Long gone are the days when one man metal projects languished in obscurity and failed to meet the mark, with overbearing scratchy vocals drowned in reverb while a drum machine ran riot in the background. Since Vice’s airing of ‘One Man Metal’ – a documentary unearthing the secretive and reclusive lives of some of the most important singular entities and contributors to the black metal genre – acts such as Leviathan, Striborg and Xasthur have all had the limelight shed on them and been appreciated for their talents. Since then, acts such as Impious Baptism and Panopticon have all proven their worth and now Fyrnask looks set to join their ranks. The initial release of ‘Bluostar’ gained mysterious German entity Fyrnd wide recognition and his follow-up effort ‘Eldir Nótt’ looks set to broaden his fan base yet further still. Fyrnd talks us through his inspirations, musical affluence and how, unlike most solo musicians, he fully intends to take his project to the stage.
AN: Is it correct to assume that Eldir Nótt is an Icelandic title? What’s the significance of this title and why choose a language that’s not native to your own?
Fyrnd: It is correct. It is an old Icelandic title. The main reason for using this language is a conceptual one, as the concept always deals with (pre-)historic topics in a broad sense. The other quite important reason is an aesthetic one. I just wanted to have a connection to old languages. Old Icelandic is something I had to deal with on a scientific level, so I just decided to use it.
AN: This album is hugely ambitious – how much work went into creating it? How long did it take?
Fyrnd: I don’t know. I constantly worked on the album over the last two years. It was a lot of time I spent on songwriting and rewriting them. I wanted the sound to be coherent and also tried to put some emphasis on some of the lower frequencies. It was quite a lot of work.
AN: Nature is obviously a huge inspiration for you – what do you do in order to seek this out and how do you select your lyrical subject matter?
Fyrnd: Nature is actually not my main inspiration. I think, my emotional state is the main inspiration. The pictures that are used are often connected to nature but more in a sense of a contradiction to culture. The latter one is something, that I think, is responsible for a lot of the issues the human society experiences. On the one hand there is our “nature”, our “instincts” and on the other sides there are cultural “laws” and “rules” that are not necessarily in tune with our nature. Aesthetically I feel, that “nature” and the pictures connected to that are more in tune with my personal understanding of “beauty” (Whatever this term describes… A bit of tautology here…)
AN: The new album includes the use of a lot of non-traditional instruments – how did you come to learn to play these and acquire them?
Fyrnd: I would say, electric guitars and drums are the “non-traditional” instruments.
I just learned them. But the dulcimer for example: There over averagely complex execution in terms of playing that instrument on “Eldir Nótt”, for example. It just meets the needs of the project.
I do have a classical musical education, and so I am able to learn new instruments quite fast. I just learn them to the level that is needed, to do the music I want to do. My main instruments are guitar and viola.
AN: Do you think you’ll ever play live?
Fyrnd: Yes, I think so. But as I am searching for quality, everything has to considered carefully in this context. There is a line-up. We’ll see how it works and how fast it works.
AN: What inspires you to create music on your own? Would you ever consider collaborating with anyone else? If so, who would you like to play with?
Fyrnd: On Eldir Nótt I worked for example with Stefan Otto of Nebelung. He is one of my closest friends, and I asked him to do some Harmonium parts on the album.
But I am not interested in working with other musicians just for the sake of it. If I do respect a person, then it is always possible to collaborate. But I am not “searching” for other musicians. For projects like Fyrnask, it is important to have a strong and clear vision. That is mainly an intellectual work. I think, too many people involved in this project, would blur this vision.
AN: Would you classify your music as black metal? Do you think it draws upon any other genres?
Fyrnd: It is clearly black metal. But I don’t give too much about the genre or classification of the music. I never chose a genre to express myself in. I just amplified my emotional states. And black metal influences play a role here.
I am heavily impressed by old and baroque music and also a lot of experimental stuff. This bleeds into the musical expressions I shape. But I am not only doing Fyrnask. So this is only a small facet of my musical work.
AN: How did you get into making music? What sparked the idea for Fyrnask?
Fyrnd: It just happened. I began playing a piano when I was a child. It was more of just playing around. Then I started to learn guitar and viola and there always was an urge to express my perspective on reality.
AN: Any musical artists or bands that you’d recommend to other people?
Fyrnd: Locrian is really good. I still would recommend the Murmuüre LP. The Stevie Floyd/Aerial Ruins Split was also a nice aural experience. But there is a lot of good music out there. People should invest the time and just search for it.
AN: What’s next on the agenda for Fyrnask?
Fyrnd: A new album, live activities and we are working on some merchandise with an artwork of Glyn Smyth, an artist which I respect a lot.
Interview by Angela Davey