Interview with Icelandic Black Metal stalwart Hilmar(krulli) off Naðra, Norn, Örmagna,The Moronic, Beware the blue sky, Sveimhugar

Abyssal, Cavernous, anonymous Reykjavík based Icelandic orthodox black metal outfit Naðra's last full-length offering "Allir vegir til glötunar" that surpasses the usual stereotypes and presents something enjoyable, chaotic and decidedly well-presented. Their concoction of black metal is more sprawling, adventurous, twisted into more madness, variation and dissonant. Their music is as intense and uncompromising as ever. This is so damned unrelentingly heavy with such a dose of morbidity and grimness. Overall shattering and memorable enough to stave off the banalities of the other albums tunes with its lurching, grooving riff patterns and linear, raspy, chaotic black metal vocal lines. This is encompassed by an atmosphere steeped in evil and menace as well as enhance and accentuate the pervading evil atmosphere. It’s tumultuous, furious and rather unrelenting. Well, now straight diving to the interview session with the drummer Hilmar.

1. Hello Hilmar, how are you doing today? Warm greetings to Iceland from India.

Hello Souvik, I'm doing great thank you and greetings from Iceland.

2. So you have involved with plenty black metal project like Naðra, Norn , Örmagna, The Moronic, Beware the blue sky, Sveimhugar, etc. since black metal is in your forte, So Can you give me a brief history of your previous and how can you manage all extreme bands together? Had you been in any bands or musical apparition before the aforementioned all bands?

And yes I have been in other bands other than you mention in this question. In 2007 I started playing drums because the former drummer in my first metal band quit and we needed someone to play drums so I bought a drumkit and haven't stopped drumming since then. That band was called Universal Tragedy. We played for a few years until I met the guys in Norn and later on Naðra. I have been in numerous “garage” bands that I don´t remember the names of. Good question how I manage all those bands.... uuummm most of the band members I play with, write their music down and send to each other so when it comes to rehearsal we have learned the songs and we just play them. Simple as that.

3. What bands inspired the direction that took and motivated you? Writers? Visual artists? Movies? Books?

Probably my biggest influences, when I began drumming, was Lamb of God, Megadeath and Judas Priest.

4. There are two basic ways of looking at music. In the first, there is a mechanism for the arrangement of certain tones, musical style.in the second, a narration occurs where a story is told or a poetic function completed. In your view of compositions, which is more important? Where were you when you first thought the project had the longterm potential for you?

I do not agree there are two basic ways of looking at music. Both options that you gave me are both really important, even in black metal. For example, in both Naðra and Örmagna there is a story being told with the instruments even though we have a singer singing lyrics over it, and Beware the blue sky is telling a story only instrumentally. One of the other ways to look at the music I find important is the feelings it brings you, how does the music you're listening to make you feel?
 I never thought that one of my bands would have a long term potential for me at the time, I barely knew most of the people when I started playing with them, but they made good music and that was enough for me.

5. What for you is the significance of the aforementioned all band's names? Especially "Naðra", "Norn" , "Örmagna", "The Moronic", "Sveimhugar" ?

Naðra is a common Europian serpent, Norn translates as a witch, Örmagna is an utterly exhausted mental state, The Moronic = stupidity and Sveimhugar means basically wandering/drifting minds. 

6. If you could tour with other bands in metal, who would you pick if you were looking for bands similar to your acts?

This one is really hard to answer because there are a lot of bands that I would like to tour with, the more bands from different genres you play with the more people you meet and get to know.

7. If I choose "Naðra" Since starting year Naðra released demos, EPs, Live and Debut album etc and shaped the style of music. How do you and the bandmates maintain this consistency yet keep developing with each release? How do you guys prepare yourself in the matter of writing songs with new, unique thoughts? What is the most difficult part of composing songs as per your perspective? As well kindly give a brief for your other projects too.

Good question. The demo Eitur was recorded only 2 weeks after we started playing together so we just rehearsed and recorded it. The full length was recorded 8-9 months later and after playing the songs for that period of time a lot of small changes that every instrument player did just happened at rehearsals and became normal. I didn't play in the live album or the EP album 'Form' that was H.R.H. And like I said earlier, we write the songs down and send to each other and then we meet and play them and most times when we play them together then maybe me or the guitarist, for example, get some idea and we change it on the spot. I think passion has a lot to do with it also. If you're not passionate about something you're doing it's not as good so I guess me and the guys just really enjoy playing and composing together and that makes all the difference.

