Recently I received Nordland's self titled full length in the mail. I was quite impressed and thought there was more to know about this one man band so I talked with Vorh and here is what I learned.
LS: Good day and thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Hope all is well in the world of Nordland...
Vorh: Greetings, all is well in the world of Nordland! As for the rest of the world…It’s a
LS: Nordland is a one man Black Metal band from the U.K.
You created the band in 2001. Tell me about the thought process that went into the making of Nordland.
Vorh: Well it started in around 2009 actually. The whole name
Nordland is meant as a metaphor really. It stems from not being able to
make myself feel comfortable around most people I could never quite get to
the place most other people seemed to live and take for granted. I find
myself observing people asking myself how they are able to be like they are,
I never really understand them. I am constantly aware of that in me and
sometimes I don’t like how I am but I can’t help it. So it is a concept of a
place I feel at home at peace. Musically, on the debut I tried to
create that atmosphere of being in that place.
LS: You like being the one and only member of the band....is it the freedom to do as you please
and express your music how you want that attracts you "Flying solo"?
Vorh: I couldn’t do Nordland with anyone else really, it is as
you say the freedom to do as I wish and develop the concepts I have. I’ve
come across a few folk who as soon as they pick up a guitar or get in a band
think they are instant rock gods. They get what I call ‘look at me’
syndrome, ego takes over and it all becomes about them and not the music.
It’s great that some folk appreciate what I do but personally I don’t do it
LS: In 2011 you released your first Full Length album (Self-Titled) on Glorious
I actually had the opportunity to listen to the album in full and it is a great piece of art.
I know the impression I got from the album but was it your intentions...
When someone listens to your music, is there something that you would like the listener to hear?
Feel? An experience that you would like for them to take away from them?
Vorh: Well, I appreciate the complement, so thank you.
I would like the listener to get from the music the same sense of atmosphere
and immersion that I get when I listen to music. The sense of being lost
in another place for a short time, getting involved in the story or concept.
I think music, for me anyway conjures up images its quite visual if that
doesn’t sound weird! The whole package of an album is important to me.
Obviously the songs have to be as strong as they can be, the art work has to
go alone with the message or atmosphere you are trying to create, I do all
the art for the albums and the lyrics need to weave the imagery for the
listener. I write the lyrics from my point of view or perspective so if
someone else can feel a connection with the sentiments unfolding that’s a
LS: Being a one man band, it must take a lot of time and attention to make a 7 song (Over one
hour long) Full Length.
Tell me a bit about the time it took and what all went into the making of this masterpiece.
Vorh: Not sure it’s a masterpiece but I’ll take that, cheers! Well, I try hard to make all
the songs have a personality of their own so to speak. The debut was a story
about getting to the solitary place in the mind away from others. So the
character of each one had to follow that path. But the actually process of
writing a song can be a really great experience where ideas just flow, either
that or a fucking torturous grind where nothing seems to come. But it takes
work and song writing is hard. I mean anyone can bang three of four
unrelated riffs together and call it a song but trying to get the songs to
develop from one thing to the next to the next until they feel complete is
important to me. They will find their own ways and endings. Then the order in
which they sit on the album needs to be considered also.
LS: Going on 2 years now since the birth of Nordland, have things changed much? I am sure
the fan base is slowly growing. What are you doing as far as promotion for
yourself and has all the responses been fairly positive?
Vorh: More people are aware of Nordland now thanks to people
like Matt Sweeny from Glorious North and yourself! I must admit that I am
pretty hopeless at self-promotion, I did do a video for Vorscara from the
debut which has had good results and on the whole the reaction has been very
positive. The album has gone down well and I hope the new one will also.
LS: Again, you do everything on your own...so which instrument was your first choice when you
realized that you had an interest in music...(Possibly as a kid or young teen)
Vorh: It was actually bass guitar when I was about 14 or so. I use to learn all the bass lines from the early Rush albums
like Hemispheres etc and Iron Maiden and thrash stuff. My brother had a
guitar that I used to mess with and slowly I developed from there really.
LS: You did a video for the song "Vorscara" off your self-titled full length.
The video seems to be inspired by all your influences rolled up into one (Sun,
Moon, Stars, Forest, Mist, Mountains, Silence)
Did this thought at all cross your mind when making this video or am I seeing it all wrong.
Vorh: No you are seeing it right! There is a story in there somewhere.
I did that video just to see how it would come out initially. I
did it before I got with Glorious North so maybe it helped! Again it goes
back to trying to create that atmosphere where you can just listen and watch
and drift into that world for a moment.
LS: Your songs are all fairly long....When creating music is it just something that takes over
and you go until you run dry or was it always your intention to make your
songs long? (I have spoke with some bands that try so hard to do this yet the
songs only get drawn out and boring, but yours never gets dull)
Vorh: I don’t try and make long songs, no. I never sit down
and think ‘I want a 12 minute song, I’ve only got 5 riffs so I’ll just
repeat em till I get to the end’ or just fill the time with pointless shit.
