WEH – The very closeness to nature
To celebrate the release of ‘Folkloren’ we sent ET scribe Peter Loftus to meet up with creator and composer Erik to discuss life, the universe and everything.
For readers who might not be familiar with WEH – please tell us a little about the project and your background.
I’ll keep it short. I started Weh in 2002, with the intention of making dark, atmospheric, acoustic guitar-based music, and have been doing it since. Five demo recording s were made over the years, before I landed the contract with Soulseller Records. "Origins" was released in 2010, and it contains all the old recordings, plus some new songs. Last year "En Natt Kom Doed" was released, and this year I give you "Folkloren."
About my background, there’s not much to tell. Just an ordinary guy who likes to pick up the guitar every once in a while.
Your latest release ‘Folkloren’ is excellent. You must be delighted with the way it has turned out.
Yes, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. That said, when you listen to a handful of songs a hundred times over a short period, you grow a little tired of it and it can be hard to enjoy the songs. But now the recording is over and I can listen to the records again and actually like it. The feedback so far has been very good, and that is of course nice.
Tell us about your sound. Obviously you intended a strong folk influence, but what else were you looking for?
The only thing I intended was to use acoustic guitars, and the rest of the sound has in a way just grown into what it is now by natural development. I never set out for a folk sound, or any other particular sound really, but it is what it is and when I have to label the music I even use the "dark folk" tag myself. But what you call it is not important. The only focus I ever had was that both the music and the lyrics should be draped in darker atmospheres.
I think the record has a black metal influence too – but I can’t really say why this is so, given that we are talking about acoustic guitar based music…
I guess that the atmosphere that I mentioned may be similar to what you can find on some black metal records. There are no other possible links. But over the past twenty years I have listened to a great deal black metal, along with metal in general. By my taste isn’t limited to that kind of music alone, there’s a wide range of music playing here, everything from trance to country & western.
How does the song-writing work? Do you have a very specific idea of what you want to do when you begin to record or is there an organic element, where you just let things happen?
The song writing usually starts with making the music and then trying to put together some lyrics that go well with the music. When I start the recording most of the material is ready, but there is always some parts left open that has to be completed while recording. But that works just fine, and it leaves room for the coincidences that often turn out very good. The process of writing the songs is quite a long one, and making the lyrics is the most difficult of it all. So, like you say, there is definitely an organic element to it, where I leave things to chance.
You worked completely alone on this release. Obviously this has allowed you to maintain the purity of your vision, but is there a tradeoff by not having another set of ears/hands/lips to assist in your quest?
This way of doing things is what works best for me. I don’t think I need any assistance when it comes to composing and recording, it was after all always meant to be a one man thing. And this way I don’t have to argue over every single little issue. I’ll probably keep on doing Weh in this way as long as Weh exists.
What was the concept behind the lyrics? Are they central to your philosophy or just something that fits with the music?
There’s not any real concept behind the songs, but I chose the title "Folkloren" quite early, and that one word was actually the main inspiration for most of the lyrics, in one way or another. And what I mean by that is that I tried to picture the old tales and beliefs as facts and truth, such as the water spirit and the elves, and the very closeness to nature. The lyrics are a way to express whatever fascinates me, and those things I have always found intriguing. Plus I think it fits the music of course.
What non-musical influences do you have?
Sights and sounds of the nature, in particular the deep Norwegian woods influence me. Besides that, I am influenced by books and films, just any passing atmosphere that I can grab hold to.
What musical influences do you have? (Both things you listen to and things that influenced this piece).
I listen to a lot of different things, and need some variation to the things I lay my ear on. A lot of metal, like Maiden, Celtic Frost, W.A.S.P., Darkthrone, to things like trance or rock or whatever. When it comes to stuff related to "Folkloren", I have no idea what music could have influenced this record. Maybe nothing at all, maybe all of the above.
What next for WEH? Do you play live or is this a studio only project?
Weh is a studio project only, and playing live is not something I ever considered doing. As to what comes next, I have no proper plans for anything, but whatever comes will be in the same vein as the last two recordings. I think I’ll take a small break from music now, and probably wait a year before I begin working on something new.
Any last message for our readers?
Thanks to you for this interview and kind support. To any reader even remotely interested in some atmospheric acoustic music, I hope you check out the new album "Folkloren" and furthermore I hope you love it.