With Heidevolk’s new album set to land in a few weeks, Raemon kindly set aside some time to answer a few of my questions.
Thanks to Andy at Napalm for organising it.
Hi, I’m James from Moshville Times. How are you?
I am great. Thanks
If my sources are correct, you are working on your fifth album with Heidevolk now. What’s the process been like for it?
We worked with a new studio, “Split second sound”, and producers Bouke Visser and Jochem Jacobs. Really great guys who knew how to push us and get the best out of us. We already took a lot of time ourselves making the demos in the preproduction phase. We were better prepared than ever before, and still they had stuff to bitch about hahaha. For example: Kevin and I were ready for the solos, we were convinced that we wrote the best solos ever. We played them for the first time and Jochem said: “I like the first 10 seconds, they are awesome, but after that it gets less awesome (his actual words). That does not make sense! You have an awesome beginning and then it gets less awesome. A solo should be great in the beginning and over the top kickass in the end. Go practise and rewrite. We will do this again tomorrow”. Kevin and I were dead silent and walked away with our tails between our legs. Hahaha. We nailed it the next day!!
I’ve listened to the single from the album, Winter Woede. I noticed that there are a few harsh vocal parts in there. I quite like them and was wondering what made you decide to put them in?
Grunts are not new for us because we also used them on the previous albums, however there are more songs with grunts on the latest album. Sometimes a song misses some aggressiveness and we want to spice it up with some harsh vocals.
If I remember correctly, you’ve got a new second vocalist now. What’s it been like working with them?
Yes, Lars Nachtbraeker. A great easy going guy. It was his first experience in such a big studio project, but I think he did very well. We are very glad that his vocals sound so good with Mark’s vocals, because that’s always the question when you work with two singers. He has a very broad range, so he and Mark could switch the low and high parts. That gives the new album a more varied sound.
In terms of lyrics, what do you normally sing about?
On the previous albums we sang a lot about the old Dutch Germanic tribes and the nature and history of our home region. This time we focussed on all the legends and myths of our home region: ‘The Veluwe”. We dug up all the old fables and fairytales we could find. Turns out The Veluwe knows a lot of brutal myths. A lot of them involve curses and suffering; for example “De vervloekte jacht” (the cursed hunt) is about a nobleman who only wants to go hunting instead of looking after his responsibilities. He even went hunting while his father was dying. His father cursed him right before he died and the family home was absorbed into the earth. Until this day the nobleman is found wandering over The Veluwe in search of his home.
If you don’t mind me asking, what made the band decide to sing in Dutch?
We wanted to start a band that mixed choir like male vocals with metal. We thought that the history of our home region would fit perfectly as a source of inspiration. There were some Scandinavian and German bands that sang in their native language, so we wondered “why can’t we do the same in Dutch?”. Moreover, it’s quite logical to use Dutch when you sing about local myths, nature and history.
Having listened to the previous albums and the new single, how different would you say the music is now from say Uit Oude Grond?
Of all our previous albums, I think Velua comes closest to Uit oude grond . The main difference is that we took much more time for the preproduction phase, so the numbers feel more finished and more thought through. Our latest album also contains more layers of vocals, it’s more melodious and has more solos. We also worked with a string quartet for the first time, which makes the songs more dynamic.
Do you have any tour plans or festival appearances lined up for supporting the album?
There is a European paganfest coming up, and offers from festivals are also coming in. Which is great, because at the festivals we can party and check out bands with our fans. We are going to play a combination of old and new song. I think the new songs are very strong live songs, so we are looking forward to play them live.
And finally, if you were to do a headlining tour, who would you have supporting you?
Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus would certainly be interesting.
Heidevolk’s new album Velua comes out via Napalm records on the 30th March in the UK. The first single, “Winter Woede” can be seen below.