Greetings Ulv. How you're feeling today?
HM > Not too bad. It's weekend, that always gets my spirits up. It allows me time to think about my music, be it with Ulv or any of my other projects. I'm particularly excited about two new projects, which are still very much in the early developmental stages. So that's why I'm not too bad today, I suppose.
Who is behind Ulv? Man or a myth?
HM > Realistically speaking, a man of course. But I'd like to pose Ulv as some mythical entity, because it combines well with the music. Hence the monk's attire on the website and during live performances. But in the end, I'm just a down-to-earth guy, who is crazy about music in all its various shapes and forms. I like to experiment, create certain dark atmospheres, which I guess helps to create some sort of myth.
Ulv's sound is very minimalistic, I could call it almost "anti musical" but still very atmospheric. How did you come in this kind of music?
HM > Ulv started out as Norss (in 2003 already in fact). The latter was basically a hobby which got seriously out of hand. But in the final stages of my Norss moniker, I flowed the music from noise into drone. Evidently, acquiring a bass guitar had a lot to do with this. I've always admired bands like Nadja and Sunn O))) but I wanted to see if their sound could be minimalized, so to speak. In that respect, I take your definition of "anti musical" as a compliment. I suppose I've never thought of Ulv as something being "musical" anyway, but merely an excursion into minimal, hypnotic sounds. And I do feel that atmosphere is something very important. If one can create a certain atmosphere, the term "music" becomes almost obsolete.
What feelings you want listener to have from Ulv's tracks? And what's your state of mind when working with Ulv tracks?
HM > That's a difficult question. I suppose I'd like listeners to create their own feelings. Obviously, the mood of my music is dark and intense. Feelings should go along with that. Which is the answer to the second question: my state of mind is exactly that.
Does Ulv's music have any main theme?
HM > Not really to be honest with you. But if I'd have to give you a real answer, I'd say mysticism. I realize that's a vague term, but I'd like the listener to keep an open mind and find a theme to the music that suits him or her well.
What things are important to you in life? How much time creating music takes in your everyday life?
HM > Basically, my life is pretty "normal". My relationship with my girlfriend is very important to me. The same goes for my work, which takes up a lot of time, but is very satisfactory at the same time. Apart from that, there is of course the music. Ulv is the main project I've got going, but there's quite a few side projects as well. My head is always full of ideas and I'm constantly trying to find ways to express those. At times, it all goes over my head and then I need to take a step back. It's hard to say how much time I spend in creating music. It differs from week to week. When I'm creating music, it's all about the mood. If my mindset isn't right, I can't create. There are times that I don't compose any new music for weeks on end, even months. It doesn't concern me, because I know that these lapses are always followed by periods of intense activity.
You have done some live shows. So how does Ulv express itself in live shows?
HM > Very mystical, or at least that's what I'm trying to do. I don't perform live very often, but everytime I do, I want to bring something new to the crowd. I want to keep it interesting, not wanting to deliver the same performance twice. So I improvise in all my live shows. Basically to discover new sounds, create new atmospheres. My last gig featured Hekte Zaren, a singer from Poland. Her voice, akin to Diamanda Galás, suited the music and atmosphere very well. The whole performance can actually be seen on my Youtube channel. And it will be released in the summer on cassette by Invisible Eye.
What does year 2010 mean to you? New releases? Live shows? Something else?
HM > So far, there's one live show planned in April. My main focus will however be on new releases. There are a few lined up already, which I can't go into detail about yet. Another thing that will be important for Ulv in 2010 is the incorporation of new instruments. Recently, I experimented with a didgeridoo and in the future, I'm aiming to include some "strange" instruments like Nepalese singing bowls and a Nigerian udu.
Thanks for the interview Ulv. Any last words?
HM > I'd just like to thank you for this interview and I'd also like to thank everybody that has or will show an interest in my music.