Frerik: Can you tell us how the project came about for those metal fans unfamiliar with Verdun? How did you go by choosing a band name? Did it have anything to do with The Battle of Verdun that happened in 1916 between Germany and France or was it simply just an idea you were toying with?
W.: "I was fed up with compromising with the sound playing with other band members. So after a long break from music and people in general that lasted a couple of years I gathered the necessary equipment and started pouring out what had been hidden within me during that time.
Yes, it is from The Battle of Verdun. I've been interested in The First World War since childhood and the anguish soldiers experienced in the trenches, fighting for a cause that wasn't theirs to begin with. Something that could be applied to our everyday life. So when I needed a name for the project it came natural to call it Verdun as it is one of the bloodiest most gruesome battles of WW1."
Frerik: Aye, I feel your pain. I have had similar experience with band mates in the past. Sometimes it's better to do things on your own. I am sure it took time to get the necessary equipment but in the end it was probably worth it. Did you have a blast recording the debut EP, Sov Du Lilla Samvete? Were you satisfied of its outcome? Did you get a lot of good criticism from listeners?
W.: "If you can do everything yourself, why not?
Finding the equipment was fairly easy. The tough part was writing and recording. During the break I mentioned earlier I also hid from myself and my self hatred. All of that came back when I had to, you know, open up again. And I wrote and recorded it at the same time so it was a double barrier of self hatred and anxiety I had to climb over. It was horrible. Eventually it became too much and the album felt like an ever growing tumor that I just had to remove. For a first effort I think it's decent enough, but since it became such a hassle in the end there are things I would like to have done differently and better.
The criticism has been good most of the time. Self Mutilation Services contacted me only days after I posted the first song I ever made (Tack För Allt) on Myspace saying they wanted to release my stuff. That got me very excited and made me think that I maybe had something good going on.
Some people complain about the vocals and that the riffs are repetitive. The vocal part is a tough one, I try to find other ways than the traditional high pitch screams. I've done that already so much in other bands. And it's so emotionally draining to do them so I tend do go with a lot of one-takes. It keeps things fresh too, every feeling I proclaim is spontaneous, but still it can sound rough and goofy to some I guess."
Frerik: Well if it counts, I really enjoyed the vocals as they weren't in the same vain of every other band and the musicianship was well done. Another thing I did notice on Sov Du Lilla Samvete was a Kent cover of Innan Allting Tar Slut. Are you a big fan of theirs? They are pretty big in Sweden, huh? Surely you must have a diverse taste of music. Would you like to share your metal and non metal influences/inspirations?
W.: "It does count. Thanks a lot.
I used to be a huge fan of Kent when I was a teenager. Their way to manage making a soundtrack out of the Swedish grey state of mind still moves me in a special way.
Nowadays I listen a lot to Kristian Anttila. Again a Swedish artist, who mixes kinda upbeat songs with bitter sweat, sometimes pitch black lyrics. Very interesting.
And then there's a heap of piano music I listen to to just mellow down, like Olafur Arnalds, Library Tapes, Goldmund and so on. When I'm in the most creative moments I can only listen to piano or neoclassical music.
Metal-wise I'm into stuff like Katatonia, Craft, Shining, Cult of Luna, Moonspell... almost only Swedish acts as you can see. I don't consider myself to be overly patriotic but when it comes to music I can say, with few exceptions, that the best music comes from Sweden."
Frerik: I do agree that a lot of good music comes from Sweden. Speaking of music, you describe the sound of Verdun as depressive black metal. What is your intake on the DSBM genre today? Do you think it is getting bombarded with lots of bands these days?
W.: "Well, if anything I call it Depressive Metal. There's nothing black about it. No magical or spiritual essence. I deal with the reality I see before me. I think the term DSBM contradicts itself. Black Metal is about the worshipping of yourself, the ego. The so-called Depressive Suicidal Black Metal-scene is about the destruction of yourself. It doesn't make sense.
Yes, there are lots of crap out there, and I think the labels might have some of the blame there. They want to release everything they can get their hands on it seems. Instead of being more picky and showing the listener the quality of the scene."
Frerik: Right on. I am about in the same agreement! Going back to Verdun. I see you did a track entitled "Gloria" for the Lieder von Lieb und Lied Pt II and you also did a split which is currently being processed. Can you tell us about those? Do you have any plans to release any new material in 2013?
W.: "Gloria was a little experiment. I tried to do a more uptempo song but keeping the negativity. I'm very happy about the outcome and the reactions from the listeners has been positive. The songs theme is realising you have nothing left and looking back you see it clearly that you have been systematically deconstructing your life during a long time, hence the part in the chorus: "Det tar ett tag innan hoppet överger dig", "It takes a while until hope leaves you", roughly translated.
There are two versions of Gloria, one on the "Lieder..."-compilation and one that will be on a split with Glädjekällor. They don't differ that much really except for some added melody and enhanched mix and master on the latter.
Regarding "Lieder..." I felt I had to be apart of it considering its strong line-up with Psychonaut 4 and Beyond Life among others.
As I mentioned there's a split coming up with a very talented guy called C.L. from Glädjekällor. He has got the talent and ambition to make it big. I'm very happy about the opportunity to make an album with him. I've just received the artwork from Andres Burciaga (aka Lord Hellfire) of Suicide Path and it looks amazing. It's centered around the title, "Historier Från Ingenstans", "Stories From Nowhere". C.L. took some beautiful pictures together with a guy called Michael Wiklund, that laid the foundation for the design. Anyway, we are just about to ship everything off to Razed Soul Productions who is looking at a first quarter of 2013 release date. You can expect pretty heavy chord based songs with the occasional melody, from me. Pretty much like the first cd, no surprises really.
Other than the split there's not much really. I have a deal with Razed Soul for a full length, but at the moment I've only got fragment of songs and I'm a slow writer. Some loose talks about other splits with some interesting acts but my main focus is getting a full length ready."
Frerik: I am glad you are not rushing things. One does need time to relax and build up a new manifold of emotions inside to unleash a good record especially as a solo act which seems to be growing in the genre as well as I have noticed. Well do you have any last words for the fans or for new listeners not familiar to Verdun? Any tapes left of the debut?
W.: "There are a few tapes left and also some CDs. To order the tapes and digital version you can visit verdunswe.bandcamp.com, and the CDs you can order at www.ominous-domain.com, or check facebook.com/VerdunSWE for contact info and we will figure something out.
First of all I want to thank you for this, my first, interview. It's been interesting. And also people should keep their eyes peeled on the Glädjekällor/Verdun-split coming soon!"
Check out the official page of Verdun!
--Interview conducted by Frerik Garcia--