TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with Andrea "Nebel" Haugen of Hagalaz' Runedance was done through e-mail in August 2002. I sent her a whole bunch of questions and I sort of knew beforehand that she would not have the time / energy to answer them all. Therefore this is something inbetween a story and an interview written by both me and Andrea herself. Take the chance to enjoy one of the most interesting bands on Earth! You will learn that this is a woman of many talents.
Hello, how are you doing? Your new album "Frigga's Web" has been out now for a little while, what has the response been like so far? Are happy with the album yourself or do you feel that it could have been even better?
Frigga's Web is focusing greatly on the web of life, the mysteries of
birth, death, afterlife and the connection between the goddesses Hel
Frigga. To me they have a very strong connection, as I have written
my book. The whole album is kind of questioning life and death. I have
experienced a few deaths in 2000 and losses in 2001, changes,
lost loves.that certainly might have influenced my songwriting. My
canine companion, a black greyhound, died as well. I had him for 12
and he was present at every magical rite I did. He died at Samhain and
last song on the album is dedicated to him.
I think the music is even more unique and advanced than Volven. A
development of course, I have become much more professional, my voice
become better over the years, and I have been working with very good
musicians. I have used Bagpipes, Bombarde, Colascione, Flutes, Harp,
Lyre, Naglharpa, Hurdy Gurdy and Vihuela for this recording.
It has become much more refined and professional. I advance more and
making music, in composing a whole song from the beginning to the end
all the arrangements. Now I can express myself, my visions, my thoughts
better, because I have learned so much about making music. I used much
of the traditional instruments and I had two folk musicians on the
which is also an improvement. Now I have more connections with
folk musicians - in the beginning it was very hard for me to find
could play this kind of instruments, because there are very few of
Apart from the synth sounds you like to use old folk instruments.
you use them for their specific sound, their pagan or symbolic meaning,
the fact that they're charged in history and that they're wonderful
objects and works of art. What else?
Well all that of course. To me they represent the past and since my
inspired by old folk songs it is natural that I use such instruments to
create a link between the past and the present. I am very fond of
and medieval instruments. Especially instruments like the lyre,
harp, bagpipes and hurdy gurdy, old Nordic and Celtic instruments. They
been used by our ancestors to create a magical atmosphere and I use
the same spirit.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Well, yes, I guess there are two songs that are my absolute favourites.
These are "Hel", the first song, and "Albion Autumn" - the latter
it's about my personal longing to England. All songs have a personal
to me, but this one is about a really intimate emotion. I feel very
that I miss England, so this is the song about that.
What does Hagalaz Runedance stand for?
Hagalaz is a rune meaning hail, which also on a deeper level represents
mysterious side of femininity and is thus connected to Hel, the
of the North, the subconscious. It is the rune of the Volva - the
sooth-sayer and witch of the North, who explores the unknown in
soul-journeys in order to bring wisdom into our world. Thus to me
Runedance represents the dance in-between worlds.
Magic and Northern mythology are very important in your work. How do
they interfere or mingle in the process of creation?
Hagalaz' Runedance is inspired by the spirituality of ancient northern
Europe. My artistic expression is influenced by my thoughts, ideas,
dreams, visions, magical experiences and happenings. My work reflects
person; I am a pagan, a pagan living in this modern industrial age. I
inspiration and wisdom from the past. I work the natural magic of my
foremothers, thus my music is often a magical experience. Some songs
also inspired by soul-journeys and Seidr rites. I think over the last
my music has become more personal. With my first Hagalaz' Runedance
back in '98 I wanted to create Pagan folk music and tried to tell the
about the pagan concept. Now I simply express myself as a Pagan,
greatly on myself, my own experiences, also everyday experiences.
Kristian Nordeide from Corona Borealis is playing a lot of
instruments on your new album, is he a good friend of your's? Is the
Borealis project still alive?
Yes, he is a friend of mine and he is Pagan as well, so there is a
and magical connection to my songs. I don't really know about his plans
his own project, so I cannot really say anything about this.
The first track on the album is called "The Crossing" and is not a
song but the sound of the sea that takes the dead from this world to
next. I know that you believe in an afterlife but what is the afterlife
I don't know and nobody can tell...
The comes a track dedicated to Hel, the goddess of the underworld
Norse mythology, do you think it is important to explore both good and
life and death, etc.?
It would take too long to explain the symbolism of the goddesses; you
read about it in my book "The Ancient Fires Of Midgard". Hel is the
of death and the underworld; she represents a darker side of
Frigga is the queen of heavens, the guardian of women, children, the
patroness of marriage and a good family life. She is invoked for an
birth, but the myths show that she too is connected with death and the
goddesses show many similarities and thus both represent the circle of
and death. Understanding the mysteries of death is essential in order
understand the mysteries of life.
I am sorry to hear about the death of your old companion Arcane.
have dedicated the song "The Soul Of A Hound" to his memory. Do you
that animals and humans are of equal value?
Yes, the life of animals should be treated with equal respect than that
humans. Or rather, people should really understand that they are a part
nature, and not above it.
When reading the lyrics on "Frigga's Web" it is not very difficult
understand that your have had some tragical and sorrowful experiences
the last couple of years. Do you think it was important to express this
through your music?
My music is expressing my thoughts and feelings, thus my mood is
through my songs.
Why did you decide to record "The Home I Will Never See", a song
your debut album "The Winds That Sang of Midgard's Fate", once again on
Because I think the way it sounds on the first CD is kind of boring; I
the song a lot live and since I have progressed so much with making
and arrangements, I have a much better live version now. It's a very
song, very catchy, so I thought, "Well, I really should record it
the studio it turned out even better than the stage variation - for
we added the hurdy-gurdy, which we didn't have live - but you usually
better results in the studio anyway.
