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............WinterStrain............ "WE WILL BE THERE"

Rolf-Erik Nyland - Drums

Shifting Sands Band Interview
New album..........Shifting Sands
Shifting Sands Reviews
Polar Rock Festival
Geir Helge Fredheim - Vocals
Arnulf Øvre - Guitars
Karl Gudmund Birkely - Keyboards
Lars Rikard Kvaal - Bass Guitar
Rolf-Erik Nyland - Drums
Not any old backing vocalist....
My "Wee" brother
RTTM as described by Deenfan
Reviews of Return To The Mirror
Return To The Mirror Sound Samples + Downloads
My Review Of Return To The Mirror
Related Links
WinterStrain Pictures


I have yet to hear some double bass drum playing as fast as this from anyone out there....even Portnoy !!
The speed towards the end of this roll on Rumours At Speak is breathtaking !!! 

Born 25th May 1972

Interview from November 2006


Hi Rolf…great to get together again and do another interview !!


Yes, it is, and it is a milestone, too. Means some time has passed and some stuff has transpired, doesn’t it?   Yeah…..7 months from the last interview !!


Firstly I hope all is well in the Nyland house-hold and you are all keeping well.


Apart from the cough and the occasional dog-hairs(!) we are good! Great to hear that…apart from the dog-hairs that is !


So….The Polar Rock festival. Now the dust has settled what was your favourite memory of the concert/weekend/party/company ?


That would be the concert itself. I mean, there was a lot happening that was fantastic and that makes for a great evening of thinking back and reminiscing, but that gig was just the best WinterStrain gig ever. And my best performance on stage. I’ve looked through the video footage from the concert, from different angles and cameras, and although there were things I’d do differently if I was to do the perfect performance, I make no actual mistakes throughout the entire concert. As far as I can tell after watching it three times, there is not a single beat that is off the mark. I must admit I’ve never been that rock solid before. A fantastic feeling of achievement.


Of course, the BBQ party with the Moose Burgers after the concert was great. Backing Tony Mills was great, and especially being part of SIAM on stage. –The band I loved, that got me into, and years later in touch with Tony. And much of the personal stuff. Talks, getting to know people better… The fishing trip with Hellsing’s uncle and his marvellous boat… And much more. A memory for life.  Siam truly was special. A gig with them which may never happen again !! I hope I am wrong because it sounded so good.


Are there any definite plans for Polar Rock 2007 ??


There are. And we expect to be on the bill. It would make a lot of sense, with our new album, Shifting Sands, just released a few weeks earlier.


So lets get talking about Shifting Sands. How is it coming along ?


It is amazing how even the best laid plans can go wrong. I actually believed we would be able to follow the schedule this time, but so much has gone wrong on so many levels, both with regards to stuff directly related to the album process, and with regards to stuff that has nothing to do with it at all, apart from the fact that it steals studio time… I’m just shaking my head. It’s pretty much all I can do. A pity it doesn’t help!!!


A little later than first planned, exactly a month so far, but it’ll be a race to keep that schedule, too. I’m just into the process of recording the drums for the album. Pre production is thereby a passed stage. It is good for us to pre-produce, ‘cause we meet so rarely as a band. It’s very practical and rewarding to have recordings of the songs that we can listen to and get ideas from. When we enter the studio to do the final job, we know the material very well, as if we’d been having weekly rehearsals for months.


Can you tell us any song titles yet ?


I can do more than that! I will give you the temporary tracklist. If no changes are made, this is the order in which the songs will appear on the album:

1. Gone

2. Inner voice

3. Company

4. In the arms of the night

5. Memory beneath the sea

6. Confidence

7. Negotiation

8. Gathering day

9. Mageyrian’s epitaph


This is subject to change, but I believe it’s a good list, making the album evolve with a fine natural flow. Without revealing too much at this stage, I can tell you the opening track has been given since the moment I first heard it, played back to me by Karl. The keyboard sound that with this will start off the album is spectacular! I will get back to you with a presentation of each song in just a couple of months. Fantastic…can’t wait.


Is Arnulf’s brother doing the art work for Shifting Sands as he did the artwork for Return To The Mirror ?


