Keldian

Keldian returned with a new album titled “Darkness and Light”, after a 4-year hiatus and Grande Rock got the chance to talk again with both Christer & Arild about their new album, music and various other things. After all, it’s so fun to chat with these two guys – apart from listening to their wonderful albums.
Keldian pic

Hey Christer & Arild – so glad to have you on Grande Rock after so much time. Congrats on your new album “Darkness and Light”… it’s an astounding release on the whole.
 
C: Thank you! Good to be back.
 
A: Thanks a lot! I’m glad you like it.
 
 
Well, it’s been almost 4 years since “Outbound”. What happened in the meantime and why did it take you so long to release a new studio album?
 
C: Time has flown, really. We don’t want to put out albums just to put out albums, so it’s important to us that the new music feels like a great addition to Keldian and not just the same old thing in a new wrapping. That often takes time.
 
A: Also, you have to remember Keldian is just a hobby for us, and we live in different parts of Norway. All things considered, I think we’re sailing along quite steadily.
 
 
Which are the new elements that you introduce with “Darkness and Light” and when did you start writing songs for this album?
 
A: We have a couple of new guests on “Darkness and Light”, we haven’t worked with before. An old friend and a friend of a friend. Keldian is constantly evolving, and we always try to do some things “for the first time” on each album. “Blood Red Dawn” was the first song we started working on, not long after the release of “Outbound”.
 
 
In the past, you have used new technologies like Indiegogo. What happened this time? Did you prefer to work with a label or what?
 
C: We only work with ourselves, really. Perris Records release our CDs and that’s great, but all the other platforms are our own business. Labels don’t pay us anything to make music, so we produce everything on our own dime and put it out in the proper manner.
 
 
OK, what does the album title “Darkness and Light” declare?
 
C: Yin and yang.
 
A: Yes, it’s a pretty broad concept, and it resonates with every song on the album. I think the title fits the album very well.
 
 
You have: Jørn Holen (Vreid) on drums, Marit Lovise Rode on vocals (tracks 6 & 8), Vemund Osland on guitar solo (track 4) & co-solo (track 7), Helene Hande Midje on backing vocals (track 2,3,5,7,8) and Hjalmar Sivertsen Fronningen on backing vocals (tracks 2,5,7,8) on the album. How did the cooperation with all of them come about? Jørn is like a “third member of the band” right?
 
C: Oh yeah! Jørn is the reliable dynamo you can always count on to drive the music just the way it needs. I actually think he’s become an even better drummer in the past few years, and he’s incredibly quick with his tracks. Although, “I’m the Last of Us” brought a bit of frustration out of him, just for a little while in the studio...
 
A: On a couple of songs we felt we needed to add a new voice. A voice not familiar to Keldian fans. When Vemund did his guest solos on the album, we mentioned this to him and he recommended Marit. We actually recorded Marit in Vemund’s home-studio, and we are very pleased with the result. She did a really great job. (I think those new-age-hippie-crystal-lights of yours made the perfomance 110% Vemund). Some may recognize Helene from our previous album, “Outbound”. She has a really feminine and airy voice, which is really great for backings and layering. In case you haven’t noticed, we like our choruses big. Hjalmar is an old friend of ours from Aurland, who’s been playing in different bands and singing pretty much his whole life. His powerful and raspy voice was a very cool addition to a few of our songs, adding a very unique texture not present in any of the other voices used.
 
 
Do give us a hint about each track…
 
C: “Nightfall” has an opening riff that was originally written as a power metal anthem for one of our previous records, but it never made it. Resurrected here. I wrote much of “The Haunting” in a dream, the words and melodies for the verses, and actually remembered it when I woke up and grabbed a guitar. Very strange feeling. “Blood Red Dawn” was the first song written for the album, and sort of links up with “Outbound”. “Crown of Starlight” feels very much like a statement about everything Keldian has done up to this point and we knew early on that it would have to close the album.
 
A: A hint? OK. Let’s see...
“Nightfall”: When the ice gets a little too thin for comfort?
“Blood Red Dawn”: Google conspiracy theories. Tinfoil hat is optional.
“The Haunting”: Works great on halloween!
“Life and Death Under Strange New Suns”: Mass Effect Trilogy. Period.
“I’m the Last of Us”: A long time ago but not in a galaxy far, far away...
“Change the World”: Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun and William Gibson... will it blend?
“Broadside”: Arr! Charge up the mass drivers you scurvy space-crabs!
“Crown of Starlight”: I don’t think anyone has faded out a song like this since the 80s.
 
