Head up High had the opportunity to make a interview with Jorn Viggo, from Northward!
1. It is undeniable your potential as a guitarist. Coming from your discovery of this passion, your studies and hours training to achieve perfection, how do you see yourself when it comes to your journey and development to what you have today?
Jorn: I have always had a passion for music and I will till the day I am no more. I started playing at the age of 14. I never took any lessons and I can not read music. I learned by listening and watching others. I learned from the beginning to play by using my ears. In my early years I played a lot and I was lucky and got to play in a band with some really talented guys that was 5 years older then me. That was like a learning fast track and I was sucking in all this knowledge they had and showed me. I started playing covers but I wanted to write my own music. So I started doing that in my earlie 20ties. But I guess that part first took of when we formed Pagans Mind. Musically that band has something unique and we have all learned and developed so much playing with each other. It was also a special time in my life playing with Jörn Lande. We wrote 3 albums together him and I and I was his ‘main guy’ for 6 years We click very well together musically and work very well together. Today I’m more hungry than ever writing lots new music. New Pagans Mind stuff progressing slowly and I also have some other really exciting stuff going on and I can’t wait to show it to everyone.
2. It always mentioned about Floor’s contact to you in 2016, I believe it must have been an enormous surprise to have gotten that call. But if she wouldn’t have called you, do you think you’d probably have contacted her or would you keep Northward on the shelf for more time?
Jorn: I guess we both knew that we would pick this up at some time. I think we bout thought it would happen much sooner also but it didn’t. But I was a good time for the both of us when we picked it up again and I think the long ‘pause’ just let the album age to be better. Like a good wine 😉
3. You took care of the music and Floor took care of the lyrics and vocals. But when it comes to the lyrics, which one gave you that feeling of “Woah, I can totally understand you” when you read/heard for the first time?
Jorn: Floor wrote the lyrics, we both wrote the melodies. The music not done only by me either. 90 % of this album was written with the both of us in the same room. So it’s a cooperation all the way. Feeding of each other’s musicallity and finding the sound and style that fitted Floor and me together.
I remember hearing and reading the lyrics of While Love Died very well. That was ‘back then’ a very personal lyric for her and about a situation she was in.
4. Which episode or episodes in your journey as a musician inspired in a meaningful way the construction of the album?
Jorn: It was all the way hard work with a very good vibe. We understood the first time we had a session together that we had a good musical chemistry. And we put our hearth and souls into making it the best album we could.
5. Ever since the beginning of your career, in all your projects, you’ve been putting a bit of yourself in every note. Coming from this aspect, out of all music you’ve ever written since Pagan’s Mind to Northward, which music would be the most accurate representation of Jorn Viggo?
Jorn: Hmm that’s hard to say. Northward, Jorn and Pagans Mind is a result of the people who play together in each band. I grew up digging the classic hard rock bands, Dio, Zeppelin, Purple, and also bands like Beatles, Pink Floyd, Toto etc, etc, so looking at that straight forward hard rock with some nice musical elements is what appeals to me. But in Pagans Mind I’m much more progressive in my way of thinking and that’s also a part of me. I really just wanna make good songs no matter what genre. I don’t see the point of writing anything if not trying to do my best. Right now my head is in a melodic hard rock ‘tasteful cool stuff’ state of mind. And you will all be able to taste the fruit later 😉
6. We have always dreamed of a duet between the Jansen sisters and it finally happened! Although the creation process was made by you two, were there any kind of more direct participation of Irene, such as song choice, its development or any change about it? or was it like: “Sup, Irene, let’s do this?”
Jorn: The original plan in 2008 was that Floor would do this duet with Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) and he said Yes to, but that didn’t happen cause we put the project on hold. Picking it up again Floor said ‘I would really like to do this song with Irene’ and I loved that idea. I love Irene’s voice and I’m super happy she wanted to do it. Floor asked her and she also recorded Irene when visiting her late 2017. Irene did a killer performance.
7. The track “Let me Out” had the participation of an After Forever ex-member, and it was one of the songs that had to have the correct feeling so it could be finalized. Andrea’s idea of the song was developed with you or it was something he brought “already ready“?
Jorn: When we first started the project Andre was supposed to play drums (unfortunately that did not happen) but he brought one song to us. It’s had a much slower tempo, so we speeded it up. We also added some riffs and wrote the chorus and the mid part and solo section. But the foundation of the song was done by Andre.
8. Even though the perception of each Northward song is singular, we always have a first impression when we listen to it, that changes as we listen to it, absorbing its essence and discovering new features in each song. How would you describe this kind of sensation? Once it has occurred to you, when you listened to a 10 year old song.
Jorn: We both knew we had written good songs when putting the project on hold in 2009. But I was curious of what I felt about it all picking it up again almost 10 years later. Suprisinglie it felt fresh! We just decided to follow the 2009 plan. And after mixing the album I really still had that good feeling. I think we wrote a piece of music which stood the test of time, hopefully others think so too and will pick up the album now and then and listen to our songs.
9. In a utopic scenario in which you both had time of touring with Northward, what would be your dream band? Why?
Jorn: Touring with Northward I would hope that the guys who play on the album would also play live! They are also a big part of the Northward Sound.
10. In the majority of Floor’s work, there’s an Omega – even if its style changes, it’s always an Omega. Northward is a project of you two, but we noticed two possible “representations” of it, in which we are not very sure about its meaning (the Deer and the “triangle”, both present on the merchandise). Coming from the album’s concept, is there a deeper meaning of both signs or it was something “randomly northy” of your choice?
Jorn: All the artwork is done by Hannes Van Dahl (Floors husband) and Chris Rorland (guitar player of Sabaton) At first the elements you mention was to be on the front cover. The deer horns and the compass needle pointing to the North. But Nuclear Blast wanted artwork with a picture of us for the front cover so instead we used that artwork in the booklet.
01. While Love Died
02. Get What You Give
03. Storm In A Glass
04. Drifting Islands
06. Let Me Out
07. Big Boy
09. Bridle Passion
10. I Need
While Love Died
Get What You Give
Storm In A Glass
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