1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Hey and thank you for this interview. Well actually the last couple of weeks we were very busy in organising and working behind the scenes with our label MDD Records in order to get everything ready for the release of „Isolacracy“ – because of the whole Covid19 situation we were not really able to rehearse or play any shows but we’re looking forward to present our new material to a real audience as soon as possible.
2.In November you have a new album coming out musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
This was the first time for our members Dan, Manu and Martin to be part of the recording process. We have been through quite some line up changes in the past but this time we really wanted to push ourselves much more and set new boundaries musically and also lyrically. In the past the music was also very rich in variety and of course we wanted to keep this elements because in my opinion that is what STRYDEGOR is all about. But on the other hand we wanted the songs to be more „on point“ and more emphasised on melodies than on a variation of different riffs. And while most of the lyrical content in the past was based on Northern mythology or in a historical context, I realised that there is a lot of stuff happening today which concerns me and what I want to put into our lyrics. We keep the past saved in our memories but now we keep our focus on present and future.
3.This is also your first album in 2014, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
As I said, since the beginning of the band we had some line up changes, which I (Flo) am the last remaining member. Since 2016, when we decided to part ways with our former bass player Clemens, we spent a lot of time in the recording studio and rehearsal room and found ourself in a process of reinvention – What is STRYDEGOR – What do we want STRYDEGOR to be? We played some shows in Clubs and Festivals and had a very great time and more and more worked on songs together. I was bringing in the melodies and riffs and the other guys were very honest with their opinions to keep this and that or change this riff to this or whatever. And this is why – from my point of view – Isolacracy is honest and shows our personality as it is. On the other hand everyone in the band of course had his personal stuff going on, Marriage, Children, Health issues,… but at the end the day we stood together and still do and do what we really want to do: Play Metal and have a good time together.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
On the first three records it was all about Vikings, Northern Mythology, old historic stuff that we were much into at that time. It was the time where the Pagan Metal scene was on the rise and bands like Amon Amarth or Ensiferum where on their peak. We always had a big interest in old tales from Scandinavia and because we were born and raised not that far from the Baltic Sea we nearly could understand how the old tribes in the middle ages had feeled about the region and nature where they are from. But at one point I realised that if you only look into the past and try to „put daily problems in a historical context“ or „how did the people in the past handle this or that“ the more you push away what’s important in your own life and in the time we now all live.
We don’t want to be a political band or be part of any political spectrum – especially not in any extrem part of course – but we also live here today on this earth and we can not close our eyes to problems which affect our own lives as well. So most of the lyrics on „Isolacracy“ is very socio-critical but we don’t really want to tell the listeners what to do with their lives except for – be responsable to you, the people and your environment and not always look for the mistakes in others.
5.The earlier lyrics and band name comes from Nordic Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
When Slava (Rest in Peace), Clemens, Sven and I founded STRYDEGOR in 2007 we listened a lot to Folk Metal, Pagan Metal and Viking Metal and most of the lyrics were written by me while Clemens also had his influence in some lyrics as well. We found it very interesting how the Vikings could be so calm, family loving and in close touch with their nature and on the other hand so brutal, focussed on their goals and against religious opression. As a teenager there is such a fascination for everything that stands out of the mainstream and at some point we loved the fact that this theme was very rebellious. I mean none of us never really had negative experiences with the church or any other religious groups but at this time is was kind of „cool“ to wear an inverted cross, Mjöllnir or something like that. But we all liked how the Vikings saw their Gods and how everything in nature was symbolised by an own God or Goddess – long before the Marvel Thor movies were out. So the outfit and symbols came more out of this relationship with nature than the real pagan conviction. But the more we read about mythology or stories from the Viking age and the more bands were showing up singing about nearly the same topics, we realised how limited this topic is and that not every problem we have or see in the world has to be transcripted into an extinct age. I’m pretty sure Martin, Manu and Dan also know a lot about Vikings and stuff as well but I can only talk for myself when I say that sometimes I find myself reading in old books or documentations about Middle ages, mythology (any kind of mythology) but honestly today I have other, stronger interests. But I always love to look back to the time back then.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the album cover?
The idea of the artwork – like a lot of stuff for STRYDEGOR – happened very spontanious.
I had the idea how everyone today is trapped in his/her own little reality, his/her own little bubble of attention and how the world around us gets more and more destroyed by negative emotions like hate, greed, egoism etc. and how we try to distract ourselves with social media or other devices than to oppose with our own responsibility and so something.
