[imgleft]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/FB6.jpg[/imgleft]By Katalin Sipos Every fan of viking /pagan/epic black metal is familiar with German band Falkenbach. And every time a new Falkenbach album is released, people’s curiosity is piqued, wanting to know more about this mysterious one-man band. There are some known facts and lots of rumours, conjectures and assumptions about Vratyas Vakyas, who tries to give away as little information about himself and Falkenbach as possible. Of course, the music is what is important but, as always, fans just want to know more about their favorite musician. In this interview we focus on his recently released album, Heralding - The Fireblade, but in the interest of getting to know Vratyas a little bit better, we also spoke of other things. Your album has been out for a few weeks now. How are you doing? Have your read the reviews? Or you are not really interested in what the press are saying about it? Well, I am fine more or less, thank you. No, I did not read more than a couple reviews so far, as I am not interested in magazines in general, moreover not in print magazines. I care more about the feedback I receive straight from the listeners by mail etc. Almost exactly two years after the release of Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty… here is Heralding. Before Ok Nefna.. we had to wait almost five years to get a new Falkenbach album. How much time did you spend writing the material of ’Heralding’? I really cannot remember how long it did take to compose and arrange those songs, as it´s more than 10 years ago now. Beside that the almost 6 years of silence in between the 2nd and 3rd album had several reasons, but not a lack of inspiration in the end. Two of the songs on Heralding appeared on your previous albums. ‘Heathen Foray’ - originally ’The Heathenish Foray’ - is from Magni Blandinn…, ’Laeknishendr’ is from .. En Their…. Why did you want to use these songs again? Why did you re-record this song instead of writing brand new ones? As a matter of fact, The Fireblade was meant to be the debut album of Falkenbach and was recorded more than 10 years ago. Due to the fact the studio sucked, the engineer sucked, and the whole result so far sucked, I decided to stop the recordings back then, and the album was never finished. Some of the tracks I recorded later for following albums as you´ve mentioned. Now I rerecorded them because they´re simply a part of the original Fireblade album. There is also ’Gjallar’ on the digipack version of Heralding that is from the ...Skinn Av Sverdhi Sol Valtiva...' demo. My question is again, why did you re-record this song instead of a brand new one? I have to concede I am not a friend of bonus material usually, but as ’Gjallar’ hasn´t been a part of the original ’Fireblade album I wanted to add it as a bonus. Beside that the demo was limited to 9 copies, and I cannot imagine too many people listened to that song before, so probably to 99,9 % of all listeners this track is a new one. Where did you record Heralding and who was the producer? The first attempt to record it was at a small studio in Düsseldorf about ten years ago. The rerecording now took place at the Tidalwave Studio in Germany. I cannot say how long it took all in all in the end, as the recordings were split to several sessions. A producer doesn´t exists for a Falkenbach production, but an engineer, Patrick Damiani. There are always things left to be improved next time, but I am pleased with the result, yes. We wanted to create the sound we were after at the beginning, 10 years ago. We had to try a lot, checked several ways to record the guitars etc. to let it sound as original as possible. If I am right, Boltthorn, Hagalaz and Tyrann helped you again with the recordings. Did they just assist you playing their instruments or do they contribute in some other way to Falkenbach? I know them for years now, they are perfect guest musicians, music- and attitude- wise. But they did not participate on the song writing process, and they will continue to focus on their own project(s). I hope to see them featured on following recording, too, and also for a eventual live line-up. Do you always wanted to keep Falkenbach as a one-man band, to completely use only your own ideas or have you ever felt the need of somebody else should have been involved in Falkenbach? No, Falkenbach should remain something without compromises. In the end there are always compromises if you have to agree with someone else, I guess. To see Boltthorn, Hagalaz and Tyrann as guest musicians, who care about their own project(s) mainly, is the perfect solution for this. [imgleft]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/FB2.jpg[/imgleft] How big part of your life is Falkenbach? Falkenbach is always with me in some way. Arranging new songs, answering interviews, homepage and forum, or just