(((((OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain))))) recently asked the up-and-coming post-hardcore/metal Canucks a few things about their upcoming material which sounds amazing, so check it out below and make sure to listen to the embedded tracks while reading. Start with this, because in absolutely unbelievably good:
Describe yourself/your band.
My name is Will Bjorndahl, I am 6’1 and 190lbs, I went to university but work in a steel warehouse, and I play guitar and yell in the post-hardcore band TEL FYR.
Why the name TEL FYR?
Video games, in particular the Elder Scrolls series, provided a nice common ground for a bunch of young guys that didn’t know each other very well at the formation of the band. In the beginning we lived up to our name and provided Elder Scrolls visuals along with fog machines, really going over the top with it. We slowly got more serious about making good music and now our name really doesn’t have much to do with the content that our band produces. So currently the answer to your question is that it just sounds good.
Can you reveal anything interesting (and perhaps not well-known) about yourself and/or the other band members?
The majority of the members of the band have deceased Fathers.
How was the band chronologically assembled? Under what circumstances?
This really isn’t a special story. Our original lineup was myself in my current role, Zach Choy on drums, my brother Tim on bass, and our best bud Luis on guitar. Luis and Zach were playing in a punk band with an inflammatory name and we somehow got together to jam and attempted to rip off Fall of Efrafa because we all thought it was dope. Luis had been in and out of the city for the last couple years so we have had an ever-shifting lineup of bass or second guitar players. Eventually Tim moved to guitar permanently and Luis has now permanently departed to solidify his monopoly on recording Calgary punk bands.
What side-projects and/or offshoots have the band members taken part in?
I am in a band called Cold Craving that I will always feel is underappreciated and will plug shamelessly.
You have mentioned that your new material is a vast departure from your previous demo recordings and split 12” with Todos Caeran. Why did this happen? What are the differences in the two sounds?
We are doing our best to write a record that flows as a whole as opposed to just writing songs without looking at the bigger picture. We have always tried to combine the diverse styles that we are influenced by in an interesting way, and I hope that we can to hone that and focus it into music that is heavy, emotional, and inspiring.
How did your split with Todos Caeran come about?
It came about fairly simply. We first played with Todos in 2010 maybe? They approached us and said they liked our band; a couple years later we played together again and started talking about the possibility of putting out a record together. Since then we have become very close friends, I personally have a deep love for every member of that band and am very grateful that our paths crossed in the way they did.
If you had to slap a genre label on TEL FYR - so potential new listeners could get a good idea of your sound without hearing you, what would you label yourselves as?
People that have no reference: Metal. (Face it You’re a Metal Band)
I would say that we are a Post-Hardcore band, but heavily influenced by Emo, Metal, and Post-Rock? Somebody could do a better job of this than me.
Who were your primary influences when you started playing music and who are they now?When we first started we were going after the Elil era Fall of Efrafa vibe as well as some black metal stuff, but you can tell that Zach learned how to play drums by playing along with Funeral Diner records, so that was always there. Currently we are attempting to reach a place that combines Buried Inside’s Chronoclast record with our ever present post rock and emo influences (Mogwai, Godspeed, Funeral Diner, Union of Uranus, etc.), we will see if we can live up to that.
Does TEL FYR sound like its collective influences?
I always hope we are doing our own thing. We never sit down and say, “OK this riff needs to sound like this Funeral Diner riff,” the music we make just comes out the way it is. We try to reach towards ideas we like that other bands have achieved, but not for specific sounds.
What things happened in 2013 that you would like the readers to know about?
I am super proud of our split with Todos Caeran. Everyone should buy it from the labels that helped us put it out: Pint Sized Records in North America and Dog Knights Productions overseas. In Alberta we have a festival called Ghost Throats that we took part in this year and I cannot back it hard enough. Kevin Stebner and Andrew Benson do an amazing job of showcasing the talent in Alberta and bringing in some of the best bands in Canada.
What are your future recording and touring plans?
We plan to record and release a full length record that is will be our heaviest material to date as well as an EP of more rock oriented tracks (similar to the Todos split in some ways) in 2014. Anything additional will depend on interest from labels, but I have some drone stuff I have been working on as well that could see the light of day. To me Tel Fyr has always been the place where I can combine my seemingly disparate musical interests into something with a little cohesion and we somehow get away with it.
