Völur: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Stonefaced doom folk.
Sounds like: The endtimes, in stereo!
File next to: GY!BE, Mournful Congregation, Buried At Sea
Playing: WL 702, Sunday June 12 @ Monarch Tavern. Get tickets here!

Völur, made up of Lucas Gadke (Blood Ceremony), Laura C. Bates (Del Bel, Fresh Snow, Trent Severn) and James Payment (Do Make Say Think) sit atop the sure-to-be-growing list of Toronto-based, nordic-tinged doom folk trios. Their handcrafted blend of music blends elements of ugly noise, jarring quiet, and epic four-string sturm und drang. It is lovingly packaged cataclysm and, frankly, sounds like a creaking universe being born before your ears. We caught up with Lucas Gadke (bass/vocals) at a nearby studio and he was kind enough to step out of a session to regale us with a Nordic folk tale or two, discuss the credibility of several apocalypse scenarios, and as time permitted, tell us a bit about his band.

So we’re catching you as you’re recording today?

Yeah! The first EP/album that we recorded [Disir] is being re-released by Germany’s Prophecy Productions on the 24th and we’re recording a new full length that will hopefully be released next year.

This might say more about me than you, but when I listen to your music I think a lot about the end of the world.

Yeah. 100%. I guess I started this out because of my love of early sludge — Corrupted, EyeHateGod — but trying to marry that with the music that Laura and James had been involved in within the post-rock world… I mean, I listen mainly to doom and black metal and I wanted to bring those elements in, but also folk music, where I could.

Folk music and black metal. Definitely a “Perfect Strangers” type of marriage. What drew you to both simultaneously?

There are a decent number of folky black metal bands! For example, Fortress out of Quebec, or Drudkh out of Ukraine — they for example will tend to use folk melodies, which is a big inspiration for me. I love the way that both of these kinds of music can handle both the grotesque and noise at the same time — folks singing music out of regions of Bulgaria or Switzerland can be so rough and raw, incorporate clanging — and compositionally I was so interested in it that I wanted to incorporate elements of dynamics. Something I find is often lacking in “heavy” music is the good use of dynamics. I love to be able to, in the same show, go from a loud, overbearing, trance-inducing riff to one person singing a folk line very quietly, and being able to have the room as “big” as you possibly can, and then make the room “small,” have the audience focus on a single point.

As you probably hear in every interview, your music sounds like the grinding gears of a dying world. What is the most most plausible doomsday scenario that you’re aware of?

Oh, well — our music draws quite a bit from Norse mythology, so obviously, there’s a winter that never ends, and then a wolf is unleashed from hell, and eats the moon. Like, duh.

What manner of hell can an audience member expect to have unleashed upon them come this Sunday?

We’ll be playing two songs that aren’t yet available — two newer, heavier tunes — and we’re wanting to let the audience hear live what they’ll hear on record — a three piece trying to make as much noise as possible.

I think you should cancel your plans for Sunday and go see this show, and then cancel your plans forever. Get thine ass to the Monarch on Sunday June the 12th and see Völur alongside Thor & Friends and Echo Beach — only $12 of your human dollars in advance via Ticketfly, or $16 if you wait to pay at the door.

— Interview by Dean Williams