 
The album was produced by both of you, recorded and mixed by Arild and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios. Do you prefer to have the total control of your music in general? How did the cooperation with Mika occur as well?
 
A: Not that we don’t like having total control, but it’s not a matter of what we prefer really. If we don’t make the Keldian albums ourselves, who will? As for Mika... he had mastered many albums we really liked, and we decided to send our tracks to him. He’s a very talented guy, and does the job when he says he will, so we’ve kept on using him ever since.
 
 
Which are the main differences and similarities between the new album and the previous one (“Outbound”)?
 
C: I don’t know. It’s still too early for me to put it in perspective. But I have to say that when I listened to the finished album it sounded more different from the last one than I thought it would. That was actually a little surprising.
 
A: It’s similar as in “it’s metal” and “it’s Keldian”. Some of the songs are a bit longer than last time, and we’ve been a little more experimental in their structure here and there. And I think we both agree the album overall has a more “direct” feel to it this time. If that makes any sense to you? We’re still easily recognizable as Keldian though. I think the album sits well alongside the other three.
 
 
Which are your expectations from “Darkness and Light” and what do you wish to achieve with Keldian in the future?
 
C: Peace on Earth. Taking humankind to the stars. Modest stuff, really.
 
 
I’ve asked about live shows a few years back and you said “never say never”, but you weren’t that warm about it. Did anything change over the years? Will you consider giving a live show at some point? Do you prefer to remain a studio band once and for all?
 
C: Keldian was invented as a studio project. The whole reason we started doing this was actually to NOT be a band that play on stage, but to be free of all those trappings and just create music from a pure place. No drama, no politics, just the urge to make music. I think it will stay that way, because that’s simply what it is. No more, but definitely no less.
 
 
How would you describe your band’s music style to someone that has never heard of your before?
 
A: It’s melodic metal with strong ties to the past. We both started our musical journey into music as little kids listening to rock and metal music from the 70s and 80s.
 
 
OK, time for our “weird questions”!!! If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
 
C: You never know what great stuff might not happen in the future if you erase something in the past or present. Live and let live.
 
A: I’ve watched way too much Star Trek to not know to stay away from time-paradoxes. We’re not erasing anything from the past, present or future.
 
 
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
 
C: I like being me.
 
A: Being an explorer when the world was mostly unexplored and uncharted would have been cool I think. Space is the next frontier of course, but we’re all born a few hundred years too early for that I’m afraid.
 
 
Top 3 Sci-fi movies of any era?
 
C: 2001 A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Yes, the premise of the last one is actually sci-fi. And it’s great in any case.
 
A: Jeez. Only three!! That’s impossible. But I’ll mention a few Chris didn’t: Dune, Aliens, Matrix, Terminator, Avatar, Star Wars, Interstellar, Starship Troopers, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Solaris, Sunshine, AI, Moon, Johnny Mnemonic, Dark City.
 
 
Beloved TV series at the moment?
 
C: Planet Earth II.
 
A: Star Trek Discovery.
 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
C: I don’t know about a record, but I definitely would have been OK with writing the song “High Hopes”. Luckily David Gilmour did when I couldn’t.
 
A: Any Beatles record really. Not because I like the Beatles, but then I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Like, EVER, again...
 
 
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
 
C: No idea.
 
A: Me neither. We’re just two dudes playing some rock ‘n roll songs you know. It’s not like we know everything.
 
 
Which are the top 3 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal albums of all time according to you?
 
C: Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare”, Iron Maiden – “Piece of Mind” & Guns N’ Roses – “Appetite for Destruction”.
 
A: I’ll compromise and mention three albums I think are very good. Marilyn Manson – “Antichrist Superstar”, Giant – “Time to Burn” & Iron Maiden – “Somewhere in Time”.
 
 
Fill in the phrase… “Hard Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
 
A: Jim Marshall!
 
 
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
 
C: Sebastian Bach?!
 
A: Back in the 80’s I think maybe Lita Ford was on the top of that list for many. Also a great guitar player. Still way too few chicks play the guitar in heavy rock and metal...
 
 
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in rock/metal history?
 
C: Male, certainly Bruce Dickinson. Female, possibly Ann Wilson.
 
A: I have no idea. It all depends I guess.... Freddie Mercury maybe?
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
C: No album does that. Impossible task.
 
A: Vikingarna – “På Begäran”.
 
 
It’s always great to have you on Grande Rock guys. I can’t thank you enough for it! Just say anything you feel like saying before we close… thx again for the music! Take care!
 
C: Have a great day and enjoy music!
 
A: Sic itur ad astra!

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