12 December 2011

Focus on: Hamferð

So, here we are! Focus on Hamferð today, including an interview with their
frontman and singer Jón Hansen. Enjoy!

Today we have as a guest the Faroese doom metal band Hamferð, represented by its frontman Jón Hansen. Welcome to our webzine! First of all, let’s talk about your latest release, “Vilst er síðsta fet” EP. Do you think that it’s a good representation of the thoughts and ideas of your band?
Thank you for having me. Well, we made this EP a year ago and all the material was basically written the same year, so back then it was a perfect representation of Hamferð. A year is a pretty long time for a band, though, so even if the EP lays a general tone for the band, we are already at a point of further solidifying our approach to writing.

What’s the meaning of the band name? Why have you chosen it?

Hamferð is sort of a visual appearance (a spectre, if you will) of a person, who most likely faces the inevitability of death. The word is not directly translatable, and it is used grammatically as ‘a person travelling “in hamferð”’. A hundred years ago and further back, the Faroese men were predominantly fishermen and thus faced the perils of the ocean every day. If the image of one or several of the men at sea appeared before the eyes of their loved ones at home, they were ‘travelling in hamferð’, and it was an omen of death for the sailors.

You said that you formed “To bring slow, crushing and atmospheric music to the Faroe Islands, the home to a bleak and depressive atmosphere that can only be properly communicated through the funeral march of Doom Metal”. How are you trying to reach this goal?
First of all, this is probably the very first press-description we wrote of our band, and it obviously has a jokey nature. But we did, more or less, form the band with the intention of writing Doom Metal with the infusion of dark concepts associated with the Faroe Islands. As we started getting more serious about the band, this infusion grew to become an actually essential part of the band’s general theme.

Why have you chosen to sing all your tracks in your mother tongue language? How would you describe your lyrics to a non-Faroese speaking public?

Well, again, you can’t have a full-fledged Faroese concept without writing in Faroese. Also, I have an undying love for the Faroese language and find that, if used right, it can be the most beautiful language in the world. At least in written form, hehe. And finally there are no other metal bands in the world that exclusively write in Faroese, so… I personally think it has a cool-factor!
Why have you chosen such a refined and elegant on-stage style?
Well, our style of music is not very aggressive and I believe it is somewhat unique in its expression and complexity and therefore requires a different presentation than the “jeans, t-shirt and horns-up”-style of performing that works with faster and angrier music. The suits have been with us from the very first concert, and they were, and still are, intended to give off the feeling of a funeral procession.
You’ve just finished touring all around Europe with Týr and Moonsorrow. How would you describe this experience?
It was quite amazing. I have personally been a devout Moonsorrow fan for many years, so the actual “touring many different countries”-part almost stands in the shadow of the “touring with freakin’ Moonsorrow!”-part for me, hehe. But to be honest, playing in front of Germans, Belgians, Swiss people, French people, Spaniards, Italians and Slovenians has been an immense pleasure that we hope to revisit soon.

How did the European public react after seeing a doom metal band opening all the gigs on this tour? Do you think you’ve gained fans?

Well, we didn’t have much promotion on this tour and, along with being the one band that didn’t play Viking/Pagan/Epic-metal, this was our little Achilles’ heel this time around and left a lot of people wondering who the hell we were, hehe. But having said that, we still have had a lot of great response from people all over Europe, and yes, we seem to have gained quite a few fans!

Classic question: how does a Hamferð song come to life? Does anyone in particular do the songwriting or do you all contribute to its creation? What inspires you?
Classic answer: The guitarists come up with ideas and develop them into a basic song. Then they bring it into the rehearsal room and the drummer refines and shapes the rhythms within the structure of the song. When this groundwork is established, the keyboardist, usually along with the guitarists, arranges the chorals, organs and the like. Somewhere along this process, I write the lyrics and the vocals.

