It is our pleasure that we can bring you interview with Erik Gärdefors from phenomenal project Grift which will be releasing new album „Budet“ on 20th of march. This interview was conducted at the beginning of last year and formerly it was supposed to be in printed version of Bes which unfortunately didn’t happen yet. So we are releasing it in digital form at least. Some information might be old now but I believe there is still lot of it that might be interesting for you.
Mythago: Hey there, Erik. In the beginning I really want to thank you for your time and willingness to do this interview. However, to the first question – your last EP „Vilsna andars boning“ came out in spring of last year and, as I can tell, reviews are pretty good. How much do you read them and have you ever changed something in your music because of something you had read?
Erik: Hi there, thank you for paying attention to what I’m doing. When I create something under the banner of Grift I do it entirely based on my own feelings of passion and doubt. I think it’s quite interesting and funny to read reviews, bad and good ones, to see what the reviewer say about Grift, but it actually has no inpact on me. I create everything in my loneliness without any others opinion at all, and when I’m done, Nordvis release the result in a suitable format. I’m very happy to work with Nordvis who gives me complete freedom. Our cooperation is based on mutual trust and friendship. So the answer is no. I would never create something for someone else’s sake or taste. Grift is my sanctuary, and will forever be.
I must tell I honestly fell in love with this acoustic EP. Are you considering you would record an acoustic full-lenght album in the future?
Thanks, it’s very nice to hear that you like it. Currently, I record demo versions of new material. From every new record with Grift I think that one can hear a natural development. I never know how that development will bee when I start writing new songs, it’s like a big mystery to me. I just let myself follow this mystery and try to write lyrics and music that just feels honest to me. Now I have demo recorded three new songs. And I think you can say that it’s once again a natural development from previous records. So the next album will be a mix of everything I’ve done so far developed with some new ideas and influnces I guess. One day I want to make a completely acoustic, very stripped-down album, but not now, it has to wait a bit longer.
Is there any difference in creating purely folk song and your ordinary BM song?
Emotionally there is no difference. I usually write all my music on an old nylon-stringed guitar, but since I try to sing in a more „classic“ way on my folk music songs, I have to adapt the tunes a bit more according to how I sing. So I have to think more about how the guitar should be tuned when I make these more stripped songs. But otherwise it’s the same thing for me.
You will also release an EP with your other acoustic project Undantagsfolk, on which you’re working with Elea from NOÊTA, in the beginning of the next year. Do you want to continue with this project after release of „Den Ondes Fingrar“ or you just wanted to share some songs you like with us and after that continue mainly with Grift again?
Yes, our EP is now released by Nordvis and we are really happy with the result. Undantagsfolk is definitely not a one-time project, we will do more songs together, absolutely. But we both have our other bands to mainly focus on, so it is a question of time and inspiration when we we will do something together again.
You’re using a lot of different (and traditional) instruments including harmonium, psalmodikon and different percussions. Do you have some stable manufacturers who makes these instruments for you or did you make some of them by yourself? Is there a difference for you while playing on these instruments compared to classical ones as guitars, drums or piano?
No, I have no manufactures who make these instruments. I got this psalmodikon from a colleague at my job for a bottle of prosecco, hehe. Then I ordered a new handmade string. Harmonium is just like a small piano you know, with a pious tune. Harmonium, accordion and melodica are all instruments that I really love to include in my songs. I also use some bells, cups, bones etc. that I have got from different places.
You are often, at least at your Bandcamp page, describing your music as escapism for listener. Is it some kind of escape for you too while composing it and recording? And if yes, what kind of it? More of an escape to another world, dreams and imagination, or world of your ancestors, old traditions and „magic“ of kind?
I think that I have always used my songwritting as some kind of escape or contemplation. When I write songs everything feels pure in some way. It’s like I have total freedom to make what I have to do, but at the same time I feel duty to make it very correct. It’s in many way a big paradox to struggle with. To make new songs is like being a slave and a free bird at the same time. And this paradox makes me inspired to write lyrics. My lyrics are more concrete I guess, not so escapistic as the melodies and the riffs are.
I know you were (or maybe still are) part of some bands but nowdays it’s mostly about Grift. Do you have need, maybe sometimes, to be in regular band (I can imagine for example that you, A. Petterson of Saiva and H. L. H. Swärd of Forndom joining forces together would be really something) or are you more of a lone wolf type, when you can create music as you please?
Right now I’m mostly working with Grift and Undantagsfolk. Andreas, Ludvig and I have cooperated for different songs already, and Saiva/Grift recorded a split a couple of years ago. I think we all have big integrety when it comes to expressions. And we are lone wolfs in that matter, yes.
The mountain Kinnekulle is obviously a big source of inspiration for your music. Can you tell me something about her and folklore linked to her or at least share good sources about her with me? What’s the meaning of name „Kinnekulle“?
Yes, when I moved back to Kinnekulle a couple of years ago I just decided to try to do the best of the situation. To be inspired by my enviroment instead of try to flee to somewhere else. It’s difficult to mention for me what exactly inspired me here… I guess it’s the heritage, the nature, the myths, and the peoples behaviors.
As far as I can tell by looking at your Instagram you’re surrounded by beautiful nature which must be truly inspiring. Einar Selvik for example said few times that most of the song ideas came to him during being out walking. Is it the case with you too? And if yes why? I mean what do you think are these qualities that make nature so universal and endless source of inspiration and why it inspires you?
Yes, many ideas comes to me when I’m being out walking or skiiing. That’s a very classic thing for writers. Well, I am interested in ecology and biology, but when I got inspired by nature, it’s more the atmosphere… something I just feel I guess. And that feeling is often very overwhelming.
Because of the deeply nature-inspired character of your music and photographies I’m curious about your relationship to ecology and sustainable life. Is it something you are trying to achieve or support?
I am involved in some communities that do volunteer job for our nature. I live pretty simple and cheap here, with no water and so on. It’s okay for me.
I know you are sometimes working with your father – we can see him in your videoclips and for Invisible Oranges you also said that he contributes accordion for Grift. What’s his opinion on your music or on black metal in general?
He is just a close friend of mine, and we talk about many things. He don’t listen to black metal, but he is interested in what I’m doing and he has been on some of my concerts.
How important are traditions of your homeland to you? Do you practicing any of them?
Hm, that’s a hard question to answer. I think I’m more and more interested in other cultures and traditions then ours actually. I like to read about great and crazy ideas through mankind’s history in a global sense.
Can you imagine yourself moving from Sweden to country with totally different culture and customs (for example somewhere to south Europe or even outside of Europe) or are your bonds with your homeland so strong that its something unimaginable for you?
Yes absolutely. I’m constantly thinking about that. And hopefully one day I can move – or at least have a place to go to sometimes – and start a more meaningfull life. I don’t like this part of the world very much, so full of nihilism and hopeless individualism.
Okay, that’s all from me. Again, thank you for your time and wish you best luck in the future. Do you have some final words you want to share?
Thank a lot! I have nothing to add.