10 Questions With Esko from Fejd

fejdpromo1Fejd released their fourth CD, Storm, earlier this year and, for those of you who regularly come to this site, you’ll know that I really dug it. But who are these Swedish viking types, and where do they come from? How is it that they were producing totally awesome demos, but never got a record deal before very recently with the recording/producing of Storm? These are questions that I will ask in the interview I did with Esko, who plays drums in Fejd. Exclusively here at Angry Metal Guy!

AMG: Explain the background concept of Fejd–why did you elect to go with the sound and instrumentation you went with? Who plays what and are all the instruments native to Sweden (aside from the rock instruments, of course)?

Esko: We did not really have any concept when we started Fejd. Patrik & Niklas had been in to Folk music for some years when we started and we all felt that the style felt fresh compared to the Metal music we all had been playing for many years. This was something we could play for the joy of it, without any restrictions or demands, just go with the flow and play what we felt and thought was right. The reason we chose the instruments we use can only be explained with that,we like the sound of them. Every instrument represents a unique sound, impossible to re-create with something else, without losing the identity and sound from the original instrument. I play drums, Thomas Bass, Specht keyboards & guitar, Niklas Moraharpa and Patrik plays the rest (Bouzouki, Swedish bagpipe, cows-horn, Hurdy-Gurdy, Jew’s harp and so on). I guess it is quite difficult to claim the exact origin of an instrument, as there are many similar instruments in lots of culture. We know that the bagpipe we use is a Swedish variant of the instrument and that it is different in some ways from others. The Jew’s harp can be found in different shapes all around the world, so it’s difficult to claim an instrument but we choose them for the sound not for the origin.

AMG: A common search in reference to Fejd is translations of the lyrics, many bands elect to write in English, why did you elect to write in Swedish? Do you feel that it hampers your international success?

E: We use Swedish lyrics because we are Swedish, we have a rich language with words that other languages lack. Some of our lyrics deal with our folklore and beings from our Nordic culture and there are not any good words for all these beings in English. We also sing about nature and we are fortunate enough in Sweden to have Swedish names on plants, trees and stuff thanks to Carl von Linné (1707-1778).

AMG: Do you listen to modern folk metal that’s coming out? Or are you more interested in more traditional folk music? What fejdpromo2are you keen on?

E: I can’t say that we follow everything that comes out nowadays, of the modern Folk Metal acts who’s playing today I believe Tyr is the only one that all of us listen to. We listen to different folk acts as well but I wouldn’t say that we are that traditional. We like Metal, lots of the old seventies & eighties stuff Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate, Bathory but also metal that is a bit younger such as Opeth and stuff.

AMG: A lot of people in the Scandinavian cultures seem to associate folk music and/or anything that even has an odor of what could be dubbed as “nationalism” with a very skeptical eye–how do you find the reaction towards your music in Sweden? Do you find that people are cautious? Do you guys consider yourselves to be “nationalists”?

E: If we look at the amount of fans we seem to have in Sweden I do not think people seem to be cautious, but if we look at gig opportunities, you might be right.

I would not say Scandinavian cultures such as the Norwegians are very proud of their Folk and country, but I agree that people are afraid in Sweden. Being proud of your country has almost become the same as racism here unless it is sports, then it is OK to love your country.

We love Sweden, we love the seasons, to be able to walk in the woods or swim in a lake or the sea, to be able to pick mushrooms or berries in the forests if you feel like it.

We are proud of our athletes when they are performing well and are proud to be Swedish. However, that does not mean that we do not like other nations, cultures and people, I like everyone who is nice and knows to show respect for others. I believe that the world would be quite boring if we did not get inspiration from different parts of the world, in every way, food, music, art everything.

fejdpromo3AMG: What do you think of Piratpartiet and IPRED (and the whole downloading music situation in Sweden in general these days)? As a musician, do you feel that IPRED is going to help anything?

E: As a musician I wouldn’t like to talk politics at all as our music is an escape from everything that you have to face in your normal life. But… For a small act as Fejd I cannot really see how anything they plan could help us, all laws at this level are meant to save the money for the labels and artists who already have too much. We are industrial workers who work hard and save our own money to record albums and pay taxes on money we already paid taxes on before to record our albums, work double shifts to afford to get out on the road. What is fair?

AMG: Why’d it take so long to get signed? I found your first two demos on your site for free and was blown away and figured that you guys had to have a label, but instead you guys just signed to Napalm recently.. What the hell?

E: We never cared about getting a label; we wanted to play for the fun of it and ”gave” away our songs for free when we recorded them. But people want real physical CDs and the situation really slipped out of our hands, it was impossible to distribute albums all over the world by ourselves. Storm was intended as an extended demo CD for our fans, not as a real full-length album. We were surprised by the interest from the labels because we didn’t even know that Marko (our producer) had contacted them in the first place. Napalm felt as the right choice for us and we talked about the situation a lot before we agreed to sign.

AMG: Are there any plans on re-releasing any of the early material, or re-recording it?

E: We decided that it wouldn’t be right for the ones who bought the original ”demos” to re-release them, but we are making new fejdpromo4recordings of some of the songs on our coming albums, more as bonus tracks than ”real” songs. Our plan is to have two oldies on every album but we don’t have any decisions of what songs to choose next.

AMG: Are there any touring plans? Festivals?

E: We have been looking at some tour options but haven’t found anything that suits us at this point, festivals, however, are something that is always interesting. I believe it is all up to the promoters on the festivals to decide if they have the guts to have Fejd on the billing, most Metal festivals seems to be afraid of us, strange considering that most of our fans are Metalheads. I don’t think any of the festivals we’ve played so far has been disappointed for adding Fejd to their billing.

AMG: What’s your favorite traditional instrument?

E: For my part I have to say Moraharpa, it has an important part in our music and a sound that is really mystic and binding. I also like the cow horn as it takes me away to another time.

AMG: When can we expect a new record? How is Storm doing? Are you pleased with sales and the results?

E: We are planning a new recording later this year; I guess November is a quite good guess. That would mean a new album around April or May next year. Most of the music is written, we need to arrange it and rehearse and write some lyrics.

I don’t really know how Storm is going, it has been out for about three months now and it is our first ”real” album, I don’t really know what to expect in sales if we speak of numbers.

We have noticed a bigger interest in the band but I guess we need to give it some more time before we know if it is good or not. I know I am still driving a 15 year old Volvo so it feels like it could have sold better.

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