Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Valdur Interview III

One of the great, yet still virtually unknown, bands in the USBM underground is Mammoth Lakes, California’s Valdur. A majestic black metal act with Viking overtones, Valdur have a keen ear for a blend of brutality, catchiness, and subtle melody. A trio, Valdur recently suffered the loss of vocalist/ guitarist Thor, a Norwegian who recently moved back to his native land. The remaining members of Valdur, drummer Lord Sxuperion and bassist William, are moving forwards, and have recently recruited vocalist/ guitarist Samuel to fill the void left by Thor.

I had a chance to catch up with Lord Sxuperion via email, and he will bring us up to date on the status of Valdur. A short follow up interview with Thor is planned, as well.

1) After the departure of Thor, what prompted you and William to continue as Valdur?

The only freedom we really have in life is the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. There have always been high expectations in Valdur. Not just in the band as a whole, but in each of its members to do what it’s right for themselves.

To me, there was never a question of 'should we continue'. We lost our original guitarist, Blasphemy, years ago, and we just kept moving forward. Over the last few years, Thor seemed to be around less and less, so his departure to take care of family matters in Norway was not so much of a surprise. Thor did not leave on bad terms. We all wish him well and our door is always open.

2) How did the recruitment of Samuel come about?

Samuel actually came to our last show here in Mammoth in an old Obituary Cause Of Death t-shirt…the rest is history.

3) Are you confident that Samuel will be able to fill Thor’s shoes?

There are no shoes to fill.

4) What does Sammy bring to the band that is new and fresh?

Valdur was never meant to be just a 'black metal' band, so I think that we can break away from that stereotype a little bit and move forward into a more extreme and brutal approach to our music. It has surprised me, though… much our new songs still sound like Valdur.. This shows me that the progression is still natural and grounded.

5) What are the current plans for a new full-length album?

It is almost entirely written! Valdur is going to approach a studio of our choice sometime in late spring to record the next album.

6) Will Valdur tour in support of the new material?

We are going to try for a West coast tour this summer, as well as many 'one off' shows (some of which have already been confirmed). At this point, our live set will be all new material, but by this summer, we will be playing a couple of older songs live as well.

7) Do you still feel that having Valdur based in Mammoth Lakes works on a creative level?

I couldn't imagine actually moving to an urban environment just to push and promote Valdur more. That would kill every ounce of creativity for Valdur. Maybe Valdur would be more well known if we were from somewhere more accessible. I could care less. We don't live in this high alpine environment for Valdur. Valdur is from Mammoth Lakes because we all live here for our own personal reasons outside of music. I moved to Mammoth from Montana almost 20 years ago and my life in the mountains and in nature……supersedes all else.

8) Tell us about your endeavors with Bloody Mountain Records.

There are a lot of secret intentions with BMR, and I would rather not elaborate here.

9) You are also involved in a few other bands, such as Ritual Combat from Los Angeles. Tell us a little about those projects. How permanent is your involvement with these projects?

I have known the Ritual Combat guys for a while and they have always supported Valdur. They were looking for a replacement and I guess at some point my name came up. I said I would help out. They come up to Mammoth every once in a while and rehearse and hang out in the mountains and woods. It is not necessarily a permanent thing with Ritual Combat. I think that if they can find a suitable drummer that lives in their area, they would go with that, as I am a six hour drive away. I really like the music though, so we'll see what happens. I also play the drums in a band called Weverin, and I did the session drums for the Endless Blizzard full length Remember Your Death. I also have my Sxuperion and SXAP solo projects.

10) Describe your experiences playing in Ritual Combat at the Gathering Of The Bestial Legion V and Cathedral Of The Black Goat festivals.

The Bestial Legion show was our first show together, and was definitely a trial by fire for me. We only had a couple of practices at that point, and I couldn't hear a thing on stage. I was nervous, but it went well. But by the second show in Chicago, we had the songs down and we fucking nailed it.

Thank you for your time!

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