Varang Nord is a folk metal band from the cold woods of Latvia. Their songs praise a mighty battle, a bloody sacrifice to the Old Gods and a joyful northern feast with endless mugs of ale. Founded in 2014, they combine harsh death metal riffs with epic accordion chants, creating a unique blend of northern pagan/folk metal sound. The band has 3 full-length albums, an extensive concert activity, several clips & win at Wacken Metal Battle 2019. We present an interview with the band about the past and future plans.
Hello, friends! Last year, the band took first place at the Wacken Metal Battle festival. Share your impressions. Did you expect such a result? What peaks would you like to conquer in the future?
Impressions are absolutely indescribable. Despite the fact that we were traveling with the goal of winning, and quite naturally expected just such a result, everything turned upside down when we were announced. We have never felt such a mixture of joy, relief and excitement. As for the new heights, we plan to give a lot and power of concerts, appear more at festivals, shoot a new clip and release an album.
A feature of your songs is the lyrics. If in terms of image you are more likely a collective image from different cultures, then in terms of lyrics you have chosen a specific language. Tell us, what determines the choice of the Latgalian language for lyrics?
The choice of language was quite simple, although we did not immediately come to it. We were all born and raised in Latgale, so when we again raised the issue of self-identification, Latgalian was our first choice. Latgalian is our culture, our daily life.
Tell, where did the fascination with the culture of the Varangians come from? Have you always wanted to play in your chosen style or started with other genres? Do band members have side projects?
The call of the ancestors makes itself felt, we are from the Baltic, after all. We always had the idea of playing pagan folk. Band start Varang Nord can be traced back to 2004, when our frontman Wolf (Maxim Popovhad a slightly different band, but in the same genre. Later, he tried other genres – death, thrash – but in the end he returned to folk anyway. Khur (Artyom Kuritsyn) has his side project Yomiplaying japanese folk metal. For the rest of the participants Varang Nord — is the only one band.
You have a fairly large team, including a technician and a manager. How do you manage to interact effectively? To go on tours together, rehearse, engage in studio activities? How do you manage to combine music and everyday life / work? What do you do besides the band?
In fact, the more people, the easier it is to interact. Each has its own role, and all the work is done the faster, the more people perform its individual parts. Riding is also not a problem precisely because there are always people to replace, and over time the composition of the band will only replenish. Regarding everyday life – everyone has a regular job, but everyone also has a desire to make music their main activity, so we are looking for compromises, trying to combine. In this matter, the main desire and initiative, and then usually there are no problems.
You can tell a few words about how important the label is in the life of the band. Is it really necessary for bands?
n general, you can do without a label, but it is expensive and time consuming. The label greatly facilitates the search for the necessary connections and financing, which makes it easier to implement the ideas of the band. The smaller the band and the less experience, the more useful the label is, the more chances there are to successfully declare oneself. Of course, if the band has bottomless pockets, then the participants can do everything themselves, but personally, we strive to cooperate with labels.
In terms of composition, do you have a mastermind in the group or do everything together, each bringing something different?
The main part of creativity is written by the Wolf, but everyone helps with ideas. There are people with specialization, like Khur (writing lyrics), Aigar (drums) or Lenawho helps with composing more complex accordion parts.
Was the band planning to write a soundtrack for a thematic film or series? For example, for the “Vikings”?
It’s a good idea, we would love to try it, but I must admit that composing pure folk is not our main specialization, so to speak. We are not a band Wardruna. Nevertheless, along with the next album, a separate disc with folk arrangements of our songs will be released, so if someone suddenly wants to use them in their films, we will only be happy about that.
By the way, about the movies. Can you name your favorite tapes? And to me, as a big horror fan, it would also be interesting to hear a selection of your favorite horror films (if any).
We need to say that we are not particularly watching the cinema, so it is difficult to give an answer. We love historical films, of course – both documentary and feature. Of the horror films was not bad “Pet Sematary”.
What about books? What do you like to read in your spare time?
Again, as with films, we are mainly interested in books on history and fiction in a historical setting.
What interesting music albums of the past year could you single out for yourself?
Sabaton (especially the song Bismark) Carcass had good releases. And the single of Korpiklaani was good too.
You have repeatedly visited Belarus with concerts. What observations can you note about our country? How different are people on the streets, culture, musicians, for example, from yours? What music bands from Belarus can you mention?
In our opinion, we do not have many differences, except perhaps a slightly more relaxed attitude towards life. Easier, I guess. From music we really value bands Дрыгва, Dymna Lotva, Aillion, Znich and Рутвица, Омут.
What are your plans for the future?
We plan to release an album, make a video, go on a tour.
And, traditionally, a few words in conclusion, what would you like to wish webzine readers and your fans?
Listen to good music, listen to more music, and may the old gods come with you.