8. Do you have a preference for the type of equipment? In your mind, how important is equipment for the production of music?

For me, the equipment is really important for most of my bands. But not for Norn and The Moronic. Sometimes it´s good to have bad equipment to get a certain atmosphere that is important. About composing new songs.. that is something that just comes instead of being forced.

9. Well, now I’m going to the main point. Already you had woked with Naðra. So is there any new black metal project coming near the future consist of you? Since I'm too obsessed with Icelandic black metal haha, As well how can you manage your all projects consistently this is still mysterious to me and highly cite your unsurpassed quality, ability, and skill.

I'm not starting any new projects in the near future  I think. I have almost too little time for the ones I'm in! But sometimes you get dragged into some project and end up sticking around.. that just keeps happening. So you never know.
At the moment the answer is no but who knows what will happen in the future. I have a system on how I manage all of my bands. They are good at recording or writing the music down and then they send it to me. I listen to it while working and create a beat to each song when we meet. Sometimes they don't work so I change them and we play it a few times. Then we record it on our phones so I can listen to it when I'm at work.

10. What's going on as far as lyrical themes on release and if you are potential, kindly unleash the forthcoming name of your projects/album/official track?

I have no clue about lyrical themes and lyrics altogether. I am always recording something and releasing. Right now I'm recording with Sveimhugar, The Moronic, Norn and old material I and my friend are working on but I can't reveal anything about that at this point. 

11. In my opinion, all of your project's musical style is packed with references to Misanthropy, Darkness so hideous that the mere sight of one is enough to drive a person insane. The harrowing music that swirls like the vortex of a tornado ripping through the blackest of tar pits and tuneful vocals adds a new dimension to the template, often replacing the usual ambient horror cocooning the complex riffs and rhythms, Hallucinogenic with a healthy dose of paranoia. would you agree with this though black metal stalwarts, its purveyors willingly eschewed publicity?

 Well to a certain degree, but what matters most to me is that each individual has their own personal experience to the music that they listen to but this is my perspective:

Naðra has a kind of a tense feeling to it, its vocals leave you with chills in your bones you can basically feel the agony. The melodic guitar gives it a certain atmosphere and that makes the sound unique in away. The undertone of the bass corresponds with the guitars and they and the bass come together to form a special combination. The lyrics are also only written in Icelandic and I enjoy that a lot about Naðra.

Sveimhugar has an amazing energy, especially live. You can feel the emotions put into the music and it all comes greatly together, really tight and all over a pleasant band. Our lyrics all tell a story, some are really humorous and others more serious but the crowd always seems to have a good time.
Beware the blue sky is a post-rock band that has no vocals and drives itself on only by emotion, tone, and atmosphere each moment. It has a comfortable presence and leaves you with a positive feeling. Because there isn't any singing it makes it harder to keep the listener focused somehow but I think that we succeed at that, but the people who listen will have to judge as with all the others. I'd also like to mention that the man who mixed and mastered our EP is Torsten from God Is An Astronaut. Örmagna is exactly what its name means. It means exhausted and you can feel exactly that emotion mixed with a sort of desperation and depression. It gives you the feeling that there is no hope. The Moronic is experimental hardcore with surprisingly deep lyrics, hard riffs, difficult timing, and my bandmates are so good at it, in all meanings, you can get from that. It's really fresh and energetic and some of the song's dark lyrics make it somewhat sarcastic. This is a band that you just have to listen to to get your own feeling for it.

Norn:   Norn: Was founded in a cellar in Garðabær. Norn: Plays fast d-beat and black metal
“Norn hates Iceland, Jesuits and other peace-loving losers, babies, theSjálfstæðisflokkurinn, the crumble of financial growth in third world countries, the letter Y, lines for the bathroom and the smell of newly washed hair” We are basically fucktards with messed up humor.

12. I’ve categorized all of your projects significant and signature style.so, How did you get into this style of music and explain about this music genre?

When I got into this music genre I started as a bass player and our drummer quit the band so I decided to buy a drumkit and yeah that was 12 -13 years ago. I started playing music styles like Metallica and Megadeth but as I got older the music started to get more and more heavy. And as a drummer, it's quite fun to play fast. I play and enjoy most styles of drumming there's no one special style I use in any of my bands.

