Musicscan: For all of those future fans that don't know the band Galar yet, please be so kind and summarize the band's history.
Galar: Galar was formed in 2004 by M. Kristiansen (guitar, bass, screams) and S. B. Johnsen (lyrics). In 2005, they wrote a demo where I participated as a session member, covering the clean vocals, bassoon and grand piano. Shortly after, I joined the band permanently. After the release of the demo, we signed to the German label Heavy Horses Records for one album. Tordenskrall joined us on drums in time for the recording of the debut during the summer of 2006. „Skogskvad“ was released in October the same year. Not to long after its release, Tordenskrall left the band to focus on his studies back in his native Germany. S. B. Johnsen also left the band at this time. Jorge “Blutaar” Scholz from Drautran was to take care of the lyrics for our next album, and in 2009, we entered the studio again. This time we decided to work with producer Bjørnar E. Nilsen (Vulture industries, Black hole generator) in his Conclave and Earshot studios (Taake, Helheim, Gorgoroth, Enslaved etc.). As a replacement for Tordenskrall, we recruited talented drummer Elefterios “Phobos” Santorinios (Aeternus, Malsain, Gravdal) as a session drummer. Several other guest musicians participated, including Cecilie Langlie (Skumring) on female vocals. To develop the sound even further, and to make it as organic as possible, a string quintet was included as well, in addition to the grand piano and bassoon as before. „Til alle heimsens endar“ was released 1st of March 2010.
Musicscan: As far as I understand it, „Til alle...“ seems to be a conceptual work. Please explain what it is about.
Galar: Vestfold, and the area around the Oslofjord inlet, were for a long time a long-established centre of royal power. The Norwegian branch of the Nordic dynasty called the Ynglinger, consisting of six kings, is said to have moved to Vestfold and ruled here in the 8th and 9th century. The lyrics presented on “Til alle heimsens endar” tell the story of the first five Ynglinger kings who ruled in Vestfold. We have based the concept on the few written sources available to us, in which the most essential is Snorri Sturluson's book Heimskringla (1230 CE).
The album includes linear notes in English so that all our none-Norwegian speaking listeners can take part in our journey, as well, through old and forgotten history and tales.
We would like to add that when looking back in history, we do not wish to propagate either nationalism or culture pessimism!
Musicscan: Galar works as a two piece, involving a few guest musicians. Have you ever considered founding a „real“ band or does working in a double team work good for you?
Galar: It works remarkably well! As for now, this is how we'll work and make new music. We work so close and know the other's musical intentions so good that letting more people in on the creative level, will at the current time make more harm than good.
Musicscan: I really love the album, allthough I never cared much about so called „folk metal“. To me, Galar takes forth the spirit of bands like Enslaved once had, if you don't mind the comparison. Which band had an influence on you and what are you getting inspired by?
Galar: Thanks! Enslaved is a great band, so we can‘t complain about such a reference. It’s hard to mention specific bands or artists who influence our song writing. I think one is often subconsciously influenced by the music you listen to at the time you write the music. Therefore the influences will always change a bit. For me it does at least. Over the years I’ve listen to a lot of bands such as Windir, Taake, Borknagar and many many more, and I have of course been influenced by some of these bands, some more than others.
Musicscan: Do you care much about the current state of dark music? You seem to integrate both folk and black metal elements. Do you follow what goes on in the music scene?
Galar: Yes, of course. I do follow the music scene closely. I usually spend quite some time reading different webzines etc. to get information on new bands, as well as old heroes within different genres of metal. Music is my one and only passion and not a day passes without this dayly ritual, as well as spinning a CD or two in my stereo, or doing some work with Galar, whether it’s writing music, practising, or doing some promotional work.
Musicscan: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what would be your description?
Galar: Wow, that's a difficult question. Ok, I would have to describe the music in pictures, then, since the person has no reference to anything audible. Imagine an epic landscape surrounding you. In fact, you dive into it, like the opening of a movie. You come flying from above, diving between steep mountains and dark waters. You see trees as well, old trees, and you steer towards them, going through the portal-like opening of an ancient forest. You're drawing closer, the fog lies thick, hiding the forest floor. You land on your feet and start to walk further into this strange and forgotten place. The shadows are darker here, and you feel the presence of past times as you follow the forest track deeper into the gloomy shadows. Then you stumble through a wall of fog, and suddenly on the other side, you find yourself in the midst of a mighty battle, the air is thick with the smell of blood and fear, you see men running on both sides of you with their swords and spears raised. The air is trembling with energy as you start running for the others side. As you climb up the hill in front, you look down the other side, the sea down there is almost black, boiling as if a storm is coming up, and the salty sea-wind hits you in the face, knocking you off your feet. You loose contact with the ground and start falling down towards the sea far under you. Then all of a sudden, the scenery changes, you're back on the forest track and eagerly you carry on, not really knowing where your next footstep is going to take you..
Musicscan: Do you plan on performing live in the near future?
Galar: We’re looking into the possibility of doing something live, but it's hard to know at the current time, so I won't speculate to much right now. Only the future knows!