Backstage News, Front Row Pics

A FlashWounds “QUICKIE” with Winterhymn!



Winterhymn, a huge draw at the recent PaganFest V tour, achieve what few bands who classify themselves as “folk metal” musicians ever do ~ the perfect melding, musically and visually ~ of the two elements that must be present to uphold the integrity of that genre; they haven’t slapped “folk” onto “metal” for the hell of it and then proceeded to become a full-on metal band.  They are serious and very clear about who and what they are, and that clarity comes through in a way that is mesmerizing to witness live and manages to remain as powerful when put onto an album.

But the above isn’t telling you anything you can’t find out by seeing them live, visiting their official website ( or Facebook page (, and listening to their music at (and I encourage you to do all three) ~ so we just wanted to chat/do a quick interview with the band (because their schedule is still super busy) to give you a sense of what they’re like offstage, stuff you couldn’t get by Googling or through the usual, been-asked-a-thousand-times questions (you KNOW that is never going to be our style!)…So it’s our pleasure to introduce Winterhymn’s Draug, who is officially launching FlashWounds’ new “QUICKIES” interview section for us!

FW: Which group or artist would you personally like to induct into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?  And if you were to earn the honor of being inducted next year, whom would you want to induct you?

D: I actually had to get online and look at who is in the hall of fame, because I don’t think anyone in the band keeps up with it! The list bears no resemblance to our own personal ideas. But considering how neither Rainbow nor Dio are in, and somehow Black Sabbath got in without him, I would obviously induct RJD. In fact, I would alter the records and add Dio to every band listed in the hall of fame. And if Winterhymn were inducted, I would have Abbath induct us.

Which do you find more difficult/intimidating ~ performing for a comparatively small audience (especially one that you know includes family and/or friends) in a more intimate venue or for a huge [faceless/anonymous] crowd at an enormous stadium?

I wouldn’t say that one is more difficult or intimidating than the other because, when the house lights dim, you go out there and give them the same show either way, whether for 6 or 600. I will definitely say that I find the smaller venues to be more fun because you can usually see individuals in the crowd better and interact with them on a more personal level. I try to look at everyone in the crowd at every show. Also, there’s a better chance of people handing you beer when there’s no barrier and the stage isn’t 10 feet high.

Do you have a choreographer…or, to use more folk metal-appropriate language, someone who comes up with the blocking for and timing/style of the movement we see from you during a show?

I would love to say that every glamorous hair-flip is choreographed, but sadly that is not the case. Most of us have a good idea of the set and how to react to it accordingly. For example, Umbriel can only windmill while not playing violin (or at least that’s what she insists on, I think it’s a question of commitment). If I smack into Varrik while crossing the stage, then I’m smacking into Varrik (which I believe happened on Paganfest, but that’s what the armor’s for, right?). If anything is truly premeditated it is the brief time in between songs where various members tune, others talk, etc.

Did any of you start out as roadies/techies for other bands before your musical careers took off?

I believe our guitarist Varrik is the only one with any sort of behind-the-scenes background before Winterhymn. In England he would assist and tech for bands at festivals like Bloodstock, but it was never something that could be considered a consistent job. It’s a position that we’re open to in the future between band obligations though, certainly!

Does having both males and females in the band cause occasional “clashes of the genders,” make for a more creative musical environment due to different perspectives/approaches that each gender brings, or have absolutely no bearing on the creative process?

Neither Umbriel nor Exura’s mysterious lady parts or the rest of our own dangling participles have ever had an impact on the creative process. We are a band of very diverse perspectives and influences/backgrounds, and that has always made for a very interesting and exciting creative process, but I have never perceived gender as being one of those factors. Of course clashes of the genders can arise in other ways. Say, after a high-energy costumed band’s show in southern California, when four sweaty hairy rancid guys get into an enclosed van with two ladies for about thirteen hours.

Does any of you teach music in one form or another?

At the moment at least, no. When we ran an indiegogo campaign for Paganfest this year, one of the perks was to receive a bass lesson from Alvadar, drums from Valthrun, or guitar from Varrik, but they remained unfulfilled. At the moment, the best you can hope for is me struggling to teach you “Marry Had A Little Lamb” at $50 an hour.

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Editor’s note:  I offer Draug and the other members of the band who’ve kept in touch since PaganFest in Worcester, MA our sincerest thanks for their time and friendship ~ we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better kickoff to “QUICKIES” ~ but it is from a very special place in my heart that I must thank Draug for perhaps the most delightful answer to any question in the history of interviews:  “Neither Umbriel nor Exura’s mysterious lady parts or the rest of our own dangling participles have ever had an impact on the creative process.”  “…dangling participles!”  Nothing will ever top that, Draug…you are forever my hero for that one!!!