the project led by former GORGOROTH drummer Kvitrafn (who also played
with SIGFADER, JOTUNSPOR and DEAD TO THIS WORLD), will release its debut
album, "Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga", on January 19, 2009 via Indie
Recordings. The idea of WARDRUNA began to take shape in 2002 as a
project where founder and main man Einar Kvitrafn Selvik could
work with a musical expression and instrumentation very different from
what his involvements in various metal bands would allow. Naturally, it
also became a place where his passion for and practice of Norse paganism
and runes could be combined with music.
In the spring of 2007, the project started to attract attention after it
was featured on the soundtrack of the widely publicized "True
Norwegian Black Metal" documentary about Gaahl (TRELLDOM,
GORGOROTH, etc.) by Peter Beste and Vice Films.
Despite the fact that the band has not released any product or performed
live, WARDRUNA has garnered a respectable and surprisingly
Nearly six years in the making, WARDRUNA's long-awaited debut
album is the first part of the planned "Runaljod" trilogy which
will musically interpret the runes of the elder futhark. This highly
visual music is hard to place into any specific genre, and there isn't
really much to compare it with. The style can perhaps be described as a
curious blend of folk, world and ambient music, but without being
limited by the sometimes restricted scope of these genres.
"Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga" has a very profound and unique
sound that consists of a wide array of instruments, some of which are
rarely used. A few examples: deer hide frame drums, mouth harp, goat
horns, lur, Hardanger fiddle and tagelharpe ("viking fiddle"). Sounds of
more unorthodox ‘instruments’ like trees, stones and fire are also
incorporated into the music, and it's all topped off with powerful vocal
performances from no less than three vocalists.
The upcoming album entitled ‘Gap Var Ginnunga’ will be the first
in the planned Runaljod trilogy that will interpret the runes of the
elder futhark. The subsequent albums will be entitled ‘Yggdrasill’
and ‘Ragnarok’. Each album will feature eight runes, but not
in accordance with the order of the three aettirs (families), which is
most commonly used. ‘Gap Var Ginnunga’ will feature the following
The album was
produced and engineered by Kvitrafn himself in his own
Fimbulljóđ studio. Many of the recording sessions were executed
outdoors at carefully selected locations with instruments or natural
sounds that are relevant to the different runes.
there is much to talk about and Einar Kvitrafn Selvik, founder of
Wardruna was available to answer some questions. Here you can read what
he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com
all, how are you? And congratulations on your new album ‘Gap Var
Ginnunga’ which will be released in Europe next month, of course we’d
like to ask you a couple of questions about it.
am doing fine thank you. Things are a bit hectic these days but I guess
that’s a good thing!
was originally formed in 2002. What led to the creation of the band?
Kvitrafn: The idea of Wardruna began to take shape in 2002 as a result
of me working more intensively with both runes, shamanism and
I wanted to
do something more in line with my own personal beliefs and heart and I
felt that it was about time somebody dealt with these themes more on
their own premises and with both hands and a more ritualistic approach.
The first recording for the album was actually done early 2003 and
Wardruna has since then slowly developed into the musical expression
that I have been seeking.
Kvitrafn: Wardruna can be translated into "guardian of
of Wardruna is based on interpreting the runes of the Elder Futhark. Why
the desire to interpret runes? Is this a common way of dealing with
it's not very common to deal with the runes in this way, which I felt
was also a good reason for pursueing this "need" I had. Sadly, knowledge
on runes is a rarity in these parts so it's pretty much a DIY process
taking on a project like this. Using these strong "charged" symbols the
way I do, I have found them to be a very good tool to understand and
shed light on many apects of the ancient nordic naturebeliefs and on the
secrets of the runes themselves. This has been a huge passion of mine
since I was very young. The more I work with these themes, the more
profound the insights get.
these particular 8 runes chosen for the first album? Is there a logic
behind this choice?
Kvitrafn: The runes are divided in a pattern that serves
the main purpose and concept of Wardruna and the whole Runaljod trilogy
best - sowing new seeds and strengthening old roots in a cultural,
musical and cultic context. They are definitely not chosen by
coincidence. Apart from the runes themselves, this album is about
creation and sowing a seed or starting something new.
that the recording took place on locations that are relevant to the
runes. Could you give an example?
Kvitrafn: Time (specific dates, season, time of day), location, elements/instruments
are all things that have been thoroughly worked out in the conceptual
work. For instance standing in a river when singing about "Laukr" (the
water rune) or Playing on birchtrees on "Bjarkan" (meaning: Mother Earth,
Birth, Birchtree) during spring time. Recording on winter solstice "Jara"
and "Dagr" on summer solstice.
elaborate more on the concept of seiđr and galdr, as they are probably
unfamiliar to many people but central to the music of Wardruna?
Kvitrafn: They are both ancient Norse techniques of doing
spells or incantations, even prayers etc. Seidr is most often refered to
as an oracular technique but galders can also be of this nature as well
as have many other forms. These days there are many theories on how and
what seidr and galders used to be in ancient times. Many of them are
very colourful and seem not very reliable. Sadly, the sources are sparse
on details but they all include things normally ascribed to the ways of
shamans and such. Maybe someday I will write about my own experiences
and work with these things but not at this point.
the link between the 'magic' of seiđr and galdr on the one hand, and
the interpretation of the runes on the other hand? How do these relate
to each other and why are they used (or perhaps even necessary) to
interpret the runes?
