The Flight Of Sleipnir‘s newest opus V. is so heady and yet physical at the same time, I found myself really taking forever to finalize questions for this interview. I was starting to think their PR guy from Napalm Records who I am friends with would think my brain had turned into a soft boiled egg. Well, I may interview and review many, many bands but this record is so good I wanted to try to be even more reverent than usual to the collection of total power contained in V.’s tracks. Like Odin’s eight legged steed who is their namesake, the band are a force to be reckoned with and convey many truths.
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Your music has this earthy, deeply buried wisdom Jungian feel to me, a sort of delving into the Id and nature below the surface of the songs. Do the tunes pull a lot out of you emotionally or intellectually? I honestly have taken longer than usual with these questions out of semi-awe at the material.
We try not to over-analyse what we are doing during the writing process, so perhaps that contributes to the dream-like or subconscious feel that some of the music has. We just try to let it “flow” as naturally as it can.
You hear more hardcore bands involving down tempo stuff these days. Xibalba for example on their very slow and strong new Mayan sludge song ‘En Paz Descanse’. Do you hope more bands and fans in heavy music continue to expand horizons and check out slower stuff? I’d like to think people who love really extreme stuff could still see the beauty in “The seer in white” for example.
I think that if utilized in the right manner, downtempo stuff can be an effective dynamic tool. For me personally, if something is just brutal and slow for 15 minutes with no dynamic changes of any kind it becomes boring, so being slow just to be slow is probably the wrong idea. But really, things like this are a matter of taste.
What has changed the most for TFoS since Saga? That album cover, by the way, would make a great banner or tattoo.
For “V.” not a whole lot changed besides some gear upgrades. We approached that album very much like we have for the last few, including Saga. However, right now we are starting to involve our live members moreduring the creative process– though the final word on anything in the band remains with David and I. You should check out our facebook page, someone got a tattoo that combines the "V." cover with some elements fromSaga and it looks amazing.
“Headwind” starts the new album in a sort of cold, Enslaved-esque fashion. Definitely some black metal chordal ominous stuff going on there. And the song expands from there to this winding trek. One part even reminds me of “Nothing Else Matters”by Metallica, but in a totally different context. Another section sounds like a theremin but I think it’s a guitar! Do you ponder genre much or just focus on song?
Yep, definitely a guitar! Your Metallica reference surprises me, but everyone hears something different. And no, we don’t get hung up on genre stuff– now obviously we are a heavy metal band so we’re not going to putout a jazz or techno album, but within that context we pretty much travel freely and we focus on what works for the songs.
How did you name the band? It is the question one is never to ask! But the horses many footprints remind me of movement! Your music is quite epic yet somber at times. I was just discussing this with my friend Rebecca Vernon from the doom band SubRosa about your band. You should tour with them.
We would absolutely love to tour with SubRosa. As far as the name goes, David and I were at a show and he turns to me and says “I have an idea for a band called Sleipnir”; — but we didn’t know there was already an established band with that name, so “The Flight” was added on later. Not very exciting, I know.
Do you think the slow harmonized choral type chanted vocals are more intense than screams at times? Your music kind of lightens burdens even when it is more murky and mysterious or ponderously pondering something.
Yes and no– I think that it all has to do with context– something like that is more instinctual and we tend to go with what sounds right to us.
How did it feel reaching this milestone of V. for the band? Is it just another record or obviously an important chapter?
As far as the music is concerned, we treated it as "just another record"– and I think that is important because if you start psyching yourself out about the record label, the press, and anything else– your art starts to suffer. But we are also grateful for the push that Napalm gave this record, and in that regard it is a new chapter for us, and hopefully more opportunities open up for us as a result of this. Time will tell.
As far as the music is concerned, we treated it as “just another record”;– and I think that is important because if you start psyching yourself out about the record label, the press, and anything else– your art starts to suffer. But we are also grateful for the push that Napalm gave this record, and in that regard it is a new chapter for us, and hopefully more opportunities open up for us as a result of this. Time will tell.