Anyone with even a vague interest in Hugin's music cannot help but notice that it's been rather a quiet start to 2011, particularly when compared to the positive avalanche of releases that came our way throughout 2009 and 2010. The reasons for this are both complicated and personal, and this isn't really the place to consider them. One dark evening this the week, however, Nazgul and Hugin arranged for a quick catch-up (the fire beacons atop of Castle Nazgul proving to be surprisingly efficient at sending and receiving messages to and from the deep Austrian woods) for a straight-from-the-horse's-mouth run down of current activities at W.A.R, all purely for your edification as part of Honour and Darkness' most honoured readership.
Before we begin though, it appears that Hugin has added another string to his bow - literally! The photographic evidence shown here would indicate that 'Alex Longshanks' may well be a distant relative of Robin Hood and is, by all accounts, something of a crack shot. Local gossip suggests that more than once the spoils of victory in bow shooting competition have gone to our musical maestro. Co-incidentally, Nazgul happens to know that the 1st world match-crossbow championships were held in Linz in 1979, so from this we can glean that (1) it's clearly a region that is steeped in shooting tradition, and (2) is probably not the best place to practice your party-piece impersonation of wild animals...
Firstly, Hugin, welcome back to the pages of Honour and Darkness! It's been a while since we've had a 'formal' interview with you here, although your ongoing support and contributions are always very welcome of course! Have you a message for the ravenous hordes of Blog readers that follow your work?
Yes! Thank you all for your great support over all the past years - it's just so appreciated! When I started out 13 years ago with a simple Yamaha keyboard and recorded the first Hrossharsgrani tracks I never NEVER thought about such success or popularity! Thanks guys - you are AWESOME! By the way, I still use that Yamaha on some tracks!
So, straight onto the million dollar question for all of your fans - what is currently being planned and/or recorded in respect of what we might call your three 'main' projects: Uruk Hai, Hrefnesholt, and Hrossharsgrani?
I need to take a little time out still, but even so some stuff is ready for release [cue festivities in the Grand Hall of Castle Nazgul]. In a few weeks Uruk-Hai's "Emyn Muil" will be released at Steel Blazes Records [the hills of Emyn Muil upon either side of Nen Hithoel were a vast maze of impenetrable rocky crags in the region of Rhovanion in Middle-Earth]. Meanwhile, Hrefnesholt will be part of the new Allerseelen tribute CD, "Mit Fester Hand". There's nothing new from Hrossharsgrani yet...
All sounds promising, and let's not forget that the Tryby label has also just released the very limited Uruk-Hai box-set collection "Gorgoroth (The Land Of Darkness)" too! Time to break open those piggy banks once again. So then, let's cover some of your other projects: what's the position with B-Machina - last time we spoke Max was very busy with other work, are any new recordings likely?
Only yesterday I met with Max and we talked about many things, including B-Machina, so I think new stuff will be recorded someday too!
Excellent, send our regards to Max - and tell him he's long overdue for an interview himself !! And how is Solid Grey coming along, is anything forthcoming from this new project?
The debut album is already recorded and mastered (at Luftschutzkerker, Switzerland), and the title is "Pull The Strings Tighter". The cover has been finished too and is by Chris H. [and here it is for you to marvel at]. Now we need to start to search for a label. I think that it might be released nearer the end of 2011 - watch out!
Sadly there is no news here. We'd really like to release this double-album because we like it very much - I think its one of the most epic albums I have ever recorded!!!
I'd have to agree here, having been fortunate enough to hear an advance copy of this release. In fact, you can revisit the post for this item from 22 May 2010 to remind yourselves how brilliant this album is. So come on - does any one out there own, or have the ability to influence, a good quality record label to get this album released? Let's make something happen! Meanwhile, have you made any more recordings with Jim Kirkwood since the Drachenfeuer sessions?
Yes, together we've recorded just one more song for the upcoming "The One Ring" compilation CD, Volume II.
Let's now turn to another project that's been on ice for a while: Manwe. By my reckoning a new demo was due around 2010/11 but other than a few tracks on MySpace nothing has materialised yet - what's the position there?
Well, one more song has been finished, again for the second instalment of the "The One Ring" series. Slowly but surely progress is being made. I also talked with Padre Adamo recently and we discussed the future of Manwe - he had some really great ideas! Yeah - really GREAT!!!
Speaking of things being on ice (a cunning segue there!), what has been the feedback like for the first Eismond demo? Is a second demo likely?
I've had good, in fact very good, feedback. People like it! I'm at work on a debut album and am working together with the guy from Funeral Fornication - he was very inspired by the stuff I have already recorded for Eismond, so I think he will do a great job as he always does with his own project.
Well, despite the break there's clearly plenty going on! Are there any other plans for 2011 that you can share with us?
I have some tracks recorded for the Hugin project, just for fun, but maybe someday Wulfrune Worxx might like to release them on tape... In respect of W.A.R. Productions, hmmm... who knows! Maybe I will release the Solid Grey debut here, but I don't know yet!
Oh, one other thing I must ask you: some on-line sources (the usually reliable Metal Archives being one) currently list you as a live/session player for the band Walpurgi. News to Nazgul if so, is this true?!
Hihihi, no!! I did do an intro for one of his recordings, but I don't know much about what happened with it as I never saw the release :-) But I do like the music of Walpurgi very much!
Well, time being what it is and Hugin and Nazgul both having to be in two places at once, that's all the gossip for now. The seriously good news though, based on everything discussed here, is that - to paraphrase a Venom album title - we've clearly been in the calm before the storm: Hugin's back!