Not so very long ago DMB reviewed an album by an international Folk Metal collective called Folkodia. We scored the album, titled Battles and Myths, a 7 out of 10, liking the heroic/epic inclination of the songs. Over the past few days we’ve been in contact with Michaël, a.k.a. Saga, composer, guitarist, bassist and vocalist to the group. We talked about the band, how he joined it and how it works to write for a big musicians collective like Folkodia.
DMB: Hi Michaël, to start with, thanks a lot for doing an interview with us. It’s much appreciated!
What I read is that Folkodia is a spin-off from another huge-ass Folk Metal band called Folkearth. Why did some of you feel the need to start a second band? Too many musicians to get everyone’s musical juices released?
Michaël: You’re welcome ! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to get more readers to learn more about our band, our albums and the way we work.
Yes, indeed, Folkodia share some common band members with Folkearth and was mainly founded in order to compose a darker and even more epic music.
DMB: In what way is Folkodia different from Folkearth. Do you strive for different (musical) goals?
Michaël: Folkodia isn’t really the twin brother of Folkearth first of all because the music and composing process gives us freedom to add darker and epic elements.
The lyrics also have a different thematic. Folkearth is pretty much about Vikings and Nordic mythology whereas Folkodia is more about historical battles and ancient Rome.
In terms of musical goals, when I’m composing for Folkodia, I’m in a darker mood and I really feel that I can either use Pagan Black Metal type of playing, or even heavy Power Metal structures or add some Melodic Death Metal parts too.
DMB: You’re from Monaco yourself, if the intel on Encyclopaedia Metallum is accurate. How did you end up in this humongous Folk Metal project?
Michaël: Yes, you are right, I’m from Monaco. I first joined the band Folkearth in 2008 after achieving an audition. At this time one of their main composers left the band and they were searching for another well rounded and motivated guitar player.
Then, after my first album with Folkearth (Rulers of the Sea), I was asked by the manager if I was interested to join the Folkodia line-up too. I immediately accepted.
DMB: That’s clear. But how did Folkearth come to be – sorry to side-step into that band as well? I mean, the band members being from all over the globe it’s not just a group of friends that started playing together, I presume.
Michaël: Well, the idea of creating Folkearth came from Metfolvik (in 2003), who wanted to create a band melting Folk influences from all around the world. Folkearth is the musical achievement of uniting people from around the world by melting all our diverse musical cultures and folkloric influences into a unique band.
DMB: Cool undertaking for sure, but how did he get the rest of the band members to join up? He must have had some great ideas / songs written for others to sign up, right?
Michaël: The first line up was built with Metfolvik and Stygian Crypt label musicians friends that were already playing in different Folk bands. Then most of the new band members were auditioned after reading advertisement on the official webpage or MySpace band page (depending on line-up changes and need for new folk instruments for example).
DMB: As Saga you provide guitars, bass and vocals in Folkodia. Which of the vocals is you?
Michaël: I’m singing all Viking / Black and Death harsh vocals and all English spoken clean male vocals and choirs (mainly all male vocals).
I have to mention that there are a few vocal parts sang in Lithuanian by Metfolvik.
DMB: Are you also suggesting there are other languages involved, apart from English and Lithuanian? You’ll have to excuse me, I’m never the one to pay attention to the lyrics as I consume my Metal!
Michaël: Yes, for example we have a song in Russian in our previous Folkearth acoustic album. But 95% of the lyrics and songs are in English.
DMB: Folkodia has released five full-length Folk Metal albums, one every year for the past five years. How much longer do you guys intend to keep this up?
Michaël: Well we have plenty of other stories to tell and we really don’t think of an ending now. I think that as long as the line-up is stable and all band members are motivated and inspired there is a good chance that we will keep releasing albums for a couple more years.
DMB: What about musical development then; how has your style evolved and what do you expect for the future?
Michaël: Folkodia have really evolved since the first album that was mainly Pagan Folk Metal and has now transformed into an epic Metal band between Pagan Folk, Melodic Death Metal and Power Metal. This evolution came from the fact that the line-up changed drastically. Folkodia now involve musicians far more skilled, that want to push our style into something new and more diverse. Well, talking as one of the main composers I really try to compose without stylistic limits, as long as it sounds epic it can be part of our musical identity.
DMB: Also, having released an album a year as Folkodia and ten with Folkearth in the past eight years, demand for your music must be huge. Where are you most popular?
Michaël: Folkodia and Folkearth are really popular in Latin American countries and in Eastern Europe but we are getting more listeners in United states and Europe too.
Stygian Crypt Productions our label (from Russia) is really pushing to promote us in other new countries after each new album and strongly believe in our bands.
DMB: Hell, that’s how I got onto you guys, through Stygian Crypt. Do you feel they are doing a good job in your promotion? And do you feel you fit in with the other bands on their roster?
Michaël: Stygian Crypt isn’t a big international label but they have lots of distributors around the world and what is most important for our bands is that they believe in us and they are really giving us 100% freedom to compose. I think they are giving their best to reach new territories and help us to promote our albums as much as they can. We are one of the main bands in their roster and another good thing is that they are specialized in Viking Folk Metal. I’m sure Stygian Crypt will keep increasing the promotion of our music.
DMB: Being such a large international band, I take it it’s hard to get live performances going. Have you ever played together or are there any plans to do this in the future?
Michaël: Like you mentioned, rehearsing with all band members at the same place is quite impossible for us because of our international specificity. Unfortunately we never played live and won’t probably be able to do so in the future either.
DMB: We will close off the interview there. Many thanks for sharing your views, Michaël. Do you have any last words you’d like to utter?
Michaël: Thanks for your interest in our band, I’d like also to thanks all listeners and fans that support us. We are already working hard on our future records and we are really exited about it. You can expect lots of epic and battlefield atmospheres and the addition of some new, really uncommon folk instruments!