Swedish folk metal band HULKOFF have released their second album, “Pansarfolk,” on September 25th, 2020, and we were fortunate enough to be able to ask main man Pär Hulkoff some questions about the release.
Hey there, thank you for doing this interview with us. How are you and how are you preparing for the imminent release of “Pansarfolk”?
Hey man, thanks for having me. Prepping with pull-ups, Muay Thai, and shitloads of archery!
“Pansarfolk” will be your second full-length release – how happy are you with it compared to “Kven”?
I am super happy. The sound is great on this one. Earthy and honest, but still fat and modern! Kjellgren is a true equilibrist behind the mixing table!
There’s quite a bit of country music influence on this album – how did that come about?
Well, yes and no. The country influence thing is interesting. Country evolved from folk music. I guess a lot of the country vibe comes from the steel string Martin guitar in combination with Thomas’ violin. Personally, I love that bluegrass mix of Celtic and blues scales. Hell, I love country music.
Erik Grawsiö of MÅNEGARM joins you in “Hildisvin”; was he the person you had in mind from the start for this song?
Yeah, I asked Erik pretty soon after I demoed the track. He was all for it. He is a damn good man. I think MÅNEGARM should receive some kind of Medal of Honor for all the great Viking music they have done over the years. Damn good guys.
You live in the very north of Sweden – how much would you say that affects your music and your outlook on life? Could you imagine writing such music while living in a city?
Let me put it this way: my music is the music of my surroundings. It is the river, the lakes, the majestic trees, and the wild animals. I need all of that to stay focused with antennas out… cities kill the spirit.
With “Kven” you alternate between Swedish and English lyrics. Have you decided to now do both a Swedish and an English version to reach more people?
The reason I did this one in two languages was simply not to disappoint any fans who came around with “Kven.” I think it’s good if people can sing along, you know. Reaching more people is a good thing. I want to push people in the sound direction. To reconnect with earth and ancestors. It is soothing for the mind and the spirit.
Which language do you find it easier to write in?
It is not easy to write in any language. Not if you want to keep some sort of nerve in the lyrics. It is easy to hide behind cool words in any language. But to catch the essence… that part is pain.
You have a pretty big Swedish tour coming up supporting SABATON, how much doubt is there still about those shows going through?
Lots of doubt. Unfortunately. But we will keep pushing the dates until it happens. That is what we have agreed on.
What’s your favourite track on the album or maybe one that you can’t imagine leaving out of future set lists?
Can’t name a favorite. I love them all. Many of these tracks will be on the setlist, that is for sure.
Do you already have a full band to play live shows with you? Is there a possibility of any of them joining the band officially or do you plan to be mostly a one-man-band in the future as well?
I will keep going this way. I enjoy the freedom, for better or for worse, you know. I have to make all the decisions. Having a band has really never changed anything. Long debates are time consuming and I am not great at compromising when it comes to my musical preferences. This way, everyone is happy. The boys are great, they do their thing. The mercenary work. Gold on the table and it’s done [laughs].
With your rather unique folk metal sound, are there any bands you consider to have influenced that style massively or are you happy to sort of pave your own way in the folk metal scene?
I love many folk metal bands. But this thing, with the heavy emphasis on the shepherd’s horn mode and lots of 3/4 time signatures, that is something a bit different. I still had that arena metal thing in mind though. I don’t wanna get too “experimental” with structures and phrases. It has to touch that nerve, you know…
Thanks again for answering our question and I wish you the best of luck with “Pansarfolk.”
Thank you, my man! Stay frosty and take care. Hail Odin!
Interview by Didrik Mešiček