How would you describe your music?
We’ve been playing troll metal until now. With our last album ‘Ragnatroll’ we put an epic touch to our troll music. The music combines heavy loud riffing with epic melodies. Telling tales of battles, parties of the village of Aktarum. So you could say folk metal but we add the troll part everywhere we can. So if you like Finntroll, Moonsorrow, you’ll find what you want with us.
Tell us about how the history of the project?
Aktarum was created around 2005 near Brussels in Belgium. Trollour (Keaboard/lead vocals) and Trollaklass (Guitars) came from black metal and Thrash metal bands. They wanted to create something new in the neighborood. Back in those days in Belgium, there wasn’t any folk metal bands and they wanted to change that. I think Finntroll and Moonsorrow were really like revelations to them. So they did everything to put that kinda band in the place.
And really fast they opened for Ensiferum and other huge bands. The audience really followed the band across the country and the band grew quickly a european fan base. The band released the First album “Gang of Trolls” in 2010, touring with Arkona in France and Belgium and with Nothgard in Eastern Europe.
The line-up changed a lot. So it took time to find the perfect match and work on new songs. In 2014 the band released the “Game of Troll” EP and toured in Belgium, France, Germany,… We found the perfect missing bass player in 2016 and we worked for 2 years on the new album “Ragnatroll” which will be out in the 8th of December. Now we have the team we’ve been dreaming of for quite a long time and we’re ready to hit the road.
What are you influences/ musical heroes?
Definitely Finntroll, Moonsorrow, Arkona, Turisas, Equilibrium… We relate to them. It’s not modern folk metal but it’s epic folk metal. We’ve played almost with every band i’ve listed and we always got along with them. That’s for the band in general. If you take each member one by one, the answer would be different.
Trollaflem (Bass) that’d be heavy metal and Thrash metal. You take Trollhammer (Drums) and me (Trollbard-Guitars-Vocals) that’d be more Epic Extreme metal. And i guess that’s exacly what the 2 founding members wanted. You can feel everyone’s touch in the new album. It combines new features thanks to the new members and that’s definitely something you want to hear.
What inspires you?
I guess everything inspires us. For the writing process. We let all the doors open to find new sounds. Back in the days maybe we’ll have said “no that’s not Troll enough” or “that melody is to candy like”… For this album we worked hard on the arrangements so every song could be as good as we can. For example Trollaklass wanted to hear a eagle scream …we were all like…”What ?” So he did put this damn eagle sound…and now we couldn’t imagine that song without this freaking eagle. He felt like putting eagle’s cry and he did good. So everything inspired us. We’ve inspired each others.
And for the concept story behind the album we wanted to tell a story. We wanted the album to be a journey with the trolls. So you could say that we were inspired by the greatest tales of old, like the Lord of the Rings.
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
I’ll talk for myself here. I’d rather prefer to write at my place, in my studio. I can take the time to settle things down the way i want them to be. It’s easier for me. But if i take my computer on the newt tour i could do the same. I don’t think the other trolls ever wrote on a tour. Too busy partying probably…those assholes…
What is your favourite song to perform live?
That’s really hard to say coz now that we’ve played all the new songs together, i only see these new songs and it feels really great. But you asked for live performance so i’d say “Troll Forever” and “Imperial Troll”. You can really feel the connexion with the audience with these 2 songs so when we play the songs we really enjoy our time on stage. For imperial Troll the reason is clearly the 260bpm part on the double bass that’s freaking crazy.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Aktarum for opening. That would be insane.
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s a really tough question. The music industry is probably killing little bands like us. Paying to have the chance to play with bigger bands is just disgusting. You worked your ass off you put all your money in the creation of the album and then if you want to play around the globe you’ll have to pay. I know these are hard times for promoters but sometimes it’s just way out of this world. As long as you have the money you can tour.
On the other hand thanks to the development of new soft-wares, it’s more easier everyday to make your own music. So you can now make movie score sounds. You can use traditional instruments just with one computer. And for me that’s just really awesome. I love writing music, no matter what kind of music. I can write what i want.
That leads to another problem, the amount of new artists everyday but i don’t know if i had had the chance to play live if i were born in the 60’s or 70’s so i feel really grateful for that.
The music industry changed with the music itself. We need to adapt. Everything changes and so did we.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
I’ll talk for myself here. With my first band Damarus, one of our last show we played with true black evil Kult metal bands…We were like 20 years old in those days. And we were drinking beers in the changing room with the other bands. And we heard them talking about their prisons times…One guy said “You know i don’t care if i go back to jail, i’ve got all my friends there”. The other one responded “yeah it’s the same for me, i go back there next month”. Later in the evening the same black metal band played on stage in front of 10 people. He took his knife and stab himself in the guts. At first we thought it was an act like usual for black metal. But after 1 or 2 minutes, the guy fell down on the stage…he was really hurt…and we were like “why the hell did he do that ? I mean in front of 10 000 people i wouldn’t even understand but in front of 10 people why the hell did he do that” and ironically we laughed as hell because of this weird, fucked up and grotesque situation…
What are your future plans?
Touring across Europe. Show the rest of the world our last album. Make a music video and spreading the message of the trolls of Aktarum.