Why did you move from England to Norway?
It just happened. I was kind of drawn to Norway, because the myths I'm
interested in and the paganism are all Northern ideas, and I thought,
Norway - it's so far North and it has a lot of traditions..." I was
attracted by the fact that there are not so many people living there,
because before that I was living in London and I really got fed up with
people. So I took this really drastic decision of moving into the frost
Norway! But it mainly came to be because I started to make connections
people living in Norway, people that I had ideas of working and making
with, and that's why I came here. I really liked the people that I was
staying with, and I made more and more connections, so I just stayed.
What kinds of music are you generally interested in?
Oh, I'm interested in a lot of different musical styles and it's even
sometimes difficult to combine all the things that I'm into. For
I'm very much into traditional folk and medieval music, and at the same
I'm into things like Clannad and Kate Bush; I also like very much music
the 80s, for example old Depeche Mode, Siouxie and The Banshees, The
early gothic music and Dead Can Dance; I also like industrial music
Project Pitchfork, and I'm a very big fan of Rammstein... I like
like Big Country. So there's a lot of different music styles that have
influenced my own way. What I do is primarily folkish inspired, but
are also other influences that certainly come through, because my music
very individual. I'm not doing things just because "this is supposed to
folk" or "this is supposed to be that kind of music" - I just have my
In 2000 you made your debut as a writer with "The Ancient Fires Of Midgard", what is it about?
My book "The Ancient Fires of Midgard" is dealing with Northern
and the pagan understanding of life, about the modern society, the
caused by the monotheistic patriarchal religions, Northern myths and
the feminine mysteries, ancient traditions, seasonal rites, the
of trees, herbs, Self-development and natural childbirth. The book is,
all my creations, based very much on my own experiences, observances,
studies and personal thoughts.
How have the reactions to the book been so far?
Oh, quite positive. It seems that people really like my honesty in
like in my music - I talk a lot about my own experiences and about how
things. I don't say anything like "I come with this system and you have
do things this and that way". I just talk about the myths and I give a
really lively description of it all, because I also live it, and maybe
that's what people find really interesting to read. In the end, I'm
saying this is how I do it, you can do the same or you can do it your
way. I suppose this is what makes the book so popular - that I'm really
honest about what I'm doing and encourage people to find their own way
instead of saying "You must do this and this and this, and I know what
best and you'd better follow my example".
Which kind of expression do you prefer - writing books or writing
I think I'm better at making music. I can see music, I hear music in my
head, I dream about music... It's kind of in me and what I really do
guess I actually write, because I think there is so much wrong in the
and I have to express myself and do something about it. But I don't
enjoy sitting and writing - I'm much more of an outgoing person, I like
go out and perform, and sing, and play drums, this kind of thing... I
enjoy sitting by the computer really.
The New Age movement is certainly growing. Do you think there have
improvements in society in the last years?
Yes, I think over the last years there have been great changes. People
become more aware of nature, alternative medicines, wild life,
tribes, ancient traditions, self-awareness etc. For example 10 years
experienced quite much discrimination for who I am and what I look
Today I can freely tell people that I am Asatru, a Pagan, a witch, a
re-enactment fighter.people think it's interesting. I can go to the
pool with my daughter and hardly get any strange looks because of my
tattoos. That definitely is an improvement!
Asatru is a registered religion here in Norway. I am a member of the
registered community Bifrost. We have just gotten the right to do
weddings, but we are still fighting for the rights to have Pagan burial
grounds. Of course we all want gravhaugs (burial hills, where the
were buried in often with ships and gifts) but this might be a little
difficult to get through.(hehe.this is a joke). But in general the
people appear to be proud of their folk traditions and history, it is
much a part of life, it is all around us, this is the reason why I
here. You can tell people that you are a Pagan or a witch, most would
it weird, but you don't get discriminated, or at least I don't. I think
people have become more open minded in general. Ten years ago, when I
living in England, I was quite often discriminated. We had to be
where we could do our rituals and of course we were called
"devil-worshippers" and stupid things like that.
I have always had a general interest in mythology, folklore and
always have been different from the crowd, I thought much more about
and many things the 'ordinary' people did, did not make any sense to
reacted to the respectless way people treated nature and animals with,
reacted to respectless behaviour of men towards women. I couldn't
that people just accepted this as being 'normal'. I was very fond of
American Indians as a child. When I saw this stupid films of Cowboys
Indians, I was so upset to see how the American Natives were demonised.
also always had magical abilities. I grew up with the feeling that
something not normal with me. Nobody shared my interests or had my
In '88 I moved to London where I met Pagans and Occultists, amongst
Freya Aswynn and my Pagan career began. I lived in England for six
where I have been a part of different occult orders and was working
various forms of magic. The more I studied about the myths, the runes
magic, I realised that the Germanic Pagans, my foremothers- and
a very natural perception of life and a lot of knowledge about the
It just feels natural for me to walk the spiritual path of my
I got more acquainted with Northern magic, rune magic etc., I learned
the art of Seidr magic, the oldest form of magic, a blend of shamanism
witchcraft, which was mainly practiced by women.
What plans and goals do you have for the nearest future?
For this year; I just played the festivals. I will make more music,
on the Viking and medieval markets (I train sword-fighting with a
re-enactment group..) I have plans for many projects, but last year was
year of change and departures for me so right now I feel like I am
by the crossroad. Many ideas, many options but what road to take? Should
focus on a new musical project, or play more folk- and medieval music,
a medieval pub, concentrate more on organising Viking show fights, try
get a farm together, focus on creating a film concept.whatever way...
Links of interest: