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…a feeling of nihilism, emptiness, a coming apocalypse…

Interview with Hlidolf.

You drift slowly through endless space… witness the birth of galaxies and the calm, sublime death of whole solar systems… perceive the ancient movement of the spheres… and while you touch on the fringes of existence itself, your core is shaken by the deep, steady heartbeat of the universe. From your perspective, human struggles seem so tiny and meaningless, the sum of human endeavours almost ridiculous in its ultimate futility. This is when the void swallows you, and you are violently torn back to your sad present physical reality. The journey has come to an end, the last minute of HLIDOLF`s drone/doom masterpiece "V01D" is over. Doom-metal.com talked to the creator of this magnificent astral voyage - Vidar Ermesjø.


First off, what does music mean for you? What place has music in your life?


Music does have much importance in my life. Both the consumption and creation of music. All I know is that I feel bad going through too many days without having access to some form of instrument or tool of artistic creation.

Music is my drug.


Which projects are you active in at the moment?


Mainly Hlidolf and Kaosvoid - which consists of me and a drummer at the moment.  We might look into getting more members if we ever are to play live, but as a studio band we are covered regarding chemistry and instrumental skills.


Could you please quickly summarize what kind of music you try to create with Kaosvoid? In which aspects is it different from Hlidolf?


The most dramatic difference between the two is probably that Kaosvoid will
be rhythmic in the traditional musical sense. It will still have some of the
ambient and ethereal qualities but basically, Kaosvoid will be what Hlidolf
was and at the same time be what it never was and never should be. Kaosvoid
will be more open for experimentation with different genre while at the same
time being centred around Doom Metal. It will be vastly more technical than
Hlidolf (there is much humour in this sentence). There will be great variations
in tempos and time-signatures. Overall, Kaosvoid will be more musical.. That
was a quick summary for you, I guess.


What is your opinion about collective creativity vs solo projects?


They are both interesting entities and might be indistinguishable for the consumer, though they each demand something different from the creator(s). Most solo projects tend to be somewhat minimalistic, and if not they demand a lot of technique and knowledge in multi-instrumentalism from the lone creator. While the ego is nurtured in solo projects, any collective project (or band) demands the creation of a common mind where each member is a disciple and the project their divine entity. This is reached by slaughtering the ego and by having good chemistry between the members from the start of.

Now, if your ego is too big, then you are better off in a solo project. That is how I view things at least.


How did it come to the release of "V01D" back in 2002? Did you contact DragonFlight or was it the other way around?


The truth lies somewhere between those realities. I was in good contact with Clint Listing (50% label owner) a good while before Hlidolf was displayed. Given that our relation was mostly based on music I naturally had him listen to some of the demo/concept material. And it progressed from there, just to make a short story a bit shorter.


What will happen with the HLIDOLF tracks that used to be on mp3.com? The site got taken down...


Right. I created a place for Hlidolf on soundclick.com, which seems to be mp3.com's successor. However, I have only bothered to put up an excerpt of 'V01D' so far.

I had the idea of improving the sound somewhat on the old tracks, and perhaps release them in a proper way - maybe even redo some, but I have not come very far with this yet. I guess there might be some demand for the old tracks still though it is not very high priority for me at the moment.. Of course, I might change my mind if people were to contact me regarding this matter.


Will there ever be a new HLIDOLF album, and if so, which musical direction might you pursue with it?


Yes, that is the plan, although I am having a hard time succeeding with this. I think I must have made several attempts on it now without any satisfactory results… Actually, the very birth of Kaosvoid is related to all this as I found out that I had to separate my efforts into two projects, to ensure that Hlidolf stays minimalistic Drone/Doom.

Having said that I can assure you that I am on the right track now in the making of 'V02D' (sic),  which the next release will be named. We are looking at a release date somewhere in Fall this year (2004), or whenever it is ready, on Clint's new label, Beauty & Pain.


A lot of new, young drone acts recently appeared. Do you think that drone is the new underground trend? Do you follow "the scene" at all?


Indeed, so it seems. It could simply be because it is an easy form of music to do as it is often very minimalistic. However, good drone is not easy made.