Some people could think „Yeah, now STRYDEGOR does the same plague mask think like everyone else because of Covid..“ but that is not the case. It is more about the human made plague because everyone is only thinking about his/her own wealth and money instead of working and creating for a better world for everyone. That’s why our protagonist is wearing headphones, to show the distraction we see and feel on the streets on daily basis. That’s the reason why we chose the titel „Isolacracy“ – a world order were everyone closes eyes and ears for everything what’s surrounding him or her – as long the lowest desires are fed.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Our stage performance is 100% Metal – whatever that means. We go on stage, and as soon the lights go out we all give 100% energy and also love to communicate with the audience. Headbanging, telling jokes – have a good time and for at least the time of the concert forget all stress. We hope to do that in the near future. Some festivals were taking place in Germany the last couple of months and we can’t wait for next year, where the shows from 2020 were postponed to. We will see how the concert scene will change and – unfortunately – how many clubs will survive this pandemic. Every show we play is unique and we love to play live wether in small clubs or bigger stages on festivals The best concerts so far we as STRYDEGOR had were mostly Festivals in Germany. At Metalfest Dessau 2012 for example we played with Megadeth or Kreator which was a very great experience to see how professional everything was organised and so on. Also Festivals like Wolfszeit or Ragnarök in Germany were great, because we shared stage and time backstage with our teenage heroes like Ensiferum etc. At this shows there are a lot of people in the crowd and there is a lot of action happening – but I have to say that also a small venue with less people going totally nuts creats a great feeling and that is something you’ll keep in memory.
8.The new album is coming out on 'MDD Records', how would you compare working with this label compared to other labels you have been a part of in the past?
We had 2 different labels in the past and I don’t want to say anything negative about them. Without them I am pretty sure we won’t be where we are today but I have to say, that the way they worked didn’t fit to STRYDEGOR and how we thought a label would work – for other artists they might work perfect.
With MDD Records we are in contact nearly everyday and Markus and Kai are very openminded and interested in our ideas and I have to say that the whole marketing concept and the production of our new record works out very well. Also MDD is very good connected in the German metal scene or in the scene in general and therefore it opens the door for other great connections and possibilities in the future as well. We from Northern Germany and MDD from Southern Germany you can sometimes find some cultural and language differences but that’s meant more jokingly. It’s a great work so far and I’m looking forward what we and MDD will create on our way!
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music y fans of melodic black and death metal?
You always have people that like the music you play or not. You have people that love the band whatever we do and if we want to record a Hip Hop record, I’m sure this guys and girls would also celebrate with us which is great. Don’t be afraid, the Hip Hop record is set for album Nr. 9. But to be honest, most of the reations have been positive along the way of our career but sometimes you get negative comments on how they don’t like the sound or the vocals or whatever. As long as you can see they want to be constructive or listened to the music or read about our band cool. Sometimes a few metalheads want to be very funny and try to insult us or whatever, but that is the price you pay when you in some ways are in public life. What I realise is that a lot of people from Russia, Asia or Southern America are very much into „Extreme Metal“ especially from Germany and some friends from other popular German Metal bands already told us that there is a big Metal scene that are going 100% crazy when there is a show or festival or something. In the past a lot of people – especially the Pagan Metal fans – were very satisfied with our music and I hope that they find something in our latest release as well. But with music it’s like every other art: Either you love it or not“
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Not into Hip Hop actually, haha. Well I don’t really know how the music from STRYDEGOR will change in the future. We love to experiement with different sounds and melodies but we also love to keep it quite simple and straight forward. We have so many influences coming and going and I’m satisfied how „Isolacracy“ worked out with old elements like acoustic guitars and double lead guitars and also new elements like sound effects or more clean vocals. I don’t want to put my creative mind too much into boundaries and I’m sure that the next releases will be even more suprising for everyone.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
„Metal“. Iron Maiden, Metallica, In Flames, lot of melodic Metal bands from Scandinavia in general but also other musical influences like Genesis, Jimi Hendrix etc. You’ll never know when inspiration kicks in and we keep our ears open for everything as long as it creating an emotion inside of us. Our musical taste is very diverse and depends on the situation. For example, when I have a stressful day I love to listen to some Old School Death Metal or Black Metal but there are days I’m lost in my thoughts and then I love to listen to something quiet like Katatonia or even 70s Prog. That’s why I also formed a Prog rock Project called DARRAGH with former STRYDEGOR drummer Christian Eggers and some good friends. But for STRYDEGOR it is and will be for all time METAL which is the biggest influence! And Nicky Minaj for our brother Dan on guitars – my anaconda don’t…
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks again, mate, for this opportunity. Keep support your local music scene and Metal bands. Go to concerts if there is one – of course wear a mask like our „Plague Mask Guy“ on our album cover – stay safe, spread love and enjoy yourselves! And don’t forget to by our album! LOVE AND PEACE!
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