Line Burglin & Kirk Backarach


VANSIND is a Folk Metal band out of Slagelse, Denmark. In December 2023 they dropped […]
June 8, 2024

Line Burglin: “We gravitate toward the darker side of the Viking Age. We like to write about winning in battle . . . but not always. There is also another part of it when we're not winning the wars. It's also about humans and how they were living.”

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VANSIND is a Folk Metal band out of Slagelse, Denmark. In December 2023 they dropped their debut full-length album, “Mørket” on Mighty Music. Gary Hernandez, writer and editor for Metal Temple, recently caught up with Kirk Backarach (guitars) and Line Burglin (vocals) to chat about the band, their origins, their approach to Folk Metal, and even a bit of Viking history.

How did VANSIND form?

Line: Our drummer, Danni, formed the band in 2019. He had been in a few metal bands before, and he wanted to make his own band. He met Rikke, who plays the bagpipes, flutes, and keyboards. They had a vision to make this Folk Metal band. They knew Joachim, our other singer, and Danni asked him to join. Rikke had known me for many years, and then they asked me if I wanted to sing too. That's how it started.

Line, what did you think when they asked you to join a Metal band?

Line: I didn't know if I could do it. I was a little bit like, "Can I even do it?" It took some time to say yes, but eventually I did, because I have always wanted to make music, especially original music and to sing. But I never thought it would be like this. I'm very grateful now.

Kirk, how did you join VANSIND?

Kirk: Danni called me in about 2022 when half of the band split up. He had helped me out in one of my bands earlier, so he called me and asked if I was willing to help him make an album because they had a record deal waiting to be fulfilled. So, I joined and at the same time the bass player, Mikael Christensen, joined and we started writing the "Mørket" LP.

What does the name VANSIND mean?

Line: It's an old Danish word for "insanity."

How would you describe your music?

Line: Both Metal and Folk, because we use Folk instruments, but the rest is Metal. And the lyrics focus on the Viking age.

Would you say VANSIND is a Metal band with Folk inflections, or a Folk band with Metal inflections?

Line: I would say we're a Metal band with Folk inflections.

Kirk, how is it playing alongside a pen whistle and a bagpipe. I mean, there you are with your guitar, cranking out these riffs, and then you have to find rhythm with the traditional instruments. How is it?

Kirk: It's actually pretty easy because my former bands, or some of them I'm in still, play stuff that is much more complicated guitar wise. So, the big thing was to kind of scale down from the complexity and just play more simple to make room for the flute and the bagpipe and the vocals. It's kind of a bit different sort of arrangement approach to learn and get into. That was the biggest challenge about it, figuring out how to not do too much and not do too little.

I imagine it might be easy for the drums and the guitar to overpower the bagpipe and pen whistle. How do you amplify those to the same volume?

Kirk: We use a normal microphone and a PA system but you're right. Otherwise, it would be impossible to hear the normal instruments, but that would be the same if I brought in an acoustic guitar and stood by the drum player and tried to get that to work. That wouldn't work either. So, everything is amplified due to the level of the cymbals and the snare drum. Everything else has to be turned up to match the levels all the way around.

As far as vocals, you have harsh vocals and then Line, you have these nice clean soprano vocals which really go soaring. Is the two vocal approach something you'll maintain?

Line: I definitely think we'll maintain the two vocal styles. That was also one of the visions we had from the beginning—that there should be two vocals, and it should be a female and a male and harsh and clean.

Is there a particular theme that you gravitate towards?

Line: We gravitate toward the darker side of the Viking Age. We like to write about winning in battle . . . but not always. There is also another part of it when we're not winning the wars. So, it doesn't have to be winning all the time and battle songs. It's also about humans and how they were living.

What comes first, the music or the lyrics?

Line: For me personally, I write as a kind of a feeling to the music. So, when the music is almost done, I can begin to write some lyrics. I think Joachim also does it like that, but he can also write some lyrics in between.

Kirk, where do you get your ideas for your riffs and melodies?

Kirk: We usually have a lot of meta talk about what we'd like to be doing and what kind of mood any particular songs should contain, and we start working from there. It's kind of a bit of building with Legos. If you have five pieces you might have an idea of what you can do with it. But if you only have one, it's a bit harder. But if you know where you're going with it, you just start from that one piece you've got. For Mørket, we did all the songwriting together. Mostly, somebody brings in a melody line or kind of a hook line to the rehearsal room, and then we have a look at it and try to work it from there. It's not like somebody writes an entire song and then presents it to the rest of the band. We make it all together all along at the same time.

The band put out an EP in 2021 called “MXIII.” I presume that's a year—1013. Is there a story behind that year?

Line: Yeah, in 1013 our King went to war against England. So, one of the songs is about that battle. Over some decades, we tried to get England under our rule, but in 1013, it did work for us.

Your full-length debut, "Mørket" came out in late 2023. I think that translates to "darkness." Is there a central theme or story you were telling with the album?

Line: It's both the beginning of everythingHow Vikings . . . what they believe in, the gods, how everything was formed, and how humans were madeand also, the end.

Musically what were you after?

Kirk: For Mørket we didn't have any lyrics to match the songwriting. We just wrote from scratch, and Line wrote lyrics on top of the music we had. So, we tried a variety of things. We didn't do the same song five times in a row. We just tried to have a slow song and a faster song and an exciting song. In fact, with the song "Frigg" we did from something Line had recorded on her cell phone. The song line is from something she said, and we arranged it to be a kind of a ballad like song. That's what I thought it presented itself as, so we used it for that.

Have you explored different types of Metal to possibly integrate in the VANSIND style?

Line: I think the style we have now is our core, but I also think that we might experiment a little bit as long as it fits.

Kirk, if we were to get hold of your playlist on your phone, what do you think would surprise us?

Kirk: Would it surprise you that I listen to Rammstein when I'm a bicycling?

Good for the energy, right?

Kirk: Yeah, it gets rid of the boredom of bicycling. But I don't consider myself adventurous in different musical styles. My tastes are in the middle of everything. It's Metal but not very extreme or aggressive Metal and not very light Metal either. It spans from kind of Iron Maiden to Morbid Angel.

How about you, Line?

Line: I like everything from Pink Floyd to Iron Maiden.

Are you working on any new material?

Kirk: We haven't really written anything since Mørket, but I have a few ideas left in my head. Or directions I'd like to try to go with it, but it's up to the future to work that out. I haven't prepared anything stylistically just yet. It's easier if you write two or three songs by chance from the top of your head. Then you have a kind of a mark to look upon and figure out what's missing in between with variation like faster songs or where you should go from there.

Any live performances coming up?

Kirk: We have the Mahlstrom Open Air in Germany coming up and Copenhell in Copenhagen. Then over the summer, we have a festival in Milan, Italy.

Where can our readers find your music and merchandise?

Kirk: You can find us Bandcamp, and you can also check out our label, Mighty Music. Really any normal, official site you buy your music from.

Any final words for our readers?

Kirk: We're happy to be here. If you are ever at one of our shows, just show up at the booth and we'll say hello!

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