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Niklas and Ida Olniansky (Dibbukim)

Interview with Niklas and Ida Olniansky from Dibbukim
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 April 2011, 10:05 AM

After showing that also the Yiddish language deserve a place in the Metal world, the Swedish DIBBUKIM released their debut album with the help of friends of the local scene. Through the interview with both Niklas and Ida, you will get some more info regarding the band, new album and how Yiddish, the old Jewish language, was integrated into a metallic form.

Hey guys, how are you doing? Interviewing you guys for Metal-Temple is a great pleasure, and an honor, for me as an Israeli Jewish person.

Ida: The pleasure is all ours and we’re doing just fine. Everything is going great so far with the new album so we have nothing to complain about in that department.

Right before we will jump over to your new release, can you give a little background of you two?

Niklas: Sure, we are both from a small town in southern Sweden, and happily married since a year back. This is actually our first musical endeavor together, although we have always shared a passion for creating and playing music.

Where did you learn your Yiddish?

Ida: We have both learned to speak and read Yiddish at the University in Lund, but it is a language I’ve been in contact with in my childhood as well. For example, my grandfather used to sing for me in Yiddish when I was really little.

Why DIBBUKIM as a name?

Niklas: Well, it’s just a cool name really. It’s the plural form of dibek, which is a demon like creature from the Yiddish folk lore. It possesses the soul of people and is quite evil, so we thought is was a band name that kind of fits with the metal genre.

How did the DIBBUKIM idea came up and why?

Ida: We had discussed doing something together for a long time, but we just didn’t know what, and we really wanted to create something new and unique. When I started studying Yiddish at the university it suddenly hit me, why not do metal in Yiddish? Niklas was of course totally onboard with the idea, so we called Magnus and started working on the first song, “Oyfn veg shteyt a boym”.

Do you think that this idea should have come a lot sooner?

Ida: Writing metal songs in Yiddish? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. The interest for the Yiddish language is quite big now, so it feels like quite god timing.

Recently you guys released your debut album,“Az A Foygl Un A Goylem Tantsn”, that presented the first Yiddish Metal album. How do you think that Metal fans will accept it?

Niklas: There is actually at least one band who has done covers of Yiddish folk songs with hard rock style before us, but we are the first to present original metal material in Yiddish, so in that sense it is the first Yiddish Metal album. Of course we hope the metal world will appreciate the fact that we are doing something unique and that many people will enjoy our metalized klezmer, but there will certainly be those with negative opinions, there’s really nothing you can do about that and over all we have gotten great response so far. The majority really seems to like what we are doing, which of course feels great.

Can you tell a bit about the album like what does it stand for?

Ida: It’s not a concept album or a record with a special message, rather a compilation of different songs with very varying topics. However, the album title, which means “As a bird and a golem dances” stands for our musical combination, metal and Yiddish folk music. It represents our goal, to present a modern side of the Yiddish language and still preserving and honoring the culture.  In our own songs we use elements from the Yiddish folk lore, like the golem and the shretl, but we are also lifting modern and every day issues, so the album is an expression of new ways to use the Yiddish language as well as new ways to express the tradition and culture.

It seems that you also handpicked the Yiddish classics, do you think that it integrated well with your own original material?

Niklas: Yes, definitely. I think we have created an album which works as a whole. With that said there’s of course a little difference in the tone when you compare covers and original material, but I still think that we’ve integrated everything to one piece.

That album was recorded with the assistance of two friends of yours I believe, Magnus Wohlfart and Jacob Blecher, both from the band YGGDRASIL. How were the work relationships with them?

Ida: Since we are all friends I’d say that the relationship as a band is very good. Niklas and Magnus have worked together before in a couple of projects, and Magnus and Jacob is as you say both members of YGGDRASIL and has worked together in PANDEMONIUM as well. So, we all know where we stand as musicians.

What is coming next for DIBBUKIM?

Niklas: We have actually already started to write material for a new album, but right now we have our focus on the release of “Az a foygl un a goylem tantsn” and all the promotional work surrounding that. Hopefully we’ll be able to take Dibbukim on tour in the future, but our main goal for now is really to get noticed and to spread our music to as many people as possible.

Guys I want to thank you for this interview, it has been a wonderful experience. I congratulate you for your new release and wish you the best.

Thanks for all your support and kind words, we really appreciate it!


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Edited 05 June 2020

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