Black Metal is a mysterious beast. More than any other metal subgenre, it walks a fine line between clinging devotedly to its traditions and continually breaking new ground. The best Black Metal sounds older than time itself but like nothing you’ve heard before, and capturing that spark is harder than it seems. In a modern Black Metal market that feels both overfed yet malnourished, Hulder offers something different.

Her raw self-released demo tape Ascending The Raven Stone (2018) caused an stir in the underground, but it was 2021’s full-length Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry that established Hulder as a major force. With musical and thematic depth rarely heard in a Black Metal debut album since the 90s, Godslastering showcases an artist in rapid development, with ideas exploding like fireworks from every track.

This Day In Metal caught up with Hulder before the release of her new mini-LP The Eternal Fanfare, to discuss her current mindset, music and more…

Photo credit: Liana Rakijian

A lot has changed from your early demos to the deeper and denser sound on the upcoming MLP, The Eternal Fanfare. How would you describe the music of Hulder in 2022, for newcomers?

The music that the MLP contains is an extension of the earlier material, I feel. As my knowledge of recording techniques and interest in writing grows, so too will the music created. I will maintain that the material within past as well as current releases is Dark Medieval Black Metal. The term seems to encapsulate the idea well.

Your last album, Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry revolved lyrically around the inhabitants of a mythical realm, into which you channelled more universal, emotional themes. Is there a concept for The Eternal Fanfare?

Unlike the first album, The Eternal Fanfare is a series of disjointed ideas. As many will see when the MLP is readily available, the themes traverse different landscapes. The descent into “hell”,  understanding one’s place within this natural realm, and the embrace/acceptance of evil is essentially where the new record stemmed. 

What was your recording setup like for The Eternal Fanfare?

Since the writing/recording process for Godslastering felt pretty seamless, I decided to continue with it for the MLP. The entire process began at my home after a few ideas had come to fruition. I tracked all of the rough ideas for each song on my own and then went with Necreon to The Underworld Studio where he and CK tracked my vision on the drums. As some will note, the relationship with these two has been long standing as CK has mixed every proper release thus far and Necreon has handled the majority of session drumming since the Embraced… EP. Once the drums had been laid down, I took the rough tracks back home and put all of the finishing touches on the record before the final mixing session. This record was my first collaboration with 20 Buck Spin as well as Amy Dragon (mastering engineer). I can say that I am quite pleased with the outcome. 

You’ve mentioned ritual as being a huge part of your own creative process (and indeed lifestyle). Is there any particular ritual you would suggest for listening to your new music for the first time, in order enrich the experience?

The music held within each release is an outlet of my own ritualistic creative process. For each listener, the take-away will be different and so too will be their process of embracing and/or understanding intent held within.

I feel like Black Metal should inhabit a certain “otherness” that sets it apart from not just other artists and music but, arguably, from the physical world itself. Hulder certainly does that. From where do you channel this “otherness”?

I find that to be an interesting take on the nature of Black Metal. For me, it has served as a means to express my own experiences whilst finding my own way back to the natural world as much as possible. Instead of finding an escape from the physical world, my intention is to draw the metaphysical and physical together as one. This, I believe, is how we are meant to experience our surroundings. In this way, it does not serve as an escape but rather a grounding. 

You’ve said previously that there’s a melancholic and nostalgic aspects to Hulder. “Looking back” is a strong force in pop culture at the moment, with so much music, cinema, TV, etc, taking influence from and referencing the pop culture previous decades. Do you think there’s a difference between this kind of (arguably empty) “retro” style and a deeper form of nostalgia? And, if so, what do you think is the true value of nostalgia?

This is nothing new in the realm of pop culture. There has always been a roughly 20 year cycle in media and art that displays each generation’s longing for that which they were brought up amidst but may not have been quite cognizant of. This, I feel, is a more superficial nostalgia. There is nothing wrong with this longing as we are all only human but my idea of true nostalgia is a yearning for that which you have never personally experienced. Our ancestors lived through unspeakable hardships, in many cases and modern existence is only a few short generations from a time when mankind relied heavily upon instinct and knowledge of their surroundings. We now live in a world that is intent upon snuffing out that which has made us human. Maybe true nostalgia is the real self calling to be set free.

Do you ever find it difficult to reconcile your immersion in tradition and lost worlds, with a degree of reliance on technology to record and distribute your music?

I do see the juxtaposition between my interests and the means by which one must adhere to in order to distribute art in the modern day. It is an inevitable part of the creative process if any level of exposure is to be achieved. My initial vision was to simply record a demo tape and see where it went and the interest that it garnered was not expected. While I could have denounced all further record label inquiries, magazine coverage or the like, the thought seemed a bit absurd. 

Photo credit: Hulder

Hulder, to me, feels like such solitary and reflective music, I was surprised when you started recently performing your first shows with a full band. I watched a fan-shot video of the L.A. show and was amazed by how well it translated to the live setting. Was it difficult to transition from a private, studio-based project to a full performance act? How did you go about it?

Performing live was always something that I planned from the inception of Hulder. With that in mind, I intend to keep the creation process a solitary endeavor. When the initial process of recruiting a live band began, I was fortunate enough to have CK and Necreon on board. CK engineered the Godslastering album and happens to be a well-versed drummer. Necreon was hired on as a session drummer on the album but came into the live fold as bassist. We have had a revolving door of live guitarists, given the small number of performances that there have been as of yet. The current lineup is nowhere near set in stone and I imagine that I will be accompanied by many more down the road. 

You’ll be embarking on an extensive US tour soon, the Awakening of Lithian Divinity tour. What do you have planned for this show? Is there a concept behind it?

There is no concept behind the tour, itself. The goal is to translate the studio recordings into a live setting and ensure that things are ironed out. As this is just the beginning of Hulder’s live performances, I am just now getting a feel for things on the road and am looking to further that aspect of Hulder as a whole. 

You created an imaginary civilisation for your last album, which makes me wonder… Do you have any interest in role-playing games?

I do not have any active interest in role playing games of any kind.

What have you been listening to lately?

A few albums that have been in steady rotation have been: Blacken The Angel by Agathodaimon, In Battle’s self titled album, Blot Mine’s Porphyrogenisis, Enya’s The Celts and, lastly, Die Verbannten Kinder Evas’s self-same debut. 

Finally, at This Day In Metal, we like to add a Did You Know? fact about the artists on our social media posts. Quite often we’re told the facts aren’t interesting/obscure enough… so can you tell us something about Hulder that no one else knows?

I despise doing interviews. With that said, I do appreciate your questions having been well thought out.

Ha! Thanks!

https://www.hulder-official.com/

Hulder’s new MLP The Eternal Fanfare is released 1st July 2022.

You can buy it here:

https://hulder.bandcamp.com/

https://www.20buckspin.com/collections/hulder

Follow Hulder on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/HulderUS/

https://www.instagram.com/hulder_official/

Interview by C.J. Lines
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