#AndersEriksson 🇸🇪 (Vananidr) #Interview

7 min read

Vananidr is a Black Metal band from Sweden, their melodic sound is driven by darkness, gloomy atmospheres, breathtaking passages of pure sonic bleakness… This band is mainly the brain child of Anders Eriksson, who was originally doing almost everything in the previous albums, and now there’s a more extended lineup for the band. Anders kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about Vananidr upcoming album, their music and other things.

Hi Anders, thank you for your time doing this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. I must tell you, I’m highly expecting the new album by Vananidr to be out ‘cause I love your music! The three songs you have unveiled ‘till now are true to the essence of the band. How happy are you about this new album?

Anders: Hi, my pleasure!

Lovely to hear! I’m very happy with this album, it’s been in the making since late 2018 so to finally release it will be most welcome. It’s been quite tough making this album since a lot of songs were rejected, both by myself but also by Fredrik and Per, which in the end hopefully made way for the best songs. We recorded 10 songs and 6 fitted the album since we were forced to single LP length. Otherwise we would probably have added 2 songs. I think that when we had so much material to choose from, picking the “best” songs really helped to make the album coherent and as you said, true to the essence of the band.

How would you describe the music in Vananidr?

Anders: Essentially Nordic/Swedish melodies fused with blast beats and distortion. If you want to call it Black Metal or Melodic Extreme Metal or whatever is fine by me, I don’t really care. Melancholy is the right word I think to describe what at least I feel about the music.

The artwork for “Beneath the Mold” is a foggy and grey landscape, in the vein of your two first albums, “Vananidr” and “Road North”. What do you want to convey with that image?

Anders: This artwork works well for the lyrics of the title song I think, desolation and no sign of human life. I think it represents the album pretty well too with its bleakness. 

How was it signing with Black Lion Records? 

Anders: It worked just fine and I hope we will reach a bigger audience now. We’ll just have to wait and see! It’s really nice to work with fellow Swedes, so much easier.

The three previous albums by Vananidr were conceived in pre-Covid times. Did the pandemic affect the music you did afterwards in some way?

Anders: No I wouldn’t say it did, I can’t say I was particularly affected by the pandemic anyway, Sweden never shut down like other countries did. Although not being able to play live when we had a solid lineup ready to hit the stage was really frustrating.

And, talking about those three albums, they were released in a lapse of 14 months, which is really impressive. How was that productive period for you as a musician?

Anders: Well, all music for all three albums were written before I even released the debut. We started recording drums for the debut back in 2010 and guitars and bass soon after, then it took me 6 years before I managed to write lyrics and then record the vocals. When I released it on Bandcamp I was really surprised with the positive feedback, and then I already had Road North more or less ready so when Purity-Through-Fire wanted to release my music I just went with the flow and had them release the albums right after each other. 

Both Road North and Damnation have about 50+% older songs, written between 2008-2013, which I really wanted to release so I could leave the past, almost like a closure, and then continue making new music without having those old ones not released. 

So when you consider that these 3 albums were conceived in a time period of 12 years it’s not that strange!?

When did Vananidr start being a complete band?

Anders: Autumn 2019 and then a few months later we had the current lineup plus Rickard who left in 2021.

How was it that Fredrik Andersson became the drummer in Vananidr?

Anders: I’ve been good friends with his band mate and close friend Linus Nirbrant for 20 years and also helped record This Ending debut album back in the days. So when I searched for a new drummer he contacted me since he knew who I was and liked the music.

When I’m listening to your dark and cold music, I can feel some kind of desolation embracing me like winter fog engulfs your Swedish forests, and at the same time is something familiar and soothing. This is a great sensation… Where does your inspiration come from when you write your music?

Anders: That is really hard to answer, sometimes I can have a strong idea of a type of song I want to make, maybe I’ve heard something that intrigues me or maybe a particular beat or whatever, and sometimes I just sit and noodle on the guitar while waiting for my kids to brush their teeth and a riff or a melody can appear. But the most magical moments are when I record a riff or a part and then new parts just appear in my hands until I have finished the song. I think that the most satisfying moments in my life don’t happen more than a few times per year though. When writing the new album I’ve been very interested in big chords like minor9, minor6, minor69 and diminished chords to create a lot of tension while still keeping it in the same scale, to have a sort of a melodic dissonance.

And what about lyrics? Full of cold, melancholy, suffering… How much of Anders is there in those lyrics?

Anders: Well, quite a lot actually. Some lyrics are about other stuff though, your standard anti-religion or misanthropy based lyrics or could be inspired by a documentary or a movie. But mostly it’s my thoughts about my own life with its ups and downs.

Now, in order to know a bit more about you, let me ask you a few more personal questions. When did you start playing your own music and which was the first band you played in?

Anders: I started taking bass lessons when I was 15 back in 1993, and then I met a guy called Linus in school late ‘94 or early ‘95, who later played with Siebenbürgen for a bunch of years, who had a band with Titan (IXXI, Hydra etc) which I joined. This band was called Dimness and was active for maybe 5 or 6 years, Martin Sweet from CrashDiet played the drums by the way. We played a lot of covers in the beginning, mixed with a few songs by Linus and Titan which was kinda Bolt Thrower-ish death metal, soon though we shifted to a more Unanimated/Dissection sound. 

As a multi-instrumentalist yourself, which instrument do you prefer to play?

Anders: I’m a better bass player than guitar player I think but I prefer the guitar since I can express myself better on the guitar.

How much can the climate and environment of your country affect the music you write? I mean… Do you think that if you were born in Mexico, to say something, your music would have been different?

Anders: Hard to know, I think I’ve been more influenced by Swedish folk music than the actual climate but then again I love our Nordic forests and mountains so maybe in some way? And yes I think it would sound different if I was born in Mexico or somewhere else where the traditional music differs so much from our Swedish folk music. I think the seasons up here in the north have a big impact though, at least on me, with the long dark winters and the summer when it never gets dark. 

Which styles / bands do you like listening to? Do you have any “musical guilty pleasure” you can confess?

Anders: I’m a huge Mastodon fan and worship everything they do. Opeth is also a long time favourite, Enslaved which are also in that prog category is something I’ve really started to like the last few years. Thåström is a Swedish favourite of mine. I love the early Björk albums and consider Bachelorette one of the best songs ever made. Ulver is a band I consider geniuses, and Bergtatt might be the most important influence to me. Other bands I like are Myrkur, Kyuss, Rammstein, Broder Daniel, The Cure among others. And then the Black bands like Darkthrone, Satyricon, early Borknagar, Burzum, Emperor, Windir, Isengard and some new bands like Djevel, Afsky, Murg and a few more I’ve forgotten.

Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest are what I was brought up with and still enjoy once in a while.

I don’t think I have any musical guilty pleasures, or maybe I’m too old to bother!?  

What does Metal music mean to you in your life?

Anders: My brother copied Iron Maiden’s debut and Number of the Beast to tape for me in 1983 when I was 5, and ever since it’s been my life. No other music (almost) can stir up the emotions within like Metal can. I can still remember how I felt the first time I heard Black Horizons with Dissection, pure magic!

Many thanks for your answers, Anders. Is there anything you want to add?

Anders: Thank you!

Make sure you support the underground bands, if you buy merch from a small struggling band it will mean a lot to them!

Interview by Sílvia

Check out this new song by Vananidr while their album is one step closer to see the light. Listen, enjoy, share… Support the underground.

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