To our great delight, yes! I know he’s been toying with some ideas. This time, we haven’t really discussed the cover art like we did last time, apart from the deep meaning of it. With RttM, I had a specific photo, and some specific wishes and thoughts… call it an assignment that he fulfilled in a surprising but satisfactory way. I love what he did, and I love the way he was more creative than I believed possible. For Shifting Sands, he’s just got the title, a clue, and some points to avoid. Else, he’s free to do what ever he wants. I guess he’ll present some approaches and ideas if we meet around Christmas. I’m really looking forward to that. I’m one of those musicians who think the cover art is dreadfully important for an album.


Will Shifting Sands be heading in the same direction as RTTM musically ?


Haha… I don’t know if RttM was actually heading in any direction!! Let’s just call it a starting point, and from there you might say that Shifting Sands is heading in some direction. I was never very impressed with bands that changed a lot between albums. Usually, they either sucked before or they started to suck after the changes. There are foundation stones in WinterStrain that will never ever change or disintegrate:

Melody, lyrics, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, fairly clean yet intense and passionate vocals, and “Power, not Noise!”. WinterStrain will always be about those factors. Furthermore, I can’t imagine there will be an album without the odd epic or without the odd rocker. I believe it will be some incarnation of “Arctic Prog” ‘til the end of time.


Still, there are many factors that can evolve and change. Shifting Sands seems to be an overall harder album. On RttM we had “Broken defence” – a very sweet song with no drums on it. The definite ballad on SS, “Confidence”, has got drums, heavy guitars and a lot of power towards the end. Else, the longest song is longer, and so is the shortest song! RttM was 10 songs / 56 minutes. Shifting Sands is only 9 songs, but will pass the hour mark. I guess that says something for a more epic approach. And of course, we’re talking 9 new songs, as different from each other as they are from any song on Return… -It’s bound to be different. It’s a new album!  Arctic Prog sounds good to me !!


Your lyrics are fantastic Rolf. What has given you the inspiration for the lyrics to Shifting Sands ?


Thanks a lot! I know I said once that Return to the Mirror wasn’t a concept album in the regular sense, but had some kind of link between the songs on a deeper level. Different facets of nature played a role in most of the songs. –Not that it was planned. We just chose the songs among those we already had, that would make up a great album. I actually didn’t consider the lyrics’ meaning or quality much. You can say I have thought a bit more about that this time, ‘cause I asked myself “Why didn’t I, after caring so much for lyrics all my life, make sure my first album consisted of some of my best lyrics?!” ‘Cause it didn’t! I love “Mountain inside the stone”, “Another time” and “The family secret”… and “Leon” is special to me (me too, you know it’s my favourite) . I mean, they’re all good, and if I don’t think they are, someone else is quick to point out “Hey, that’s my favourite!” –So it’s not a regret. Not a single one. Just a reminder that I should consider the lyrical factor next time. Mind you, there was some re-writing up until the last minute, with RttM!! I would not be this happy if all the original lines made it onto the album, ha ha!


Shifting Sands… Lyrics and inspiration… Well, they are like last time in that the album is a mix between new and old material. We’re a bunch of old men now ( you aint even near 40….that’s not old ….well I am 38 so I need  say that  ;o) ) , with a lot of unreleased material that must be released, so we pick and choose songs from the last fifteen years to make the best album possible. –Which, as stated in the RttM booklet, doesn’t mean compiling a “Best of…”!!! Therefore, I can’t say the lyrics this time are all written after the release of our debut, and that means they’re products of many different inspirations. Let me look through a list of the songs, here… Ok, these are factors that have inspired the lyrics this time:

People living their lives under the watchful gaze of the public.

The responsibility that a person can feel for another person.

The state of the earth.

The choices we make, the bridges we burn.

Different states of mind.

A tv programme about the diseases of a corporation!


Again, I will return with more info, on a song by song basis, when we’re closer to the release. That would be great. Thanks Rolf.


When can we expect to see Shifting Sands for sale ?


I hope and believe that it will be on sale in April or May 2007.


Tony Mills is again on board which is fantastic news. Has Tony started doing the new backing vocals yet ?


Yes he has, and he’s on fire. The work he’s done for the song “Company” is the best I’ve ever heard from the guy!!  Well you know my thought’s on Tony. One of the finest vocalists on the planet. Sadly now the ex singer of my favourite band Shy, but a voice to die for.


Tony is the new singer with TNT. With TNT touring Norway so much lately what are the chances of WinterStrain doing some support slots ?


