Everyone knows that the supremacy of the English language in the world of music is currently unquestionable. For this reason, finding bands that try to remain faithful to their Mother Tongue is very difficult.

Skálmöld, the band that I invite you to meet today, has been singing in Icelandic (a language that varies within the same country depending on which area you go to) since its inception. They have never felt the need to change their language because it just doesn’t come naturally to them.

For this reason is very surprising that when you experience them for the first time, saw the audience chants and sings their songs from the beginning to the end.

So after contacting them, their lead guitar and vocals Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson, accept the invitation to answer some questions for my VNMATW portal. Let’s see what he told us.

K: First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to answer my questions for VNMATW. By the way, how was this new tour with Finntroll in the UK and Ireland (NdR: they made it last April)? How many times have you toured with Finntroll only this year?

Þráinn: Hi, the tour was awesome, as always, we have played around 115 gigs with Finntroll and the friendship is something we cherish. Touring with friends is so much easier than touring when you don’t connect. We have been very lucky with the bands we have toured with over the years.

K: Have you considered creating a joint album like ‘Skáltroll’ or ‘Finnmöld’?

Þráinn: Hahahaha, yes, we have actually talked about it. But those kind of ideas get talked about at around 02:15 on the tourbus, driving between places. Probably under the influence of a few drinks … but I like the idea.

K: Was this new tour already scheduled before your confinement to compose? Has it given you new ideas or are you already very clear about what your new album will be about?

Þráinn: We started writing for this album last year. We worked really hard and we met many times, spent a few days together, no one disturbing us, just working on ideas. We demo’s the album a few times. Really put our heart and soul into it. We finished recording the album before the April tour so we were actually listening to mixes on the tour bus. Getting feedback from the Trolls.

K: Few can say and get that. By the way, I always ask myself when a band decides to lock themselves up to compose, does the inspiration come more fluently because you are away from distractions or are there days when no progress is made at all?

Þráinn: Yes, and you can focus more on the project. This is the best way to work. You have more time to digest the songs, make decisions, argue a bit and agree on things. This is the way.

K: Do you set a time limit for its creation or does the record company set it?

Þráinn: We knew we wanted the album to be released this year so we scheduled the writing sessions and recording sessions according to that. We finished recording 2 minutes to midnight on recording-deadline, no joke! And then the mixing and mastering was done by the great people of Fascination street studios in Sweden. Album delivered to record company on time, artwork and all so now we have to wait for it’s release. Strange but wonderful at the same time.

K: This new album will be the sixth of your career after Sorgir (2018) which you have presented all over Europe. How do you feel when you see that the vast majority of the public sang all your songs about going in Icelandic?

Þráinn: It’s something I respect a lot and I don’t take this for granted. We will probably never be a mainstream band because of it but that does not bother me at all. We love what we are doing and when we see other people loving it as well, we are more happy.

K: Skálmöld usually sing with all the members whom play in it. How you designed who sings what?

Þráinn: We talk about it during writing and or recording sessions. There will be a few surprises on this album …

K: We expect, so. The lyrics you write, are they related to the Viking culture or to your own roots?

Þráinn: It’s just stories. We take the Norse mythology and make new stories around that and we have also used Icelandic Folk stories/tales (Sorgir) but it’s always new stories based on old stories or some mythological things. This is what we were raised with. You would hear stories growing up and I tell my kids those same stories.

K: And how is Metal Music lived in Iceland? How is the Icelandic scene?

Þráinn: It’s actually very much alive and a growing thing. There are four bands from Iceland playing Wacken in 2023, that is pretty cool. So many bands are doing some really interesting things.

K: Wow, that’s great to know! And is there a musical genre that only occurs in Iceland, I mean, one that was born exclusively there, as Black in Norway?

Þráinn: No, I don’t think so but because of how small Iceland is, you probably get music that is a bit more mixed, a bit of everything in the music and at the same time a bit more original than if you only live in metal-world or jazz world. Different kind’s of music brings something different to the table.

K: The festival season is drawing near. Do you have any of them closed yet?

Þráinn: We will play a few festival’s this summer, you can see our Facebook page for dates.

K: And will you do a tour to present the new album as headliners?

Þráinn: Yes. We will tour to support the new album and dates to be announced soon. After then we focus more on festivals next year.

K: If you want to add something else, you are welcome!

Þráinn: Thank you. Please make sure you follow us on social media so you don’t miss out on tour dates and if you want to listen to some guitar metal music, you can check out my first solo single called ‘Stringendo’.


Be safe, be nice, enjoy life and see you on the road!

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