Hey guys. Gabe again with another email interview with another crazy unique band that you guys really need to check them out! They have redefined the folk metal genre. They are an amazing band all the way from down under, but once you listen to their new album Ramshackle, your world will be flipped down under and they will be the right side up first! Check out a couple of Youtube videos from the album Ramshackle throughout the interview!
Hey guys this is Gabe here with another amazing unsigned progressive folk metal band called Troldhaugen coming all the way from Wollongong, Australia! How are you guys doing today?
Reventüsk: Hey Gabe. I’m good now that my university course is finished!
Döesbürg: Hello Gabriel. I’ve been Better.
What inspired you guys to create the band name Troldhaugen and explain the journey on how you guys all meet and decided to create such an interesting and unusual band?
Reventüsk: Well, Meldengar (guitar) and I had known each other for a long time and had been jamming and writing music for a few years. In early 2008, we started getting into folk metal through YouTube and internet forums. We got exposed to bands like Finntroll, Otyg and Lumsk and we liked what we heard. One day we thought “hey, let’s try write a folk metal song”, basically just for the novelty. The first songs we wrote were raw but fun and we decided to write some more. At this time we also decided to get more acquainted with Scandinavian folk music and history. This is where we discovered Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. He has a lot of music related to folk tales, trolls, nature and also employs a lot of darker elements and is great at creating an atmosphere. Through his work, we came to learn of his Troldhaugen estate in Bergen, Norway. We liked the sound of the name and thought Grieg’s work fit nicely with the attitude we were going for, so it stuck. From there we wrote more music over the course of a year or two, developing our sound. We then we put a live band together in early 2010 consisting of friends in the area (we were extremely lucky that there were like-minded musicians around that were keen to join our band of trolls!), the live energy changed our sound again. We released our self-titled EP in late 2010, then throughout the next two years we all started to think a lot of folk-metal sometimes sounded quite same-y, so we started listening to much more varied music and our style changed again due to our new influences. We then released our debut album RAMSHACKLE this year and now here we are today!
I’ve been listening to your new album (hopefully getting my physical copy in the mail soon!) and you guys blend so many different styles into your music. You can hear folk, power, Viking, black and a couple of very different things I haven’t heard before in the folk metal genre, what help you guys to create such a distinctive sound?
Reventüsk: Your CD is on its way as we speak! The blend of styles and the other different elements we add are result of always wanting to do something a bit different to what people are expecting. Though we can’t really ignore where our original sound came from, we don’t really listen to a lot of metal any more. While the elements you mentioned are still there to some degree, our influences now mainly come from other styles of music (ragtime, funk, ZEF), as well as films, cartoons, video game music, and music theatre.
From listening to your debut album, you can defiantly get this vibe that you guys are a crazy fun and wild band live, could you guys describe one of the craziest live performances and describe it a bit in detail?
Meldengar: The show that immediately comes to mind is a show we did in the middle of a forest. We got approached by a branch of Venturers to play a show at one of their gatherings, which turned out to be in the forest. We were set up in an outdoor eating area and as soon as we began playing, it started pouring down rain. Döesbürg (mandolin, backing vocals) kept getting zapped every time he sang into the microphone, all the while everybody is dancing and jigging, turning the dirt into a nice swampy pit! Afterwards they treated us to a nice big feast- it confirmed that the forest is TROLDHAUGEN’s optimum venue.
Now Ramshackle was a very uniquely different album, so distinctive that I can’t really compare you guys to any other band, what bands do you guys listen to help to inspire and create your incredibly diverse music?
Döesbürg: I listen to a lot of hip-hop from the Cape Flats in South Africa (Garlic Brown, Jack Parrow, MaxNormal), they have a really unique approach to keeping their music fresh, which I dig. Also I listen to a lot of Atmospheric Black Metal in particular Summoning who know how to build a massive atmosphere through their orchestrations playing off the melodic instrumentation.
Reventüsk: My favourite artists/bands are They Might Be Giants, Kate Bush, Frank Zappa and Primus, if that says anything.
Now you guys are from Wollongong, Australia which is somewhere I have personally wanted to travel to but haven’t had the money to travel yet, what is the local folk metal scene like up there? How would you compare the metal scene in Australia compared to the American metal scene?
Döesbürg: In a word? The Australian Metal Scene is Apathetic.
Reventüsk: I agree with Döesbürg, there are quite a few metal bands, but there’s not enough support in the scene as a whole for those bands to get anywhere. I can’t really compare it with the American metal scene as I’m not too familiar with it.
