Interview with Lars of HILD

Interview with Lars of HILD

- in Written interviews

You’ve had a storied career as a drummer in bands like Marduk, Funeral Mist, and Black Altar. What inspired you to start your own band, HILD, and take on the role of songwriter?
Music is in my blood. I´ve always been in bands and written songs, I wrote some for Marduk too. It´s a surge of inspiration and creativity and a will to express oneself through art that some seem to have more than others. In my case the arts are music and poetry. HILD specifically expressed the need for me to do thrash-oriented stuff, something I´ve been toying with in my head since, well, forever haha!
And of course, the dream to succeed with an enterprise of my own. I´m of course proud as fuck of my history and mark in Marduk, Funeral Mist etc but these acts would have been big and influential regardless of me being part, that´s just how it is. I contribute to their greatness, no doubt, but I have no part in founding them or forming their unique expressions, that was done before I joined.
Whereas HILD is entirely my creation.
I started working on it rather like a project, a personal thing. Eventually, it became obvious it needed to take the leap into becoming a band. A great decision, we truly are a BAND from the first moment we all met together.

How did the concept of HILD and the Valkyries of Nordic mythology come to you, and why did you decide to centre your music around this theme?
It goes back to my faith, beliefs, cultic practice and love for nature, the landscape and its hidden aspects. I find it hard to write about stuff that doesn´t hold a deeper personal meaning and convey something on another level. To me, it is extremely important it is there, that I honor my allies of ancient times and cycle energy with them. I prefer acts with a purpose.
But in much, we´re also a band that just wants to thrash about. You don´t need to be into this stuff to enjoy HILD. You don´t need to think or analyze at all.

You mentioned that the divine spark of inspiration hit you while walking through the landscape. Can you describe that moment and how it felt?
I love doing meditative walks and getting into trance in the landscape, especially at sunset and through twilight, into the night. It´s a process of shedding the social shell construction and the lie we call our “self”. In this perceptive state one is susceptible to other currents and a deeper level of the landscape and nature which connects to divine worlds and energies. In my case, the forces of the old North, who never left the bedrock and the sky dome. In particular, I interact with and worship Freja and the divine inspiration, assignments (homeworks I call them) and initial HILD ideas came from Her.
If trying to describe the feeling it´s something like your energy body expanding and blending with the energy fields of the landscape, it´s plants, rocks and beings. Physical and higher realities blend and in this condition divine powers can enter your body and consciousness. Speak to you. Or other things. Depending on the nature of what you connect to, the experience can be absolutely terrifying or absolutely lovely and can´t really be explained in rational terms.

Your debut album, “ValFreiya,” contains 12 songs that were all completed in 6-7 hours or less. Can you walk us through your creative process and how you were able to produce such a prolific amount of material in such a short amount of time?
Well, the spark of inspiration just kept firing so I just went with it. The process is different from song to song. It can be a channeled melody, rhythm or riff or some lyrics. Or just a basic idea of a song structure and vibe. Most stuff I hear in my head or heart first. Then I just get to work. The 6-7 hour rule I set for myself since I saw it was possible and I wanted to keep the spontaneity and first spark of creativity. It goes back to my first “homework” which was to write, record and produce 1 song of 2 minutes in one session no matter how long it took. As it turned out, ValFreiya (the first song written for HILD) took more or less exactly 5 hours for its first print. So I had another try 1-2 days later. Boom, there we have Göndul. And so it went every other day for a few weeks until there was an album.
When you´re in the zone it doesn´t take more time than this, I´m sure many writers would agree and have similar experiences.

The album is described as containing “violent Thrash metal with Black and Crust influences.” Can you talk more about how those genres influenced the sound of HILD?
It´s centered around thrash, in particular the vicious and frenzy bringing kind as presented by Slayer, the one and only best and necessary thrash band. But working on HILD I found different styles seeping through, Black, Crust, some Death and also Hardcore. Even some minor melodic elements. Styles that go nicely together with Thrash. The common denominator is they all convey a certain type of energy.
That feeling of ecstatic violence where you wanna destroy everything around you and just scream yourself mad, but at the same time you feel absolutely amazing.

What was it like working on the album by yourself? Did you encounter any challenges or benefits to writing and recording solo?
The challenges were mostly just physical, being the recording engineer and musician at the same. Not having any others’ input during the process was actually quite liberating, allowing me to do just as I wanted and go where the inspiration took me.
I think that was important. I could work undisturbed the way I wanted with the powers at hand. I usually know what I´m going for and tend to prefer this method to manifest my vision. Future HILD will be much more of a band effort however and now that the first release is out, which is all me, I see clear benefits of collaborating with my band brothers.
We are very synced since day one, it´s weird even, and we all work towards the same goal. I´m the dictator but no longer sole writer and every members´opinion, in each matter, counts.

The album has a very raw and energetic feel to it. Was this intentional, and how did you go about capturing that energy in the recording process?
It was very intentional. But it also comes natural. It´s a state of mind, a condition within that needs release through this style. It´s all about that raw energy and conveying it.
It´s embedded in every stage of the process. And obviously the fact that the short time span, which also includes mixing and mastering, allowed for each song leaves no place for overproducing.
As soon as something hits the spot and sounds “professional” enough: move on! Don´t dwell too much.

How has your experience playing in other bands influenced your approach to songwriting and recording with HILD?
Something I took from Marduk and Mortuus in particular is that a song doesn´t need complexity or difficult riffs to be great. The song and overall impression is more important.
Then again, complexity, like for example intricate mindbending killer riff ala Jeff Hanneman with a clever multi-level arrangement is something I absolutely love. Some things that comes out of you just happens to be difficult, we got a number of examples.
The thing is to get a natural flow and a feel of ease to it! There´s a lot more going on in HILD than you might think of at first, it´s actually very “thought through”, but presented in a straight forward framework with no fuzz, no progressive shit. Pulse, energy, forward movement.
Still, my approach is mostly colored by my producer´s degree and my own way of listening and experiencing music and how I would want things to sound.

What can fans expect from a live HILD performance, and do you have any plans for touring in support of the album?
Fans can expect exactly the same energy we´ve talked about here, only emphasized and times 10! We get great response live. Apparently we are best perceived live and sound better raw on stage than on record.
I´m not kidding when I say that on numerous occasions we´ve had people stating that we were among the best they´d ever seen, some even THE best.
We´ve also had people saying we were as good as, or BETTER, than Slayer! Compliments unbelievable to me! I´m not saying we are that good, but the fact that this has been a recurring phenomenon throughout all our shows says something. We love playing live and want to tour for sure. Hook us up if you´re interested or have any tips. We are always looking for shows. We wanna take this far, it´s not a hobby band.

What do you hope listeners take away from “ValFreiya,” both in terms of the music itself and the themes that it explores?
If it sparks an interest in Nordic myth and sorcery and someone gets touched by the powers, then of course that is a great accomplishment.
But like I touched upon earlier, what really counts is the energetic core and expression.
Ultimately, I hope it installs the feeling of strength and pride of your own being. The extrovert power and wild energy to face any obstacle or enemy and to crush them with a smiling scream in your heart and soul.

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