Hey there, fellow islanders! I’ll confess it took me a while to formulate questions for this because I wanted it to be a really good interview. My family is from Newfoundland and when I was listening to Tamsins Likam, I definitely felt a very familiar sensation of that kind of Atlantic island sentiment.
How has living in the Faroes inspired this new album? Not only the tone and mood but the colour of the music too seems very ocean-like. At times it reminded me of Ahab’s debut album. In many ways I think doom metal is the perfect vessel for effecting those island feels.
Theodor: Living in The Faroes has obviously had a big effect on how we approach writing music. We live in the middle of The North Atlantic where we are exposed to nature in some of it’s most extreme forms. That is something which has influenced society in The Faroes for a very long time and still does, as I’m sure you can imagine being from Newfoundland. We take inspiration from Faroese history, society and nature which I feel does add a special aesthetic to our music. I find that you can quite often hear where a band comes from because of their subconscious influences. For example a lot of Swedish bands have a “Swedish” sound, bands from the US have a special sound and so on. We are lucky enough that we can create something unique by writing what comes naturally to us, simply because nobody has ever made Faroese doom metal before and what sounds completely natural to us sounds exotic to a lot of people.
For those who don’t speak Faroese, can you explain some of your lyrical inspiration? And how does the way the language sounds itself affect the sound of the music? Is it a situation of say, you have the music first and fill in the lyrics later, or are you inspired by experiences you want to describe that informs the lyrics and thus the music?
Jón: For Hamferð, the lyrics always concern ideas, emotions and events that can be tied to the Faroe Islands in some way. Before writing, I always try to invoke a state of mind that fits the Faroese environment and feels like home. Otherwise, I’m not so aware of what my inspiration is. Instead of seeking outside influences, I try to let them come from within as much as possible. I’m sure that I am unconsciously inspired by a lot of different things, but I don’t think about it too much when writing lyrics or melodies. I have a feeling that this makes the result more honest, at least for me. Then, if something pops up that sounds too familiar, I can quickly cut it out.
The music and the lyrical concept are typically written simultaneously, and we try to let them inform each other as much as possible. For example, musical ideas often inspire certain ways to direct the feel of the lyrics, while the concept or story often helps with structuring the album. And vice versa, I suppose. Everything inspires everything else!
I know it’s only January, but when I listened to the album and reviewed it, I got an instant sense that you are going to be a major contender for 2018’s album of the year. Do you think you approached Tamsins Likam much differently than your first album? Have you matured as musicians and as a team together?
Theodor: Thanks for that, glad you like the album! We did approach “Támsins likam” quite differently to our previous work, both out of artistic choice but also out of necessity. Our drummer Remi moved to Denmark a few years ago, so we have had to transition from being a rehearsal-space oriented band to writing music in a more individualistic way, sending files back and forth between us on the internet which for “Támsins likam” has meant that I ended up doing most of the writing. Most of the material on the first two records was written as separate songs in our rehearsal space in Tórshavn. When the songs were done we then tweaked them to fit into the concept of the albums. But the music on “Támsins likam” was based on a concept from the get-go and has very much been composed as one piece of music, not just as six separate tracks. For that reason I feel that even if the songs work well in isolation they are even stronger in the context of the full album.
With only two albums out, you’ve made a major mark on the metal scene and have had some incredible experiences touring with some big name bands like Amorphis(who are great by the way), your Havna Kirkja show, and your 2015 solstice performance. Is there anything similar you have planned for Hamferd’s sophomore album touring? Would you like to do another solstice performance and who would you like to do it with?
Jón: We don’t have anything crazy planned yet, but you never know. It’s always nice to do something entirely different, but usually these ideas depend on the right time and place. Currently we are working on our Faroese release show, where we will play “Támsins likam” in its entirety, and will make a special set-up in the old theater of Tórshavn.
The solar eclipse-performance was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If we want to repeat it, we have to go somewhere else, since there will not be another solar eclipse on the Faroe Islands for 200+ years. And as I suggested earlier, we always want to do something new. Typically, you don’t get the same magic when you repeat yourself.
Anything else you’d like to tell your fans?
Jón: Well, you’re welcome to write us and let us know, so we can come to your area in the near future and play a show. Otherwise, thank you so much for the support. We have truly felt it during the release of “Támsins likam”, and it’s quite overwhelming. Doom on!
Thanks so much for being a part of All About the Rock, it’s an extreme pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you!