The band was formed in 2005 in Paimpol, which is a small coastal city in western France, in a region called Britanny. It has a strong cultural identity which has roots in Celtic heritage. The story of the band’s formation is quite classic: we all met in high school and found common interest in Black Metal. I guess we also all shared a level of frustration that’s suitable for that kind of creativity. We started playing together and after we covered a few of our then-favorite bands (Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, etc…) we quickly moved on with our own compositions.
Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
First and foremost I think the sound and the production is a lot better, our previous recording had a very poor production and we never really promoted it because of that. The compositions on the new album are also more structured, less repetitive and more personal, even though I am sure a warned ear is able to point out what are our main influences are. We always cared about the quality of the melodies and the riffing, and more than ever in this new album we strived to never give in to the easy option of having recycled or “filler” riffs. I think the melodies and riffs in this new album almost always succeed to be both deeply emotional, epic and “unheard before”. Rhythmically speaking there are also a bit more of complexity, although we always try to keep complexity as mean to an end.
This is the first album to be released in 7 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
I think the main fact is that I started living in Finland in 2010. It became obvious that the distance was a big problem to exist as a band. At the time Marc (the drummer) and I were also session members of Belenos. I had to also quit Belenos for the same reasons. However I never really stopped composing. Composition is for me a long process as I am rarely satisfied with what I come up with. I think a long period of composition is needed to come up with something both unique, emotional and catchy. So yeah, I think that the composition process could have been faster, but not a lot faster.
Your lyrics cover Nature and Nordic Folklore, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
I guess at the beginning we admired so much the Nordic Bands that we thought that the only topics suitable for a metal song would be Nordic-Related. We still admire the Nordic metal but I think we are more influenced by our own surroundings and our own lifestyle. For example the life in our small town, with lots of alcohol and frustration, deeply marked us when we were young and are still a part of us. We all were very much alike in a sense that, back then, not much made sense except maybe drinking heavily and listening/playing black metal. The lyrics deal with nature in a very abstract way, mainly in the relation between the men and their nature in pre-capitalistic times. In those time men had a close and symbolic relation to their environment.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Vindland'?
At first we wanted to call it Vinland because it is both one of the first territories discovered by the Vikings in america and also a famous fishing area where 18th and 19th century fishermen from Paimpol (our birthtown) used to spend months to fish the “morue” (“cod” in English). I think the idea of sailing far away, surrounded by the nature still translate a romantic living that’s adequate to our music. On a side note, the woman that’s photographed on the artwork of the last album is a widow mourning her husband who died during one of these fishing trips.
After that I read somewhere that one alternative spelling for that region was “Vindland”, and we thought it simply sounded better. Although now I think maybe Vinland is maybe closer to the reality because we all drink a lot of wine (Wine is Vin in French)!!
What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
I think when we played before Turisas in Nantes was a good show, well received by the audience, and our biggest show so far. However, for those who have been following the band for a long time, the gig we played in Braspart for the Metal Breizh Fest is the most memorable because all of the people from Brittany’s metal scene were there and we really bonded as a community.
Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Not immediately although we have received a few offers. We want to perfect our set before starting promoting the album on stage. We are currently working on it and started rehearsing.
On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of pagan and black metal?
It’s really hard nowadays to measure the real feedback as everything is more a matter of communication and promotion. However the feedback has been very good so far from the fans we know and the ones who send us comments about the album. I think the album is still pretty confidential but we hope to get more promotion from our deal with Black Lion Productions and thus get more reviews and so on. I think lot of people have compared it to Windir. We don’t suffer from this comparison because we are all big fans of the band and only a few bands practice a style that’s close to sognametal. Anyway, I think with this album we have developed our own brand of Epic/Pagan black metal.
Are any of the band members also involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Marc has been involved with Belenos for a long time now. He also plays the drums for a local black metal band called Hentgarm. He was also the drummer for the “Chant de Nihil” for a long time. We are all very close to these bands and I personally value them a lot musically, and this not only because they are also friends.
Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I think we’d all like to go back on stage in a couple of months and we’d like to have the proper promotion in order to get the album the attention it deserves. Our new deal with Black Lion Productions is a big step towards this goal. They have been so far very dedicated and nice people to work with. As for the new compositions I think it has the same vibe in it with maybe a tad bit more complexity in the melodies with richer arpeggios. Regarding the structure of the songs and the riffing/drumming I think it will be also a bit more black metal and less melodeath than before.
What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I think the 1990’s black metal scene had a big influence on all of us, I personally consider that emperor really opened the way to what black metal is nowadays. Most of their early songs are more innovative than most of the black metal (even the bands praised by the critique) you hear nowadays. Windir was a musical revelation for me and I the first time I listened to it (the year Valfar died, ironically) I knew that my musical objective was to create something that could be as deep and emotional as some of Windir’s songs.
As of nowadays on a personal level I have recently really liked the last Keep of Kalessin, all the Der Weg Einer Freiheit albums but also Deafheaven, which has its own innovative blend of black metal. Insomnium also knows how to make simple songs that have a strong emotional feel.
What are some of your non musical interests?
I think we all like drinking too much, even though the hangovers are becoming hell! However, as Guy Debord (a famous French writer and philosopher from the 1960’s) famously said: "One might think that drinking left me very little time to write , but that's just how it works : writing should remain rare, since before finding excellence one must have drunk a long time." Yet, no, we are not alcoholics!!! I also dabble into social critique and political philosophy.
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I’d like to thank all the people who were still there to listen to the album even after we were gone for so long. I’d also like to thank the guys from Black Lion Productions who have been very professional and supportive!