Kvitrafn: This is a huge question that we could probably
talk about for along time without getting close to a specific answer.
The links are many as are the reasons for integrating these themes in
the songs of runes (runaljod).
The runes are
not only about the futhark signs. There is immensly much more to it than
that. They are profound insights - hidden or secret which the word
rune also translates into. The mythology also speaks on numerous
occasions of the link between these things. My approach to this is of a
shamanistic nature, as are the art of seidr and galdr as well as runes
which then of course makes it only natural to integrate this in Wardruna.
Is the use
of seiđr and galdr still active in Norway or has it become a more
Kvitrafn: It is still of the obscure sort I´m afraid.
Lindy Fay Hella was familiar with the concept of seidr as she does the
female vocals on the record. How did you get her involved and what does
she normally do music-wise?
Kvitrafn: She was not familiar to the concept of seidr
but to other similar techniques. I had known Lindy for many years and
had wanted to work with Lindy for a while given her unique, fantastic
voice. She liked my concept and was very enthusiastic when I proposed
the idea of working together on this. She is a very experimental artist
and has a broad spectre of genres and musicians she has worked with.
and Ragnarok (the concepts, not the bands) are pretty well known
throughout the metal community, but I think Gap var Ginnunga (or is it
Ginnungagap?) which relates to the album title is not. Could you explain
the concept in short?
Kvitrafn: Ginnungagap is the great holy gap in wich the
world is created according to Norse mythology. It is where Odin
transcended to or became at one with when he hung himself in Yggdrasil
for nine whole nights, gaining the 9 great galders and the knowledge of
way are the three concepts of Yggdrasil, Ragnarok and Gap var Ginnunga
related to each other as they form the Runaljóđ-trilogy?
Kvitrafn: I feel that they are good images and have a
symbolism that fits well with the Runaljod concept. "gap var Ginnunga"
is the first album and the creation of the new seed. "Yggdrasil" is the
second album and the growt and strengthening of the seed. "Ragnarok" is
the third album and the transformation of the seed.
Yggdrasil and Ragnarok feature the same kind of music as Gap var
Ginnunga in terms of ambient/folk/worldlike music, save for different
Kvitrafn: There will certainly be difference and progression throughout
the trilogy but they will all, to a certain degree, follow the same
concept and instrumentation.
be more music after the trilogy or is the work of Wardruna done after
the 3rd album?
Kvitrafn: Most definitely! I have tons of thoughts and
ideas that need to be done.
music completely developed and rehearsed or is it more naturally
Kvitrafn: No, as I play most of the instruments myself
that would be very difficult.
Most of the
music is an envisioned idea and from then on it is, depending on how
clear the idea is, about experimenting until I get the right energy.
Some of the songs are more time consuming than others.
recording-sessions carefully planned? As there are also 'forest-sounds'
a careful planning seems difficult. Did that also influenced the long
gap in time between the creation of the band and the first album?
Kvitrafn: Some of them are planned to a certain degree
but mostly only to the extent of where, when and what do I need to bring.
The biggest difference with a more conventional recording process is
that this is much more time-consuming. All the outdoor recordings are of
course less convenient and there are many obstacles that you normally
don't have to think about, but basically the recordings are carried out
just like a normal indoor recording. Micing up trees, stones etc. as
well as regular instruments.
reason why it has taken so long is that it has taken a long time to get
all the equipment and instruments I needed. It also took a long time to
find the right way to do it. Having such a huge respect for the themes I
am working with here I certainly did´nt want to push ahead without it
feeling totally right.
many authentic musical instruments, are they still in use and being
produced these days or are they hard to come by?
Kvitrafn: There are not many people using them. Some are
more rare than others but luckily there are still a few people who make
Is the 'sowing
new seeds, strengthening old roots' slogan interpretable as a means to
let people once again enjoy the sound of old Norse music and culture?
Kvitrafn: The slogan has many different layers but the
core of it is the importance of moving forward instead of backwards to
create something new. Not forgetting our roots of course. A tree with no
roots will surely fall.
you choose Indie Recordings as your preferred label of choice?
Kvitrafn: The people at Indie are very professional and
likeable and they understood the concept immediately. They had the same
views as I did on how we should do this. I also naturally like the fact
that they are based in Norway.
we expect 'Yggdrasil'?
Kvitrafn: I hope to have it finished by spring 2010. At
the moment we are working on a live production so there is not much time
for composing now. The first confirmed live show is a special feature at
the next Inferno festival in april.
for the interview, the last words are yours.
Thank you! Please visit
http://www.wardruna.com for music, info and news!
Til árs ok fridar!
Selvik) - Founder of Wardruna, writes all music and lyrics, sings and
plays most of the instruments
Hella - Vocals
Vocals, Conceptual contributions
Kleiveland - Hardanger fiddle
Gap Var Ginnunga (2009)