listening to older material…there is no day without Falkenbach in my life, as Falkenbach is a big part of my life. When you start gathering ideas to a new song (new album) what aspects do you have - if have any? I never make any plans how songs should sound like, inspiration itself decides. You can feel if a song is “right” or not, and I try to keep it as pure as possible. Do you have any idea about how much more albums will you release as Falkenbach or you just follow your instincts and let time tell… ? Exactly, I never know what time will bring. Maybe a new album will follow soon, maybe it will take years, and maybe the new album will have been the last official release of Falkenbach. It all depends on inspiration, and inspiration is something I cannot explain, nor can I say where it comes from – one of the oldest questions of mankind probably. Your albums always have beautiful covers. How do you choose the paintings for the albums? This time it is a photo, right? The same way as with the music, the lyrics, and everything else. Waiting, and when time is right, it just appears. You have to be prepared for it, but you cannot force it. This time it´s a photo, yes, but the perfect one to round the 4 Falkenbach albums up. I do not care if it´s a photo or a drawing, as long as it´s the best possible solution. [imgleft]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/FB4.jpg[/imgleft] I haven’t got the lyrics and I wonder if in Havamal, did you use the original passages of you rather kind of summarized what is written in there. It´s not the complete Havamal of course, this would have taken too long for this track. As the passages were translated into English, they are not original word by word, but in their meaning. It´s not summarized, but only a couple of parts were taken. Who is behind the female voice in ’Skirnir’? Her lines are a quote from some poem or you wrote them? She is not active in any band, nor has she ever been. I needed a female spoken voice for this part, and she agreed to try. The result was nice, and we took it. She is the girlfriend of the studio engineer Patrick Damiani. It´s again from the Edda, translated into English. I assume you have read Havamal. How many times? In which languages? I read the Havamal in three languages so far, cannot say how many times. Are you an Asatru follower? Or you just follow the old path on your own way? I do not use to label what I feel, or what I follow. The “religion”, or let´s call it view of life I follow, is related to Asatru and can be connected with it at several aspects, but it´s not exactly the same. Are you generally interested in history or rather just the old times, appr. till the twelfth - thirteenth century? The old days, as you use to call it, are the origin, the source of tradition. But it doesn´t make sense to talk about fire if you hold ashes in your hands only. Traditions of a culture are highly important, one should know about roots. On the other hand, we´re living today, and to keep something alive means to find a way to life with it today, to make it a part of your own life. Have you ever thought about playing in a pure medieval or folk band? No, not at all. I am probably by far not good enough for such a project on one hand, and on the other hand I do not feel like being part of a real band at the moment. Beside that Falkenbach seems to be enough for me now. Maybe this will change sooner or later, maybe not, time will tell, as always. [imgleft]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/FB5.jpg[/imgleft] Probably you have been asked about it many times, is there any chance that Falkenbach will play live? Would it be a one and only opportunity or could you imagine touring with Falkenbach? At the moment there are plans for 1 or 2 small live shows. Maybe more shows will follow after that, but it´s not likely to be honest, we will see. Details about it you will find at www.Falkenbach.de as soon as there is something to say about it. Do you follow the viking/pagan metal scene at all? No, I do not feel connected to any scene in general. You have a label, Skaldic Art Production. How are things going there? Lately I had to put it on ice for a while, as there wasn´t enough time left to care about the bands 100%, and I did not want to work for them with half strengths only. The last releases for quite a while will be the “A Homage To Falkenbach” albums I and II, limited to 500 copies only. Check at www.Falkenbach.de . Are the Falkenbach demos still available? No, they are not. They all have been limited to 9 copies, except for ‘Laeknishendr’, which was limited to 33 copies. If you find someone at Ebay etc. offering an original Falkenbach demo, be sure it´s either a fake, or a bootleg, probably of the ’Laeknishendr’ tape. Thank you very much for spending your time with this interview! Thanx for your support! Visit www.Falkenbach.de and join the forum.