Nordvis II

Nordvis II

by Niklas Göransson

For almost a decade, Andreas Pettersson laboured in the depths of an ore mine to bring his vision of Nordvis to life. Come 2016, standing at a crossroads, he put everything on the line to turn the label into a full-time pursuit.


ANDREAS: One should always have a fixed point in life, and this is mine. I’ve grown into it, but it’s been a long journey. Whatever tribulations life throws my way, I can come here for comfort, solace, and strength. There are also far fewer people around these parts, which is something that’s always been of vital importance to me. Seclusion isn’t negative by default: it can also be a great way to get to know yourself.

In October 2014, Andreas relocated to a remote farm in the Lappish heartland, farther away from the more densely populated coastal areas. He spoke about this at length in the more personal feature in Bardo Methodology #8.

Back then, Andreas would work long shifts in an ore mine seven days in a row and then have one week to recover. Predictably, operating a burgeoning label on top of full-time employment began taking its toll.

ANDREAS: Trust me, working ten-hour days below ground for a week straight will wipe you out. Then, add to that two hours’ worth of commuting. On my days off, when I was supposed to rest and recuperate, I’d be packing orders, emailing like a maniac, and driving to the post office back and forth.

In addition to the significantly longer commute to work, the new location was a forty-kilometre drive to the nearest postal outlet.

ANDREAS: Every Monday, I’d be absolutely wrecked. On Tuesday, I’d gradually start coming back to life. By Wednesday, I felt inspired to get things done. But before I knew it, the weekend was upon me. ‘Okay, here we go… Monday to Sunday: work.’ Nonetheless, the mining job provided a steady income, which meant I could twist and turn Nordvis into what I wanted without worrying too much about profitability.


‘You can’t run a label without having a distro’, someone told me recently. Andreas disagrees; he’s never been into trading as a distribution strategy. Trading, as the term implies, involves bartering one’s titles for releases from other labels, which are then sold through the own mail-order.

A common criticism is that it gives labels an incentive to publish works that might not otherwise have seen the light of day – simply to have items available for trade.

ANDREAS: That’s why I dislike the term ‘distro’. Nordvis has a webshop, yes – but it’s a mail-order for my label and selected partners. Quite frankly, I take pride in having built up the company without trading like crazy. I actually tried out this route for a short while, and it was hellish. I ended up sitting on a whole bunch of crap, most of which is still collecting dust. So, I went back to my more streamlined approach.

Doesn’t this entail slower growth?

ANDREAS: Sure, but I’ve never aimed to become Nuclear War Now! or Iron Bonehead; I want to be Nordvis. And that’s certainly not to say that either of them is bad in any way – they are merely two examples of prolific underground operations with a huge selection of titles. If one is to speak in strictly industry terms, then Nordvis is a label.

And a studio. In fact, this conversation took place around a campfire on the doorstep of Nordvis ljudstudio – a log cabin that Andreas has converted into a professional recording facility. In terms of inspiring surroundings for nature-oriented music, it doesn’t get much better than this.

ANDREAS: I’ve welcomed other musicians here, but mostly people I’m close to, like STILLA and EHLDER. Their albums, along with parts of the recent HÄXKAPELL, were recorded here. Naturally, my door is open to any Nordvis artist keen on using the studio.

Do you have any such plans?

ANDREAS: Some have shown interest, but – as you’re now aware – getting here involves a lot of travelling. I’d love to bring over bands like PANPHAGE or MURG to see what would come out of it. I’m not really a producer, but I could certainly weigh in and share my thoughts, should they want me to.


Around the time he relocated to the farm, Andreas crossed paths with Swedish black metal duo MURG. One day, Nordvis received an advance copy of what later became MURG’s debut album, “Varg och björn”, enclosed in a cardboard sleeve with the cover artwork printed on it.

ANDREAS: They also included two physical photos filled with the same atmosphere; these were later used to promote the album. The artwork is incredibly compelling, so it was sheer luck that the cover caught my eye. Because back then, I already had far more promos coming in than I could possibly listen to.

Sounds familiar – and of varying quality, presumably.

ANDREAS: Mm. I tried to keep up, but most of them were… ahem, perhaps that’s best left unsaid. But this MURG advance – I instinctively knew the music would be something special, judging only by its visual representation. It was perfectly aligned with the type of metal I wanted to work with.

2014 brought several additional Swedish partnerships. First, Andreas discovered BHLEG, a folk metal duo from Sweden’s West Coast. He also initiated dialogue with a black metal band called SKOGEN. Then, he signed FORNDOM, a solo project that blends droning ambient music and Nordic folk influences.

ANDREAS: I stumbled upon Ludvig’s (FORNDOM) photo blog – I believe it’s called a ‘Tumblr’? – and found it fascinating. He has an extraordinary talent for capturing certain moods through his nature photography. I reached out and asked what plans and aspirations he had for his music, his art… everything.

Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ludvig Swärd, the man behind FORNDOM, had already turned down several labels. However, he was previously aware of Nordvis through his black metal background and found it intriguing to hear from Andreas.

ANDREAS: Over time, this developed into a close collaboration that continues to thrive today. Later in the same year, I came across a Swedish solo project called PANPHAGE and promptly got in touch with him. Musically speaking, I’ve always seen a reflection of myself in PANPHAGE’s work. I get a sensation similar to LÖNNDOM or SAIVA, but he presents it in a distinct manner.


