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5 Questions to: Wardruna.

Wardruna is a awesome musical project based on Nordic spiritualism and the runes of the Elder Futhark. It was started by Einar "Kvitrafn" Selvik in 2003, along with Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella.

The project began in 2003 and has since released two albums, each based on a set of runes. There are plans to release at least one more disc, based on eight more of the runes. In 2014 Kvitrafn announced on the group's official Facebook page that they would take part in composing the score for season 2 of Vikings along with Trevor Morris. However, Kvitrafn has stated he finds it difficult to watch the series as he feels it does not depict the trading and the spirituality of the Norse correctly.


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Photo from Wardruna’s second concert at Vikingskipshuset (The Viking Ship Museum) in Oslo, Norway on March 30, 2010. Photographer: Wardruna.com


Genzerfahrungen/Reset Black: Wardruna is a music project that shows an incredible spiritual character through its song structures and sounds. You are working currently on the last part of an album trilogy that has 3 rows of 8 runes of the Elder Futhark as its topic. What was the motivation to deal exactly with this issue? And how do you explain to an interested audience what runes are and why they are so fascinating?

Wardruna: I regards to my use of Runes in the ongoing Runaljod-trilogy I have to say that when searching in the scattered ruins of our Norse cultural, musical and spiritual heritage and I find the runes to be very good storytellers and images of the different aspects of the old traditions – many of which are just as relevant today as they were in the past. It´s basically about mans relationship to nature, to each other and to something larger than us. Quickly explaining the many intriguing and enigmatic aspects of the Runes is not something that is easy to do but I will try to boil it down. Besides meaning letter the word rune can mean: knowledge, skill, secret, magical sign, sorcery, confidential conversation, a riddle, magical song. The runes have always had a strong symbolic value and always gone hand in hand with knowledge and insights of some sort, often esoteric. Besides being a writing-system the mythology speaks of the runes as knowledge of divine origin or “reginkunnr”.

Grenzerfahrungen/Reset Black: The Nordic mythology is besides its spiritual character often a musical cornerstone for many bands from the north. Also interesting, that it is often a topic especially for Metal bands in all there facets. You have some roots in the Black Metal band Gorgoroth, as has Gaahl, who is also part of Wardruna. How did it happen, that your musical style is now quite a different one? Or are there some parallels between Metal sounds like the ones of Gorgoroth and the shamanistic shaped sounds of Wardruna, that are not obvious?

Wardruna: Yes many bands all over the world use Norse mythology for their lyrical or visual concept but I personally think that very few bands do this on a deeper level. For me Gorgoroth was a job and had no personal meaning at all to me beyond it being a strong artistic expression and so my growing need to create something more in line with my own personal beliefs and my own passion lead me to start working with Wardruna back in 2002. Sound-wise I don’t see many parallels but if you go back to the early stages of Black Metal and before it became a technique based genre one can see that atmosphere and intention put into the music was more important than how fast you play or how good sound you have. That is something I can relate to how I am working with Wardruna as well.

Genzerfahrungen/Reset Black: You are using mainly historic instruments. Did you had the opportunity to talk with music historians about how they were build and used? Or are all the instruments that you use original ones? Because especially your drums have an unique, hypnotic note …

Wardruna: When I started up this project there were hardly anyone still making several of the instruments I use and so I spent a lot of time researching and talking to some of the very few builders left and some of the instruments I actually had to build myself, there amongst the drums you mention.

Genzerfahrungen/Reset Black: What does Wardruna mean? Is it a philosophy that you live for and that has a future too? If its so, it would mean that we can except more albums of Wardruna after the runes trilogy …

Wardruna: Wardruna means Guardian of runes/secrets/knowledge. Doing what I do is indeed personally motivated and I consider myself a practicing pagan. When it comes to the future of Wardruna I can say that I have tons of plans and ideas and the Runaljod trilogy is just the beginning!

Genzerfahrungen/Reset Black: After the fantastic movie Valhalla Rising there is a current renaissance of films like Viking: Ride of the Warrior, Northmen – A Viking Saga or Vikingdom or even the TV series Vikings. Is it just a short-lived trend, or is it a bigger interest in an Europe-wide unique mythology? And if it’s a bigger interest in the culture and mythology of the Northmen, would it please you to produce a soundtrack for this kind of film? Something you did already with the composer of the Vikings series Trevor Morris …

Wardruna: The growing interest for Norse history and Mythology is in my belief NOT something that will pass quickly. The material is far too complex and unique and we have yet to see any films really being able to fully catch its´ authenticity and get passed all the over-simplified stereotypes even though even though the attempts are getting better and better. That being said, I do not believe nor to I expect film and TV producers to make films to please history-nerds like myself – it´s entertainment after all. Being a part of the musical cavalry of the TV-series Vikings and working with award-winning composer Trevor Morris has been a wonderful experience for me and I have learned a lot from it. Composing soundtrack for film or TV is absolutely something I wish to continue doing!

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© by Reset Black. "Reset Black" is a Radioshow for those who enjoy sounds on the periphery of silence.