Saturday, 5 February 2011

An interview with ... Vinterriket

One name that repeatedly comes up in on the inlay of recent recordings by Uruk Hai is that of Cz, perhaps best known to readers of this Blog as the inspiration and driving force behind Vinterriket. This is a band that has recorded a number of split releases with Uruk Hai in the past, and in recent times Cz has been responsible for the final mastering of many Uruk Hai demo and album releases.

Much like Hugin, Cz is a man for whom one project is not enough, and as the narrative below shows a multitude of projects bear his name. Honour and Darkness caught up with Cz during his hectic winter schedule, and a brief interview took place to give a little more insight into the frozen realm of Vinterriket, working with Hugin, and other matters...

Hails Cz, and welcome to Honour and Darkness
Hi there! Thanks for the interview.

Where in the world are you based?
I am living in beautiful Switzerland

Whilst best known for Vinterriket, you've also been part of a number of other projects I believe, such as Nebelkorona, Atomtrakt, Dânnâgôischd, Nocternity, Graven, Battle Dagorath, Sturmpercht, and Fräkmündt ! Can you briefly tell us a little about them and the philosophy behind your music?
It depends on which project you are talking about because they are dealing with different aspects / topics / themes. The main philosophy is to express feelings and atmospheres. Here we go: a short description of every project (Nazgul has expanded upon Cz's own brief description with some representative thoughts culled from the Internet. Necessarily these reflect views other than Cz's own, but for context they are designed to be helpful, not to put words in his mouth!)

Dânnâgôischd: Wood Folk. Dânnâgôischd (the ghost of the dark forest) is a project coming directly out of the deep Alpine and Swabian woods. Recent release "Emm Dichdâ Ondrholz" (in the dense brush-wood) features 16 tracks of Alpine Forest Folk, telling tales in ancient Swabian language about creatures living in darkest woods, with all their legends, atmospheres and myths. The atmosphere spreads between melancholy, tradition and pure forest life. Dreamy songs are mixed with dark and natural (sound)tracks, as well as with more folky tunes and is a perfect trip to the misty fir tree forests.

Atomtrakt: Martial Industrial. Atomtrakt, Cz's industrial/ambient incarnation is sometimes a whining, hissing insect in the ear of martial industrial music, and others a cold and empty wilderness in the wasteland of dark ambient. Along with the minimalist key riffs and military style of percussion, Atomtrakt are able to provide a commanding atmosphere of the power of gloom and melancholy. The project also makes ample use of samples which fit nicely with the discordant feel of the music to give it a reflective, introspective tone

Nebelkorona: Romantic Neofolk/Neoclassic. Stylistically its all about ambient/neoclassic music and instrumentation-wise it could be compared with Nachtreich and Blakagir, although a lot calmer. The main element is acoustic guitars and piano, paired with calm drums and occasional strings.

Vinterriket: Dark Ambient / Atmospheric Black Metal. surely any further description of this cult band is unneccessary for such a cultured reader as yourself...

Sturmpercht: Alpine Folk. An Austrian experimental, traditional folk and neofolk group inspired partially by indigenous alpine tradition.

Fräkmündt: Swiss Ur-Folk. Atmospheric tracks with keyboard drones, cow bells, strummed guitars accompanied by drum rhythms of near marching quality, accordion and vocals in between spoken word and nearly-singing with texts of spoken word in Swiss dialect spoken by some old mountain man. Some of it has danceable qualities in its origin, the atmosphere remains like a dark vision.

Battle Dagorath: Atmospheric Black Metal. Battle Dagorath play a very cold, astral style of black metal but is as brutally piercing and raw as it is powerful and majestic. Dubbed by some as intelligent black metal, this style reaches beyond the mere reaches of earthly distaste for humans, war, or satanism, and reaches out into the universe towards the great emptiness that infintely surrounds our bleak momentary existence on this plain...

ThruByRed: Eclectic Elevator Music...

Graven: Black Metal (I am not playing with them anymore)

Nocternity: Black Metal (I am not playing with them anymore)

What is a typical day in the life of Cz, the musician?

Nature, making music, sleeping, eating, work.

Which of your songs would you recommend to someone who has not heard your music before? This is very difficult to say. There is no top song of each project, I would say.

You've known Hugin for how long now?

I assume it is since 2001. I sometimes meet him in Austria.

When and how did you first get to know each other?

I cannot remember, sorry. Probably it was through e-mail in 2001

Tell us a little about Hugin the man - what is your perception of him?

Hugin is a very nice guy. Very active and addicted to music!

By my reckoning Vinterriket and Uruk Hai have released 3 split releases together - "Nazgul / Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit", "~2~", and "Nachtschwarze Momente / The Uruk-Hai". How did these releases come about, and do you have a personal favourite?

My personal favorite is Landschaften ewiger Einsamkeit I would say. The releases just came out because we thought it is a good idea.

Are more split releases being planned?

Nothing concrete at the moment. But more split releases might come, this is for sure.

Looking across Hugin's range of bands, do you have a particular favourite album or demo from his many recordings?

Mmh, very hard to say. I like Hrefnesholt very much

If you were to record 1 cover version of each other's songs, which of yours should Hugin record and which of his would you cover?

Hugin: maybe a Dânnâgôischd track. I would cover a track of Hrefnesholt, I would say.

A recent development has been for some of Hugin's recent releases to be mastered by yourself - can you tell us a little about how this process works?

He just sends me the rough WAV files and I am doing the final mastering. This is the standard approach.



Turning back to you, Cz, what is your view of the current metal scene? Is it a healthy one for bands such as your own and Hugin's?

I am not interested in the metal scene at all, I would say. I am not restricted to any scene. I listen to what I like, regardless of any scene.

Some of the releases in the past from Vinterriket have been cleverly packaged - the 7" 'Aura' vinyl mounted on a wood-cut being one of my favourites. If money was not a problem, what would be your ultimate format for a release?

This is very hard to say. I love all kinds of original packing. And I think from release to release. I always have new ideas. Lets see what I will have in mind next...!

Is there any truth to the rumour that Vinterriket has set a world record for the most album covers to feature images of snow, mountains and trees?!

Probably yes!

What musical ambitions have you left that you want to achieve?

To continue to create good music for some more years

Tell us Cz - what was the first album you ever bought, and the last?

Last: no idea. First: probably Sodom - 'Agent Orange' or 'Persecution Mania'

And your favourite album cover of all time?


No idea, sorry

If you were stuck on a desert island for a year, what 5 albums and 3 books would you wish to have with you?

To select 5 albums is impossible…. Also books… I would rather take my keyboard and my guitars and would record my own music.

What song do you never want to hear again (yours, or someone elses!)?

I never heard something that bad that I would not listen to it again.

Before we go, have you a funny story about Hugin that you can share with us....?

Hugin is a serious guy, hehe. Nothing funny!

Do you have any message for Hugin via the Blog?

C u again soon and all the best!

And do you have a message for the readers of Honour and Darkness?

No

Many thanks for your time and insights, Cz, and good luck with your future endeavours. What do Vinterriket fans have to look forward to in 2011?

Thanks for the interview! A new album will probably be released in 2011 - let's see...



You can find out more about Vinterriket via www.myspace.com/vinterriketofficial and also www.vinterriket.com


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