Noway's Vreid has been a band I've been excited about for a few years now. They're just as fun to watch live as they are to listen to while practicing your claw and scowl in the privacy of your bedroom. Just sayin'. Most recently they released a stellar LP titled V, and decided it was time to hit up The United States again, but this time on their first ever headlining run. Needless to say I was stoked, but due to forces beyond anyone's control (hurricane Irene) the NY date was canceled. While I unfortunately didn't get the chance to watch, or meet up with the band in NY, I did however score a written interview with the band's songwriter, bassist, and producer, Hváll.
Frank: Vreid has always been a black metal band that isn't afraid to be multi dimensional, and V certainly experiments with some newer sounds and atmospheres without loosing any integrity of your original brand of metal. Can you discuss the artistic direction behind V and perhaps some of the behind the scenes decisions/arguments that may have influenced the record?
Hváll: We always walk our own path and try not to reflect to much of the outcome of our music while we work on it. To keep things fresh and interesting, that's the way to go. Musically we are as always inspired by the great 70's bands such as Alice Cooper, Bowie, Iggy, Sabbath. The 80's like Metallica, Death, Sepultura & the more extreme bands surfacing in the 90's.
Frank: Based on the sound of your recent work, it seems as though the band is as free as ever from boundaries usually spoken about by conventional black metal loyalists. What are your feelings on the folks who feel there is little room for progressive experimentation in Norwegian black metal?
Hváll: If you like to keep it narrow fine, we don't. I see no limitation for my music. When I write music I don't stop up to consider if this is the "right" kind of riff to work with. For me music is about ambiance & energy, and not boundaries.
Frank: Hailing from a country known for it's extremity, who do you consider to be the most extreme band in the world?
Hváll: U2, as in how extremely bad music can sound. They make my whole body scream of pain and makes me wanna throw up. That's extreme.
Frank: I live in Brooklyn NY where there is currently an up-rise in black metal bands coming out today inspired by Norway's style. How much inspiration do you draw from American bands? If any?
Hváll: I am very inspired by many American bands; Alice Cooper, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, The Doors are all among my all-time favorites. Of more extreme bands I very much like bands such as Nachtmystium & Agalloch. But the coolest band is Silver Skull. 2 members at 17 & 12!!!! They are the new blood.
Frank: I caught Vreid live for the first time in 2009 during the US Heathenfest tour and was convinced that you guys are as every bit captivating live as on record. Do you personally feel you guys put an extra something into performing in front of an American audience?
Hváll: We always put on 100%. The American audience is a very thankful audience to play for, as they treat you with respect and give you a lot of energy during the shows.
Frank: What's your favorite song to perform live, and why?
Hváll: Pitch Black is definitively our anthem, while I am also very fond of songs such as Raped by Light, Arche, Speak Goddamnit & Wolverine Bastards live at the moment.
Frank: Your music sometimes shifts from explosive parts to quiet sections on a drop of a dime, have you ever found it difficult to pull off a particular song or section live?
Hváll: No, as long as the stage sound and monitoring works, we know how to do our songs.
Frank: If I'm not mistaken Heathenfest also happened to be your first full American tour. Any stand out, or memorable parts in particular from the tour you hope to revisit?
Hváll: Montreal was magic, and we had fantastic shows in New York, San Fransisco and Cleveland as well. Also I have to mention the gator sandwich in New Orleans, excellent.
Frank: You're returning to the states now on your first ever headlining North American tour. How much larger is your catering spread on this tour from your last!? Just kidding, but seriously, what kind of changes are you guys looking forward to on this run?
Hváll: Well we have done 5 shows so far, and its been going great. Of course we don't attract as much people when we do a tour on our own, as when we join a big package. The upside is that we get to do a full set, our own production, and own crew. So touring like this is much better. I prefer to do a full set with good production for 200 people that are totally into the music, rather than doing a 30 min set with shitty production in front of 400 people.
Frank: Any plans for Vreid after the tour?
Hváll: Yes, in November we will headline a Norwegian tour with Vreid/Einherjer & Kampfar. In December we will go to Russia. Otherwise we will be working on new material, and we plan to return to the US in the first half of 2012.