eGigs interviews Norwegian black metallers Vreid

a chin-wag with bassist Hvll and frontman Sture Dingsyr on Thursday 8 November 2012

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Following the end of a touring cycle with a schedule of over 80 shows in 15 countries across three continents, bassist Hváll and frontman Sture Dingsøyr from Norwegian black metallers Vreid offer eGigs a chin-wag on their forthcoming album, a possibility as to where their former band Windir would be now if frontman Valfar didn't die and their love of classic '70s rock before their special London show.

How are you?
Sture: We're good [laughs]

Sounds like you were hesitant there.
Sture: No, I was just looking for the right word [laughs].

I understand you guys played Damnation Festival yesterday. How was that for you?
Hváll: It was great. it was fantastic seeing so many people there and a good responding audience - one of the biggest audiences we've played to in the UK, I think. A really good show.
Sture: A good response from the audience - that's the most important thing.

This is a special show you're doing in London tonight. Why are you choosing London to do such a show?
Hváll: Damnation was supposed to be the last show on the tour and while we're here anyway, London has always been a good place for us, it's a city that we like so it's a nice place to end the tour cycle of this album.

What kind of surprises will be in store for us tonight?
Sture: We will have Valfar's brother Vegard. He will do a couple of songs and also Ese our old guitarist will join us on a few songs. It will be good.
Hváll: Yeah, it will be the first time we ever play any Windir songs here in the UK and the first time we play a song that Ese wrote in the UK and also we're going to present...
Sture: A new song.
Hváll: ...from our next album.

Is the new album all written?
Hváll: Yeah, we actually finished off the album last week so everything is now ready and it will be out in February.

What can fans expect from this album? How does it compare to any previous Vreid material?
Sture: It's better [laughs]!
Hváll: It's nothing shockingly new; it's just focusing on what we feel we do well. I think the album is more extreme but the brutal stuff has become more brutal and there are some things that are more rock-y than we've ever done before, so I think it is a more diverse album.
Sture: And also we will do some different stuff with the layouts and the booklets. The packaging will be quite different than what we've done before.

What are you planning on doing?
Sture: Well, you'll just have to wait and see [laughs].

Do you have a title for this album?
Hváll: We have to keep it for another fourteen days or the label will kill us [laughs]!

But it's going to be a rocking piece of music.
Hváll: Yeah, I think so. It will sound very much like Vreid but it will take it a step further.

You seem to put out albums really quickly. Are you constantly inspired or do you always have ideas on the go? How does it work?
Hváll: We write music pretty much all the time. Actually, while touring this time, we were in the UK touring with Paradise Lost and we did some pre-recordings and working with the album while touring. There's no time to rest.

You said you had a classic '70s rock sound in your music. Are you inspired by any modern bands?
Hváll: No [laughs]. I think Vreid could easily be summed up as a mix of the '70s rock, the '80s thrash and the '90s thrash metal so it's a mix of Kiss, Metallica and Burzum, I guess.

You say you're revisiting Windir material tonight. Obviously, it's been nearly ten years since Windir stopped. Where do you think Windir would be now if Valfar hadn't died?
Sture: No idea [laughs].
Hváll: That's impossible to tell but things were really happening for that band. You had 'Arntor', which was a fantastic album and it was building with '1184' and when we released 'Likferd', things were starting to explode. We did a couple of shows and they were so intense and amazing and many people started to like that music. Now, ten years later, there's still so many people that almost have Windir as a religion, so I think it would be a big band.
Sture: Music-wise, it would be difficult to say. At least some of the songs on the first Vreid album were supposed to be on the next Windir album. Who knows what the direction would [be].
Hváll: I think Windir would have progressed in the sense that we would have become something different and I think that was the intention of Windir all the time, to go [to] new paths.

You said earlier that some Windir tracks ended up becoming Vreid tracks. Did you have to change it to get it to sound like Vreid rather than Windir?
Hváll: We did some adapting to it but those two songs on that album I think would have been a change for Windir. The tracks 'Helvete' and 'Wrath of Mine' were supposed to be new Windir songs. It was marking a new era for Windir already. So I used them pretty much the way I had written it for the new album. It was a new direction.

But you view Vreid as a completely different band from Windir?
Hváll: Yes, musically there are elements in there and we don't feel like if we have a good melody or something "Oh, this sounds like Windir. We can't use it!" We use it but naturally for us, we write other music that is not like typical Windir. If we have a feeling like "This sounds like Windir," we kind of like it and we want to really make it sound extremely like Windir [laugh].

You said earlier you had this '70s classic rock influence. Where does this come from? When Windir disbanded and you wanted to start Vreid, did you just think straight away that this was something you wanted to put in the music.
Hváll: This is the music that I grew up with, especially bands like Kiss and Alice Cooper and that kind of stuff. That's the music we started listening to as kids. For the last five, ten years, I've been going more and more back in my back catalogue and re-discovering old albums and finding new albums from that era so that's the music I listen to most; it's natural that that influences the music I write.

Would you say it was absent in Windir?
Hváll: No, I think there was a lot of...with the melodies, there was a lot of '70s stuff. Not in the groove or something that much, but in the melodies, there was a lot of '70s.

You recently renewed your contract with Indie Recordings. What is it that they give you that other record labels couldn't match?
Sture: Pay [laughs].
Hváll: No, they're doing a good job and they're honestly really into the music. Some labels don't give a shit. They just want to sell our records. These guys have a genuine interest. e really like what they do. Indie started out pretty much the same time as Vreid so we kind of grew up together. They've been rock-solid to us in every sense so we would not even consider finding a new label.

How long is the contract for?
Hváll: As long as we want [laughs].
Sture: A gentleman's agreement!
Hváll: This time is actually the first time we've written anything on paper, a formality otherwise it's been a handshake over a beer.

You're at a point now where Vreid have been going for some time. What is the highlight of your career?
Sture: Obviously, playing on Wacken has been great, always really good to play there. Fantastic crowd. We've done a lot of special things. This year we did a collaboration with an Indian dancer and we played some shows in India.

Wow, something different. How did they react to your music over there?
Sture: The audience were mall kinds of people. There were metal people and there were regular people who had never heard black metal [laughs]. But the response was great and it was sold out. But that was a small project this year.
Hváll: Side-tracking. We always like to try different things and touring with Paradise Lost is of course far from our music in many ways but that's made it interesting, playing your music for people who have never heard of it before.

What are your future plans after you release your new album next year?
Sture: We start with touring in Norway then we're going to do a European tour in April and probably some festivals. That's as far as we have planned for now.
Hváll: Some festivals and probably North America again.

Do you have any final words?
Sture: No [laughs]! Always the most difficult question to answer. We hope to see you at our shows. Have fun.

Hváll: That's it [laughs]!

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article by: Elena Francis

published: 08/11/2012 11:44


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