One of the most popular folk metal bands, Heidevolk from the Netherlands, stated that they had found a new singer at the end of 2013. On the 8th of February they performed for the first time with their new line up at the festival Wolfstijd in Bibelot in Dordrecht.
Folk-metal.nl talked with Lars, Reamon and Rowan before their performance about the new singer, their new album and their popularity in foreign countries.
Lars brings beer and new songs
Tonight you will be playing for the first time with the new singer, Lars. How did you find him and what were you guys looking for in new singer for the band? “He had to be at least over 6 ft tall! We had multiple ads placed in magazines and held an audition in our rehearsal room. It was something like one of these audition programmes you see on television with turning chairs and stuff. (laughs) We didn’t want the new singer to sound exactly like Joris. It was important that he could sing the songs we already play, especially the lower parts. We were really looking for somebody that could add something to the band. Someone we can take a step further with. Also we invited Lars to go to Center Parcs with us to see if we had a click and still liked each other afterwards. It all became one silly mess over there, but Lars did a great job.”
How is the cooperation with Lars so far? “Lars takes a lot of initiative, which is very positive. You would expect when somebody joins a band that already exists for such a long time, it will be a bit awkward at first, but Lars fitted in very quickly. It’s easy to notice that Lars already played in a band and has a lot of experience in music. Lars: “And I bring beer with me, they will like me anyway!”
Does lars also have input in making the new album? “Absolutely, he already wrote some songs, that the rest of the band really liked. Lars is also a full member of the band now, so if he comes up with good ideas, we will absolutely use these. In the singing parts we have a lot to develop, and I’m sure Lars will play a big role in this. But if he messes up tonight, than maybe we will have to redo this interview.”
Sebas and Joris wrote a lot of the music and lyrics . Is the writing process different without them? “We are all working on the lyrics and already have some texts partially worked out. It’s really becoming a co – production now.”
“After Joris had left the band, we have done some gigs with Mickeal of Mondvolland . For about six months we didn’t even focus on making new songs, but strictly covers. I’m not telling which, as we might see a few on the new album. At one point we still had the idea to record an entire cover CD. In January we sat down and listened to all those covers, we liked them a lot, but missed the Heidevolk touch. The songs we wrote ourselves were much more “Heidevolk”! The idea of the cover CD was that we could get used to the new situation, but halfway through we got eager to write a completely new album.”
More new stuff
Can you tell us more about the new album and what it will sound like? “We can’t tell too much about it at the moment, because there’s still a lot that can happen. We learned much from ‘Batavi’, but also from our old work. Consider the new album a mix between those two.”
Will it be a concept album again? “We let go of the whole concept idea now. ‘Batavi’ was a real concept album with a story. We noticed that it somehow limited us and had some disadvantages. You have to work in a certain order and it has to fit together. Maybe the new album will get a theme, like ‘Walhalla wacht’. This album had a theme as well, death and resurrection, maybe it will become something like this.”
Peter Tägtgren mixed the previous album very well. Are you planning on working together with him once again? “We were actually talking about that the past days. It really depends on who of the producers has time. They have tight schedules as well. We have some producers we would like to work with on our minds. Peter Tägtgren is one of them. I would really like to work with him again. He has put down a really nice, dark sound on the previous album. We can’t say much more about it, because the album isn’t even near finished yet.”
Where do you get the information for your music? Which sources do you use? “Every band member has got his bookcase filled with books on Germanic, Gelderse and Veluwse history, (Gelderland and Veluwe are parts of the Netherlands) nature etc. The last ten years we have built up a huge bookcase full of information we can use for our lyrics. There are so many events that have taken place here in the Netherlands and Germany, so there is always something to write about. And for some lyrics you don’t need books to write them, they are for example about feelings or seasons.
Have you ever thought about singing in dialect? “That would be very interesting now. We have a member from ‘the Achterhoek’, from ‘Groningen’ and from ‘Gelderland’ (all parts of the Netherlands, where they all speak a different dialect) We actually never thought about it. We would like to do it, if these dialects fit with what we want to bring over to the crowd. At the moment we have two singers who each speak a different dialect, so I’m not sure how we are going to do that, but who knows!”
Heidevolk is also very popular outside our Dutch borders. For example, in Germany fans sing along during performances. How can you explain that? “I think the folk metal scene helps a lot in accepting the fact that we make Dutch music. People also listen to Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish bands, so why not a Dutch one? Our music is pretty inciting, last time we were in the USA we noticed the crowd just wants to sing along with our songs, if only phonetically.”
What’s the weirdest thing you experienced on stage or backstage? “That’s a little inappropriate I guess… one day we visited a cafe in Berlin and had quite a few drinks. After a while Joost was nowhere to be found. When we looked outside we saw him walking by the traintracks with two girls. Suddenly they slipped or lost his balance causing him to fall backwards and pulling the girls along with him. Blood everywhere! Then he walked back in and said: “guys, give these women a beer to make it up with them!” Eventually our tourmanager had to appease the situation. That happened in 2007.
Also, during our tour in the USA, Reamon and Kevin were constantly wrestling in the tourbus. Trollfest also joined the tour at that time. Since they went to bed way too early all the time we decided to ask them what was the matter. Didn’t they like us or didn’t they like partying? When it appeared they were afraid of Reamon because of his wrestling, he had to promise he wouldn’t wrestle for the rest of the tour. From that moment on it very nice and Trollfest is an amazing band to tour with.”
How did you experience the tour in the USA? Was it worth repeating? “It was fantastic! The tour went smoothly and all the fans were very enthusiastic. At first we didn’t know what to expect, but it felt like they already knew us for years. Every night our shows were packed and the crowd went wild like they do in Holland, it was simply amazing. We got to learn many new faces, so that was definitely worth repeating and there will certainly be a sequel. We toured with Ensiferum, Tyr, Trollfest en Helsott. They’re amazing guys.”
Is there a country or venue that you would still like to perform? “South America without a doubt, we really have to do that, otherwise the fans will get angry! We get a lot of requests from South America and have a nice fanbase over there, who, for example, make us ‘Happy birthday’ collages with pictures.”
Do you think you are able to go there soon? “Yes I hope so, we really have to go there for one, one and a half week. If everybody can get some time off from work. We all work 40-50 hours per week, next to playing in the band. It’s not something that will come easy.”
Is there anything you want to tell to the readers of folk metal.nl? “Go and check out our new singer! And people have been waiting for 2 years for our new album, have a little patience, because it will be absolutely worth it!”