If it’s in a Nordland song it’s there for a reason otherwise it’s serving no
purpose or not adding anything, as the saying goes ‘a chain is as strong as
its weakest link’. I may start with a riff that ends up in the middle of a
song and develop it, then work backwards to the beginning. Or sit and develop
multiple ideas from a section and see what works and what doesn’t. There is a
phrase in painting that people use which is a ‘happy accident’ where
something comes out that’s never intended but it works. I started whole songs
like that. Also I find some arrangement to songs can happen at the mixing
stage, which happens quite a lot. It can be a fairly organic process that
just takes its own path. Also I record ‘there and then’ so to speak, hit
record play guitar press stop repeat. When I do the vocals I sit with the
lyrics in front of me hit record and see what comes out. Most of the time
those initial takes are what I use.
LS: Last year(2012) you released an EP "Bones of Ash" that was self released.
You spent about a year in making this EP. Why did you decide to do it on your
own this time and is it something you will cont. to do or is the label search
on once again?
Vorh: Bones of Ash was really an add-on to the debut. The album took about a year to do on and off but Bones
of Ash only took a couple of weeks or so. It was really just an EP I put out
as a free download as an experiment, because it is backwards guitar and vocal
lines from the debut with new bass and drums. I think some of the guitar
lines came out better backwards that forwards!
LS: From the Full Length to the EP....have you noticed a growth in listeners?
Do you feel that over that short period of time you have grown at all as a
musician and are you glad you at least did the self-release thing once (As
some kind of experience under your belt)?
Vorh: I think there are definitely more people aware of Nordland now yeah, and I am
glad I did the self-release thing. Having a label behind you is a massive
boost though, 1 because it validates the work in some way, if someone is
willing to put their own time and energy into your output then you must be
doing something right, 2 As I said before I’m fairly shite as self-promotion
so having that support to get the name out there is also something I’d
struggle with, 3 I don’t have to print out and make every cover and cd like I
used to! As for being a better musician I think I’ve got better at song
writing over time, I don’t really consider myself a musician to be honest, I
don’t practice for hours like I used to. I’m not massively into guitar solos
or anything, I mean I can appreciate the ability to do it but it never really
grabbed me as much as a few well-chosen notes drifting over a nice rhythm.
LS: You say that music of a certain genre inspires YOU to write music.
(And not only metal music either)
You struggle in the writing process when it comes to lyrics.
What have been some things outside of music that has inspired
some of your lyrical themes?
Vorh: It sounds like a cliché but I find lyrics do come to me when I’m quiet and passive, I find
quite a few lyrical ideas form when I’m out In woods or hills just walking
with my dog or something. I do struggle with lyrics quite a bit. It’s very
easy to come up with tired sounding ideas or they sound cheesy or whatever, I
remember some lyrics from the debut just popped into my head one night when I
was half asleep, just ‘bang’ and I had these words just reeling though my
head so I dragged myself out of bed like a zombie and scribbled them down. In
the morning I couldn’t really remember what I’d written but they were pretty
good so I used them. I listen to a lot of 70’s prog stuff like Van Der Graff
Generator, Magma, Camel, Gentle Giant etc most metal folk would say ‘what the
fuck is this weird crap’ if they heard it but to me its genius stuff. So I
try to learn from those bands about song structure etc.
LS: While listening to your music, I find myself almost sitting in story time. Ha!
I sit back, and pay attention, almost afraid I will miss something important.
Is this a priority when it comes to your music? For people to
actually pay attention and listen and hear what is going on verses simply
listening to say the guitar or the drums?
Vorh: That is great to hear, because that is what I try to achieve. I think there are
certain types of music that you get the most out of when you just sit and
listen to how it’s all woven together. So I try to get that from into the
music. For me the moment an album begins is at the album cover and art, the
imagery and tone of color etc kind of sets the mood. Then the main event,
the music will take you further into it and the lyrics can enhance it further
still. So it all adds up into an ‘album’ of work that hopefully others will
LS: There will obviously be no live performance from Nordland...(Unless you grow some extra
arms) Does the phrase NEVER SAY NEVER come into play here or are you 100%
satisfied on your own and not having to deal with other people and their
opinions and "2 cents"?
Vorh: Nordland will just be me, until I decide that I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer. I’m not
really interested in being on stage doing the ‘look at me’ syndrome thing.
LS: So, now what....I'd like to know about the immediate plans of Nordland?
A new album sometime soon maybe?
Vorh: Yeah, the new album is all done, it’s called The True Cult of the Earth, 7 tracks, should be out
soon on Glorious North Productions. It’s been done for a while but I’ve been
trying to get it to sound how I want it. I am happy with it for the most
part, sort of! I guess I’m never happy with the stuff I do.
LS: Down the road, what does Nordland have in store? Any long term goals other then
everyday life and struggles?
Vorh: I really don’t have a clue! All I want to do I scribble a few tunes down now and again and
if I think they are any good I’ll try put them out there for others who are
interested. I’ve some ideas for the next album so I should really try get
them down at some point. I’ve changed the way I record so I’ve got that to
figure out yet.
LS: Well, I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to do this interview
with Lilith Scare Webzine. Any last words?
Vorh: I would like to thank you for your support and time and also those
others who have helped me thus far particularly Matt at GNP. Look out for the
new album soon!
You can find Nordland on Facebook
You can hear a song from his full length album here
Glorious North Productions on Facebook