JANUARY 5th 2016

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Russia’s own Viking/melodic metal band “NOMANS LAND”. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
 1. The band formed back in St. Petersburg in 1996, and you started as a doom metal, what made you switch to Viking metal ?

Well, we gathered a group just like most of people of young age and began playing one of the popular doom metal style at that time. And in the process it came the understanding and the prospect of open horizons for creativity. We saw what we really would be interesting to work with. So we embarked on this road of Viking metal. We have not even published a single song in the style of doom metal, so it is not necessary at this much to focus on.

We live in St. Petersburg in northwest of Russia geographically and spiritually. And we are closer to the Nordic and Scandinavian culture and history than it might seem. We are also close to the Scandinavian myths and legends about the Vikings and their Gods. Our music during the existence of the band has undergone some stylistic evolution, but we still remain true to the spirit of the Vikings.
2. I am curious about the name “NOMANS LAND” which is a place that is unoccupied, but St. Petersburg has a large population, so tell me how you came up with the name to represent the band ?

The group was named in 1998. As the band began to play Viking metal, the images and the times of the Vikings became close to all musicians. And in the days of the Vikings, there was nothing where St. Petersburg is now located, just swampy plain. So all is logical with the name of the band!

3. You have had some member changes over these years, tell us how each of your members now came to be in the band:

Hjervard - Vocals, Bass:
We hung out near the subway after a rehearsal and saw a long-haired guy carrying a bass guitar, and we needed a bass player at that time. We made him an offer to join the band and he gladly agreed. At this moment Hjervard is almost fifteen years with us.

Ainar - Drums:
I came to the group two months before Hjervard. It was August 2000. Guys decided to change the drummer after recording the first album and found me through mutual friends.
Sigurd - Guitar, Clean Vocals:
He is the founder of the band and we all came into his group.

Alex - Guitar, Clean Vocals:
At the beginning of 2010 previous guitar player left the band and we started to look for a new one. After unsuccessful searching, we called our old friend from a well-known local metal band. Alex started to rehearse with us and after a while a fully joined Nomans Land.
4. You have a new album, your fifth,  “Last Crusade” that was released by Massacre Records June 23, tell us what the fans can expect to hear, how is it different maybe from  2009 Farnord ?

This album is the next step in the development of the band and Viking metal style as Nomans Land understands it. Since the Viking metal has long been known and studied from all angles, in order to continue to exist it must progress. “Last Crusade” is a continuation of the Viking metal in a new way.
5.  How did you come up with the name for the album, where did the inspiration come from ?

The idea of the name is taken from the song that we had called “Last Crusade“. This name seemed to us quite interesting and sonorous, and so we decided to call the album. At least it reflects our resolute musical spirit. At first we had planned to shoot the video to this song and that’s why we‘d chosen this song as a main. Later we decided to shoot the video for the song “Strain at the Oars” but the title of the album left without any changes.

6. The album was recorded/mixed by Aki Väkevä at Madmix in Kouvola, Finland, what made you have Aki do this for you ? Had you used him before ?

Our Finnish friends from Kivimetsän Druidi recorded one of their albums with him. We liked their sound and we wanted to work with Aki. We hadn't worked with him before.

7. The mastering was done by Jaakko Viitalähde at Virtalähde Mastering in Kuhmoinen in Finland, I am not familiar with the process, but why two different studios ?

This is a common thing because these are two different processes. It happens that the band chooses a studio to record the songs then goes to the other studio to make mixing and chooses the third one to do the mastering.
8. The cover artwork was created by Jan "Örkki” Yrlund, Darkgrove Design (Korpiklaani, Impaled Nazarene, Stratovarius, Sirenia), how did you come to choose this artist ?

It took us a long time thinking about the cover. The views were very different and we would like to move a little away from our past ideas. As a result, disputes have led us to a dead end. And we have not appeared to the consensus. Therefore, we decided to make a final decision in this matter together with guys from Massacre-Records. They recommended us to work with Jan. I think the cover is not bad!

