Trollfest cheered us up this year with the release of their new EP, Happy Heroes, which arrived in March via Napalm Records (order here). We caught up with Trollmannen to discuss the EP, future plans, and more.
What was it like to create the Happy Heroes EP during a pandemic?
Trollmannen: It was challenging, interesting, and a little bit of fun too, actually. But I should say we started writing the EP and we did a little bit of the recording before the pandemic hit, so it was mostly the last part of the recording and the mixing that was affected by the pandemic.
You’ve covered quite a few pop songs, what’s your overall process for selecting covers?
Trollmannen: It’s an everlasting ongoing process. I think we have a little pool of probably 10 to 20 songs that we would like to cover at one point or another. We pretty much picked three songs out of that pool, then arranged and recorded them for this EP.
I was surprised by some of the songs on this EP, I think it was the Aqua song.
Trollmannen: Yeah, “Cartoon Heroes.”
Yeah, how did you select this one?
Trollmannen: We just wanted to do a cover of “Cartoon Heroes.” How did we pick cartoon heroes? Actually, our guitar player is a huge Aqua fan. He has all the CDs and cassette tapes and vinyls. And one of the rooms in his apartment is actually … The wallpaper is all Aqua. He also has a pillow shaped like the singer Lene.
What a dedicated fan.
Trollmannen: Absolutely. The most dedicated Aqua fan in the world. It’s actually, it’s quite surprising he can drink beer. That’s how hard of an Aqua fan he is. Sorry, yeah.
Earlier on in the pandemic, you guys had a livestream, which I thought was probably one of the best. I wanted to know if you have plans for another virtual event?
Trollmannen: Actually, we do. We had a half a plan to do some livestreaming together with a release of our EP, but restrictions in Årdal have just been amped up. So it seems that might not happen after all, but on the happier note of things, we have found out that the Internet connection in our rehearsal space is quite decent. So the plan is as soon as restrictions allow, we are hoping to start streaming stuff from our rehearsal space every so often.
How are the restrictions out by you?
Trollmannen: In Norway they have the … What is it? The Brazilian mutation and the British mutation and the Finnish mutation? South African mutation. Finland, South Africa, it’s so easy to mess up those two, but yeah, pretty much, there’s a bunch of virulent strains on the loose in Norway and because we haven’t … Because our politicians are as shitty as all the other politicians, proper measurements, no measurements, requirements have not been met and warnings have been ignored. And then now everything has to shut down again.
How is the vaccination rollout over there?
Trollmannen: We have vaccination, but it’s like they vaccinate five people a day. So it’s going to take a million days before Norway is ready to open again. I might be exaggerating a little bit for comic effect, but yeah.
Moving on to happy things, I enjoyed the “Happy Heroes” video a lot and I love your progression with animation videos. You can never go wrong with them. I wanted to know more about the technical aspects of these videos, what program do you use to create these hysterical videos?
Trollmannen: Let me ask. What are the programs you use to animate Mr. Seidel
Mr. Seidel: Adobe Animate.
Trollmannen: Adobe Animate, he says.
Mr. Seidel: Hello there. My name is Mr. Seidel, guitar player in Trollfest.
Trollmannen: Also known as Aqua boy.
Mr. Seidel: Aqua boy. Yeah, that’s me.
What’s your process of making these videos? I mean, they are amazing. And I just had to comment on it.
Mr. Seidel: Thank you very much. Well, the software I’m using is Adobe Animate. That’s where I basically draw everything and do the animation. Idea wise, it’s usually we discuss within the band. We all come up with ideas and then I sit down and basically just start drawing.
Do you use Illustrator for the character builds?
Mr. Seidel: No, no, no. Everything is done in Adobe Animate It’s a pretty straightforward program. I started using it I guess, five years ago. It’s pretty intuitive and easy to use. It’s just really time consuming when you’re doing everything by yourself and it’s a hobby. So it’s been a lot of long nights creating, especially the latest “Happy Heroes” video, because there are so many details that I’ve put into this video. I started working on it in June last year and it took me probably seven months creating it compared to the other movies which I’ve done in what, two or three months? So kind of kicked it up a notch in this video and just filled it to the brim with references and small details in every frame basically. I’ve heard a lot of comments from fan playing the video in half time trying to pick up all the things I’ve put in and they’ve found a lot, but there’s still a lot they haven’t noticed. So yes. It’s fun.
You definitely took things to the next level. Awesome work. I had to ask about it because they keep getting better. They’re great videos.
Mr. Seidel: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Mr. Seidel: Yep. You want to go back to Mr. Vocalist, the king?
Yes. Can I please speak to the king again?
Mr. Seidel: Yes. Here he is, his majesty, the king.
Trollmannen: Did the peasant behave?
A little bit. He was okay.
Trollmannen: Okay, cool. He can eat tonight then.
What has been keeping you guys busy during these strange times?
Trollmannen: Oh, everything I guess. We’re well into working on our new album. All the songs and all the lyrics have been written. We’ve recorded drums and guitars and saxophones and starting bass and vocals pretty soon. After that, we only have all the folk instruments, which will probably take a couple of decades, but no, yeah. We’ve been writing and recording for the new album and doing some work on the EP obviously. And yeah, like everyone else I guess we’ve found some new hobbies binged a butt load of TV shows, learned to cook. Been listening to a lot of music actually, discovering new music and finding new artists to follow.
Trollmannen: Well, for me personally, I’ve been listening to Arabic metal. I’ve also been listening to a lot of old classical music. There is this Spanish guy called Jordi Savall, he runs around playing a 400 year old fiddle searching for 400 year old buildings to play 400 year old music in. So he goes really authentically into recreating old music as much as can be done, performed, and in the way that it most likely was performed 400 years ago. So I’ve been listening to a lot of his stuff, actually. There’s very, very, a lot of interesting stuff going on there. And I’ve been diving into Alan Lomax and his field recordings. It’s also a quite cool bit of audio history going on there. And I’ve been doing a lot of dive into the exotica genre with the … Or experimental exotica stuff, basically.
Is there anything you can reveal about the new album you mentioned earlier?
Trollmannen: As is tradition, we’ve tried to pretty much amp up everything for the next release. I think we have both the most extreme song we’ve ever written and the most pop song we’ve ever written on the new album when it comes out.
From pop to extreme metal.
Trollmannen: It’s going to be quite a diverse album. A lot of stuff is happening on it.
I was going to say Aqua man will be very happy with it.
Trollmannen: Oh yeah. It’s his dream come true.
Is there anything else you want to say to your fans about this crazy year that we’re all experiencing?
First of all, we feel with you. It’s been a shit storm of a time period and it sucks balls and we hope it comes to an end soon. And as soon as it does, we hope you will come to our show and we will do our best to make it all worth it. And also, check out our webpage and keep your eyes open for livestreams, where we have a plan starting more livestreaming from our rehearsal space. So there might be some cool stuff happening on that front as soon as the lockdown ends.