Interview with Heidevolk
The interview took place on the 13th of May in Vosselaar, Belgium before the gig of Heidevolk and Ithilien , which was a part of 15 Years Aniversary Tour of Heidevolk. I spent with Lars, Koen and Rowan about an hour in a pleasant beer garden not far away from a venue. We survived a 5 minutes storm and we talked a lot. Unfortunately due to limitation of our publishing rules the interview you read is shorter than the one which was recorded. I want to thank Claudia Steinlechner from Napalm Records for make it happen.
Bohen : It has been 15 years since you are playing together. How did it start ?
Rowan: It was a combination of two ideas for a band. Sebas was thinking of a folk metal project and was searching for a drummer. He found Joost who was trying with Jesse a viking choir. So they met together and decided to combine this and make this into a folk metal project with two male vocalist. And I also joined the band and was also a singer but more at the background. At the same time Mark joined the band. So it when how Heidevolk was born. Our idea was to have a folk metal project with some black metal influences with some folk stuff in it.
Bohen: As you say you play folk metal music but you do not use traditional instruments but it sounds like folk music. Why you don`t use all this trad stuff?
Rowan: That is true. I think the folk part of Heidevolk is more in lyrics, and also in a groove of the music. You will have medieval intruments on a new album. Lyrics are really about paganism.
Bohen: So you feel like being pagans or heathens?
Rowan. It is more about history. Lyrics are about the way the people we sing about perceive the world and their religion is part of them. The way of thinking of pagans about primal feeling to be a human connected to Nature. You won`t find us doing rituals.
Bohen: So it is easier to say you are rather atheists than you believe in something else?
Rowan: I cannot speak for everyone as everyone has their own spiritual ideas bout the world.
Bohen: You know as it is usually Heidevolk is described a pagan folk metal band . if I think it is pagan it means that you got something in common with paganism…
Rowan: But you know when someone says that being pagan means you should pray to gods or do pagan rituals. I don`t think that is a meaning of being pagan. It is rather to be responsible for your own deeds and when you die one thing will remain and that is a memory of you. Everyone will judge you what you did and those kind of things are important.
Bohen: Returning to music. It is a bit unusual to use two three four voices when you play music . It is quite a unique thing…
Rowan : There are two storytellers on stage in Heidevolk who tell the stories about the past times , about how they think. When there are two singers at their sing melody together and it is more intense. The singers make history they sing about better. they complement each other.
Bohen: Heidevolk is a some kind institution as you have been 15 years on stages. You make money on this or not ? Do you do anything else for your living?
Rowan: When you start with metal or folk metal you are a millionaire. We all have big cars, private drivers. But we all have to work next to our band. After this years we can work a little bit less. We do not have to make choices that we make our music more likeable.
Bohen: You new album is in October ?
Rowan: October , November.
Bohen: Have you started recording that ? How is it going to be look like ? All good Heidevolk or something more ?
Rowan: Basically grunge with hip hop. It is like you did not drink before .But seriously It is gonna be very Heidevolk. we are defenitely progressing in music writing. You will hear very traditional Heidevolk songs with some medieval intruments.
Bohen: Hurdy gurdy or something like that ?
Rowan: Who knows . It is a secret.
Koen: It is gonna be a good combination of everything the band did in the past. early days up to Batavia and Velua. It is all there. So it is very metal, hard rock. It is very folk.
Bohen: Is it gonna be harder than so far?
Koen: Some songs yes. It is very difficult to say. It is a very diverse album.
Rowan: It is gonna be more rough and more extreme than Velua because Velua was an album about the Veluwe and the stories and the nature. This album is more about resistance , about fighting against the Roman Empire. It is mostly about resisting. About keeping identity.
Bohen: Do you know anything about young folk metal bands in Holland?
Rowan: We asked Vanaheim to play with us in Arnhem. They are promising so we want to give them a stage to play for a lot of people.
Bohen: What about the not metal pagan scene in Holland like Omnia ,Cesair etc. Do you know each other or so ?
Rowan: We are not really up to now connected to them. But we are connecting more as we have Jacco now who knows lot of those people on this scene, and mostly works together with someone who playing in one of these bands we try to do medieval stuff. Actually there is one song of Omnia which has inspired Lars so much.
Lars : I used to have dreadlocks since I was 18. I recenlty cut them off. When people asked me: why did you cut your dreadlocks I answered : do you know that song ” Earth Warrior” by Omnia, dreadlock soldier? That`s why I cut off my dreadlocks. But it is a joke of course.
Rowan: Actually he was a hippie but he is not anymore.
Bohen: How does a production proccess look like in Heidevolk?
Rowan: I have a baby piano and all starts with this. We used to write together. Ideas we had just came into rehearsal room. But nowadays we do not have too much time ; we want to rehearse for shows , we want to rehaerse for a new abum. So we cannot begin with the new music in the rehearsal room. So right now I was writing the album so I have a brain farts and I play it and put all this stuff into computer. And after a while I make songs out of this things and then I invite guys and we do guitars. I can play guitar pretty well but not as good as they can. They put a real riffing. Then I have got Joost at my home in the studio who says he likes my drumming programm. I write also some lyrics and I send an email…
Lars: It is really rough a draft of vocals. It usually does only one line of usually one of lines have no harmonies so we process it and then we need add the second vocal line and sometimes Yako ends up with the stuff and sometimes I take it and low the octave or whatever…
Rowan: …and sometimes three of us think Rowan didn
t do that properly lets do it different way.
Bohen: When you write lyrics you know how to part it when it is good for vocals or they must change something anyway.
Rowan: I have been a vocalist so I know how to postion the lyrics. I wrote many Heidevolks songs . I musn`t think of me being on stage on my own. It starts with the brain fart .I structure that and then we get the group process.
Bohen: Are you friends out of stage? Do you drink together and spend your time together?
Lars : It is not that we get together and play ex box and drink every week.
Koen: We do not have time for this.
Bohen: Is a new album gonna be recorded for Napalm Records ?
Rowan: Yes and this is big possibility that we renew the contract wit them.
Bohen : Did your last albums have any commercial success ?
Rowan: Velua was a big success almost doubled Batavi. so we also had the best comments on Velua. It was our first album which it was on normal Dutch charts.
Bohen: You are not popular only in Holland…
Rowan: We are ashamed to say that two years ago we found out we were more popular in US and Brazil than in the Netherlands . so we were talking with each other that we focus on the Netherlands as we sing in this language.
Koen: is typical thing for Dutch bands to be more famous in other countries. If you compare to other countries there are not so many metal bands here. Metal scene is pretty small and the audience as well.