This american band was formed in 2007 in Arvada, Colorado by Clayton Cushman and David Csicsely. While their lyrics base on old nordic poems, their music is much harder to label. The Flight of Sleipnir is a unique mix of stoner, doom and viking metal. Read what band's drummer, David, had to say about few topics like his music, inspirations and ancestry. And after that check out band's music - it's really worth your attention!
Lately I’ve been enjoying the new Wolf people album ‘Fain”as well as the new Jex Thoth album ”Blood Moon Rise”.
2. OK, now let’s talk about your latest album – „Saga”. This time you decided to tell a story which bases on saga of Ragnar Lothbrok. Why did you choose this particular tale, and not for example the Njals saga or Laxdoela?
After ‘Essence of Nine’ we decided we wanted to do a concept album, something where we could do a more lengthy composition. We had many different ideas for other concepts but we decided to go with the Ragnar saga as it best suited the musical direction we were leaning towards.
3. Not so long ago canadian History channel produced a series “Vikings”, which loosely refers to Ragnar’s story. Have you seen it, and what do you think about it? In my opinion it’s pretty good, even if some things are a bit fucked up (like the whole episode about Uppsala’s temple).
Honestly I have yet to see the series. I’ve heard many good things about it and I plan to check it out eventually.
4. Back to the music, “Saga” is in my opinion a bit more harsh release than “Essence of Nine”. Thanks to that it’s more diverse than the previous longplay. That was a plan, or it came naturally while you were composing new material?
Absolutely, we wanted to get a little heavier with Saga. EON is probably our most laidback album and when writing Saga we wanted to get back into doing something with more dynamics.
We actually write a lot of our music on acoustic so I think it naturally comes out that way. As far as being melancholic, sitting on mountain tops and contemplating our existence, no, we’re really just a couple of normal guys.
6. Thanks to a groovy, a bit stifling production slow, doom parts many times reminds me classic stoner tunes. That was always a part of your musical world, yet still it’s something unusual in Viking metal. Do you remember when you came out with this idea? You’re both fans of stoner/doom bands like Electric Wizard or Stoned Jesus?
To me it didn’t seem like such a stretch to incorporate Scandinavian mythology with doom, honestly I think it fits better. We are both definitely fans of bands like Electric wizard, Sleep, and Pentagram and when we started the band we wanted to incorporate some of those elements into what is now TFOS, but not so much that we would fall into a “stoner” classification.
7. Another unusual elements are classical blues/rock tunes, appearing here and there like e.g. in “Hour of Cessation”. Many people says that it’s something natural for Americans to put such things in your music, because you are permeated with that kind of playing. How do you see this?
I think that has truth to it. I think it makes sense that musicians, especially from America and England would incorporate these styles in their music since it was such an influential style for those cultures.
8. Generally speaking that’s something I like about your band – you are influenced by so many different, sometimes distant genres, yet still your music is very consistent. I see that your motto is “music has no boundaries”, haha!
Yeah, we pretty much do whatever we want musically as long as it doesn’t take away from the overall feel of what we are doing.
9. This originality is very perplexing for people who tries to describe you music, not to mention labeling it. So how would you personally describe your music to somebody who has never hear it?
Describing our music is something we don’t typically like to get into , haha. If we must, I’d say it’s something like if Pink Floyd started a Viking metal band. The trick is to not over complicate it.
We typically go by Psychedelic folk/doom. I think it’s really up to the listener to decide and that’s fine by us. I personally don’t listen to a lot of folk metal, but I do enjoy some Einherjer or Mithotyn from time to time.
11. The production of “Saga” is like I said before very groovy and stifling, yet enough spacious in slower, acoustic parts. It fits the music very well, so was it hard to obtain such a good sound?
Clay does all the recording, mixing, and mastering for TFOS. Recording is like any craft, with practice, you get better and I think Saga showcases Clay’s recording mastery rather well.
12. Your art works are very different from other Viking metal covers, as you make them in a secessionist way. Where did you come up with this idea? Personally I think that’s a great idea and I am a big fan of what you’re doing!
Thank you! I basically just felt it was the best way to make a connection between the themes and sounds of TFOS. For instance, a traditional D&D style painting of some Viking battle wouldn’t really represent the band properly, where as using a more psychedelic “art nouveau” style fits a lot better with the band’s aesthetics.
13. You’ve also created a cover art for your split with Apostle of Solitude and Rituals of the Oak. Where the idea came from? And are you friends with those bands?
The idea came from a collaboration between the guys from ROTO and AOS. I was actually commissioned to do the art work before TFOS was even a part of it, originally it was supposed to be a two way split between both bands, but we were asked to be a part of it afterwards. Apostle of Solitude are really nice guys and with what contact we’ve had with ROTO we could say the same.
14. I know that you’re organizers of the annual festival, taking place on every winter solstice in your home city. Can you tell me something more about it? And what kind of bands do you invite to play with you?
We’ve actually been taking part of the Denver doom fest every year instead of the Solstice. We try to play the solstice as much as possible but booking on the day or weekend of is a nightmare and almost impossible. So this works out great for us. It’s more doom/psychedelic oriented bands and it’s put together every year by Zach Salmans of Stoic Dissention. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
15. Since “Essence…” you’re music is being released by a german label Eyes Like Snow. Are you happy with it? And do you like some of their roster?
Eyes Like Snow is a great label and Torsten is very easy to work with. I think one of the best aspects of ELS is his attention to detail with all his releases. There are some great bands on the label, for instance, Wheel and Apostle of Solitude are both fantastic bands. “Saga” was our last release through ELS and we have since then made a new deal with Napalm records.
16. Your creativeness is inspired by the old Scandinavian poems. Can you tell me why did you choose them, and not for example ancient greek works, old Russian stories or old hindu ones, like Rigveda? You know, I am asking about it because there are quite many bands which bases their lyrics on Scandinavian mythology and sagas. I’d like to know what do you personally enjoy the most in such literature.
Clay and I both had an interest in Scandinavian mythology even before we met. I think it was on this common interest that we established the band, it kind of united us so to speak. If we were both into Greek myth, the band very well could have been inspired by that instead. I’ve always found the mythology to be very rich in literature, as well as very poetic.
17. Do you think that modern people still can learn something from those old tales?
I think everyone can learn from all mythology, you just need to be perceptive. It was created not only as a religion but also as a guide for living your life with a certain code.
18. It’s propably a bit stupid to ask, but I will do it anyway, haha. Your last name sounds very Hungarian. Did you learn your genealogy and find some Hungarian ancestors? And have you ever considered making a song with lyrics based on some Hungarian folk tales?
Good ear, the name Csicsely is a Hungarian name. My family is Hungarian on my father’s side and Czech on my mother’s side. I honestly haven’t thought of doing anything lyrically based on any Hungarian folk tales. The Flight of Sárkány? [Hungarian for "dragon", Vlad.]
19. Last question. What are your plans for the future? And when we can expect new album?
We are currently working on a new album which should be slated for release early next year worldwide through Napalm Records. We are also hoping to do some touring, mainly Europe next year as well.
20. OK, Thank you very much for your time. Last word belongs traditionally to you, cheers!
Thank you for the interest, it’s very much appreciated!
Photos: band's archive.
Interview by Vladyka 2013. Please do not copy this interview without HA'Z permission. Respect the copyrights!