LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you been holding up?
Ren: It’s been difficult not being able to play shows. It definitely added alot of pressure but I regard myself very lucky as I have had an incredible year thanks to all the awesome people I work with and my amazing supporters. I do hope things level out soon so bands can get back on the road again.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Ren: I hit a productive stride I guess yeah. All the down time from rehearsals and not being able to leave my county has given me alot of time to write and record, engage with fans and grow industry relationships, which has be great.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Ren: The umbrella genre would be Viking Metal but I would describe my sound as Norse Pagan Rock with elements of Metal and folk. My personal faith brought me to the musical direction. I’ve always played rock and metal in different bands but I never had the chance to involve my Norse Pagan beliefs. Lyrically I write about Norse Mythology, the Norse Gods and their great tales. I find it to be extremely rewarding to write my take on the genre.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Ren: The response to my last two albums has been absolutely mind-blowing. Especially my current album Valhalla Waits. Fans of all styles of Pagan music are the most incredible fans and people in the world. I can’t say enough good things about them. I am so happy I found my Heathen Tribe.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Ren: At the moment I am in full studio mode working on my 6th album. Fans of Valhalla Waits are gonna love this one. Details and updates are coming soon.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Ren: So many amazing bands inspire me. Tyr, Ensiferum, Brothers of Metal, Eluveitie, Havamal and Wintersun would be my biggest influences.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Ren: I get a different type of excitement from both. Creating in the studio might be my number one but only by the tip of an axe .
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Ren: My Dad definitely. I really learnt music appreciation from him. He has such an eclectic musical taste. He introduced me to all the greats, the Beatles, Iron Maiden, Elvis, Motorhead, Johnny Cash, Queen. His broad-minded view of music really sunk in with me. It’s definitely why I love all types of music.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Ren: There’s nothing like having a creative outlet, music is that for me. Being able to create a song from nothing and have others enjoy it is an incredible feeling. I count myself very lucky so there’s nothing I don’t like about it.
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Ren: I love all the other elements surrounding music. Artwork, Video Making, Photography. I would happily go down a path in any of those fields if I wasn’t a musician.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Ren: Music needs to be written for ones self for it to be a genuine piece of art I feel. The right audience will find you if you create for yourself and share it with the world.
LOMM: When you look back on your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Ren: Hands down it has to be meeting so many amazing people. It’s the greatest accomplishment you can make in this industry. Good people are gold and the music industry is a gold mine if you have the right intentions and you work with the right people.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Ren: Tyr would be a dream collaboration. Absolute Legends.
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Ren: Again I’d have to say Tyr. They have been trailblazing for decades. It would be an honour to share a stage with them.
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Ren: A festival that is on my hit list to play is the Viking Festival in Hovi on the Faroe Islands. The full Viking experience with Viking Battle exhibitions, feasts, live Viking Metal and all the Mead you could want. It’s like a Valhalla here on Midgard.
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Ren: ‘Unsung Heroes’ by Ensiferum, ‘By the Light of the Northern Star’ by Tyr, and ‘Time I’ by Wintersun are definitely some of my favourites. Unbelievable albums.
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Ren: It’s a nice big mess of everything. My first music collection was a mixture of cassettes and vinyl, then Cd’s took over the world of music. These days I would buy mostly on Vinyl again but I still have a huge soft spot for cassettes and even Cd’s. iTunes has been a go to for me for digital buys ever since I got my first iPod many moons ago.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Ren: I Hail from the Emerald Isle of Ireland. The Rock/Metal scene here is amazing, such a supportive network. I am constantly blown away by the talent in this country.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Ren: Richie Kotzen, Heri Joensen (Tyr), Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and Dimebag Darrell. What an after dinner jam session that would be.
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Ren: You are all awesome. Thank you for everything. I’ll have a new album for you this summer.
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time.