In 2016, after getting the label off the ground and gaining considerable momentum, Andreas began thinking about making Nordvis a full-time endeavour.

ANDREAS: Nordvis simply took up too much time, and I genuinely believe I was on the verge of working myself to death. However, much of my motivation stemmed from wanting to be my own master rather than leading a life of servitude. Sure, perhaps that sounds a tad dramatic, but it perfectly captures how I’ve always felt: constantly being told, ‘Do this, do that.’ I thought it might be interesting to… ‘You only live once’, as they say.

Andreas began by taking two days off per week, working five shifts in the mine and then having nine days for the label. As Nordvis continued to grow, he eventually took an extended six-month leave.

ANDREAS: Despite not actively working in the mine, I was still under contract, which provided some sense of security. However, by the end of those six months, I faced an important decision. Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely unphased when I entered the boss’s office to tender my resignation. But once I got into my car and drove away, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. I knew it would be the last time I ever set foot in that place. Honestly, it was incredibly liberating.

Having undergone a similar journey towards self-employment, but from the corporate world, I can certainly attest to the conflicting feelings of relief and apprehension.

ANDREAS: It was a strange situation, voluntarily leaving a secure and lucrative full-time job. But what the hell – let the cards fall where they may, right? I’ve always felt confident in the choices I make for Nordvis. I have full faith in the artists I collaborate with, so there haven’t been any doubts. At least not so far, but perhaps they’ll arise going forward.


One new venture that followed Andreas’ full-time commitment was Nordvis Höstfest. Over the past decade, it has become increasingly common for labels to organise festivals as a means of promoting their roster.

ANDREAS: It was undoubtedly a way to gain visibility, and I won’t deny that. I’ve always regarded what we do as distinct from the mainstream. You and I are accustomed to digging – we come from an era when you had to dig deep to unearth truly worthwhile music. However, I believe the work we do today should be accessible to anyone who finds value in it. It is essential that art deviating from the norm also has a chance to be noticed, allowing ordinary people to discover it on their own terms.

The first Nordvis Höstfest took place in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, in September 2016, featuring PANOPTICON from the US, GRIFT, and Germany’s WALDGEFLÜSTER. The following day, it moved further north to Sundsvall, with SKOGEN and FORNDOM replacing WALDGEFLÜSTER.

ANDREAS: I distinctly recall how oddly surreal it felt that Nordvis had evolved into something worthy of its own festival. It began as an experiment. ‘Let’s see what we can do with this.’ I had no prior experience organising events, but I’ve always relished a challenge; they are meant to be confronted. And it turned out rather well, as evidenced by the subsequent editions.

Nordvis Höstfest returned the following year, this time in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The line-up featured PANOPTICON, SKOGEN, GRIFT, and FEN. Meanwhile, Andreas signed a lease for a warehouse in Arvidsjaur, where he transferred the entire Nordvis inventory and mail-order.

In 2019, the third edition of Nordvis Höstfest was held in Oslo again and showcased BHLEG, FORNDOM, LIK, and VEMOD.

ANDREAS: Naturally, neither Oslo nor Stockholm is the ideal setting for my vision of Nordvis Höstfest, but I didn’t think we’d attract much of a crowd if I’d held it up here in the forests of Arvidsjaur. Still, I’d be lying if I claimed to have no aspirations of doing it ‘properly,’ so to speak – in a suitable setting and under different circumstances.


The fourth edition of Nordvis Höstfest will take place in the autumn of 2025. After primarily being held in capitals, this setup is somewhat contrasting.

ANDREAS: It will be for real this time! In the past, it didn’t feel genuine because the festival wasn’t in our natural habitat. But again, the previous editions were mostly a way to promote Nordvis and our artists. Over the years, I’ve had various plans to organise it in a remote location, but it’s never materialised until now.

The 2025 festival will be held at Storforsen, located by the Pite River in Älvsbyn, Norrbotten County.

ANDREAS: Storforsen is a bit off the beaten path, to put it mildly, but the prerequisites to achieve greatness without it becoming too big of an ordeal are all there. I don’t think anyone will regret attending. The backdrop, the nature itself, is quite magnificent. It’s Europe’s largest rapid, isn’t it?

Storforsen is one of the biggest unregulated rapids in Europe, with an impressive drop of eighty-two meters over a five-kilometre distance.

ANDREAS: It will essentially be a folk music evening. The performances will take place during the day and late afternoon, while there’s still sunlight, allowing listeners to fully absorb the surroundings. The stage is a simple wooden structure in the forest, with stone slabs where water flows around.

Is it seated or standing?

ANDREAS: Well, you can sit wherever you want; it’s not very structured, so you can move around freely. Hopefully, you’ll experience not just the music, but also a connection with the surroundings. That’s the idea – for the music to reflect an artistic inspiration drawn from nature.

What are your expectations for ticket sales?

ANDREAS: I have no expectations. Obviously, I’d be thrilled if some of Nordvis’ followers were to travel from afar. I think they will experience something beautiful, even if it’s in a simple form. The conditions are all there to hold a full-scale event, so if people are willing to come, we might do something even bigger next time.

Do you think a bigger event under such circumstances is realistic?

ANDREAS: I firmly believe it can be achieved – at least with thorough planning. Similarly to how Nordvis operates as a label, it’s essential that whatever we organise is something unique and coherent. The essence I want to convey in a live setting is that all Nordvis artists stand united under one banner, pursuing our own distinctive paths.

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