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Getting into the Spirit of Heilung: An Interview with the Epic Experimental Folk band

November 20, 2019

 

Heilung are a European Experimental Folk band and if you've heard of them then you're likely to know of their pure hypnotic live shows and epic visuals. They've quickly become a staple of modern Folk, fresh of the back of this years album Futha and only looking to get bigger. We managed to catch them for a quick interview on

 

Noizze: How are you?

 

Heilung: Very fine, thank you. Wish the same to you.

 

Noizze: How would you describe your music to a newcomer?

 

Heilung: It´s indescribable, really, you can only experience it, but maybe we can inspire the reader´s imagination with a list of our instruments: human bones, drums with goat, horse and deer skin, swords and spears. The vocals shift between otherworldly beautiful and excruciatingly dark screams, throat singing and powerful warrior chants.

 

Noizze: How did you form?

 

Heilung: The three founders of Heilung have known each other for a long time, we met through Viking-age reenactment events. One day, Kai had the idea to record a couple of poems in Christopher´s sound studio, nothing big. When we were done, our album OFNIR was recorded, very free and playful. We produced it 100% ourselves and from there we gathered our tribe of musicians and warriors from six different countries through old and new friendships, and begun the journey towards bringing the ritual live. The rest is (living) history....

 

Noizze: You're about to head on tour and already you're getting extra dates added to the tour, how do you feel about this?

 

Heilung: It feels amazing. Through this we can confirm that we did something right and managed to touch a lot of people. It is very beautiful for us and we are very happy and grateful.

 

Noizze: What do you do to prepare for tours?

 

Heilung: We usually build a lot of things, like microphone stands from antlers, drums, drumsticks etc. It also goes a lot of thought into how to transport everything safe, as we are dealing with mostly organic materials. There is of course also a whole lot of preparation through practise. A tour like this also requires many production and logistics meeting with our great teams from Solver Productions, Doomstar Bookings. All this keeps everyone very busy. Just before we begin the tour we usually round up, light the incense, smoke and ask for the blessing of the spirits.

 

Noizze: You bring a lot of amazing imagery on tour with you, how do you go about selecting your props and costumes? Are there any personal attachments or are there any you look to change specific to each tour?

 

Heilung: Each costume has a strong personal attachment. Christopher uses a reconstructed male dress from the Viking age, which he has used for many years. Maria´s dress has white horse hair from old violin strings, cat hair and shells from her childhood beach, Kai s dress includes human hair and a piece from a 3000-year-old sword. Jacob has a great interest and energy to build amazing stands for the drummers, so on this European tour we travel with a lot of trees, to the amazement of all the loaders helping us on each venue :)

 

Noizze: Are there any particular strategies you have in performing your music? Eg. Improvisation, Trance, characters etc?

 

Heilung: Yes, we are performing a spiritual drama. A theatre for the gods. Each character has it his or her very own appearance, role and strict choreography. Trance is a big part of it and those who really go to frenzy also receive a special training.

 

Noizze: How do you feel your most recent album, Futha, was received?

 

Heilung: Very good, we had the feeling that people were hungry for it. We had an amazing time recording it and the response is overwhelming.

 

Noizze: How did you conceive of this album?

 

Heilung: Usually we don´t plan an album to the last detail. We let it grow like a tree, and follow the branches of trance, joy and tradition. We know at some point roughly how it is going to turn out and then we simultaneously work intensely on the artwork.

 

Noizze: Do you have any favourite songs and why?

 

Heilung: No, because we don´t perceive Heilung as a conglomerate of songs. It is one great work, living inside of us as one. Like people have favourite trees, not favourite branches.

 

Noizze: What are typical rehearsal sessions like?

 

Heilung: Loud, sweaty and intense, it’s a fine balance between keeping our minds focused on the piece and at the same time letting go completely.

 

Noizze: How do you create and produce your music?

 

Heilung: Usually the initial impulse comes from Kai with an old rune inscription or one of his poems. Christopher then adds rhythm, structure and composition. Maria is always rich on melodies and contributes with her great melodic energy to the atmosphere.

 

Noizze: Are there any instruments or ideas that you'd like to introduce into future songs?

 

Heilung: Let´s keep that a secret until the future songs are revealed ;)

 

Noizze: If you could bring in any guest musicians who would you like to work with?

 

Heilung: Bragi, the Nordic god with runes tattooed on his tongue, the patron of the skalds, master of song and poetry.

 

Noizze: If you could produce a tour that everyone had to see with unlimited funds, what would you do?

 

Heilung: Play on the moon :)

 

Noizze: Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring musicians?

 

Heilung: Stick to what gives you pleasure; don’t focus on what you think other people would like. Play music like a child plays, free of expectations, be curious, adventurous and have fun doing it.

 

Noizze: Are there any bands you'd like to give a shout at to?

 

Heilung: We would like to give a shout to the old poets of the iron age and Viking age. The people that carved the runes we sing today, the old skalds that left their songs on vellum for us. To those who vanished nameless but left an immortal heritage.

 

Noizze: Is there anything you'd like to add that you feel we've missed?

 

Heilung: We would like to send a big thank you out to everyone on this and the other side that support us, come to our live ceremonies and fill our lives with so much joy and adventure.

 

Noizze: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, we hope the tour goes well and the continue to inspire us with your amazing music and performances!

 

Heilung: Thank you :)

 

 

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