sábado, 22 de enero de 2022


1. When did you decide to create the band? Why did you choose the name Ulvik and what does it refer to?

Ulvik was initially an outlet to learn how to write and record music. It took a few turns and evolved to where it is today. We love working together on this project, it gives us a space to experiment musically and keeps us relatively sane- The Ulvik name is derived from the old Norse referring to a “Wolf’s Den” 

2. Although the release of “Shelter”, your first EP, dates back to 2011, it was not until 2018 with the release of “Volume One” that the band began to show some continuity, what happened within Ulvik during these years 2011-18 to not edit anything new?

The first albums pre-2018 (Shelter, Black Sea and Baltic Sea) were under a different name and definitely not in the same vein as Ulvik. Those albums were a great experience in learning how to record and write music at home. I moved to Vancouver from Montreal in 2014 and George/myself met each other playing together in another band (LUCIA). During the LUCIA period, I started experimenting with writing black metal music and released Vol I-II under Ulvik. As LUCIA went into a hiatus, we got together and started exploring more complex sounds for Ulvik and made Isolation Motifs and Cascades.

3. “Cascadian” is your third LP and unlike your previous albums you have given it a more proper name not as impersonal as “Volume one” or “Volume two”, have you somehow decided on this album name for the influences, if any, of a style like Cascadian black metal? How would you define the sound of the album for those who have not heard it yet?

We named the album “Cascades” after the Cascades mountain range. We live in the shadows of these mountains in the Fraser Valley of western British Columbia. We spend a lot of our time exploring these mountains, and we draw a lot of influence and inspiration from the dramatic beauty and harsh ruggedness we’re surrounded by. Other black metal bands that are labeled “cascadian” similarly draw inspiration from this region of the world that we live in too, we are sure. We're not really sure how we'd define our sound on this album, but we feel we were semi successful in capturing an ominous, menacing tone that remains natural, old, beautiful and haunting at the same time. 

4. Elements of style such as post-black as well as an intense atmosphere that sometimes goes to extremes almost of violence or anger, come together in the sound of this “Cascadian”. How has the composition and recording process been? of this album? What brands of instruments did you use for this whole process? 

Since most of this album was written during the covid 19 pandemic, it meant that we ended up writing material separate from each other by sharing riffs, progressions, melodies and soundscapes remotely over the internet back and forth, rather then in a rehearsal space as you’d conventionally do with a metal band. This gave us a unique opportunity to audition and explore a lot of different ideas and instrumentation individually and privately, then present that material to each other building off of what the other person had worked on previously. This way, we both brought a distinct voice or sound to these songs. Perhaps more so then if we’d written all of them together in a room.  

Once we finished the songs in this fashion as demos, we got together to re-record a lot of the final versions, especially for vocals. For instruments, we mostly use Gibson guitars and basses. This album also uses a lot of Greek bouzouki, violin, ebow, and some other old weird acoustic instruments we could get our hands on.  We mixed and recorded the album at our home studio.

5. What themes do you deal with in your lyrics? Who is in charge of writing them? Are the lyrics adapted to the music or vice versa? 

Thematically we talked about the severity and harsh reality of mother nature vs the fragility of the man made world when we were writing. The climate and landscape we live in is rugged and can be cruel. There is awe to be found in understanding that the natural world in all its terrible beauty does not care for your wellbeing. As for the vocals, those were mostly developed phonetically and sounded out first to support and complement the musical arrangements, then further fleshed out once they sat properly in the song. 

6. Part of the album sales go to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, why did you make this decision? How have the events that occurred there influenced you to finish shaping this “Cascades”? 

The album was written independent of our decision to donate to the IRSSS. So we can’t say that these tragic discoveries had any influence on the album while it was being written. There is a lot that can and should be said about these incidents that are a blood stain on the white washed reputation of our country. However, we believe that the voices that should be heard are of those belonging to the Indigenous Nations of Canada. Those who have endured these atrocities of brutal assimilation at the hand of a Eurocentric Church / State Government. The people who were here in this corner of the world before us lived in harmony with their surroundings and understood its true spirit. Donating from this album was a small token of our support for their voices to be heard louder in Canada. 

7. “Cascades” opens with a song like “Baaltis” that perfectly reflects the sound of the entire album, at the same time this song has a promotional video, How did the possibility of making this video come about?

The video for Baaltis was shot by a crew of just 5 of us, including two talented cinematographers, one of whom has access to professional video equipment that we borrowed.  It was shot in the remains of a Women's Correctional Facility that was shut down in the 1970’s. We learned about it from a friend who sneaks into and explores many local derelict and boarded up sites. After researching it, we discovered that many of the women forced to stay there were from a First Nations background. The fact that a derelict Christian church remains prominent on the grounds is noteworthy in regards to the IRSSS question above. The area is concealed by forest and thick brush, and locked behind chain link fences and barbed wire. We had to sneak in with our camera equipment and gear in the early morning hours, and were praying that nobody would discover us. We shot all of it in one day, and were very lucky with the weather and natural lighting behaving for us. In addition to writing music we also work in cinematography and post production, so we handled the editing and colour correction ourselves using Davinci Resolve.   

