This interview with Vāli of Vāli was done by e-mail by Fjordi in March, 2005.

What a great surprise offers us the scene from time to time. Vāli is a tremendously beautiful experience made music, a jewel to be tasted with total dedication and devouring each note of the recording. Accoustic sounds delicate like fresh breeze, stirring the emotions of the listener, holding his breath throughout the songs. Surrounded by a lack of information, we tried to know something more about the Norwegian entity behind folk act Vāli. There was no real interest in his real name, his job, age and other “just for the record” stuff. “Forlatt” is a great album speaking for itself, and music was the issue here. This was:

First of all I wish to congratulate you for “Forlatt”. I think the scene needs albums with such an amount of inspiration and feeling in the music. Donīt you think 90% of the music released nowadays is somehow unnecessary?
Thank you. Well, I don't know if as much as 90% of music released today is unnecessary, but there's a lot of crap these days.Pretty much anyone can get a record deal nowadays, and it seems like music isn't about talent and feelings anymore.

Is Vāli your first musical project, or have you had previous experiences with other bands?
This solo project is the first musical experience for me, yes. However, I do play guitars in a doom metal band called Skumring. I formed this band with vocalist Cecilie somewhere around the release of "Forlatt". Our first album is to be released by Aftermath Music sometime in March/April.

“Forlatt” inspires me emotions of calmness, reflection, escape from materialism, and closeness to nature. Iīd like to know if you tried to express those feelings.
Hm, I don't know what kind of answer I can give you to this. Initially it was just about making good music, and I still think it is. The whole nature approach was just something which fell natural to me, and what people feel when they listen to the music is really up to them.

Are nature and silence two entities closely related to the experience of composing this album? Have you drawn inspiration from them to make the songs?
Silence definitely is. As for nature, I would have to say no. The album was actually recorded in the middle of nowhere, somewhat surrounded by nature. But, this didn't have any effect on the writing and recording.

Ulverīs “Kveldssanger” is an album easy to have in mind when listening to “Forlatt”, though, as the listening goes on, the differences are pretty clear. What do you think of that album?
It probably doesn't come as any surprise when I say it's one of my favourite albums. I personally think they managed to capture the whole folk-feeling with that particular album better than anyone else has ever done.

The atmosphere of mystery surrounding Vāli is quite efficient, until the point it seems music directly taken from the forest, or something similar. Is this mystery important for you, so that the music gets more consistency and a concept-like personality?
The "mystery" surrounding myself is really just because it's not relevant who I am, and what I do. It's the music people should care about. However, there's no denying this helps to give a more mysterious feeling to the music, and that's not a bad thing.

Thinking it properly, there is no real need of additional information about the artist, since music is the most important thing. Nowadays looks like there is a perpetual hunger for information everytime but acts like yours apparently insist on being aside that trend. Itīs supposed you must have a webpage with pictures, biography, your real name portrayed and so on. There is no a Vāli official website, as far as I know. Is this lack of details –since theyīre nothing but details, certainly- caused by the fact you want to stay unknown or into hiding? Or, as time goes by, there will be more available info about the band?
Exactly. Just as I mentioned in the previous question, it's the music people should care about, not who I am. I actually made an official Vāli website recently, but there is not much information there, and I will most likely just post news regarding the project there. I do of course want the music to reach a bigger audience, but I don't wish to expose myself as much as most artists do these days.

Iīd like to know how have been the reactions to “Forlatt” so far, and if a huge part of the following comes from the metal scene.
The reactions have been very good. I've received lots of e-mail from people who like the album, and I still haven't gotten any which says: "Your album sucks!", so that's a good thing. As for now it seem most of the following comes from the metal scene, but this kind of music is quite accessible, so with better promotion and distribution I think this project will cathch the attention of non-metallers as well.

Was the search for a label to release “Forlatt” very hard? Are there a lot of labels willing to release this kind of music?
Actually, I didn't even search for a label. I uploaded one track for download at Soundclick late 2003, and after a few days Foreshadow contacted me and said they wanted to release an album. I don't know if there are many labels willing to release this kind of music, but I hope so!

Being Foreshadow Productions a small label, itīs pretty hard to achieve a great portion of the scene with this release, but are you concerned about that? Are you especially concerned about the scale of impact of the album? Or you rather liked to release an album without paying much attention to distribution or sales?
I have to admit I would have wanted better distribution and attention, but you have to start somewhere. I think Foreshadow did a good job, and the album is available from several distros around the world.

Iīd like to know if you have ideas about the next album, how you want it to sound, instruments involved, etc. Do you want to keep a certain style album after album, or you havenīt anything planned about how the next releases will sound?
This project will always be simplistic acoustic folk. I have lots of new material finished, and it's basically in the same vein as "Forlatt". Acoustic guitar, piano, flute, cello and violin. Although this time around I will use the other instruments more frequently. There will be a bit more variation as well.

I wonīt ask you the influences in your music, but could you name some of your favourite bands or artists?
That's a tough one. I like pretty much everything, but here's a few of my favourites: Manic Street Preachers, Ulver, Emperor, Estatic Fear, Mr. Bungle, Empyrium, Bethlehem, Saturnus, Radiohead, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Funeral, Nobuo Uematsu, Mystic Forest...

I see autumn as a year season which fits very well with Vāliīs music, the same as winter. Do you think each season has a music “of its own”, so to speak? Is there any music that canīt be totally appreciated if heard through headphones in a subway wagon, or in a hot day with a lot of noise around, for example? In my opinion, Vāli needs a special dedication from the listener.
I guess so, yeah. Take Ulver's "Kveldssanger" for example. Listening to this album on a windy and rainy autumn night is completely different from listening to it in the summer. I think this also goes for the music I make.

I donīt know if you are very fond of interviews. In your recent career as Vāli, how many interviews have you done so far? What is the most disturbing thing of interviews for you, and what you like the most?
I've only done one or two interviews prior to this one. I'm not too fond of interviews really, but it helps to give the project more attention, so that's what I like about it. I don't like personal questions, like: "What's your real name", "How old are you", "What kind of clothes do you wear".

Last, I want to thank you very much for your words. I hope you havenīt disliked this interview, and I wish you the best for the future. Tell us your last impressions if you want, and take care.
Thanks for the interest. I think this interview went very well! I would like to encourage everyone who is reading this to drop by at the official Vāli website (www.dyptinneiskogen). You can find a few samples from the album here, and you can also leave a message in the guestbook if you like. If you like doom metal, feel free to visit Skumring's official website as well (www.skumring.no) That's it!

Links of interest:

Foreshadow Productions