I have no idea. I think that will have to be discussed after our second album is out. These first few months, I don’t think we’ll do any live gigs at all. But I’ve been wrong before…

And let’s hope you are wrong again !!


To date, what has been the highlight for yourself regarding WinterStrain ?


The 30th of November 2005, I got a package in the mail. It was from Loud1 in England. I opened it, and inside I found a copy of “Return to the Mirror”. –Looking just like all the albums I’ve bought over the years, only it was an album I had laboured over for years…


Have you ever thought about working with any other musicians regarding new songs for either WinterStrain or any other project ? Tony Clarkin perhaps !!


What a thought… For WinterStrain, I don’t think a lot of guest musicians will make much sense. But I have a few other projects up my sleeve that is supposed to include other musicians, some obscure, some quite well known. For an example, Joe Basketts of Shy has agreed to play keyboards on my Darktime project!! Yeah. And I believe Joe will only be wanting paid in Beer and Wine, so should be a fun project !!  LOL


Do things ever get tense between the band members in the studio ?


Oh, there are those moments where every second seems to linger… Nah, not much. I can’t complain. Usually, if the mood is dropping, it’s because we should stop the session. When the magic is gone, or the inspiration is depleted… We are artists after all, not handymen, when we’re in the studio performing our music.


Who gets the job done quick in the studio and who is a pain in the arse to get things right ?   LOL


I really shouldn’t answer this!! But let’s say Arnulf is not among those who needs hours on end to lay down a riff…   Controversial !! LOL


You have spent a lot of time and money upgrading all the equipment in the studio. You have also bought a new acoustic drum kit to replace the electronic drum kit. So we can expect to hear a different sounding album with Shifting Sands to the sound on RTTM ?


Yup. The drums will be sounding much more natural and “loose”. The drawback is that it is much harder to make it all sound tight and noiseless. To make the end result as good as possible, we’ve called in the Maudlin Hounds singer, Alf. He used to engineer our demos way back when, and he’s been in WinterStudios with me recently, to help me get the best drum sound possible. He’s a unique talent, and he’s got a lot of experience. And a good set of ears!!


You have a very understanding family who let you spend so much time in the studio when you are recording. Is there anything you would like to say to them here that you have not already said to them yourself ?


If not for you, the music would be all I got. Music is something I need, but it’s not all I need. I am eternally thankful for the way you make it possible for me to have both. And a special thank you to my wife, who endured the recording of “Return to the Mirror” happening in her home, starting when our son was just born.


Is there anything we should all know that you have not answered already ?


We’re halfway to starting the pre-production on our third album! We’ve started picking songs, and we’re writing new material. WinterStrain has a lot to show you before we pull in the oars.  WOW…now that’s new news !   Cool. Thanks.



And finally my good friend. Is there any message you would like to give to the fans out there who are awaiting the new album??


If you liked Return to the Mirror, you have a lot to look forward to. If there were things you disliked about it, we might have sorted those things out since last time. We have some truly great songs up our sleeve, and this time we’ve done it before. We look forward to your feedback on what you hear!! I am sure we will not be disappointed Rolf.


Rolf…a pleasure as always. And hope to see you next year in Scotland….in a house where I stay !!  ;o) remember to bring your wife and son !!   LOL


They’re not easily forgotten!! See you, brother!!


Thanks Rolf Erik. A pleasure.

Interview from April 2006


What a weekend  Rolf !!!  Z Rock was a blast.


Tell me about it. Our first international concert, and the other guys finally got to meet you and Tony. –And we all met up with the wacko-bro’s from the forum. A wonderful experience!!!!!


How do you feel personally Z Rock went for you ?


I feel like it was close to perfect. We were honoured to be put fourth on the bill. I believe we did pretty well at that spot, but I must add that I’m glad we didn’t have to go on after Demon. They were rock solid, and it was pretty darn obvious they were not doing this for the first time!!


Else, I was exhilarated by the double bass pedal and the new cymbals, none of which I had ever seen until the night before. Thanks for arranging that for me, man! It really put me on track with the new drum set I’ve been pondering for a while.


Do you believe it was worth the effort for the band to travel such a long way for the gig ?


