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Nordicwinter is a Canadian one-man black metal band, behind’s mastermind Evil Lair. 2020 was a busy year for Evil, not only releasing two albums with Nordicwinter, but also two other albums, one EP and one full-length with his other solo project Kalseroth.
I had the pleasure to interview Evil, where he talked about Nordicwinter’s releases, the other solo projects he is involved with and other stuff.

Two albums released this year, Requiem and Desolation. When did you record these two albums?
In early January I decided to add my first Nordicwinter album Threnody to Bandcamp. This album was released back in 2007 by None More Black Records and I had a lot of CDs from that album laying around since the release. I thought it might be a good idea and try to sell those copies online while I was working on my Kalseroth project, that I also wanted to release on Bandcamp. Once I completed Kalseroth’s 1st album and released it, I had many musical ideas that wouldn’t fit with the Kalseroth project. So after some time, I decided they may fit better under the Nordicwinter name. So I wrote and recorded Requiem. Requiem was written in an effort to try and add some DSBM elements to my Nordicwinter sound while also adding the faster parts that I had intended to have for Threnody. Once Requiem was released I decided that I wanted to write more of the depressive style that was found in the Requiem album, so I began writing Desolation a few days after the release of Requiem. With Desolation, I wanted to really push the DSBM elements and limit the faster parts. Desolation ended up being written pretty fast, the music and ideas just flowed, so I released Desolation a few months later.

Even so, you just mentioned the two albums, that were released after 13 years since the debut album, Threnody. Why took you so long?
Sometime after the release of Threnody, I tried to get musicians and have Nordicwinter become a ‘full’ band and play shows. After a few years of trying, it didn’t pan out so I dropped the idea. A little while after that, I started writing some traditional doom songs and contacted an old band member/friend vocalist and asked if he was interested in doing vocals for this project. That project ended up being call Dark Covenant, we got a bass player and we finished a demo in 2009 and released an album sometime after that in 2011. We also tried to get members to complete Dark Covenant to do shows, but once again it didn’t pan out, and also around that time I had some health issues which made it extremely hard to play live, so we ended up ending the project. With my health issues, I decided to stop doing music for a long period of time as playing live wouldn’t have worked for me so I focused on other things other then music. During the long break, I did try to start writing music, but nothing ever came from that. Only many years later I decided to try and have another go at making music, but this time I concentrated on doing everything myself…

While listening to both the albums, I noticed that Requiem has a deeper and “aggressive“ sound, when Desolation is a bit more mellow let’s say. Do you agree with this?
Yeah, you’re right. Requiem was an album that I tried to add many different elements, such as faster more ‘chaotic’ parts and also some slower atmospheric parts. With Desolation, I wanted to try and get more of a depressive atmosphere. Both albums are similar in terms of theme, but Requiem is far more aggressive than Desolation which is more atmospheric, desolate and grim.

I like when Black metal bands are using atmospheric or other sound elements in their music (like symphonic too), it makes the sound even more interesting and intense, not just the pure raw black metal sound; you mentioned the DSBM elements aswell. How do you approach the sound?
Each song is a bit different, but generally, most songs start off with a central riff/melody. If the main melody can convey an emotional response in me, I therefore take it to the next level and continue to work on it and develop it more. The song needs to stand on it own, without any symphonic elements, that’s why I add that in at the end and rework or add sections if I need to when that’s done. If a song can be good without any symphonic elements, then it will almost always be better with some added.

A recent post on the band’s Facebook page is that you teamed up with Hypnotic records to release Desolation. Planning to release Requiem with them as well or other materials in the future?
Yeah, I’m happy to be able to bring Desolation to new audiences that I couldn’t reach releasing it alone. With Hypnotic Dirge Records re-releasing Desolation, I hope more people will be able to hear it. It’s a great label with some fantastic bands. Requiem was released by Dark East Productions earlier this year, so no re-release of that album by other labels. Desolation was self-released and is currently sold out, that’s why Hypnotic Dirge Records is re-releasing it. And yes, there will be a new album by Nordicwinter that will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records, that will be sometime in March 2021 and is entitled Sorrow. More information about that soon!

Is just yourself, doing all the music. Is this better and easier than having a full band?
Well, being alone, it’s a bit easier to get straight to the vision of what I want to create. But I also miss being in a band and having input from other members, sometimes you get amazing ideas or suggestions from someone else that you may not have thought of yourself, I do miss that.

Actually, there are two other projects you are involved with, one of them you spoke about earlier, Kalseroth, then Graven Dusk. With Kalseroth, you’ve released one full album and an EP this year too, nothing new from Graven Dusk. I’d say, you’d been busy this year releasing four albums!
GravenDusk was written a bit after Threnody in 2007 and I haven’t written anything else for that project. Yeah, the two Kalseroth albums were also written in 2020 along with Nordicwinter’s two albums. I also wrote two other albums, but in a different style, these are my ‘Ritual Dark Ambient’ project Umbrarum Tenebrae’s albums. The first one, has just been released on CD by Noctivagant label and the 2nd is still under wraps from another label, so lookout for an announcement on that at a later time.

What are your main influences and from where are you getting inspired to write the music?
Inspiration can come from many different places. Some ideas can come out of the blue and some others can come with a bit more work, for example getting part of a melody, but working on making the whole thing work. I wish I had a better answer, as sometimes a song can be started with just an acoustic guitar while others come with lots of work. Sometimes many different ideas/melodies need to be thrown out to find the one piece of music that can be formed into a song. Some songs start with an interlude idea while playing the keyboard and the rest of the song is born from that idea. So unfortunately there’s no one answer, each song is different. But that’s what I think is the most interesting thing about creating music, you can spend hours working on something and throw it out and then other times a whole song comes out in 15 minutes!

Thanks a lot for the interview, it was my pleasure! Cheers!
Thanks to you for interviewing me!

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