8. Ulvik has not performed live yet, are there possibilities that this situation somehow will change?

We would love to work on a live performance of Ulvik - it is definitely on the table for us to do. However, we are taking our time as live venues are still closed in our part of the world. For the moment, we’re focusing on writing new material as the world progresses and hopefully reopens for all of us to enjoy live concerts!

9. The cover of “Cascades” is quite simple but at the same time it perfectly reflects the atmosphere of desolation and loneliness often present in your music. Why this cover and what do you intend to transmit with it?

The album cover and photography within the sleeve were shot in the ruins of a ghost town less than two kilometers from where one of us grew up in the interior of BC. The area is littered with buildings and houses from the late 1800s gold rush slowly rotting away. Man made materials falling into rusted decay as nature reclaims the area around it. The memory and imprint of the people who once lived there are slowly getting swallowed up by the weeds as time marches forward. It felt like fitting and poignant imagery to accompany the sound, mood, and emotion we were trying to capture on the album. The lonely bench facing away into thick brush feels haunted. Like you can almost see someone sitting there waiting for someone or something to emerge from the thicket. 

10. Avantgarde Music has taken care of the physical editions of the album. How did the possibility of publishing the album with them come about? Are you satisfied with the editing and promotion work carried out by Avantgarde Music?

Avantgarde were interested in publishing Volume I and II after they were released so we bundled them together to make a physical album. We had some songs written for Cascades at the time and they were interested in making a full promotion for the album when the time was right. In between Volume I and II, we decided to put a pin on Cascades and write an acoustic folk/black metal album (Isolation Motifs) at a distance while we were quarantined. We are really grateful for all the support we received from Avantgarde and the community for Cascades.

11. Going back a bit with the Cascadian black metal theme, is it an influence for you when it comes to shaping your sound? Are you familiar with this style and if so, can you tell us about it from your situation in the actuality?

 We weren’t really familiar with the term “Cascadian” black metal when we first started writing together, but we are undeniably big fans of a lot of black metal bands from this area of the world that would fall into that “Cascadian” category. We’ve got a lot of appreciation for bands like Wolves In The Throne Room and Uada from further down south in Washington and Oregon. The Vancouver black metal scene has some great bands like Crystal Coffin and Wormwitch who we definitely support. 

12. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attend, first albums you buy? What did you do in your lives that made you want to be musicians?

George: As a kid I listened to a lot of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, all those artsy alternative 90’s bands you’d suspect. I grew up watching music videos from this era and that probably had the biggest effect on me wanting to be involved in music. I started playing bass and guitar along to those albums, so that was a lot of my foundation in learning to play. At the same time my mom really encouraged and supported my appreciation of classical music from an early age, so I had some Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Chopin discs that I wore out too. Growing up where I did, there was also always a lot of country music being played. That’s something I came to appreciate a lot more as I got older and it works its way into my influences more and more. My first major concert was Tool during the Lateralus tour, and it was life changing. 

Jade: As a kid, I listened to a lot of Quebec punk rock bands like Grimskunk, Groovy Aardvark, Mort Aux Pourris and more English punk rock bands as a kid. I was initiated to drumming but it was too loud to play at home so I switched to electric guitar. I learned punk rock music and transitioned to learning metal in order to improve my guitar skills. I developed a taste for that type of music and I also loved more experimental bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor that were local to Montreal and got me into the post rock and experimental music scene. Never really had a goal to be a musician but I really enjoy the journey to learning how to write songs and have a good time with the painful process.

13. Which album represents for you the essence of black metal? What last albums have you bought? 

That is an incredibly tough question to answer. As far as an album that captures the mood and sound of classic black metal best, the first one that comes to mind is Filosofem by Burzum. Which is an incredible album, but we wouldn’t say that it's amongst our top favorite albums. The last black metal band we equally got really into was probably the “de doden hebben het goed” album trilogy by Wiegedood. Most recently Primordial Arcana by WITTR and Wolf Hex by locals Wormwitch got a lot of play time from both of us. Otherwise our tastes in what we individually like in black metal does vary between us. There’s a lot of overlap to make creating for Ulvik run pretty much seamlessly, but enough difference that our music ends up sounding unique from what either of us would probably individually create. 

14. What future plans do you have for Ulvik in terms of upcoming releases or reissues?

Writing on the next album is underway and we’re very excited by the direction it’s headed.

15. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal

Thanks for your interest in our work, it’s been a pleasure to answer your questions.


Animus Mortis ‎– Testimonia (Brown vinyl limited to 100 pieces) 23,99 €

Brown vinyl limited to 100 pieces 

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