Oh, yes, definitely. And we got a shit load of cd’s from Z for free, that we sold to raise money for the trip. With the money we got at the venue, we just can’t complain. Z records covered every penny of expense we had. And that is not all bad in today’s record industry, for an unknown act like us.


What was your favourite memory of the WinterStrain gig ?


The response from the audience. It was truly warm and enthusiastic. I was sort of surprised at how pleased people seemed. A couple of times, after our more weird songs, like A battle, there was a tiny moment of bewildered silence, before the applause took off! It was like a collective “Huh? Wow!!”


What was it like sharing the stage with Tony Mills ?


Very special. Just imagine. I’ve been a fan of him as a singer and song writer since the first Siam album back in 1994. Of course, I’ve exchanged more than 1000 emails with the guy, gotten drunk with him, eaten his rice, slept in his house, drunk his beer, offended his wife, lost to him in a belching contest, cuddled his baby daughter… been pretty close, wouldn’t you say? Still, it was magic. Pure, heart-twitching magic. When he said it was an honour for him to be allowed to sing on “Sail”, I almost had a little breakdown behind the drums. “Shut the fuck up, man, I’m trying to be the heavy metal Viking drummer here…”


Tony Mills sang backing vocals at Z  Rock for WinterStrain, how does it make you feel that WinterStrain will back Tony Mills at The Polar Rock Festival ??

It’ll be an honour for me, and yet another useful experience for the band. Not entirely sure if the whole band will participate, but I think so. I’d better start looking at the songs soon, by the way…


What were your thoughts when Tony Mills said before you played Sail to the audience that Sail was one of the best progressive songs he had ever heard ?


I was proud, and happy to see that he told the audience this. As for the rest of his little speech, see above!


You took the mike off Geir Helge during the gig and had a little chat with the crowd !! Is this something you usually do ??  LOL  


Well… yeah… I think so! It’s just a manifestation of my drive for the band. I’m at the front a lot in a lot of other aspects, so I feel it’s natural that I have a chat with the audience even if my musical performance is on the drums. But I don’t mean for it to be a regular thing. This time around, it was because I felt like I was bringing the boys with me to a place I’d been a few times, a feeling that was enhanced by my trip to England last year where I met you, Tony, Magnum and Mark Stuart, Shy… It was like returning to those same people, only this time with the whole band, not just the disc. And Hellsing had asked me if I could “say something” during the concert. A misunderstanding led to my having to come to the front twice. That was not planned. But hey, it’s only rock and roll, isn’t it?! –And Hellsing did VERY well anyway!


If I had to pick a songs I thought the band played  the best I would say Mountain Inside The Stone. What was your favourite song on the night ?


Every time we play A Battle without making asses of ourselves, it’ll be the biggest “YESS!” moment of the show, but I think “Another Day” is among the funniest for me to play. It’s so drastically much more energetic live than on the album, it’s invigorating! But I have many roles when I’m on stage, and our own material is played. “In your world” is fun to play, and I feel like the band is tight as a Scotsman. “Mountain inside the stone” is the song where I’m at a better place, and I just listen to how great “my” song is performed and received. This is the one where I’m most demanding, sort of. Hellsing has to get all the words right, and all the details must be just right. This is more than just rock’n’roll, you know!!?! But when everything is just right, nothing can beat it, and I think we did it pretty well in Crewe.


So how much are you looking forward to playing the Polar Rock Festival as this will be the biggest gig any of the band have ever played in front of ?


That will be very fun. I don’t think I’ll be nervous in front of that gig, though, ‘cause it’s as much on home turf as you can get. I can probably see my house from behind the stage! I suspect the sound will be magnificent, and that is always a good thing. We had very bad monitoring in Crewe, but we just soldiered on. With great sound on stage, the gig is even more enjoyable.


You guys were really tight as a band . Considering you have only had 4 gigs and 3 rehearsals were you surprised by how well you actually played ?


Yeah. Again. I’m usually surprised when we get together and play. It may be a year between two rehearsals, or it was a lot of that and more before we started thinking seriously of doing live gigs, and every time we just clicked! It was right, immediately. I’ll play you some of the jams we’ve recorded without having even seen each other for months. You’ll be surprised, too, I think. There is absolutely something holding this unit together through every ordeal.


Any other gigs planned for WinterStrain other than the Polar Rock Festival




Is there anything of the weekend in Crewe you would change ?


