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Falkenbach - Part of my life, part of my culture (Vratyas Vakyas) - Online Mar 2006

Hi there, Alex from "The Metal Observer" here, how are things in the FALKENBACH camp?

As usual, everything is fine and relaxed.


"Heralding – The Fireblade" is a mix of old material and new stuff. What made you re-do the old songs?

As a matter of fact, this album was meant to be the original debut album of FALKENBACH, and was recorded more than 10 years ago. Unfortunately due to bad equipment and an engineer that sucked I had to break the recordings back then. Throughout the years I kept this album always in mind, and some of the songs were featured on following releases. The reason for recording them again now simply is the fact they belong to this album.


Some of the songs originally had been recorded like ten years ago, what is the feeling for you to play and re-arrange these old songs now in 2005/2006?

As I said already, they all belong to this old album. Anyway, it’s been really nice, and I invested a lot of time in advance to create a sound that combined both, the quality of a 2005 production, and the feeling of a 1995 recording to keep the original feeling. Back then, the songs really got no chance, and it was really nice to see them being finished finally after such a long time.


For the first time ever you actually have a backing band, especially with a real drummer, which in my opinion did the sound very good. Why didn’t you make this step before? And how did you pick the musicians?

Well, Boltthorn, Hagalaz and Tyrann appeared as guest musicians on the last album already as well as on the new one. However, they are all members of the band VINDSVAL, which was signed to my small label Skaldic Art Prod. I know them for years now, and I knew they would be the perfect people to record with, as they are not just skilled musicians, but also outstanding characters. They did not participate on the song writing process, and they will continue focussing on their own project(s), but I as far as I am concerned they will go on helping FALKENBACH out at the studio.


Does this mean that there might be live shows on the horizon, too?

Well, there are plans for 1-2 small gigs at the moment. Maybe more shows will follow, maybe also a tour or bigger festivals, but to be honest it’s not likely. We will see when the 1-2 shows are done.


The production also made a big step forward, being recorded at the Tidalwave Studio, what made you choose a different studio and engineer for this recording?

I changed to the Tidalwave Studio for the last album already. The former studio I recorded did not make any steps forward, stagnated and did not show any interest in new ideas. Beside that Patrick Damiani is without any doubts one of the best Metal engineers in Germany.


You also for the first time used a title one could actually understand… How come you did not choose an Icelandic title?

Well, a lot of people do know the official albums only, and not the demos, so in most people’s opinion the Icelandic titles are the usual thing for FALKENBACH, which is not the whole truth in the end. Anyway, the title “Fireblade” has been some sort of working title back then. As the album was never finished, there was also no need for a final title. Throughout the years I used to tell people who asked me that this album was called “The Fireblade”, and now I wanted people to know what to expect from this album, and that’s why I decided to keep the word “Fireblade” in the title.


What was a bit surprising to me was the surprisingly big amount of Black Metal elements in the new songs. Is that a pointer at what we can expect for the next album? And in any way, when will we be able to expect a completely new FALKENBACH album?

The rougher elements on one hand depend on the fact the songs are old ones, on the other hand we tried to find the sound that fitted to the old material as well. Beside that I do not know how the new material will sound like. As usual it will be typical FALKENBACH in the end, there will never be any experiments with totally different elements. But how exactly it could sound like I cannot say.


The cover of “Heralding…” is in full tradition with the previous ones, with a heavy emphasis on the beauty of nature. Does it have any connection with the album title?

The covers do always have a connection to the lyrics, not to the album title itself. This time the cover also had a connection to the former album “Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty” and represents some sort of cycle.


The stories told by FALKENBACH always have seemed very well thought out and not “just lyrics”, how do you conceive these stories? Are all of them based on “true” myths and stories?

The lyrics of FALKENBACH are always about northern and western Germanic traditions, cultures, mythologies etc. To me those things are not a hobby, nothing I just care about on the weekends. It’s been a part of my education, a part of my life, a part of my culture, and therefore a part of my own life. Maybe that’s what makes a difference, but such things everyone has to decide for oneself I guess.


How important is the "big picture", that artwork, lyrics, music and all fit together?

FALKENBACH tries to give impulses, there is nothing in an album without a meaning behind it. Whoever wants to find something with value in it has to look at the whole, not just a piece of it.


When listening to the debut and now “Heralding”, especially the vocals sound better than ever, are you taking lessons to work on your voice?

No, not at all. No lessons for vocals, nor for instruments. The fact the new album was recorded at the Tidalwave Studio helped a lot I have to concede. It’s just a big help if you’re able to work with an engineer who knows what you’re looking for, and who is able to add those 1-2 extra % for your motivation, what is important especially for the lyrics if it comes to me. When ever you did a take and thing it’s been good, he will take a couple of more takes, just to get the very best result.


During the recording sessions, I am sure that there've been some funny/weird stories, could you share one of each with us and our readers?

I’ve to say there are no such stories. I do not like recording at the studio in the end, as I do not like to be away from home for a longer time in general. Sometimes I just leave the studio and return hours or days later, letting the engineer do his job on the sound alone. Probably that’s weird enough.


Could you please give us a few words on the FALKENBACH albums so far, how you saw them then and how you see them now with some time passed?