In terms of what I listen to I do not really stay faithful to any scene at all. In the last few years I have had quite a lot of musical impulses from various genres. In regards to drone I have some favourites like Sunn O))), Uncertainty Principle, Halo, etc... I think I prefer a bit of industrial in my drone, actually, as long as it stays organic - I am not a big fan of sampled instruments etc.

Anyway, I do tune into "the scene" occasionally to see if anything of interest has come about, but I do not really have the time for anything else.


"V01D" was widely acclaimed in the doom scene. Did this come as a surprise? Do you actually consider the album doom?


I guess I will just have to say that it came as a somewhat pleasant surprise, in order not to sound too much like a pompous prick.

No, really, what I thought was that if it ever was going to receive praise from a scene then it had to be the Doom-scene, as I considered this to be essentially Doom.

All in all it reached quite a diverse audience. Most likely due to it not being very aggressive, and thus many different people could relate to it. The next one will have a bit more aggressiveness.


There is a steady but in my opinion pointless discussion whether drone is really a part of "doom". What is your opinion on the matter?


I remember there being a discussing regarding what was to be considered Doom in regards to Stoner and so called Death/Doom, and if those two can fit together under the banner of "Doom" then certainly drone can in the form of, let us say, Drone/Doom? As Drone in itself would not necessarily imply that it would evoke a feeling of nihilism, emptiness, a coming apocalypse, or whatever.

Drone/Doom the way I see it is a minimalistic and/or extreme kind of Death/Doom where sonic (be it vocal or instrumental) textures are emphasised.


I perceive "V01D" as a statement of alienation and isolation. Is this accurate? In how far does it follow a concept? Is it meant as a certain statement or purely as artistic expression?


It might make such a statement as a result of what it expresses, but there was never a conscious statement made. Though alienation and isolation was definitely my emotional state during the time 'V01D' was conceived. And it might be conceptual for that reason alone.

I probably also stylised and gave it that name (and intend to follow up on it) because no statement was to be made.


There is a bit of clipping in the last part of the album. While this does not really bother me, I wonder why it got left there?


Ah, he-he, this never occurred to me before I read it somewhere actually, so it must be really hard to notice or something. I did have a go with it some time ago and discovered many glitches upon playback, but this might be restricted to that copy alone and the playback device, as I have no reason to suspect it to be a post-production or pressing error. So, bottom line, it is probably my fault then, related to production (which was rather amateurish).

But... Let us just pretend it was intentional, ha-ha. That is probably what people would prefer to believe anyway.


In a cheap variation of the dull question "why did you chose that band name", I would like to ask: what does the name "Hlidolf" mean?


I think I have addressed this before, but I can always repeat myself for the sake of this interview.

It is a rather artistic version of two words in Old Norse combined, mainly "gate" and "wolf". So, let us say it adds up to literally mean "gatewolf".. Now, the meaning I put behind this was that of an extreme individual (here in the form of the mythological wolf) roaming at the astral gates of perception.

But I probably made this all up over time anyway. The whole point was that I created this symbol for myself which in a way made some sense to me, and which really was never supposed to be explained to other people. But of course, people are curious and do wonder, so..


Where do you draw inspiration from?


I guess it all boils down to my emotional state. I can not force myself to create anything without the proper emotions and state of mind evolved. Listening to music in general can trigger a sort of interest and inspire me to create music of my own. I find that creative urges usually happen at night, most likely due to the drowsiness induced by sleep deprivation - which is when your logical brain acts in equilibrium with your artistic and creative brain.

Basically, if you stimulate your artistic brain (with music i.e.) it will wake up from its usual passive state. And that is when wonderful things happen.


What was the last disc you were playing on repeat for weeks?


I do not think that ever happened at all actually, he-he. Maybe when I discovered Burzum a very long time ago. I usually cycle MP3's these days ;), and right now I am going through a lot of Uncertainty Principle tracks.

However, the last disc I listened to was the re-mastered edition of 'Epistemological Despondency' by Esoteric.


Thank you for your answers! Of course I leave the last words to you:


And thank you for this interview. Always interesting. If anyone would like to contact me for various reasons: voidar@online.no.

Visit the Hlidolf bandpage.

Interviewed on 2004-04-12 by Oliver.
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