Musically, I’d tighten up the bass drum skin a little, ‘cause there was no freakin’ response at all. When ever I did something that was dependent on the skin sending back the beater and otherwise stay in place, I had trouble with the balance. This is the one drawback with having one bass drum that no double pedal can ever fully compensate for. When the left beater is about to hit the skin, the right one has just been there, creating havoc, and when the skin isn’t tight enough… The faster you plan to play, the tighter you want the skin to be. I guess you could get used to just about anything, but the unpredictable nature of this skin movement is beyond my capacity. I’d just as soon get used to living with a Parkinson-plagued suicide bomber…


Do you have any message to the fans who came along and  supported you at the Z Rock gig ?


THANK YOU ALL! I just can’t believe it. This sweet girl who travelled for 10 hours to see US!? –She had no interest in any of the other bands! It’s amazing!!! And she was not the only one, either. This is a good time to pull out of the old chest the word “flabbergasted”…


I can’t thank you guys enough for taking me out for my dinner on the Saturday night. So again, for the record I thank you all so much. It was worth it to see your face when the Italian owner said your gold card was refused !!!   What a picture !! ha ha


Well I told him, didn’t I? No one scares me when I have my £5000 gold card at the ready. Especially when I have the blue one as backup. –That’s the one with £8.000.000 on it, you know… He was fantastic, man! Never thought I’d have my leg pulled by a restaurant owner!!


You met Mark from Z Records when you were at the gig. Any information you wish to tell us of this meeting ??

He agreed a lot.


We had great fun at the hotel over the weekend. What was your favourite memory of the stay at the hotel ?


You, with a several days long history of little sleep behind you topped off by the night of combustion, gone to sleep ahead of me, but with ZB and GH… I enter the room, I hear the carnage, and I see your head, eyes only slits, being lifted from the pillow to squint at me, and you say “I’m in hell”… I’ve been having my eyes watered at the memory several times. I think that one situation there was the ultimate moment of mirth (for me!) on the trip!!

Yes……a great weekend, but a nightmare on the sleeping front for me !!! Still….that’s what made some great memories !!


Rolf…my wee brother. Thanks for a wonderful weekend and in June I hope we can do it all over again at The Polar Rock Festival !!


With a few exceptions, we will. Most prominently, we are NOT sharing a bed!


Don’t worry Rolf…you wont get the chance either !!! ;o)

Interview from November 2005


I hope you don’t mind me asking you “MORE” questions Rolf, but since it is now only 7 days to the release of the bands primary release “Return To The Mirror”, I thought I would take this opportunity to first of all ask you….How does it feel to be on the verge of realising your dream of releasing a full cd of WinterStrain material ??


First of all: Unbelievable. Then a chaotic cocktail of everything from immense relief to great tension. It can not be described, only hinted at.


What are your hopes for this release ?


That the day will come when it is actually released! The suspense…  My greatest hope is that it will be available for those who are interested in buying it. Then I hope those who would really love it will get to hear it. Come to think of it, those two combined would mean we’ll sell as many albums as ABBA did throughout their whole carreer and the years since!!!


Any fears !! ?


That it will be reviewed in the Norwegian newspapers. They “know naaaathing!!!”


Do you have any plans for personal promotion of this cd ?


Yes, I have. They are in the pot, brewing…


You tell me that the new cd has already began !!  Can you give us all an insight into how far the cd has actually progressed?


Just about all songs are written. There might be we’ll throw in another if we write something that might be good for that album. A question of balance, really. If I played our current recordings, you’d get the picture, I think, although I do the vocals. We have now stopped the demoing and started the serious pre-production on most songs. We do a little bit every week.


In what sort of  direction is the material  heading in. Is it similar in style to RTTM or have you went for a change of direction ?


We will never go for a change of direction. But we’ll evolve naturally over time. One great difference this time is that the older songs we include are gonna sound more like current WinterStrain than the older songs on “Return to the mirror” did. We hardly re-arranged those at all. As for the next album, the old stuff sounds to us like it was written just recently. Some actually are, to a certain degree. One song has been completely rewritten. Many themes are the same, but no melody lines and no lyrics have survived, apart from the title itself. Typical of WS, this wasn’t planned, but made necessary by the fact that we couldn’t find any recording of it, and the lyrics have been lost for more than ten years!



