Finding or compiling a writing playlist can be a long process, especially if you don't know where to start. For me, it was absolutely necessary. I live with my spouse in a small two-bedroom apartment with glass doors (HAHAHA past Cat, good fucking choice), so the only way to get guaranteed silence was to block the world out with music. So if you're on the hunt for a dark and moody playlist featuring no English songs, I've got you covered. You can jump all the way to the bottom for my Spotify Writing playlist link, or if you're looking to curate your own, I've got some artist suggestions for you.
If you've been listening to pagan or medieval music and you haven't heard Heilung, you've been missing out. They're at the top of this list for a reason. The video above is from their first live show near Amsterdam, which I was blessed enough to be able to attend. One look at the atmosphere of the show and you can tell how much they care about their craft. Their music is raw and powerful, and the more you learn about their creation process, the more bizarre and alluring they become. They source historical writings from several northern countries, use a collection of Germanic languages in their music, and create soundscapes from natural elements— including human bone.
You can watch the entire show on their YouTube, or grab the cleaner audio tracks on Spotify.
This is my backup favourite of the list. Danheim has a vast collection of songs, each of them with a dynamic, engaging sound. It's easy to enjoy them either as the background noise to your writing or during more active moments, like jogging or yoga. They already have seven albums on Spotify, so you could have an entire writing playlist of just their music and probably never get bored.
Eivør is a singer-songwriter from the Faroe Islands and has made a name for herself singing in a variety of Scandinavian languages, as well as English. This song is a great example of her love of local traditional music, but if you're looking to have your cake and eat it too, she has several albums of her own music, including a ballad dedicated to death. Her vocal range is phenomenal. I had the opportunity to see her show a couple of years ago, and she shines in a live setting.
Osi and The Jupiter
This group doesn't cross my feeds as often as most of the others, but their sound is fantastic. Each song has a very Back To The Earth feel to it, and their use of bass can feel deep and urgent despite the slow tempo. I feel like they're the underdog of my playlist, being out-shined by the sheer number of songs from other artists. In several places, they also incorporate the use of more modern instruments into the mix, where most of these other bands don't.
I left Wardruna for last because there's a good chance that you've already run across them. Their music was featured, unsurprisingly, on the show Vikings. They could also probably be credited with the luring of many people to the genre of music. They've already got a wide discography, and they've been one of the key pieces of my writing playlist— in fact, I'm pretty sure they were my Top Artist on Spotify the year I started writing The Goddess of Nothing At All. They have tons of tracks on that platform, but very few uploaded to their official YouTube channel. They're no longer my favourite group on my playlist, but they're certainly a staple.
And that's it! If you actually made it this far, I hope you've narrowed down a place to start! If you just want to steal my playlist, grab the link from the embed below. Be warned, there are also some heavier songs from bands like Apocalyptica, and a few meant to calm your heartbeat, so not everything will suit your style. But with 246 songs that clock in at 21 hours of listening, I feel like you'll find something.
Until next time!