Interview – Hváll of Vreid

Norwegian metal band Vreid are one of those which defies all labels. One would call them black metal another Black N Roll, regardless of what you want to call it it’s all music. The band features a dedicated group of talented musicians which formed following the tragic death of Valfar in their former band Windir. When music is your life you must carry on in the face of adversity and Valfar most definitely would have wanted his former band mates to do so. In 2004 the band did one last album as Windir entitled Valfar, ein Windir. The album was done as a tribute to Valfar and all the money made from it’s sales went directly to Valfar’s family. From the ashes of sorrow Vreid was born and since then the band has released 6 full length albums. Their most recently being Welcome Farewell. We recently had a casual chat with Hvàll of Vreid about the formation of the Vreid, their approach to music, and much more. Vreid has been together now for almost 10 years. When you first formed the band back in 2004 how difficult was it re-group after the tragic death of Valfar thus causing the end of Windir?

Hvàll – I did not think of it as difficult. it was a natural reaction. I wanted to and need to continue to play music. Of course it was a horrible time, but playing music was one of the things that made this time a bit easier. We just continued to walk on the path we had started many years earlier. Now it’s obvious you and your former band mates of Windir which are now your current mates in Vreid are good friends. Briefly tell me about the dynamic you Steingrim, Sture, and Strom share together?

Hvàll- Well, Sture is my cousin and me and Steingrim has been hanging out since we were wearing diapers. They are my closest friend, and it a privilege to be able to play in a band with your best friends for 20 years. Sture is the primary vocalist of Vreid. How did you guys decide who would take the job of vocals for Vreid?

Hvàll- He did the vocal back when we played in Ulcus (1994-1999). He was also the only one that can sing (smiles). He has developed a lot over the years as a vocalist, and I think that his vocals are very unique. He has definitively found his own thing. He absolutely has developed his own style of the years. Vreid is 6 albums deep into your career now with each album having its own unique sound and style. What influences the band to change the sound from album to album?

Hvàll- I view Vreid as an art project, and to constant repeat myself in the creative process would be meaningless for me. I like to explore new things and don’t want to be stuck anywhere. Liberation is the essence of Vreid. It’s absolutely important as a musician to continue to progress and explore different elements. If you don’t do so things become stale to you and the listener. Your latest album “Welcome Farewell” has received an overall positive response from fans. The album is different than the previous album “V”. Explain to me the writing process for the new album and how it all developed?

Hvàll- I spend a lot of time outside working on the album. Brought my ideas on headset on hiking trips, had pen and paper with me for lyrics, and photo camera for artwork ideas. I found that very inspiring, and it always clears my mind when I go outside. Working creatively in the wild nature, instead of just sitting inside was a great experience. Now the band will be coming back to North America after 2 years this month with Melechesh, Lightning Swords Of Death, Reign Of Lies. How exciting is it for you to be coming back to perform in North America?

Hvàll- I am very excited. I always like to travel the states, either on tour or vacation, so it a great thing personally. Musically I think it will be great. The audience are usually very responsive, and we have had some killer shows there before. Yes I recall your performances here and the audience always seems to be very attentive during Vreid’s set. With that said, Vreid is a very unique metal band. You really don’t fit one mold as your sound combines black metal, rock n roll, and progressive rock. With such an over saturation of similar metal bands on the scene. How hard do you find it to separate yourselves from everyone else?

Hvàll- I don’t think of that at all, and honestly I don’t care. I just create the art that I like, and appreciate that so many people seem to like what we do. That is a good outlook to have because ultimately you should create the art you want to and all you can do is hope people like it. Being that you have such a diverse sound it’s quiet obvious you guys listen to various forms of rock and metal. Briefly tell me about some of yourself and band mates musical influences? What are some bands you enjoy listening?

Hvàll- I listen mostly to old classics such as: Alice Cooper, Kiss, Johnny Cash, The Doors, Iggy, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Death, and lot of strange stuff that you probably never heard of.. etc …., but also like to check out newer stuff, but it’s a god damn jungle of releases out there. That is a quiet a diverse selection of music and I have to say I myself love a diverse selection of rock and metal. Now in 2013 we are pretty much completely enthralled into the digital age of music. Personally I am a strong believer in physical format music whether it be a vinyl record or a cd. I want to have the physical piece of music in my hands when listening to it. To me it’s all part of the presentation of the music the band is putting out. How do you feel about your album or any album for that matter being pieced and sold song by song rather than a whole collective piece of work as an album? Do you feel it takes away from the artist’s work?

Hvàll- I hate it. Yes it totally fucks up the intention that I have with an album. I create album, not single tracks. Still, my work is done when I have created it, so how people want to use/abuse it afterwards is up to them. I couldn’t agree with you more. Music is not meant to be pieced. Albums are suppose to be listened to as a cohesive piece. My last question for you is regarding films. CrypticRock is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?

Hvàll- No, I am not (laughs) (Laughs) Well horror films are not for everyone. I’d like to thank you for taking some time to talk with us about Vreid. Look forward to seeing you on tour here in the USA this summer.

Be sure to check out Vreid’s new album “Welcome Farewell” and to catch them on their North American tour this month with LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH Melechesh, & Reign of Lies. The tour will be begin in Los Angeles June 16th and close out June 30th in Brooklyn NY.

Dates are as follows:

6/16/2013 The Joint – Los Angeles, CA
6/17/2013 DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
6/18/2013 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
6/19/2013 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
6/20/2013 TBA – Vancouver, BC
6/21/2013 Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB
6/22/2013 The Exchange – Regina, SK
6/23/2013 The Zoo – Winnipeg, MB
6/24/2013 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
6/25/2013 Mojoe’s – Joliet, IL
6/27/2013 Wreck Room – Toronto, ON
6/28/2013 Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC
6/29/2013 Railroad Tavern – Keene, NH
6/30/2013 Europa – New York, NY

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