What was your childhood like up in Australia, what got you guys into the metal scene and also folk metal?
Reventüsk: Most of us grew up on the Australian East coast, so childhood was often going to the beach and playing video games. Pretty normal stuff. When I first met Meldengar he had been learning guitar and was quite into Metallica and then got into Dream Theater, so I got into metal through him, and yeah, as mentioned, I suppose heavy/thrash metal and prog-metal became the gateway into folk metal, at least for me.
Döesbürg: I grew up in the Netherlands.
Now when I listen to you music, I can picture a crazy fun carnival, what are the carnivals like up in Australia and if you haven’t been to one what is a carnival that you’ve always wanted to go to?
Döesbürg: I think we have more of a fair environment over here where communities put on a fete for themselves rather than a travelling carnival. Australia is such a huge intermittently populated country; I don’t think carnivals really work. We used to have a travelling boxing tent in Queensland where local tough guys could take on travelling fighters and try to win money by beating them, that’s about it. Personally I’ve always wanted to go to a travelling circus like the ones that would travel around America in the 20s and 30s, sideshows filled with oddities and tattooed men and bearded half horse midget mermaids. That would be cool.
Do you guys have any crazy drunken stories that you want to share?
Meldengar: One time I had a sip of beer. TROLDHAUGEN is quite atypical (especially for a folk metal band) in that none of the guys are massive drinkers. To be honest I think this is a good thing as the five of us in one room sober is already too much for most people.
Reventüsk: I don’t mind a drink here or there, but yeah, in regards to the band, we don’t really drink all that much, if any. There’s already enough folk metal songs about ale and rum so it’s never been something we’ve focussed on. We’re already big enough idiots when we’re together even before any sort of alcohol is involved.
Döesbürg: I spewed all over my school principal’s bedroom once…. It’s a long story and not fit to publish.
Now I’m assuming that in Australia there are a lot different holidays that are celebrated there then in the U.S., what is your favorite Australian holiday and why?
Döesbürg: Queen’s Birthday. R.I.P Freddy Mercury.
Now your debut album “Ramshackle” was released on August 31 of this year, how has the success been since the release of your album?
Meldengar: Given that we are quite a small band, the response has been beyond what we were expecting. We have already sold out of our first pressing of RAMSHACKLE, which is crazy considering our album is streaming for free on our bandcamp. All the reviews and comments so far have been overwhelmingly positive which considering the album we are surprised and pleased with.
Reventüsk: RAMSHACKLE is quite different to our older material, so we weren’t sure at all how people would respond, but yeah the feedback so far has been great.
You cover a song made by the famous Scott Joplin, who wrote many different ragtime songs, what inspired you to cover a song like that, how has he inspired your music and what got you guys into ragtime music?
Meldengar: The idea came about because Grådenøk (drums) always plays Joplin on the piano so I thought it would be funny to do a trolling arrangement of it. I sent it to the guys and we were all jokingly “haha that will be great on the album” and never spoke of it again. Then it ended up on the album.
Döesbürg: Our live show often incorporates weird cover songs played in our own unique style which never make it on to recordings, but they sometimes appear on youtube….
Now you guys use many different instruments on your debut album, some of which I never even heard of before, could you talk about some of the instruments you play and what is personally your favourite instrument and why?
Reventüsk: I sing and play Jew’s harp on the album. A lot of the software orchestrations you hear on the album have become integral to our sound although nobody in the band owns these instruments, let alone are able to play them. That being said, I would say marimba and tuba are my favourite instruments on the album.
What is one band that you always dreamed of touring with and why?
Meldengar: I think stylistically, an ideal fit would be either Finntroll or Stolen Babies, but personally (and Döesbürg will agree with me on this one), a Die Antwoord/ Manowar/ Troldhaugen tour would shake the earth.
Reventüsk: And split the ground.
Wrapping up, what are your future touring plans for touring, do you have any type of tour planned for the U.S.?
Meldengar: While we currently have no touring plans in the works, we are trying our hardest to build up contacts that can lead us to international touring (hopefully sooner than later!).
Do you have anything to say to your fans at Der Metal Krieger?
Meldengar: Thanks a lot for the interest and support- hopefully we make it across for a blistering tour sooner rather than later!
Reventüsk: Cheers for the support!
Döesbürg: Vote Early, Vote Often.
Thank you so much for doing this interview we really appreciate it!
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Go buy their debut album “Ramshackle” on Bandcamp! You can get in both digital and physical forms!
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Keep it brutal!