First, let’s start off with you. What inspired you to start Álfheimr?
Well, I actually was writing music that perhaps could have been called “post-rock” before I knew what post-rock was. I liked making music that was really driving, with lots of expansive sounds. One of my friends at the time introduced me to Sigur Rós. I found some other bands from there. I remember thinking I would love to do something like the band Mono, but I didn't have a band. I read somewhere that Takaakira Goto actually started Mono on his own, which may or may not be accurate. I decided I had most of the equipment to make something new and went for it.
Where do you draw your musical inspirations from with your project?
I draw inspiration for the music from a lot of places. At the expense of sounding pretentious, a lot of the inspiration comes from various things in my life. People, places, events, little fleeting moments. A lot of it comes from nostalgia or nostalgic things, and a lot of my music is immortalizing things people normally forget. I'll remember something that will make me really emotional, and I'll just start writing music.
Do you record most of your music independently, or do you work with any studios or producers?
So far I've recorded it all independently. I like having control over it. I can't exactly tell another musician “feel what I'm feeling, and play”. I can't tell another producer what kind of warmth I want on the mid-ends. I don't want it to be sterile or inorganic. It's all something I'm gonna have to get over if I want to start performing, though.
What do you feel sets Álfheimr apart from bands in post-rock or similar genres?
I think Álfheimr is more about odd little details than most projects. I like adding odd things in, old synths and casio keyboards and mellotrons. I'll do a take for guitar or piano over and over again until it sounds exactly how I want it. I'll add in odd details, like bitcrushed strings or manipulated vocal samples. It's not particularly complex music until all those little details come together.
What are you trying to accomplish with this album?
With What Allows Us To Endure I was trying to write something for someone else. It was about and for a complex relationship. It ended up being about the intricacies and aspects, both good and bad, of any human relationship. It was more about hope, and enduring anything with the help of another person. “Amaranthine” will be about something else. It's about the unendurable, and it's about exceeding emotional limits. It's going to be an album about loss.
Is there any theme behind the album name that leads into the music?
For What Allows Us To Endure, the central theme is hope. Hope is what allows us to endure, and sometimes hurts us. We always hope, though; no matter how many times we're let down. I tried to reflect that in the music as much as I could. That desperation, the brief glimpses of happiness during the darker parts of the album. In “Amaranthine” the title suggests something undying. It suggests something eternal in its beauty, and that's what the album is about. It's about ceaseless devotion, and something that never truly fades. It's about the immortality of single moments in time that will always stay with you, ones you can revisit to feel happy and free and loved and safe. It's also about the harsh reality of things; nothing is truly eternal other than these memories that we hold so dearly.
Which is your favorite of Álfheimr’s releases thus far?
It's hard to choose, but probably Dream Sequences. Recording, for me, is kind of a taxing process. I find my first album hard to relate to and have a lot of problems with it. Listening to my newest album is like pouring salt on my own wounds. Dream Sequences has some bits I regret, but for the most part I achieved what I set out to achieve.
Are you trying to sign with any independent labels?
I'm presently associating myself with a couple, but for the most part it seems hard to find an independent label that can actually help me with anything. It's hard to find labels that would be advantageous to sign with that are interested in my music.
What does the future hold for Álfheimr and fans?
Lots and lots. I'm currently setting up a live band, and plan on playing some shows. You have Amaranthine coming out later this year, with the second Amaranthine Strings remix EP coming out in the next couple months. I have another more ambient-electronic album that I'm working on that'll be released some time in between; in fact I just finished doing some work on a song called “Clarion Eyes” that'll be on said release. Who knows what other stuff I'll be getting done with this new live band I'm putting together.
Why do you think people should listen to Álfheimr?
Because it has been and always will be emotionally uncompromising. It's always going to be something I put everything I have into, and it's always going to be played from the heart. I hope people can feel some of the emotions I've poured into it, and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed making it.
We want to thank Madison again for giving us the opportunity to delve into the real idea behind Álfheimr. What Allows Us To Endure is a fantastic album, and from the interview, we can see there's much more to come. You can stream and download What Allows Us To Endure here.