Interview with Mikael of VREDENSDAL

Interview with Mikael of VREDENSDAL

- in Written interviews

(photo) Melissa Vredensdal

Hello, Mikael! How did VREDENSDAL come to be, and what motivated you to create music that alters the expectations of what Black Metal can be?
The mission statement of Vredensdal came about after I found a lack of quality American black metal from 2012 to 2015. I made multiple one man band projects that tried and inevitably failed to capture the vision I had in my head. In the beginning I really wasn’t musically capable with my instruments of creating the music how it was supposed to be so it took many attempts, practice and all that. I realized that I naturally had a different interpretation of music in general and when it came to black metal the combination of those ideas sparked something that gave me the motivation to really put my whole life into the band that eventually became what you know today. It took me years to develop

Your fans have dubbed your style of music “N.W.O.U.S.B.M.” Could you explain how it represents the music you create?
Well for me at the time of Vredensdals inception, I was getting bored and tired of not being able to get behind a single American band who’s sound was its own. I have always felt like many bands not just American were lacking in dynamics and feel. It was growing increasingly difficult for me to be proud of band that gave off the feeling of authenticity without being covered in gimmicks or preconceived notions of “what black metal is supposed to be.”

For a long long while I hated USBM so I purposely didn’t listen to any of it. It just bothered me and we all know Europe has the best bands. I knew that I wanted to make black metal music but I promised myself that I would make sure to never let myself become part of any groups or titles. Especially of the group that falls into the category of mediocre.

I have always created my music from an estranged place because I had an odd and sheltered upbringing that didn’t allow me to explore creative freedom or a lot of other normal things growing up. I had to re-learn about what music meant to me after I joined the military to escape my family life. I put my own meaning to the music that spoke to me because that was all I ever knew how to do.

So when I released the first Vredensdal demo “Gather, All Ye Hellions” in 2018 someone on Bandcamp said something about how this was a “New Wave” of US black metal it was like a radical reaction in my brain caused by volatile chemicals and just like that I was off.

Vredensdal is the NWOUSBM because nobody can take shattered glass and turn it into art like I can.

How has the band’s sound evolved since your formation in 2018, and what new elements can we expect to hear on your upcoming album “Sonic Devotion To Darkness”?
I’ve always had this image in my head of what each album represented on its own. The first pr the seed; Fealty Of Diabolism showed people how I understood the truth about basic black metal but still managed to give it my own touches. The second or the growing roots; The Tyrant Shade showed how I understood the fusion of multiple elements and genres and am capable of pushing things to another level. The third or the sprout out of the soil, “Silence Is Eternal” represented a hybrid of the principles of the first two albums in a focused force and the new one, the bud of the flower “Sonic Devotion…” is the first wholesome album that represents the real sound of Vredensdal.

After this album, the blossoming flower will follow and then be shown in its many seasons and in its many stages of life until death finally takes it fighting.

Can you take us through your creative process when it comes to writing and recording new music?
Emotionally, it starts with a simple feeling that leads to a lot of sitting and thinking and then eventually translating that feeling into sound. From this point forward I apply what is known as the scientific method when developing song structures, riffs and then compiling the album.

Sometimes its very organized and sometimes it is manic obsession

Your music often weaves homages to the masters of yesteryear with new takes on the genre. What bands or artists have been the biggest influences on your music, and how do you incorporate those influences into your own sound?
The band that have been my biggest influence on sound are the ones that I started with as just a kid, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Cream, The Doors etc. It’s really not easy to put their sounds into my music without it being a copy so I don’t do that, I put in the feel.

As far as bands that have inspired me to create more openly then others? Simple…. it is every single boring, monotonous, and tasteless modern “copy & paste” band that I continue to hear pour out to the masses each year and somehow praised for sounding like “immortal” or whoever. The shit will never end so neither my desire to rival with them.

Your upcoming album “Sonic Devotion To Darkness” features cover artwork by Marek Soszynski. How does the artwork tie into the themes and concepts explored on the album?
True darkness is within, and the deepest part of our inner existence is displayed outwardly through the eyes. Therefore to get in touch with true darkness you need to be able to see yourself in the mirror.

The face of the Goblin fits that perfectly.
And Marek capture that impeccably well. We spoke about a variety of ideas including my heavy inspiration of H.P. Lovecraft and he took the concept and made it his own and absolutely crushed it.

He is a well known black metal artist and deserves to be recognized.

What message do you hope listeners take away from “Sonic Devotion To Darkness” and your music as a whole?
That black metal has such a wider scope of capability than 99% of what you hear at the top of the charts or festival bill. That you can incorporate variety without losing the feeling of real metal if you apply yourself correctly.

Touring bands write songs that are easy to play while touring. That instantly limits them.

I dont pay attention too much to what is out there, and in my opinion a lot of these more popular bands styles all sort of blends together. Kind of the same sounding… lacking individuality albeit their name and logo.

Lyrically, I want it to cause thought in others of themselves. Deep thought.

Your music explores primal desires and the inner shadow within all of us. How do you approach tackling such heavy and introspective themes in your music?
I am both gifted and cursed with the sight.

The more you’re able to see makes things that much more complicated.

Just as someone who is diagnosed with a type of illness that’ll last them a lifetime, it becomes who they are, second nature.

How do I do it? I don’t have to do anything its just there.

Black metal is often associated with extreme emotions such as anger, pain, and suffering. How do you channel these emotions into your music, and what is the role of catharsis in your creative process?
Very similar to the previous question honestly.

Anger, pain and suffering have existed in my life since I was a child so like I said it’s a part of who I am. But we all grow and mature and it causes significant contemplation. A serious amount of questioning one’s own morals and beliefs, truthfully it’s never ending and I don’t expect that to end until I die.

However, there is a significant a moment in each person’s life where the things that have harmed them either become a tool or they become a scar.

I turn my pain into usable tools, because quite some time ago I decided that I don’t want to be a victim for the rest of my fucking life.

Finally, what’s next for VREDENSDAL after the release of “Sonic Devotion To Darkness”?
I’m working on establishing a merch deal and I’m transition with my music gear.

I’ve left Jackson guitars and Seymour Duncan pickups behind and am now totally obsessed with Harley Benton, they’re all I use now.

Other than that, I have already completed writing the next album and have been doing some recording. It’s going to be huge, NOBODY has ever heard what I have coming out next.

It’ll no doubt be Vredensdal in “swansong” like fashion.

Thank you so much for having me! Cheers!

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