Andreas Hedlund


Time flies by; it's already been twenty years since the highly acclaimed "Till Fjälls" album. VINTERSORG have been a staple in the Metal scene in Sweden for over 20 years. In 2017 we have the follow-up album to the classic 1998 album and we have the privilege to talk to the main man of VINTERSORG, Mr. V himself, Andreas Hedlund to talk about his various projects and the process in doing a sequel to a longstanding album.
By Jean-Francois Poulin
July 10, 2017
Andreas Hedlund (Vintersorg) interview
It is a pleasure and an honor to be able to speak to Andreas Hedlund, VINTERSORG himself. I first came across this band when I used to buy the "Knuckletracks" compilations in the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles magazines that were sold at the local music store here in Montreal. VINTERSORG are coming out with a new album this summer called "Till Fjälls Del II".

Hi, nice to get the story back to your first VINTERSORG encounter. We're just very excited about the new album and are very proud of what we've accomplished this time around; that's the feeling after every album though, but it's very much a special album in many senses, as it tracks back to the origin of the band and what we were and what we are. We could, of course, have made a follow up much earlier on but this album isn't a part II in that sense as it's just a copy or an album that have a similar sound, it's the continuation.

This is almost twenty years after the album "Till Fjälls" that was out in 1998. How did you feel about revisiting this album and what brought you to do a sequel to this classic album?

It just all happened by accident in a way. I was just writing new songs and they just sounded a bit as in the old days and I was quite surprised about it myself. The last years we've revolved back to a more folk music oriented sound but the process of the song was just kind of shrouded even to me who write the songs. I didn't go back to listen to the first album but after discussing the things with my team mates we were all clear about that this would be the Part II album. It's been a great journey and a very pleasant but also hard ride. It hasn't been exhausting or complicated instead it always my own expectation of the songs that are the hard part. I worked on the songs until the last day of the mastering of the album I think. I was keen on really have everything perfected so it would match the vision I had with the album. We are very pleased with the result and I've already composed the next album just out of inspiration.

You guys use a lot of programming in your albums; how has it evolved since the late nineties to today?

I'm a programmer. Back then it was quite hard to get a realistic sound but now a days it will be hard for anyone to decide if something is played or programmed, if it's done in a good way. I'm also doing a lot of programming in my daytime job as a teacher working with kids and programming, so I've always been very open to use digital tools. And now so many digital tools in music production are very user friendly and also perfected to really get a professional sound.

We got a new album by BORKNAGAR last year, now this year we have a new VINTERSORG album, what are your plans with your other bands like CRONIAN, OTYG, WATERCLIME, FISSION and GRAVISPHERE?

Yes, it is with several of the mentioned bands. I've also written several other albums that are recorded and will be out this year, I guess. Music is like a drug to me, I need to write and record new songs and albums to feel at ease and still it's hard to really slow down my inner drive. day time job take a lot of my time and energy, so I have to balance things out from time to time, so for some bands mentioned it has taken a long time to come out with new stuff.

You guys added the likes of Simon Lundström to the band in 2015, what has he brought to the table for the new album, being its his first album with the band?

He recorded the bassoon that last album as well and is a good friend of ours. So, we thought it would be nice to invite him into the band instead of asking him every time we'll record a new album to join us as a session member. He's great bass player and have the right mentality to be in this band. Not more complicated than that actually.

What bands did you get influenced by when you began doing music and how did you incorporate those elements in your bands like BORKNAGAR and VINTERSORG?

Oh, that's hard to remember as I grew up listen to parallel universes. Both hard rock like KISS, SAXON, BLACK SABBATH, and so on as well as progressive Rock from the 70's and also Scandinavian folk music. So, I think some of the inspiration I have captured inside comes from that "mish-mash" out of a musical cauldron. I also take a lot of inspiration form my life and spending time fishing and wandering out the wild.

How has the sound of the band evolve throughout the years? You began VINTERSORG in the mid nineties, how has technology and fellow bands impacted you personally and professionally?

I've always been an explorer and after we did the first three albums we wanted to dig deeper into who we where musically at that point in time, so we did some more progressive albums that had a broader lyrical frame as well, not just asking the questions of Man and Nature on Earth. Instead we took a deep glance into the existential matters of Man and Nature in Universe. It was a very nice ride and I really like those albums as well.

Any plans in touring outside of Europe this year or the beginning of next year with any of your projects?

I was having this accident in late 2014 when I cracked my head, got two brain hemorrhages, lost my hearing on my left ear and so on… so it has been a hard struggle to get back to "Human" again. So, I have a hard time doing live performances and therefore we've not done more that one show in the recent years.

How much is important to write in your native language? A lot of Norwegian and Swedish bands decide to write in English to reach a broader audience but you guys stay to the roots with this new release.

I haven't really thought about it in an analytic way. I just write the lyrics I want and for VINTERSORG they end up in my mother tongue. I also write lyrics in the other bands I'm involved with and in English. But I really like to write in Swedish as well, so I can have the best of two worlds. But it's all about passion and not about calculating what would be the best thing to do for the band commercially and so on.

Are there any bands out there you would like to tour with or you are impressed with newer bands in Norway and Sweden?

I don't tour. But my teammates in BORKNAGAR are doing a lot of that and are doing a really great job. We'll see in the future what I can do.

Any plans on doing another album like "Origin"? It was such a departure than anything else you ever did with your bands!

We haven't discussed that in BORKNAGAR but I write a lot of acoustic songs as well so maybe I'll do more released song in that kind of nature in the future in some of the bands I work with, hard to tell actually. It has to come by heart and not to be forced.

For the next BORKNAGAR album, are you going to be the sole vocalist or are you going to share the duties?

We always share the vocal duties in BORKNAGAR. I mean on the last album we were four singers even if I did the lion part. So, we'll have more than me on vocals, which I'm sure of.

As for the change of direction from Folk to a more Black Progressive Music, how did it happen?

I'm all on the inside and have a bit hard to tell what our music sounds like on the outside. I think we are very much folk music oriented in VINTERSORG and have had periods when we were more progressive. But I think we have refined our formula of folk oriented metal music throughout the years, we're not a banal Viking band in any sense. We have never had that kind of lyrics, not that kind of music of the graphical profile either. We have a more nature worshipping style with more dimensions and nuances.

Was there a moment or an element that promoted that change of musical direction?

It's all about passion for me. I write the music that comes out of my mind and heart, not thinking about it so much.

I was reading a bit on your discography on the Metal Archives website (fantastic website by the way), they say that VINTERSORG is considered Swedish but BORKNAGAR is considered Norwegian, I always thought it was odd that both bands are based in different countries. Any reasoning to this? Or is it just a common error of thinking both bands are from different countries?

We are form different countries. VINTERSORG are Swedish and we live quiet far north in Sweden, actually quite near the polar circle. BORKNAGAR is Norwegian mostly; I'm the only guy that's not from Norway.

Any advice for up and coming bands from a respected veteran like yourself in the Metal industry?

Not any in particular. Be yourself and write the music you like; it may not be the most trendy at the time but you'll feel whole as a musician and as a human when you follow your heart.

Thank you so much for this opportunity; it was a pleasure interviewing you for Metal Temple.
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