9. Did you give the artist some ideas, or did they come up with the image on their own ?

No, we said nothing to him. He listened to the album and sent us the picture. We admired it and immediately approved.

10. Can you tell us what the inspiration was behind the artwork, looks like a very lonely Viking, so fitting for the Last Crusade, but wondered how the image came to be.

After listening to the album Jan sent us the picture. Generally, the best result is obtained when they do not disturb the artist and do not put him into rigid framework for creativity, isn't it? I must say, this cover has become a subject of debate among historical reenactors of the Middle Ages - the people eagerly discuss whether the armor is suited for halberd, and how the knight could appear in the cover of the band playing Viking metal and something like that. See wider – the image is reproduced with its best!

11. Did it take a long time from the start of writing the songs, to the finished CD ?

There was a big break in the active life of the band. After the Farnord release our guitar player left the band and it took us time to find the new one. Actually it was not known whether the new album would be released outside of the studio, as the group was at the crossroads of existence, but a new member (guitarist Alex) added the new faces and ideas into our work and the result of that you can hear right now. This is the next step in the development of the band.
12. How was the experience, did it go smoothly ?

Truly speaking, not smoothly. To adults, held musicians, it is difficult to change their views and seek compromises even for the sake of co-creation. But we overcame this way successfully.

13. Of the 8 songs on the album (including a Russian folk song “Bereza”), do you personally have a favourite, and why that one ?

It’s hard to say. Everyone, I think, has a favorite song. When you work on creating songs for the new album you try to make each well. And they are all very important and only after a while, you know some of them are really important. I do not think I'm able to give you such an assessment now. Good album as well as a good cognac, it takes time to «mature». I note “Strain at the Oars“. By the way, we have made the video for this song. Enjoy. I also really like the “Warrior's Path”

Strain at the Oars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmpZX6IATDk

14. What made you put a folk song on the album, cool idea.

Concerning the song, this is a bonus track and it has no connection with the concept of the album. That’s a Russian folk song about a birch tree. The birch is a cultural symbol in most regions in Russia. So this song is, perhaps, the most famous of all existing Russian folk songs. We have had the idea to do this kind of cover for quite some time, but just couldn’t get down to it. Alex (our guitar player) helped us out here, because he had some experience with Russian folk songs. In fact, it is a sad song. You can try to catch its mood in the verses, which are performed a cappella. But we decided to stuff it as much as possible with metal sound and to add a positive mood. People like it when we play it live. In fact, we are not a folk band and, to tell the truth, we don’t find our inspiration from Russian folk music.

15. Who in the band does the writing of the lyrics ?

Usually Hjervard writes all the lyrics but at this album the most lyrics have been written by Alex.
    Sometimes Alex goes to Norway and wanders somewhere of mountains and fjords in the solitude. I do not know what he is doing there but after that we have new lyrics and ideas for songs!
16. You have done some touring, tell me, what do you prefer more, festivals or smaller venues ?  I personally like festivals as the lighting is better.

The festivals for sure! Although some clubs where the person in charge of lighting effects is a master of his craft, it is possible to achieve no less effect. Festivals and concerts - are two different pleasures. Drive comes from a huge crowd at the festival, while the live chat with fans at the club show is more personalized.
17. What can you tell us something about the band that some of us might not know ?

Oh, there are a lot of these things! But most of them are just as intriguing and so indecent.

18. As a kid was being in a band the biggest thing you dreamed of doing ?

Yes, after I learned about the existence of hard rock and heavy metal! Before there were all sorts of nonsense like the tram drivers etc.

19. What is your favourite way to spend a day off ?

Sleep, and sleep once again! But I have to get up and go somewhere ...

20. Is there anything you would like to add to the interview that you want people to know about ?

Our band exists for many years, and there was everything, fame and oblivion, and a success again. We call all of our fans always stick to their line, and remember: if a door is closed, be sure another one will be open!

Спасибо (Thank you) for taking the time to do this interview with us at Metaltitans, and we wish you much success with “Last Crusade”.

Thank you so much for being interested in our band! See you!