We have no tour plans currently because we are awful at logistics, but we will see where these recordings take us. My goal this year is to definitely pump out whatever music we can as long as it is good.
What are your favourite songs to play and why?
Sermon 15, Cantatas of Vivec, and Cult of Winter are always on standby, they are not very difficult to play and we are the most comfortable with them. I personally think that these are also our best songs. We usually incorporate some sort of improvisation in our sets, and when that works out well it is the most rewarding thing to play. It’s sharing a unique experience with an audience, which is a great feeling.
Do you have any thoughts or opinions on lyrical content nowadays?
My lyrics have little to no content because they don’t really exist (up to this point), so I am in no place to judge someone else’s output. I do enjoy what Patrick Kindlon of Self Defense Family is doing and I will always back Calgary locals Kevin Stebner (Stalwart Sons, Cold Water) and Ryan Kennedy (Cold Craving, Seminary). All I ever want to hear is something authentic.
What are TEL FYR’s new lyrics about?
Everyone has phobias, especially irrational ones. Mine? Sharks. Yours?
Corporations + Governments = Suicide. Agree?
My entry-level anarchism is rusty. Corporations are obviously evil and globalized governments are set up to serve their interests over those of individuals. Maybe I should listen to more Propaghandi and read The Coming Insurrection or something.
Who is your favourite comedian?
Louis C.K. has consistently killed it over the last while. His stand up is great, you can watch him pull his audience across borders that they would never cross in any other situation. The final piece in Oh My God, “Of Course But Maybe,” is a beautifully crafted joke. I also like his character in Louie and enjoy his blending of comedy and serious storyline. Aziz Ansari’s latest special was also great. I don’t know if he used plants in the audience or what but the way he made fun of the people in his audience was absolutely incredible. In terms of sketch comedy, nothing has eclipsed Mr. Show with Bob and David; one of the best shows ever created. I also am a huge fan of Kris Straub who has a webcomic called chainsawsuit and did a podcast called Tweet Me Harder, both of which have informed my humour significantly.
Science vs. Religion. Go.
This is a big question. No member of Tel Fyr identifies with any religion, but I would not say that any of us are anti-religion. The trend that I seem to see is the /r/atheism thing where people who were raised to staunchly believe some form of Protestant Christian doctrine decide to become reactionary to the worldview of their parents by claiming complete and total trust /faith in the principles of science and shit on every aspect of religion as dumb at the same time. I see this as a simple shift in faith, moving the faith that they grew up with from a Christian place to a secular one, attributing absolute value to science without ever taking the time to discover what the practical application of this idea truly means. Blind faith in anything is always ignorance.
Religion is an important factor in the history of human culture; it represents the inherent human experience of the world, a world that we feel we can never fully understand. Dismissing religion outright is dismissing part of what makes us human, the sense of wonder we get when we come face to face with the universe, the fact that across human culture we have created myths to provide meaning to our origins as well as our daily lives. These are extremely important historical and social factors that I don’t think should be dismissed so easily. Sam Harris’ next book is going to try to scientifically explain the mystical experience that exists in every religion; I don’t know how he is going to prove the scientific basis of a collective delusion but I very much look forward to learning more about this subject.
“Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.” We cling to the things that we have attributed value to, and these are constantly shifting. As a rational person living in the Western world it is ludicrous to me to believe in young earth creationism or anything like that, but I don’t discount the importance of this worldview to so many people throughout history, even if it is scientifically incorrect.
Does nationality really matter?
Imagine life without borders or boundaries.
What are you opinions regarding reality TV?
I think it peaked when the cast of Jersey Shore went to Italy.
Name the best Canadian bands of the past, now and perhaps even attempt to see into the future.
This is just what comes into my head at this moment:
Neil Young, Godspeed You Black Emperor/A Silver Mt. Zion, Left For Dead/Cursed, Union of Uranus, Chronoclast era Buried Inside, Stalwart Sons. We have a cool emo scene in Alberta; I see some important things coming out of it.
What is your:
most cherished physical record?
I’m not really a collector, so I will give a practical answer. Old Man Gloom’s NO has been a constant on my turntable since it came out. I’m glad to see that they are recording another record.
favourite release of all time?
Impossible to pin down.
choice for best cover art/packaging?
I’m a real big fan of Altar from Sunn and Boris. Godspeed and A Silver Mt Zion always have some interesting physical aspect to their packaging that I always appreciate.