WORDS: Michael Coyle
Following the death of Valfar and the demise of WINDIR in 2004, VREID have been picking up the pieces of where they left of. Their unique blend of black metal and rock n roll make the band stand out in a sea of mediocrity. Ahead of the band’s latest opus, Sólverv, we spoke with drummer Steingrim about the band’s new album, how the band keeps going and taking time on tour to explore the world.
First off thank you for your time today.
Steingrim: You’re welcome Mike!
How’re you today ?
Steingrim: I’m feeling fine, but a bit tired. We have had a rehearsal-weekend here in Oslo preparing the upcoming tour and I just arrived back home.
So I wanted to ask first off what was the writing process like for this new record, and who was behind the art of this new record?
Steingrim: The writing process is actually not so different from earlier records. Quite early after the touring-cycle for Welcome Farewell ended we felt the need to take some time off, not focusing on touring, time off from the band in general. Hvàll [bass] needed some inspiration and he found it in Sogndal where he owns a cabin. Just relaxing there and hiking in the area gave him inspiration to new material and new lyrics. We started pre-producing 3-4 songs about 1 ½ years ago, and the ball was rolling. The art is created by Kim Holm, in close cooperation with Hvàll. Kim also did the artwork for our previous album, and has also cooperated with Solstafir amongst others. Kim is truely a great artist, crazy – but great! And one hell of a nice guy.
What would you say fans can look forward to with this new release ?
Steingrim: I think this is our best album to be honest. It’s our most brutal album, more black and perhaps less rock ‘n’ roll. We also returned to writing the lyrics in Norwegian, actually in our native language – the “Sognamål”. This gives the album the extra “spice” in my opinion.
Did you do anything different with this record compared to previous releases?
Steingrim: We spent more time in the preparations in general. We sort of rebuilt the studio, and then started testing different stuff before we started recording. Different mics and adjusting positions, upgrading the recording system, new equipment, new snare-drum, testing different heads on the drums and so on. I think many bands fail on this, preparing well and take their time to try different stuff in advance.
How does it feel to still be a band that is still inspiring young musicians today?
Steingrim: It feels great! We never take things for granted, and we don’t know how long we’ll keep up the pace. We just keep on going and enjoy every moment. If we can inspire young bands and musicians that is just fantastic!
What plans does VREID have in the new year?
Steingrim: Touring the new album is our main priority. We hopefully will return to the US/Canada and Japan. Also we would try to make it to South America as well, I know a lot of fans over there would love to see that happening! And by the end of the year I guess we already have some ideas for the next album as well.
Whenever you visit a country for a show or tour do you take the time to explore the city or do you prefer to stay by the venue and work on material ?
Steingrim: We always try to see as much as possible from the city we visit. Some of my best touring-memories are from enjoying a lunch and cup of coffee at a local restaurant in Ljubljana, Barcelona, San Fransisco, Tokyo and so on.
I’ve always wanted to ask, how did the band first start off and what inspires you keep this band going in 2015?
Steingrim: After what happened to Valfar in 2004 we had to decide what to do next. Stop playing music felt like NO option, so we decided to keep going, but with a somewhat different approach musically, and of course with a new band-name. We will always have our history and legacy with us, ans this is one of the reasons we keep on playing two decades later. And then there’s just the love for music, and the good company when we get together making records, touring and so on.. We feel we have a special bond between us for sure.
Do you have any words for the fans at home?
Steingrim: Hopefully you’ll enjoy the new album, and we’ll see you on the road this autumn or next year!
Thank you for your time
Steingrim: Thanks for your interest!
Sólverv is out now via Indie Recordings.