13. How would you describe the sound of aforementioned all of your project to someone who hadn’t heard it, and what distinguishes your music from any other act in the same genre?

Naðra and Örmagna would be, of course, black/heavy metal, Norn.. that is hard to put in a category. I and the bassist call it “Árna metal” people just have to check it out and make up their minds themselves. The Moronic is experimental hardcore, Beware the blue sky is post-rock and Sveimhugar is folk music and is non-metal. I don't really know what would set us apart from the rest, just the people listening I guess. 

14. Do you have any playthrough videos coming out soon?

Yes, I do,  I am working on some playthrough videos at the moment but I don't know when they will be released.

15. Who came up with the Naðra "Allir vegir til glötunar"album cover? The album artwork is truly indelible, remarkable, appreciable and meaningful too. Kindly explain the album in your thought.

That would be Skaðvaldur which is a  very talented artist. He has made a lot of designs for the metal scene in Iceland.

16. Let's talk about your early memories. What's the first gig you ever went to? Have you been to any killer live shows lately?

My first metal show was in 2006 or 2007 when Cannibal Corpse came to Iceland.
I went to a festival here in Iceland this summer called Norðanpaunk and most of the bands playing there were Icelandic and all of those bands had a killer show at that festival.

17. In before you performed a lot of gigs so, Which show was the most memorable to you so far? Do you get a good crowd response? Did you get offers to play in other countries or anything like that?

Most memorable at the moment is the one Naðra had at Inferno festival in Norway last year, that was an amazing experience and opportunity and then Ascension, which is a metal festival in Iceland, this year. And yes I get offers now and then to play other countries in Europe and wish I could do more of that.

18. Do you study other band's music to come up with ideas?

I used to do that when I was younger but now I am in a music school called FÍH which is a highly respected jazz school so I am getting new ideas from there and I'm still growing as a musician and hopefully always will be.

19. How do you prepare yourself before the studio or especially for live performances? Did any band, in particular, inspire you in the shrieking department?

Number 1, 2 and 3 warmup. I always start my warmups one hour maybe one and a half-hour before the show or recording.

20. In your opinion is there a difference in the Naðra's sound as compared to the Full length, EPs and demos you guys have released in the past?

Of course, there is a difference in the sound. The demo was recorded with a really bad setup which makes it sound really nice, the right sound. The full length was recorded with much better equipment and therefore the sound is different, and I can´t answer for the EP because I didn't partake in recording it.

21. You are from Iceland, so how much have you discovered about the extreme metal scene and how much of it were you aware of before aforementioned all of your band started?

Before I started in these bands and especially Universal Tragedy I didn't know of any other extreme metal bands. The scene here isn't really big but you can always find new bands to listen to. We have so many great musicians here that you never run out of music, extreme or not. 

22. There is some authentic imagery with your lyrics, theme, Sigil. Is this just an image or something you believe in?

I believe the imagery is important for music. The pictures represent the personalities of the bands like Norn has a picture of a witch on the LP album. I personally do not believe in the sigils in any spiritual way.

23. What do you do as individual band members to relax, when not working on music? Do you have jobs or business?

I never relax really. I have a day job as a carpenter and also go to school two days a week. I usually never relax but I take time 2-3 times a year for maybe one week to relax and go on vacation.

24. What albums are you listening to lately or just the bands and albums, in general, you're really digging right now and tell me about your anticipated album of this year?

These I'm not listening to anyone specific album/s. I rather listen to songs that capture me and are catchy to me and I listen to them a lot. But to name one song then I'd have to choose Deliverance by Opeth.

25. Last one question, what are your future band goals & tell us something about an upcoming tour. Lastly, lots of teenagers aim to be full-time musicians. Many of them might be without any proper guidance, any words of wisdom for them?

At the moment there are no upcoming tours I can talk about, and kids, never stop playing your instruments no matter what happens. And if you feel like you are stuck at some level, seek guidance and keep practicing even more.

26. That's all I've got right now.best of luck for the future. Looking forward. Thanks a lot for enduring this torture haha. Any final thoughts, comments for the readers? If I forgot anything, please insert it here.

Keep playing, keep listening to new music and thank you for your time :)

The interview was done By Souvik Basu. Published on 12.09.2019

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