How long should it be before we can expect to see a finished product ?.....yes yes I know the first cd is not even out yet but I was only asking ;o)


Now you’re back at question number two, really. I hope “Return to the mirror” will ensure the release of… no, I’m not gonna give you the title yet!!! –We need to focus on the debut right now. But, given an acceptable balance between struggle and gift, between luck and disaster, I think early 2007.




Tony Mills has been a big fan of the band and also helped cement the record deal. How much has this meant to yourself and the band as a whole ?


For WinterStrain, it’s been as important as rice seems to be for the big man… How how… Of course, it means a lot to the whole band that someone with his pedigree makes such an effort to promote us, only because he loves the material. And his advice and thoughts… We wouldn’t be halfway to where we are now without him. And for me, as an old and extreme SIAM fan, to have the mother fucking singer from bloody unbelievable SIAM do the backing vocals on my debut album……… You just can’t beat it. I can still remember the first time he sang - more hummed, really, but still -  Another Time over the phone. It was a great moment, where I realized that this guy is actually learning to sing my songs. It was… weird and wonderful.



Are there any plans for Tony Mills to do backing vocals on the next WinterStrain cd ??


Yes. That is already agreed. He’ll also be taken in at an earlier stage, for advice on different vocal issues. It’s called the “anti-euro-phraseology plan”!




Any plans for a celebration for the release next Monday or shall it just be the same old routine ?


Yes and yes. Beer!



How many drum parts did you actually break during the recording of RTTM as I hear you are quite “DAMAGING” towards the equipment that produces the music we hear from you !!!  Possibly a sponsorship deal offering free drum  kits would be the ideal scenario !!!


I can not afford to play acoustic drums. I break the sticks after one hour. That is £16 an hour. And the skins look kinda sick after three rehearsals… I have no idea what they cost these days. And the cymbals never lasted. Apart from the ride… But using the V-drums, stuff rarely breaks. I guess I went through three pairs of drum sticks during the RTTM sessions. And nothing else. The skins on the V-drums are woven or something. It’s incredible. They never break! I’ve got one old cymbal pad that I hold responsible for most of the sticks damage. It is rock hard, and I have to hit it very firmly, else it doesn’t register the stroke at all. Silly stuff. I had to put in that cymbal afterwards on otherwise great takes. But I hope to throw it out the window one day soon!!


Well before I go Deenfan…Rolf…..the last of the big Norwegians !! ;o)….have you any gossip on picky Animus,the guitar extraordinaire !!??


 Many years ago, there were two rehearsals in a row where Arnulf broke a string. Karl immediately sighed “This happens at every rehearsal…” to which a highly agitated Arnulf replied something in the vein of “The hell it does!” and was really somewhat pissed. At the time. Now, all these years later, and through all the years since, when ever Arnulf breaks a string, there’s a chorus of “This happens at every rehearsal” from the rest of the band. Arnulf only smiles. I think he has learned to live with us!

How’s that?.......Bloody marvellous if you ask me Rolf ;o)




Well thanks again Rolf for taking time out during this busy time in your life to answer some more questions from myself.  I can’t wait to get a hold of  “Return To The Mirror” on Monday the 21st of November. I am sure my speakers will take one hell of a pounding, but that’s alright as I have just bought a new pc with 5.1 surround sound ;o)  I hope the future brings plenty more happiness and sweet music from WinterStrain. All the best for you guys from Bonnie Scotland and don’t forget to say “HI” to us all when you are all famous ;o)


Cheers Deenfan !!



Thanks, Cradle! It is a bit heavy on the bass side, so be careful!!!!



Below is the first interview with Rolf from back inSeptember. 



First can I say a big thank for your feedback with helping me build up your “FIRST” ever WinterStrain Fan Site !!


No problem, whatever did I do? Oh, like right now? Of course, mate.


So, here goes. I will warn you that not all questions will be musically related as my daft brain seems to drift all over the place  !!!


I’m prepared


We all know you as Deenfan on the forum. How did the name come about?? Do you have any other names we don't know about  !!??


