Skálmöld – Interview Exclusive – Þráinn
By : Emmanuelle Neveu : What a pleasure to see you back in 2023 with such a good album « Ydalir ». You are our norses friends coming from the tales with a serious epic sound (melodic folk) which is quite modern, on some parts. How do you feel about this description? 
I’m very happy when the listener is happy. We do write songs that are quite “old” or “classic” if you know what I mean. But at the same time, we are writing songs today and of course new elements are added to our music. We are also six musicians in the band and we all write the music so when our individual Dan gets mixed with each other, the outcome can be quite nice. This is by far our best album so far and the reason is in most parts that we are so good friends. We are all 100% invested in the band and therefore the outcome is our best album to date.

Regarding the stories on the album, it is important for us when we are using characters from our old stories, mythology or folk tales, to add to their stories. We don’t want to use old stories but the characters are awesome. So, we write new stories about them, to keep them alive. It is important. : How long did it take to make this new album? Some of us talk about a masterpiece!
Thank you, it is nice to hear your words. We started writing last October and worked really hard through the winter. We then recorded the album in march, stayed in the studio the whole time, no outside distractions, complete focus the whole time. Our producer, Garðar, deserves a lot of credit. He is a big part of this album. : Tell us what is « Grimnismal » the poem so important and why? And Why did you want to write about it? You can tell me here all about your inspiration of the album.
Grímnismál is a part of íslendingasögur. The old stories about the early Icelanders, the folk stories etc etc. Allure, is a part of it but there is very little known about him really. Only a few sentences but what an interesting character. When you have things like Ratatoskur, Yggdrasill, Níðhöggur the dragon and the three Norns, Urður, Veranda and Skuld, writing stories about them is not that difficult, especially for someone like Snæbjörn, our bass player who writes the lyrics. He is a storyteller. Very good storyteller. : Do every icelander learn this poem at school or it depends on your family transmission? 
Everyone learns about the mythology in elementary school, kindergarten and high school. This Is a big part of our culture. : By using ancient  norse tales, is Skalmold all about sacred and transmission to new generations (by the inspiration of your old materials such as poems and sagas) and why is it so important? 
It is very important because the stories used to be alive. They were told by travellers and the stories changed depending on the storyteller and his ability to charm others with his stories. The stories should not be 100% like the were written back in the day when someone decided to write them down in a book. That should not be the end of the stories. A good story is always better when it is being told by someone with passion. We should add to them and make them bigger today, continue the tales. : Talking about transmission and support, what a surprise to see your president at Wacken (I know he is a big fan). Did you know about his visit or was it a surprise? (let us know about the support of your country and engagement to the music industry).
I knew he was coming to the show but to see him in the crowd was a surprise. He looked me in the eyes and raised his hand, showing me the devil horns, Ronnie James Dio style. Very cool! We talked after we both saw Iron Maiden, well, all of us went to see Iron Maiden that day. But he was very happy.

The support here in Iceland is surprisingly good and constant. We are Icelandic heavy metal, not a pop act. I never thought  it would be as big as it is here I Iceland. We are even in school text books now, in connection with the teaching of the norse mythology and Icelandic stories and folk tales. Very cool indeed. : It seems like the last years are just bad memories (chaos of Covid). How did you get through Covid period?
I don’t think we should count the Covid years! We were going to take a break in 2020 and spend some time with our families but that went to shit pretty much. I was lucky in a sense that I could teach guitar online. Other people were not so lucky and their income was zero.

But it is awesome to be able to play live shows again. Lets hope we learned something and we continue to play it safe. : Did you play your 10th anniversary in 2020 in Rjk as an end for the band?
The shows were in 2019. No, we did not play it like it was the end for the band. We knew we would play again, we just did not know when. : Is covid period was part of the decision to make those 3 concerts?
Covid was not an issue in 2019 when we did the three shows. First we planned to play one show but it got sold out so we added another show and then another show. All sold out. : You certainly need sides projects what are they?
I have my solo project and released a song last year called Stringendo. I play a lot of acoustic guitar and do a lot of session work. Then I have hobbies as well. That’s important. I also play with Bastarður, a crust punk band which Addi from Sólstafir started a few years ago. : Which new bands or artists have you discovered last years all around the world?
I’d like to mention an unsigned band from Iceland called Duft and then there is Múr, Krownest and I really like a band called Ferndal, they are from Germany. You should check them out. : And specific what about the icelandic scene? Do you support your scene and how (if you can give some ideas to our old french business…)
Of course. A lot of my guitar students are doing a great job and playing in some very good bands. Check out Misthyrming and Forsmán.

The metal scene is small in Iceland so we help each other out as much as we can. : There is no guest on this album? did you think about someone or no? 
Yes, there is. My father is singing on the song Níðhöggur. We did not need nor want other guests on the album. : How and why do you chose a guest usualy? 
We have guests if we think a guest can add something to our sound. Addi from Sólstafir has been a guest and Edda from the band Angist did an awesome work in the song Hel. You can check it out on the Börn Loka album and then the live album with the Icelandic symphony orchestra. : Are the social media important for you (personaly) and the band (professionaly).
No. It can help to let people know about the band, guitar lessons etc etc but important? No. Being alive and well is important. Enjoying time with your friends and family is important. Social media is not important. : What would you like to say to the new generation of icelanders? and to other?
Be humble, be nice, show tolerance, work on your craft, be the best you can. Stand up for those in need and stop stupid fucking violence. We can all live in this world if show more respect to other peoples view in life. You can believe anything you want as long as you don’t hurt other people. Be yourself and let other people be themselves, live together with respect. : Which are your followers nowadays? Norse countries or farther? in which country you never came and would you like to play and why?
We have fans from all over. We have to play Australia, Mexico, Chile, Japan. Come on, we have to visit as many countries as possible. We are very lucky to be able to play our music around the world. : You soflty conqueer french audience. We are happy to see you on october 17th in Paris Backstage O’ Sullivan. Do you know this venue in Pigalle!
I’m not sure about the venue, have we played there? France has been very kind to us, I really enjoy playing in France. And the red wine … by the hammer of Thor! I have never tasted bad wine in France! : can you give me an info : do you know already who will be touring with you? Takk fyrir for your attention. 
Atavista and Metsatöll.

Be safe, be nice, be happy. See you on the road and let’s have fun.

Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson

Sortie chez Napalm Records le 18 Aout 2023 : Album Ydalir : 1 –YR, 2 – Ydalir, 3 – Urdur, 4 – Ratatoskur, 5 – Verdandi, 6-  Vedurfolnir, 7-  Skuld, 8 – Nifhoggur, 9 –  Ullur

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