 “En Their Medh Riki Fara…” has been the first officially released album of FALKENBACH, compared to the other releases with some faster and rough elements, and with a style that can be connected with the recent album “Heralding – The Fireblade”. The 2nd album “Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri” offers more slow parts and clean vocals, the 3rd one “Ok Nefna Tyrvar Ty” mainly acoustic guitars mixed with Metal elements and Folk aspects.


FALKENBACH surely is more than "just a band" for you, after all these years, what does FALKENBACH mean to you?

It’s simply one of the most important parts of my life.


Your very unique approach to atmosphere, song writing etc. has made FALKENBACH a very special and revered band out there in the scene. Is this something that just grew naturally over the years or did you consciously try to find an approach that was a road less travelled?

Music is not a thing I can plan, it just happens. I am probably not even able to work on something totally different from FALKENBACH, so it hasn’t been a path I consciously decided to go.


What is your personal favourite and least favourite song of FALKENBACH and why?

There is none, all of them are important to me the same way.


How would you yourself describe FALKENBACH in one sentence?

FALKENBACH is FALKENBACH, and cannot be described to someone who did not make up his own mind about it.


How have FALKENBACH changed for you personal, if you compare them to the "normal" demo band and the band that now has released five albums already?

There is no difference at all, not even after the 4th album now was released. I even still go on recording tapes on a home-recording basis and release them in strictly limited editions like I ever did.


What had been the goals for FALKENBACH back then when you started out, which of them have you achieved and how have they changed?

The goals of FALKENBACH did not change, it’s still to give impulses to people who listen to it and who take the time to read the lyrics consequently. I’ve to concede back then I did expect more people to be interested in things that cannot be found on the surface, things you’ve to work for to find them. Such people are rare, but it’s still worth, even if there’s not more than 1 out of 1000.


How do you define success? Only in terms of sales or is there a different definition of success for you as a band?

The only success is to find this 1 out of 1000 people.


Does the name FALKENBACH have any particular meaning to you or is it "just a name"?

To me it has got a deep meaning, but I do not use to talk about this to be honest.


I know that you have been asked this countless times and that you are very unwilling to divulge any kind of personal information, but some people are not happy with TMO classifying you as a German band, but want you to be viewed as Icelandic band… If one has to put a country on you, which one would you choose?

I do not care at all how people want to label FALKENBACH in the end. What counts is music and lyrics, nothing else. Those questions are about private aspects which are of no importance, I guess. There are so many rumours about me, and once I simply decided to stop thinking and talking about crap like that. It’s hard to see there’re people who did not even understand one word of the lyrics, but still think and talk about superficial things like that, sad but true, if you asked me.


Do you think that there still is a real underground, as there had been many years back?

There still is an underground, probably even more “underground” than years ago. But I am not too interested in this nor any other scene, am not in touch with too many bands or people, so I am probably the wrong person to ask.


What made you start to play music and form a band in first place?

The wish to create something religious to express important things.


What would you do, if you weren't able to compose music?

I’ve no idea, but probably nothing different from what I do now. 


Which album in musical history would you wish was yours and why?

None, I am happy the way it is.


How important do you think is the internet nowadays to promote an up and coming band?

I don’t know if the internet is important to promote music, to me promotional aspects are of no importance. But it’s a good way to reach people and to tell things no one can put a censorship on. It’s a way to discuss things, to be in touch with those who search, and a way to find.


What do you love to hate in the music industry?

There is nothing I love about the music industry. Music is art, and industry often destroys it by making a pure business out of it. The best thing that can happen to a band is to find a label that doesn’t tell you how to act, but you cannot do anything about the promotional aspects of a release. The contract I have got with Napalm Rec. offers me a maximum of artistic freedom. I do not have to finish new material in a given period of time, I do not even have to come up with new material at all if I do not feel to for years. I am free about the music and the lyrics, the layout etc. But what follows, the sales, the promotion etc., all those business things, are up to them and I do not care.


If time travel was possible, which historical period would you like to visit and why? What would you miss the most from our time?

I’d go back maybe 20-25 years, the time of my childhood, which has been the best, I guess. The only thing I’d probably miss was the internet and the PC.


If your music was an emotion, what would it be?

Probably all emotions I am able to feel.


What is your opinion about internet radio?

I did not check so far, so I am not able to tell you anything about it.


Just as a side question - what do you think about "The Metal Observer"?

The same as above, I did not check the page yet. I decide which interview to answer by reading the interview itself, not by checking the page.


To finish the interview, my traditional last question, what is your favourite question about FALKENBACH that you have never been asked yet, but would finally like to answer?

There is none, but there are several ones I’d love if people would not ask them.

Thanx for your support! Check


1989: Havamal (Demo)

1995: Laeknishendr (Demo)

1995: Promo ‘95 (Demo)

1996: …Skinn Af Sveri Sol Valtiva… (Demo)

1996: …En Their Medh Riki Fara… (CD, Napalm)

1998: …Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri… (CD, Napalm)

2003: Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty (CD, Napalm)

2005: Heralding – The Fireblade (CD, Napalm)

Alexander Melzer

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