Despite her reclusive way of life, Hulder’s impact on black metal has been a largely welcomed and celebrated contribution. Her works are steeped in medievalry, classicism and darkness that only few understand. The music a reflection of steadfastness in both character and unwavering independence. Hulder’s craft is beholden to no particular scene or school of BM; resulting in a product of unique qualities that she can genuinely call her own. Folklore, rejection of modernity, classical music, nature and brutalism – all vital components to Hulder’s style. In a genre that embraces the ways of olde and strives to preserve them, Hulder’s music is quintessential and vital to the integrity of the black metal way.
During my latest interview, Hulder discusses the music, the lore and some of the personal experiences that have inspired her art over the years. She also provides some insight into her own personal beliefs in regard to spirituality and affirms her intentions to remain at a considerable distance from the herd.
Hails Hulder and welcome. I was reading about your growing up in a small farm town in Belgium. What were some of the experiences you had growing up that have inspired you the most?
Hulder: I did grow up in a small farming town in Belgium just a stone’s throw away from the city of Mechelen. The simple idea of history held within the old cobbled roads, stone walls, and fields of my neighborhood, as well as the majesty of the ornate architecture in the city were the beginnings of my interest in the antiquated. I’ve stated it in interviews before, but my grandmother was an antiques dealer in and around Antwerpen and she specialized in all things medieval. She was always full of old wives’ tales and inspired me to create. My late grandfather was a prominent figure in the theater world there, and was responsible for my love of Opera and Classical compositions.
How did your passion for music lead you to black metal?
My story is, likely, very similar to many others’. A friend of mine gave me a stack of CDs when I was a young teenager with albums by Emperor, Burzum, Satyricon, Dissection etc. I had fairly recently relocated to the US and was homeschooled. I have never been a social person, and during that period of my life there was a deep and agonizing homesickness that lived within me constantly.. Hearing this dark and primitive style of music evoked a feeling of strange familiarity and offered an escape. It led me down the path that I still traverse today.
I imagine folklore playing a major role in your coming up in the rural areas of Belgium. How has Belgian folklore influenced your music?
As mentioned above, my early life was wrought with folklore. Between my grandmother’s stories and my grandfather’s shared love for classical music, history, and theater, my mind was always filled with lore and imagined stories. Being that I am a Belgian national, I am guilty of having a bias towards the arts and music that have stemmed from the lowlands. It, of course, has played a large part in my creative process.
Why have you chosen to take the solo approach to recording black metal? I feel like the band dynamic within the genre is becoming increasingly unpopular.
I initially chose to create Hulder as a solo project because I had spent years in other bands and had always been left feeling that my vision wasn’t shared with those around me. On top of that, when the first demo tape was recorded, I had just moved to Oregon in the winter and did not know many people. Writing and recording for my own project seemed like the right way to harness the isolation of the time.
Is your latest LP, “Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” a concept album?
When the album was written, it was not intended to be a concept album. After everything was tracked and I had some rough mixes in my hands, I began to read the lyrics and decided to change around the order of the tracks on the album so that they would flow in a bit more of a cohesive fashion. In the end, I do believe that the album tells a story and I do have my own understanding of what that storyline is. It is up to the listeners of that album to create their own storyline with the album’s lyrics and take it as inspiration wherever they see fit.
You released a well-received EP last year in “The Eternal Fanfare”. This time by way of 20 Buck Spin. What was the writing/recording process like for TEF in comparison to your previous recordings?
The Eternal Fanfare’s recording process was a bit different than that of “Godslastering…”. The main thing to note here is that I lowered the tuning on that record considerably. Because of that, I was able to write material that felt a bit foreign to me and helped me to expand outside of my normal writing style. As a whole, the MLP was a great introduction to working with 20 Buck Spin Records, as well as what is to come with my second full length.
Can we expect a new LP this year and if so, can you give us a conceptual and a musical direction for the new material?
While I won’t give out an expected release date for a new album, I can say that it is written and has been recorded. The second album is in the process of mixing at the moment and should have artwork and all the rest of the needed elements finished very shortly. I’m very happy with the direction of the material and believe that it is a step forward for Hulder while keeping a firm standing within that which has made the project what it is currently.
Occult black metal has become increasingly popular over the years. There are a growing number of practitioners from all over the globe, mostly underground, who’ve been creating BM inspired by their own esoteric practices. Do you subscribe at all to the spiritual side of black metal?
I do commune with the natural world in my day to day life and actively pursue a deeper understanding of my connection to nature and humanity. We live in a world that celebrates the destruction of this bond and promotes the distancing of oneself from that which has held up mankind since the dawn of our existence. This, to me, is a shame. Black Metal has always been a passage to the darker side of things and I do feel that it has inspired me to explore these pathways as well as all other things that can’t be immediately seen, heard or felt. My own personal journey away from many aspects of modernity has influenced the material that I write and I hope to incorporate this rejection of an overly processed existence into my works more and more as time goes by.
The Pacific Northwest seems to be a hot zone for black metal these days. How would you describe the scene and what are some of the challenges you’ve faced establishing yourself in such an elite environment?
I am not much affiliated with many other bands in my area and I do not associate with any “scene”. My life has been fairly excluded from such things for the last year since I made the move out to a small area in rural Washington State. While living in Portland, I was exposed to many people and bands but I did not feel that I was part of any kind of exclusive circle. Hulder was born of isolation and by nature, I am more of a recluse. I aim to stay that way.
A special thank you to Hulder.
Experience “Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” by Hulder right here as presented by Black Metal Promotion:
Experience “The Eternal Fanfare” by Hulder right here as presented by 20 Buck Spin: