We formed in Colchester a couple of years ago. Simon and I were neighbours at the time and knew each other prior to that from both being involved in other local bands. Si asked me if I wanted to do a crust/d-beat band with a guy called Oli. I asked if there was any scope for some black metal in there ’and the response was an immediate and positive yes. So Simon and Oli had one jam together and then I joined in, and I think we had two songs after one session and it just all started from there.
Where does your band name come from? I have no idea what a Jøtnarr is or what is does?
Well it comes from a word for a type of troll I think, but we added the extra ‘r’ and accented O to make it our own and because we thought it looked cooler.
“Recorded and tinkered with by Paul Rhodes in a Barn on the outskirts of Colchester, Essex using a Sure SM58 microphone and an £8 plastic microphone direct into a Stereo tape recorder.”
Considering that’s how you recorded your 1st demo it came out ok. How have things progressed since then?
Thanks, yeah we were really pleased with the demo – we wanted it to sound pretty noisy and horrible, and to be honest we couldn’t afford to go straight into a studio. Things have progressed, we recorded our EP with Tom Donovan and that sounds much clearer and heavier. For the next release we’re recording over two days with Jason Frye at Son of Sun Studios so those tracks should sound great.
It’s hard to believe that you’re only a 3 piece and that you don’t have a bassist, because you create quite a racket (in the nicest possible sense) Does forgoing a bass player make it more difficult to write material that you can re-create in the live environment?
No not at all. We play really loud in a small room when we rehearse and that’s pretty much what happens when we play live so we don’t notice a problem going from one to the other. We’ve never had a bassist so it’s not like anything is written with a bassist in mind, and we play in drop A# so I think we’ve always felt there’s enough bottom end. Plus there’s something appealing about the sound of not having a bassist when so much of our stuff is about fast shredding chords.
You’ve made some good progress with being featured as Terrorizer’s band of the day and supported the likes of Eastern Front and Winterfylleth. How difficult is it to get your band noticed in an over-crowded scene?
We’re very fortunate that people like Stafford (ex ENT) at Colchester Arts Centre have booked us as support for more established bands. EF are local and have been very supportive of us since our first handful of gigs. I wouldn’t say we’ve been noticed really, we’ve not blown up or anything – but I think the fact that we’re sort of a mix of black metal, scream, punk, and big riffs means we stand out somewhat.
You’ve released demo’s on both tape and cd, any plans for vinyl one day? And how important is it for you to release physical formats over digital?
Well Vetala have released everything – the demo was strictly tape, and the EP got a tape and CD run. We’d love to do a vinyl release when we’ve recorded more, but its more costly than tape and CD and we’ve only done small runs so far so we’re kind of holding out for a longer release before we consider some vinyl – it’s definitely something we want to do though. Personally I still love getting music in a physical format, and I think that goes for plenty of people that are into the kind of music we make so we never even considered doing digital-only releases. All our stuff is available for streaming and download online too because we just want people to hear it, so for us it’s not a case of choosing one over the other – just embracing all means of getting our music heard.
What’s next for Jøtnarr? More EP’s or are you ready to record your debut album yet?
Just a couple more gigs before the end of the year, and then in January we’re recording a longer release at Son of Sun Studios. Hopefully we’ll be in a position to record an album later next year too. Other than that we want to play as much as possible, and hopefully sort at least one tour so we can get over to Europe.
Cheers for your time, man.