„Ragnarök“ – das Ende der Welt, wie wir es kennen und der Beginn von etwas neuem. Pär Hulkoff behandelt mit dem dritten HULKOFF-Album die nordische Mythologie und ihre Sagen, verbindet das aber auch mit einem aktuellen Hintergedanken. Im Interview spricht er mit uns über rohe und wilde Kraft, die eigene Uncoolness und seine loyalen Fans.
Hello, thank you for taking time to do this interview! How are you the days?
Life is good, I am happy, and I hope you are too.
Like many other bands, you had to postpone the release due to vinyl production problems. How frustrating is it not to be able to release the finished album and give it to the fans?
(laughs) It is annoying. I hate postponing, cancelling and all that kind of fuckery. We want to deliver on time. It is a question of honor.
Not even a year has passed since the release of „Pansarfolk“, why is the new album coming so fast this time?
I started writing the songs before “Pansarfolk” was even released. There is always a time glitch between delivering a finished album and realizing it. I took the time to commence work on a new album, since all touring was cancelled.
How satisfied are you with “Ragnarök” with some time passed since the production?
I really like it. I am very happy with the production.
How have HULKOFF developed since „Pansarfolk“, in how far is „Ragnarök“ better?
It is a slightly different path. It is not really a question of development; it is more about choices in composition and production work.
The album is called „Ragnarök“, but it doesn’t seem to be completely about the mythological fate of the gods. Why did you name it „Ragnarök“, and which other cultures and stories do you deal with in the lyrics on this album?
Because Ragnarök means the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of something new. I strongly feel that the world is changing. The signs are everywhere.
Why did you choose to dedicate the cover artwork to Jörmundgandr?
Well, the serpent represents many things. I recommend each and every one to delve into the meaning of the winged serpent and all of its interpretations. There are many secrets hidden in that lore.
What does Norse mythology mean to you personally?
Legacy. Honesty. Truth.
Norse mythology is a popular theme in pop culture, for example in all kinds of stuff from Marvel or in video games like “God Of War”. What’s your opinion on such interpretations?
I have none. Are those really interpretations, and not simply business ideas?
Where does your general fascination with history come from? In what way does history inspire you?
A tree without roots falls in the storm. We must know who we are, where we come from and where we are supposed to go.
You recorded the album in English and Swedish, just like „Pansarfolk“. Personally, I think the Swedish version sounds more authentic and fits the music better. Why do you record in both languages?
Because a lot of people do not speak Swedish. We discussed the best way of translating. This felt genuine. It takes a lot of pain, but again… It is a question of honor.
Is it easier for you to write and record the songs in your native language? Can you possibly identify yourself even more with your music?
Of course it is. As a young man, I wanted to do everything in English and pretend to be as cool as my heroes. With time, and age the realization of my absolute and total lack of coolness caught up with me. I am only a small link in a great chain. I play my part by writing songs about the things I cherish.
Besides the lyrics, do you write all the music yourself or do your fellow musicians have the opportunity to contribute here?
I work alone. I have to. I find it difficult to discuss things that are obvious to me. Too many ideas make a shitty soup. But I do work with others from time to time.
The production of the disc is quite rough, seems unpolished and natural. Does that just fit the HULKOFF sound much better than a smoothly polished production?
Absolutely. Definitely. I need that raw and feral power. That blood-stained earth tone. The feeling of wind against a dead fir tree and teeth crushing bone.
„Holmgang“ is an ancient way to settle disputes in duels. In the lyric video you create a modern reference by the military design of the characters with guns and com-bat knives and put the soldiers visually on a par with the Vikings. Why did you choose this presentation with the modern element?
Because of my never-ending childish love for my old job. Still a soldier at heart.
„Pansarfolk“ reached #8 on the Swedish Albums Top 60. How important is such a success to you, and do you hope or expect the same from „Ragnarök“?
From one perspective, it is important. I want to spread my love and fascination for history. From another perspective, it is not. I would make these albums anyway. I never know what to expect…
In the beginning of 2022, you will go on tour as the support act of Sabaton in Sweden. That’s surely a great opportunity for you to present yourself to a wider audience! What do you expect from this tour, and how much are you looking forward to finally being able to be on the road with music again?
I have toured with Sabaton many times. they are my blood brothers, and they always treat me and my band/crew like Khans. It will be great, to rip up the fretboards on stage again.
You launched your own „To Valhalla“ coffee. How did it come about and how were you involved in its production?
Yes, we tried out a flavour, smacked a label on the packages and sold them all. (laughs) At the moment, focus is elsewhere, and I do not know if we will make more. It is fun to try things like that, but we try to keep it exclusive. My fans are very special. They are tough, loyal and many have strong warrior lifestyles. I do not think this will ever be for everyone, although we welcome all. That is why we do these odd things.
Let’s conclude with our traditional brainstorming. What comes to your mind first when you read the following words?
Current favorite album: Draugablíkk. The one I am adding axes to at the moment. Check them out. Great shaman power.
Mead: Used to like it. Have not tasted alcohol in 10 years.
Something that makes every bad day better: My family, my animals, and my weapons.
HULKOFF in 10 years: In the shape of my life. Horse Archer to the bone.
Thank you once again for your time! The last words are all yours. Is there anything left you want to tell our readers?
We love you all dearly. Me, my wife and our boy. Thank you for your support. May the gods be with you always.
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