How’s working with your label Tutl Records?
Wonderful. Although Tutl must not be mistaken for a regular label. It is probably better described as the Faroese Music Center. They publish all Faroese artists who are interested in making albums and pretty much act as a playing for (almost) the entire Faroese music scene. From our perspective, Tutl seems to especially reward ambitious hard work and consistency, since they support us as much as they do. They do not have a particularly wide distribution, but they have begun working with other labels in order to further the impact of Faroese music. Kristian Blak, Tutl director, is by many considered to be the father of the contemporary music scene on The Faroe Islands.
You’ve just announced that Jenus í Trøðini is now formally in your line-up. How did you come up with this decision?

Well, Jenus has been an occasional stand-in bassist and a friend of the band for a long time, so for us he was just a natural choice. Ultimately, it was up to him, and thankfully, he agreed to join us. He’s a great guy and loves the music we play. Also, we’re glad we didn’t have to do any auditions,

Which are your future projects?

No touring plans as of yet, but things are simmering after each boil, if you know what I mean. For the next couple of months we will concentrate on writing new music for what will be our first full-length album. So it’s an exciting time.

Our interview is now coming to its end. Thank you! I hope to see you live again in Italy and I wish you all the best. Do you want to add something more?
My pleasure. Italy will quite certainly be included in future touring plans, since we had, all things considered, a very warm welcome our first time around. Thanks to those who supported us in Romagnano and Bologna, we had a blast!

REVIEW: Hamferð - Vilst er Síðsta Fet (EP, 2010)

Even on the first listen, it’s easy to understand that Hamferð guys are very talented.
In fact, even if Vilst er Síðsta Fet is the first EP of this band from the Faroe Islands (yes, Faroese music doesn’t only mean Týr!), it demonstrates how good they are in creating a deep and sought after doom metal, which is clearly expressed by the sextet thank to the great care that has been brought to the production.
In actual fact, Hamferð show their brilliant abilities with original and compelling tracks, despite their average length, which is more than 6 minutes.
The very first feature that impresses the listener is the frontman’s voice. Jón Hansen has the great ability to fluently switch from fragile and dramatic clean vocals to powerful growls, passionately performing the lyrics and enriching Hamferð musical style.Thank also to the slow rhythm, both guitars have the opportunity to express themselves well, from supporting vocals with interesting riffing to playing a main role, in particular on Aldan Revsar Eitt Vargahjarta. Even drumming, constant but balanced, is capable to give a good account of itself and to well interact with the other instruments, without any exaggeration. Bass rhythmics are also good, but let’s wait for their next full-length to judge it more fairly, as Tinna Tótudóttir is Hamferð bass player no more.Moreover, pleasing is also Esmar Joensen’s keyboard performance, which adds a symphonic and epic atmosphere to the tracks, that become more melancholic and precious. Notable are also their lyrics: Hamferð have decided to write everything in Faroese language and their choice appears to be excellent, as the release consequently appears to be more intriguing and mysterious. Vráin, without doubt the best track of this EP, it’s a good example of how their doom metal sounds like.
An almost perfect release, like just a few in the contemporary European underground scene, which surely preludes to an interesting soon to come full-length.
Reviewed by Akaah
Rating: 9.5/10
1. Harra Guð Títt Dýra Navn Og Æra
2. Vráin
3. Aldan Revsar Eitt Vargahjarta
4. At Enda


Photos by Emma Costi, check her deviantArt profile


  1. Davvero bello!ora ne so molto di più!

  2. Complimenti!! Molto interessante

  3. Amazing job thank you

  4. Great special, I loved the interview!!!!

  5. grazie al cazzo saranno tuoi amici ora metti noveemezzo al album

  6. Innanzitutto complimenti per l'anonimato. Comunque la recensione è del 02 Dicembre.

  7. Thank you, intrestin interview

  8. Ma perchè ci devono essere sempre i rompiscatole, in ogni pagina, anche davanti a bei lavori come questi..