(Our Norway-based contributor Karina Noctum brings us the following Q&A she had with Jakob Björnfot, the man behind the Swedish black metal band Kvaen, whose debut album is set for release on February 28th by Black Lion Records.)
The Funeral Pyre, the debut album from Swedish melodic pagan black metal unit Kvaen, is slated to drop on February 28, 2020, through Black Lion Records. No Clean Singing hosted (here) the premiere stream of the album’s title track. Clocking in at nearly 7 minutes of relentless exhilaration, the track features a guest guitar solo by Sebastian Ramstedt (Necrophobic, Nominon) and drums by Freddy Ortscheid (Black Lily, Omnicide).
Adds Jakob Björnfot, the sole mastermind behind Kvaen: “’The Funeral Pyre’ was one of the first songs that I composed for this album. I lived in a big house on a huge mountain in the VERY north of Sweden. I had nature around me everyday. It was very inspiring, to say the least. One day, I was messing around on my computer, trying out ideas. I remember that I had the fireplace burning and it was snowing outside. I wanted to write a song where I could feel the connection of spirits in Tornevalley and I have to say: I succeeded. The atmosphere, Sebastian’s solo, and the lyrics became something truly unique.”
I put more questions to Jakob:
When did you start? How did Kvaen develop?
KVAEN started in February 2018, I needed to get this album done since I had so much great material on my computer. I lived on a big mountain and had inspiration around me 24/7.
You got many contributions from different known musicians. How does it work? Do they compose the parts and you arrange them afterwards? Or do you give them an idea they can work with?
I give them examples of how it should go, I compose ALL the music. When it comes to guest vocals, for example, I like to have a part in that as well, but I can be a bit more open-minded except for a few things which I feel have to be there.
How long did it take you to compose the album?
1,5 years including mix and master.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a solo project?
Doing everything by yourself, the ULTIMATE freedom! You are your own boss and no one can tell you what to do! That is the best thing.
The worst part is all the hard work since you got to start from scratch. However, if I join something or start something, I’ll do it 110 percent and nothing less. That’s why I might be hard to work with sometimes, because I always go full-throttle!
Who produced the album?
Me, myself and I.
What are your musical inspirations? Do you draw any inspiration from non-metal?
Well, for me at least it really depends on what time of the year it is, I don’t really grab so much inspiration from metal anymore really… I am really into Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Deströyer 666 and all the good ’90s Swedish black metal right now. In the Spring I might be into Miles Davis or Django Reinhardt, who knows.
What are the lyrics all about and how do they relate to the sound?
I don’t want to spoil the party! ; – )
Did it go a long time in between the composition of the songs, since some are a bit different from each other?
Hm, not really. I already had the idea to make it different and not a full-blown BORING black metal album, I like dynamics and a full spectra of influences. I had a break in the summer of 2018 because of my computer breaking down. But when I got my new computer I just started to finish the album and had so much inspiration flowing in my veins!
Did you give a thought about which order the songs were going to have in the album? Is there any particular effect you wanted to give to the listener by presenting the songs in this order?
Of course! I wanted the album to start with a fist in the face and then turn dynamic! It’s the most effective way to keep a listener interested. The main part is, of course, that all the songs are KILLER!
What are your future plans?
Tour, tour, tour! Play, play, play! Raise hell, hell, hell!