The name Deenfan is just from the fact that I’m a fan of Deen Castronovo. I found it very cool and “efficient”. Liked the sound of it in English, and in northern Norwegian, if you divide it up like this D e en fan, it reads “It’s a devil”, or something like that, meaning “It’s one hell of a drummer, that Deen”. Not bad, eh? Maybe you cannot speak about a person as “it” in english, but in Norwegian you can, in certain instances or expressions. Other names??? Hmmm… On the first forums I registered on, and then those who didn’t deal with music, I used only Deen. I prefer not to just take someone’s name, though, so it’s Deenfan. Even that is just a fun thing. –Bowing to the undeniable influence apparent in some of what I do.


So, Rolf-Erik Nyland !! , who gave you the inspiration to chose the drums as your instrument??


My friend Sigbjørn Fagertun. I’ve translated his name into SiegeBear, or just “The siege”! It’s got nothing to do with anything, and the only correct part is the “bear”. I’m slightly digressing already… Better reel me in, immediately! The Siege had a great talent for rhythm, and his hands were moving elegantly through some fast chops, equipped with twigs or anything at all that might resemble or double as a drumstick. –Although not the chicken drumstick’s, ironically… I thought it sounded really cool, even though it was just really thin logs of wood drumming against the wall of their barn, for instance! I started off with knitting pins (?) and stools!! After a while all the pins were bent, and all the stools “marked”. So, I got drumsticks from my mom, and she also helped me along to my first drum set, at 10. A Tama Royal Star 5-drums with crash, ride and hihat. I will never forget the day I came home from school and my older drummer idol, “Tommen”, was setting it up in my room for me. A wonderful moment in my life.

Back to The Siege, he never had a proper drum set. Apart from a couple of really crappy one’s, nothing went his way as far as realizing his potential. Now, an educated engineer, he has finally bought himself a kit that means business. I tried it out, and helped him tune the drums, and MAN, it was sounding great!! I’m happy for him. And even without any continuous training, he got these snare drum rolls I’m not sure I could do how much I tried. Hmmm… I’m tempted to call him up and ask if he needs another tune-up!!!


Do you remember your first ever gig and what was your band called at the time??


The first real gig was with a band that was called “Close Race”. That was, in essence, WinterStrain without our singer. I’m sure “The A” will have the exact date for you. But it’s a good 13 years ago now. We were taped by national radio, the Norwegian answer to BBC. NRK. They loved us! We were about 6 acts on the bill that night, and the gig was covered thoroughly by the county division of NRK. They played one, or MAYBE two songs from each act. Apart from us. They played FIVE of our songs on the radio! –And one of the songs enjoyed a few weeks on the county top ten list, too!! With me on vocals AND drums, sporting an inflammation of my throat for the third week running… People said it sounded really cool…


Which band member has the most annoying habit ?? And what is it !!!


I don’t know what it is, but it’s bound to be Arnulf… Haha!! I don’t really know if anything annoys me much in this band. It couldn’t be, or we’d split up a long time ago. Lars will get lost in his own bass solos, less than a second after we finish a song at rehearsals. That is more funny than annoying. Karl will pull up his drum sets on the keyboard when we jam, and compete with me on the level of rhythmic insanity. Again, funny… I don’t think anything could ever annoy me about Fredheim. That would have to be his upper lip tobacco storage… Maybe the fact that if something DID annoy me about Arnulf, and I wrote it here, he would be slightly upset for about ten seconds. Like when he’s reading this… No, nothing big. Sorry!


I you had the chance to play one gig in your life and have one support act play for you, who would you pick and where would it be ??


The self-torture version: Magnum as support at the Marquee. A great and humiliating experience, I would guess. And if we, hypothetically, came out of that one on top, I’d feel chewed and spat out again. No one beats Magnum live. That’s a truth I find much comfort in.

The sober version: If we sold like a million albums first, I would like to help Arena to some fame. Just right now, I would like to play support for Arena! Anywhere.


What is the most frightening thing ever to have happened to you ??


I have a tremendous fear of heights, so that will cave me in good. But, happened… I think that must be while driving. The roads are dangerous and filled with people you cannot know anything about. Their sobriety, their driving skills… Their state of mind. If they’re asleep! Once, I was meeting an 18-wheeler in a long easy left curve. What I didn’t know, and the truck driver didn’t see in his mirrors, was that he was overtaken by another, faster dumping truck. Of course, those to side by side on a road less than 5,5 meters broad didn’t leave space for me, and I aimed at escaping along a small road leading up to a house, and I remember thinking that I would have to pull hard to the right to make my right wheels “fly” over the ditch, ‘cause I couldn’t make it all the way to the little road before impact. So I had to go for it as hard as I could, and try to balance the car on the left wheel pair for a second or so. The last thing I remember is noticing the low headlights on the truck disappear beneath my hood. That’s how close we were. Apparently, we didn’t collide. All of a sudden I was sitting at a Shell station drinking coffee. I have never been able to recall a single second between the disappearing headlight, and the moment of return to awareness at Shell. Total blackout. That, in itself, is pretty frightening.

