Interview with Simon Larsen of Iskald


“Nedom og Nord is our way of honouring Nordland, our homeplace

Interview by Jason Guest

Jason: Hi Simon. Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview.  Congratulations on Nedom og Nord, it’s a great album (reviewed here). To begin, can you tell us about the new album and what you wanted to achieve with it?

Simon: When we started working with it, we had agreed to do a less technical album, and instead to make it more atmospheric and melancholic. It felt impossible to continue down the road of The Sun I Carried Alone because in my opinion that’s by far our most technical album, and the songs are still really good, so we felt we had to do everything a little bit simpler. By doing this, the songmaterial had to be better and the arrangements had to be as good as possible to make it work, but I really think the result came out perfect according to what we planned.

Simon Larsen - Iskald
Simon Larsen – Iskald

Jason: Can you tell us about the album title, Nedom og Nord? What does it mean? And is it thematically linked to the music?

Simon: The album title is a spinoff to a Norwegian expression which is mainly used in a negative way. We changed it to sound more majestic and powerful, to fit our music, as well as all the lyrics can be linked to the title. The title Nedom og Nord is our way of honouring Nordland, our homeplace.

Jason: This is the first Iskald album to have a title in Norwegian. Why now?

Simon: We have tried earlier to find a fitting Norwegian title for our albums, but it just hasn’t felt right. This time we have split the lyrics 50/50 Norwegian/English and we have focused more on the north Norwegian landscapes and atmosphere and tried to use this even more in our songs. And when we had one song title called ‘Nedom og Nord’, we immediately felt that we had our first Norwegian album title.

Jason: When writing for Nedom og Nord, did you have an idea of how you wanted the tracks and/or the album to sound, or did they take shape as they were being developed?

Simon: As I said earlier, we wanted it to be more atmospheric and less technical, but that’s the only thing we had in mind. I wrote the songs when the lyrics were ready, and they are what mostly shape the songs. When all the songs were written, we started thinking of how the production should sound. We used a lot of time to find the best sound for all the instruments, but I really think we managed to find the sound that fitted the songs the best way.

Jason: What are the lyrical themes on the album? And where do you take inspiration from?

Simon: We have always had lyrics about death, end of the world and very dark themes. We have a few lyrics on these themes this time as well. But we also included some Norwegian lyrics that are really inspired by our homeplace. It has been inspiring us to write our music for almost ten years now, so it felt really natural this time.

Iskald - Nedom og Nord
Nedom og Nord
Artwork by Robert Høyem

Jason: Who designed the artwork? Were they given complete control over the design or did the band have a hand in its design?

Simon: Robert Høyem at Overhaus has done the artwork. He has been doing our artwork since our very beginning in 2005 when we released Northern Twilight. He has very much control, but we always tell him what kind of theme we want. We have a really good chemistry, so this process has always been very easy.

Jason: Does the artwork relate to the music in any way?

Simon: That’s one of the main reasons for why we are using Robert Høyem. We really feel that his art is the pictures of our music. We don’t sound like a typical Norwegian black metal band, and that’s why we can’t have any typical black metal artwork either.

Jason: For you, how does the band on Nedom og Nord compare with the band on your earlier works? How has the band developed since its inception?

Simon: I’m not sure if I understand the question, but to answer the way I understand it; It’s only me and Aage that does the recording of our albums, and we are doing all the arrangements on the songs, so I guess the only way we develop, are in our heads. We have grown more mature, and we care less and less what other people may think. As musicians we aren’t getting any better… haven’t been getting any better for the last 8 years, hehe.

Jason: What does the future hold for Iskald? Early days I know as Nedom og Nord has just been released, but is there more material in the works?

Simon: We are planning another album, for sure. The only thing is that we don’t even have one single note ready yet, so I guess it will take a couple of years. Besides that, we will be doing some tours this year, and hopefully some festivals.

Simon Larsen and Aage Krekling Iskald
Aage Krekling and Simon Larsen

Jason: Any plans to tour in support of Nedom og Nord? If so, will we be seeing you in the UK?

Simon: We have a tour now in March-April with Hate and Kampfar, but I think there is only one show in the UK at the Underworld in London (3rd April; details here). Hopefully we’ll be able to do another tour in the autumn, but nothing is settled yet.

Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?

Simon: Thank you for reading this! Check out our new album Nedom og Nord, and come see us in London! Hope to see you there.