing some Hurdy-gurdy in your “Helvandrarna”! Will there be some more guests?

Oh, yes! We also had other friends grace us with some of their talent, Zino van Leerdam, from Vanaheim on accordion and Martin Björklund, from Mercury X on a violin duet with Sebastian, from Midvinterblot. They really gave a few of the songs exactly the feeling we were looking for.

M.I. -  “Västerled” which translates into ‘'Westbound’ is an old Norse tale. Tell us more about it, please. 

Yeah! It's more or less a historical retelling rather than a totally fictional tale. It's about the beginning of the Viking age, when the norsemen raided the British monastery of Lindisfarne. Rather than telling the story straight out, we decided to tell it from the perspective of the Vikings returning home with treasure and slaves, which I think gives a certain feeling to the song.

M.I. -  “Helvandrarna” is the heaviest song of the record and the translation is ‘The Hel-Walkers’. Why did you choose this song for a single? Tell us this story, please!

We chose it as a single very late in the production process, actually, simply because it turned out to be such a hard and heavy hitter, which we didn't anticipate in the early stages. The production by our sound engineer Jakob Herrmann really gave it a ton of depth. As it tells about dead warriors returning to life because no afterlife will accept them, the heavy music and sad, violent lyrics really became one with each other.

M.I. -   You still sing in your mother tongue, which sounds very beautiful. In your opinion, do you think it’s very difficult to write lyrics in English in this genre of Metal, in particular? Do the fans contact yoy asking for more information about the songs?

Thanks for that! It's not really that it's difficult, because it can be done beautifully, as shown by many bands. We simply feel that writing in Swedish, or any Scandinavian language when dealing with ancient Scandinavian subjects, just goes better with our music. And yes, we get a lot of questions concerning the subjects of our lyrics, and we do have translations on our website for those who are curious!

M.I. -  You’ve played at Månegarm Open Air, an important Swedish festival for Folk Metal bands. It takes place at Norrtälje, 70km north of Stockholm, at Pythagoras Industry museum. Pythagoras is one of the world's few remaining and intact industrial museums and is located on high ground just 100m from the center of the town. How was it like for you? Tell us more about the environment, please. Do they create the place as a Viking village, etc. Which bands played there?

It's a great environment, wonderful views and a lot of interesting stuff going on. There are a few artists and crafts there, and we expect to see more and more each year. It is still a young festival that will keep on growing, and we're excited to see how far the guys in Månegarm will be able to take it. This year, we played together with, for example, Einherjer, Istapp and Moonsorrow. It is really a great variation of new and old bands, mostly within the Pagan and Folk branch of Metal. Super excited to see what happens next year!

M.I. -  What about touring outside of Sweden? Any plans? Could you tell us more?

We are making some plans for some festivals outside of Sweden, but nothing is set in stone yet. We can't really say much more than that right now, unfortunately!

M.I. -  What bands do you like from this genre? Do you know any Portuguese ones?

We are certainly fans of Finntroll and Korpiklaani, for example, but also bands like Einherjer, who are less on the Folky, jolly side. I am not personally very well versed in Portuguese bands, but would love to check some out!

M.I. -  Guys, thanks once again!! Could you leave some words for the Portuguese fans, please?

Thanks to you too! We would love to come over to you guys and give you a show or two, and I'm sure we will in the future. Until then, rock on and hail Tor!

Listen Grimner, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Raquel Miranda