While I was writing this answer, they reported on the radio that a mother and her infant child was killed by a car, while she was walking the baby in the pram… I truly hate these things, having worked with them for my whole grown up life.


What is your favourite drink ??


That would be based on good clean vodka. Mixed with tea, coffee or soda. Hell, I’m gonna give that Irn Bru Vodka Mix a shot!! (Pun incidental…) And there is, of course, BEER!!! Light beer in the summer, steadily getting darker through the autumn, reaching rock bottom with bock during the polar nights, especially around Christmas time, and then lightening up again to peak at the other extreme, Budweiser, in the bbq season. Of course, this is a rule of thumb at best (or worst!), and a lot of variations make my beerful life cheerful.


Who is your ideal woman ??


My wife. So far the only woman I know that meet all my requirements and wishes. That’s the reason why I proposed. Kinda happy about her yes, of course!


If you had one wish, what would you wish for ??


That God took away electricity. 


Tea or coffee ??


Coffee. But as a bona-fide anglophile, I love tea, too!!!



What are your dislikes ??


Shellfish. Garlic. Red wine. Grunge. Noise. Narcotics. Religiousness beyond reason. VW. The ever changing new truth of the day you’re not supposed to disagree with. Oh, shit, there’s a lot. Luckily, I can do without having to cope with it all. I live the life I want to live.



If you could turn back the clock and change one thing…what would it be ??            


My wonderful life today, depends on a chance meeting a good five years ago. If the slightest little detail was altered to change the course of that day, by about 15 minutes, my son wouldn’t have been born. And WinterStudios wouldn’t have been built. And I wouldn’t be married to my soul-mate. There are stuff I could wish undone, unsaid, unexperienced… But I just don’t dare to touch my past. I could lose it all. It was such a close call, I still can’t believe it transpired the way it did.

Not that I’m a great fan of the butterfly effect and the extremes from which it takes it’s name. Go read the appendix to “Sail”. It’s on our website. This one day, though… Talk about throwing pebbles into the river of time, and actually changing it’s course. Un-*******-believable.


Describe in 1 word what your music means to you??




Who is your favourite band/artist and why ??


Magnum. They’ve meant so much to me that nobody can ever compete. I know. I’m not gonna be 16 anymore. Everything was more intense before. First of all, I liked the “spikeless” un-leathered appearance of the band. That was just from asking a friend “Isn’t there a single hard rock band that dress like normal people?” and getting the answer “Magnum, maybe”. Next step was actually hearing them. “They are the victims of the night. Ride against the wind. Born to lose the fight.” That was the first thing I ever heard, and I was lost forever. Not long after, “Vigilante” came out, and I loved it. Meanwhile, I was backtracking, and I liked and loved everything I heard, with one or two songs’ exception. I was a fan to the utter extreme at the time “Wings of Heaven” came out, and what an experience!! Just imagine. I guess it must have been special to be an old Shy fan when “Excess all areas” came out, too. Only, Magnum never released anything like “Misspent youth”, much to my joy!!

The reasons why Magnum is my favourites, are: “Breakdown” and the whole “The eleventh hour” album, “Midnight”, “On a storyteller’s night” (album and song), “The spirit”… Lyrics and melodies and the performance of them. Magnum kept me alive when nothing else did.


If you have any other info that is of use and I have not asked, then feel free to add it on !!


You didn’t ask for half of what you got in the answers above, and you want more??? Oh, well… I like cars. Very much. Lamborghini is the rawest, and especially the Countach. On that backdrop, the Diablo was stunning. Never thought they could follow up the old bull. That’s the unlikely dream stuff. In real life, I love cars that work. So I’m not buying any more European cars. I will stick to Japan and South Korea for the rest of my life, I think.


Thanks for your help Deenfan . A pleasure  as always to speak to you. ;o)


You’re welcome. Thanks right back at you!