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Interview: James – Yndi Halda

Interview done in 2006.

Every now and then you hear a band that really makes an impact, no matter how much the type of music they play has been drained by thousands of others. Yndi Halda being one of those bands, being really impressed with their Enjoy Eternal Bliss EP we found Yndi Halda’s glockenspielplayer James (and he plays guitar ao. as well) kind enough to answer some questions

Can you briefly introduce your band?

We’re Yndi Halda. we’re 5 school friends from Kent and we’ve never had instrument lessons.

Did you always have this line-up or have there been changes? If so, and if you feel like sharing, what was the reason for that?

The first ever Yndi Halda line up was just Jack, Olly and I. This was before we had any real songs or a name; i think we were around 15 or 16 maybe, perhaps a little younger. Dan joined when we were all about 17, which was when we started writing Enjoy Eternal Bliss. Our former bass player, Daniel Lovegrove (aka Dialect of Resonant Records) joined for the recording of that record, in july of last year, but then left pretty much straight away afterwards because he lives so far away and it was just too impractical. Brendan joined in the winter of 2005.

What’s with the name, why pick an Icelandic one?

We learned recently that its not actually Icelandic. it’s actually in an ancient Norse dialect called Eddic. We assumed it was pre-modern Icelandic at the time, because no-one really understood what it meant (although we haven’t asked enough Icelanders to really make a definite judgement on that). We chose it because the translation – ‘enjoy eternal bliss’ fit the sentiment of our songs exactly as we hoped our name would, and the shape of the words is really appealing and attractive too, we find.

Even though I’ve heard this style of music a lot before, I was blown away by your album. What’s your secret, or inspiration and influences? Music-wise or maybe movie and art-wise?

It seems that people tend to think of us as a ‘post-rock’ band, which i don’t really find to be true for the songs we write. admittedly, we do share a common ground with other bands that write long instrumental songs with quiet parts and loud parts, but i don’t think the comparison goes much further. We’re influenced a lot by folk bands and indie bands, such as Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Maria Taylor, The Arcade Fire and so on, and definitely cinema and art, and literature as well.

I once interviewed an Icelandic band (not Sigur Ros.. ) that mentioned that their album was heavily influenced by their surrounding landscape. Has it been like that for you as well?

That’s definitely true for us. I read somewhere that a lot of Icelandic bands are hugely influenced by their homeland, but i think in a lot of cases, it’s not specific to countries at all, just where ‘home’ is. We wouldn’t be the same band if we were bought up in canada, or sweden, or russia, or even in the same country but in a city.

What’s in your, or the other members’, cd-player at the moment?

I’m currently listening to an Israeli folk singer called Avital Raz, an indie-folk band from Washington – June Madrona – and the Voxtrot Side project Sparrow House, among others.

One of my ‘musical-sins’ is that I still like to listen to Guns n’ Roses every now and then. What are yours, or the other bandmembers ‘sins’ musical wise?

I think we’ve all got a few – i still have all my old Korn records left over from adolescence, and i reckon Jack could dig up a couple of Offspring and Red Hot Chili Peppers cd’s if he tried hard enough. And Journey. We love Journey.

Your music, to me, resembles a feeling of hope and optimism. Are you hopeful and optimistic people yourself?

I think we are, definitely. We write music that expresses us, rather than writing what we hope to feel; i think it’s a much more genuine sentiment.

I thought the idea behind the hand-made covers was really nice, but what was the thought behind it, couldn’t you decide about a regular cover for instance?

The hand-made covers sort of happened by coincidence. The first 3 or 4 copies we sent out to our friends and to people who asked for them were designed by us, and because none of them were going to the same place, we decided it wasn’t really necessary for us to keep the covers consistent, and so from then we just decided that none of the covers need be the same, because the expression and sentiment stays the same for every copy of the record that exists, and so the artwork for each one can express the sentiment of its individual circumstace – the time and place and ‘emotional geography’ – so to speak – of its creation.

You will release the EP officially in November, will it be the same songs, or will there be more? And what are your future plans concerning writing new material, touring Europe (esp. Holland) and conquering the world?

There will be one more song for the offical release – called A Song For Starlit Beaches. We’ll hopefully have time to write a little short-run ep after the record’s released, and then ideally a full-length after that. Our European Tour is happening in april, with Saxon Shore and the Lymbyc Systym, and i’d like to play further afield next summer.

Are there any bands you would really like to tour with?

i think our collective favourite currently-operating musican is probably Sufjan Stevens, or maybe the Arcade Fire, so i’ll have to say one of those.

Alright, one final question. Who is the guy with the glasses when entering your website?

That’s Olly, our drummer. He has a very flexible face.


Yndi Halda website


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