If you are a fan of the hit television series Vikings then chances are you have heard the music of alternative band Wardruna. Not only have the band had music feature on the show but one of their main performers, Einar Selvik, has appeared in the show a number of times.
Of course Wardruna’s music and Vikings go together with a perfect fit. After all we are talking about a band that embrace Norse mythology and history into their music and once performed on-board a 1500 year old Viking ship. Then of course there is also the fact that the band uses instruments such as the Sootharp, Goat-horn and Lur – all instruments that would of course would have been used during the time of the Vikings.
Now Wardruna return with their fifth studio album, titled Kvitravn, and I recently had the chance to sit down and discuss the album with Einar Selvik himself.
“In a way this starts off where our trilogy of albums left off,” says Selvik as I talk to him about where the ideas came for him for this masterpiece of an album. “But of course those pieces took me fifteen years to finish and that was all very pre-decided from the beginning what the semantics of that would be. The idea of that was too give a voice to each of the Runes, and in some ways the new album follows on from that.”
“Of course nearly all of my music is about animalism,” he says after a long pause – obviously looking for the right way to describe what the new album is about. “I look at our relationships with animalism, the concepts within animalism – how we view nature, each other and how we deal with something that is much bigger than ourselves. The new album definitely does that as well but it kind of zooms in and goes into the specifics. It is more direct and gets closer to some of the concepts. It is very nature based and perhaps goes more into human perspectives and old ideas and looks at how we define ourselves as humans but the older race way of viewing it.”
Like myself Selvik loves to get out and escape into nature but the concept behind Kvitravn goes a lot deeper than simply writing the music inspired by the nature around us. Instead Selvik uses the album to explore an idea that is very close to his heart.
“It promotes a view that I have myself,” he says as we delve deeper into the origins of the album. “I have this idea that perhaps it would benefit us all if we had a little bit more animalistic view on the world. What I mean by that is that I belief and have experienced that the moment that we took sacredness out of nature and put it up into the sky or completely disregarded it things became problematic and we got onto the wrong track and of course this all happened a very long time ago. I don’t like preaching or serving truths to my audience but if the album is political in any way or preaching in any way it is kind of subtle does that.”
As our discussion goes on we both begin to talk about our love for nature and we discuss how the events of 2020 have seen the balance between human and nature re-set a little. We talk about how many wild animals both here in Australia and right around the world have explored the suburbs while humanity has been in lockdown. “I certainly think… and definitely hope that is the case,” Selvik says with an obvious smile showing in his voice. “I think for some people it has put things into perspective and it has reminded us that we cannot push things too far. We already have pushed things too far and the fact that we cannot control everything around us seems to be sinking in. Of course to some it has just meant more Netflix sadly, but I do hope that is an added a perspective to some people as well… it is very much needed.”
With Wardruna’s popularity continuing to rise and the release of this album further enhancing that Selvik finishes our interview with a special message for all of the band’s Australian fans. “We really hope to be able to come down to your part of the world – Australia and New Zealand – soon. There has been some attempts several times and it is something that we have been working on, so when the world hopefully soon goes back to some form of normality I definitely hope we can begin working on coming down there to do some concerts in Australia… that would be fantastic.”