A Q&A with Ren Marabou
They call it Pagan Rock – Norse-inspired heaviness from County Donegal
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
The title of my most recent album is Valhalla Waits. The album is based on old tales of Norse mythology and my own personal Norse Pagan faith.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
If I’m honest, the album process for Valhalla Waits was a very smooth one. Everything just clicked. The hardest part was probably when I had nothing left to do on it, as I thoroughly enjoyed having my studio schedule every day.
What do you enjoy most about producing your own material?
I produce my own albums. I feel more connected to the songs when I do. I find I experiment more when I’m just on my time. This brings a lot of unexpected twists to my music.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I always say I would love people of all faiths and religious beliefs to enjoy my music. If the messages in my songs spark off an interest in Norse Paganism or Heathenism, then all the better.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Usually, I’ll have a concept of a song in my head, maybe an old Norse mythology tale from the Sagas, that I want to convey in my own way. A song title or even artwork I’m working on can trigger this off too. I’ll usually riff out for a while on guitar or bass, then I’ll get a drum track down and some guide guitars recorded. I’ll usually record all the parts and get the right vibe going with the instrumentation. Once all that is down with a rough mix, I’ll play the track over and over with a pen and note pad in hand scribbling down lyrics and singing along. As soon as I like something, I jump in front of the mic and record it. It’s generally a quick process from concept to a recorded track.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
TYR have been a huge influence, along with Ensiferum and Manegram. They have all been flying the flag high for Viking metal and Pagan rock for decades. Incredible song writers, story tellers and musicians.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
Austria and Germany are definitely on my radar for 2022. America and Canada are also on the hit list. Kentucky and Quebec. A standout venue would probably be Viper Room in Vienna, Austria. Such a great venue.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
‘The Wanderer’ would probably be a good introduction track for new listeners. It has a good mix of all my musical directions.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
It’s been an incredible year for my music even with all the Covid-19 restrictions. I’m very lucky to be working with such an awesome team and to have so many amazing supporters. My ambitions moving forward would really be to continue on the path we are on and to continue to grow at the rate we are. I’m going to release as much music as possible and hope to get back on the road soon.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Usually, ‘Thank you everyone for supporting me. You rule! Enjoy the rest of your night and get home safe home. SKAL!’ If I had a show now, I’d also mention that my new album Sagas is on course for release in early September with a bunch of singles and music videos on the way in the meantime. So, lots to look forward to.
For more info visit: facebook.com/renmarabou