Hello Hváll! Since ‘Lifehunger’ is going to come out late September, it is time for our next interview How are you doing? Still such a busy life Hváll as I remember from our former conversation?
Yes, busy as always. There is Vreid, then I am running the Tons of Rock Festival and of course, most important, family. So pretty occupied, which is a good thing.
Let us start with looking back at the tour cycle for previous album ‘Sólverv’. I know you are a pretty busy touring band. Which countries did you play last three years and what stood out?
We played all over Europe and Japan. I think Japan was special. It is such a fascinating and interesting country, and we had some magnificent shows there. But there were lots of great shows. Our hometown Oslo is always awesome and Paris probably have the best audience in the world.
The stage activities were slacken down for a while when writing the new album ‘Lifehunger’. How do you look back at this time of inspiration?
I have been working a lot on my other project the Tons of Rock festival which is great, but personally it has been a gruesome and hard time due to death in my closest family. That’s life, beautiful and lovely one day, brutal and destructive the next. All these events have of course affected me a lot. 2018 has been a shitty year, but hopefully things will go better now for a while.
The song ‘One Hundred Years’ is amazing to start with and I learned it is inspired by the writer Knut Hamsun. Can you tell a bit more about this Norwegian legend and how he became the source of inspiration for this song?
He is a fantastic author, maybe the best and well known Norwegian author ever. I think his ways with words is genius, and he is a master to describe existential thoughts. His legacy is controversial due to his political fate during and after WW2. In my eyes this makes him even more interesting as a historical character. Things are not always black and white.
The fragment with serene clean chants works great in this song! That was kind of a new element in the Vreid sound for me...isn’t it?
No, we have done that on almost all albums, but I agree that it worked out fantastic on this song.
Another thing that really charmed me are the sonorous acoustic guitar fragments! The album starts with beautiful ‘Flowers & Blood’ and there are more acoustic intermezzos in other songs. I think this has increased, isn’t it?
Yes, we have never used acoustic guitars to such an extent as this time. It brought forward the contrasts that this album needed. This album is all about the contrasts of life and death, and these guitar parts were essential to the whole of the album.
The lyrics are in English this time and we know you smoothly choose the language you need for songs or albums, but can you go deeper into the concept and/or certain lyrics on this album?
As I said, this is an album about life and death. Other than that, I leave it to the listeners to find their own meaning of the songs.
’Hello Darkness’ is another song we should grace with a special mention. Musically it is different and of course we have the mighty guest appearance of Addi from Sólstafir! How did this cooperation come into being and please tell us about your bond with Sólstafir?
I think Sólstafir is a brilliant band, and Addi’s vocals are one of the most unique and characteristic there is in the rock scene today. This song is very different (a personal favourite) and I wanted a complete different vocal for this song. My first choice was Addi, and he said yes immediately. He loved the song and called it a mixture of Queens Of The Stone Age and black metal which I find quite amusing and spot on.
In some way it reminded me a bit of Jim Morrison and The Doors... any thoughts on that?
I did not think of that, but yes that makes absolute sense. I haven’t really listened to The Doors for the last ten years, I listened all of their albums to death in the first half 2000 decade. But now you made me want to check out their albums again. Thanks!
The final track ‘Heimatt’ is another exceptional moment. Please shine a light again on the magic of your birth place Sogndal? Or is it meant in a broader way? (Norway)
Sogndal is Heimatt, but I have much broader thought with this song. This is a song about endings and beginnings.
This time you did not record in your own 1184 studio, but ‘Lifehunger’ was eternalized at Nabolaget Studios with Anders Nordengen. What about this experience and the reason for settling there?
I wanted to do something new. I wanted to take away all the safe and solid things. I wanted to challenge ourselves and that’s why we went with new studio, new label, new designer, new booking etc….Art is never about comfort, every now and then it’s good to take the safety net away and fight.
Congratulations with the new album deal with bigger label Season Of Mist! What is the story behind this switch and upgrade?
Great label that I have followed for years, and as I said, it was time for something new.
This time the beautiful yet grim artwork was done by Remi Juliebø. Can you tell a bit more about this artist and the artwork itself?
He is one of Norway’s absolute best designers. He is so talented and passionate about his work. I love working with people like that, and I think he captured the essence of the album beyond what I could have described.
At the moment we have a lyric video for ‘Black Rites In The Black Nights’, but are there further plans for music videos?
Hopefully. We have several ideas, and hope to have two or three more videos for this album. I think it’s great to have directors visualising our songs.
In August 2018 you played the first show over a year again. How did it feel to be back on stage?
So fucking good. It has been the longest live break ever, and it was like releasing a wild animal. Can’t wait to go out on the road again. Vreid have never been in better shape, and we will bring one hell of a show.
In December you will tour with Kalmah. There are already two gigs in the Netherlands. Is there a chance you should play in Belgium as well?
I really hope so. Both the Netherlands and Belgium have been good countries for Vreid.
What are the further plans for gigs and/or touring?
We will tour Norway with Enslaved in November and Europe with Kalmah and Slegest in December. For 2019 we are currently looking into offers for festivals + Asia and North America. I also hope we can visit new countries and parts of the world with this album. The march is eternal.
I there is anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do it right here...
Thanks a lot for great questions. We cannot wait to see you all on the road. Oh, and of course check out ‘Lifehunger’, it is our best album so far, you have my word on that!