Special interview with Úlfur!

He’s been a member of Jónsi’s live band, touring the World in 2010, recorded a few albums with hardcore band and his solo project. He creates music in completely different styles – from metal to electronic and his new album will be out soon. This album was recorded under his own name. For the first time I wanted to make an interview with Úlfur Hansson 2 years ago, right after the show at Sacrum Profanum, but then the interview became quiet and We’ve returned to the whole thing a few weeks ago, because of the upcoming album – „White Mountain”.

Bartek: Helo Ulfur! It’s been long time since your last visit to Poland. How are you doing?

Úlfur: I am great!

Bartek: For the beginning lets go back to your first visit in Poland – during the show on Sacrum Profanum in Cracow. Polish fans had the opportunity to know you as a great musician and a great person. People had been asking about the bands and projects that you’ve participated – Klive and Swords of Chaos. Lots of fans have been asking about your albums and shows. You’ve became recognisable person. Do you feel that you are actually famous all over the world?

Úlfur: Thank you. To be honest I’m not exactly in touch with that reality – but I’m very happy to hear someone has been listening to my music.

Bartek: The tour that you’ve participated during 2010 must’ve been quite exhausting but on the other hand it was great opportunity to get the whole package of experience. Despite being so busy you’ve found the time to compose/record songs for your new album. How did you manage to do it all?

Úlfur: Being on tour can be such an inspiring environment. You meet new people everyday, and get to widen your horizons by traveling. The whole hand slashing thing was scary, but it gave us a couple of days off in the swedish countryside.

Bartek: Was it difficult to play with your hand and thumb in a cast?

Úlfur: The whole gang was a little stressed out if i could do it or not. I used my pinky a lot, which became very strong after a while. I guess i wouldn’t have gotten to know my pinky if it hadn’t been for the accident.

Bartek: Before we go to your upcoming album, could you tell us more about Swords of Chaos and Klive? That’s two completely different types of music…

Úlfur: Swords of Chaos is a four-piece hardcore band, currently working on a new album. Working with the band has been a great contrast to my solo efforts in music, plus i love metal. It’s been important to me since my early teens, and i think it has a great influence on me when writing my own music.

Bartek: What about Klive?

Úlfur: I released a solo album in 2008 using the Klive moniker. I was 20 years old, and didn’t really know what I was doing. The album – entitled Sweaty Psalms – was quite experimental and i’m proud of it. Today however i feel more connected and focused towards my music, so going by my own name felt natural. I think the Klive project gave me a chance to grow a little before deciding to perform as Úlfur.

Bartek: We’ve heard the first single from „White Mountain” so that we know a little more about it. One thing is noticeable – a small piece of Klive sound could be heard, less experimental and more melodic. Could you tell more about the whole album?

Úlfur: I had so many talented friends help me out with the album. Alex did magic on the tracks behind the mixer, and helped me approach it in different ways – he has amazing insight and intuition. I was also so lucky to have friends come and play strings, drums, clarinets, horns, mallets… It expanded the soundscape in such a way that the album couldn’t have happened without them.

Bartek: What about vocals? Can we expect any vocal parts or maybe it’s gonna be more instrumental album?

Úlfur: Alexandra from Mountain Man improvised amazing vocals which we recorded 10 minutes before a show. I think it’s my favourite part of the album.

Bartek: There is one more aspect of your musical activity. I have found information, that you’ve composed some audio for instalations made by your sister. It seems like you are quite close to visual arts and performances?

Úlfur: Working with Elín has been very inspiring. Working with pure „sound” as opposed to making music is intriguing, and often offers a different approach and mind-set towards your work flow.

Bartek: You’ve spend a few days in Cracow with the band, playing at Sacrum Profanum in 2010. How do you like Poland and Cracow? Do you know/like any polish band?

Úlfur: Cracow was great, especially the dimly lit medieval bars. I also remember a fire breathing dragon sitting next to a castle, which gave us a memorable impression.

Polish music…. hmmm… I used to listen to some Vader and Behemoth, but it’s been years since then.

Úlfur’s debut – White Mountain – is to be released on 30.03.2012 (Iceland) by Kimi Records.