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Interview: Vreid

by Mislav Mihaljević

The Norwegian metal brigade rose from the ashes of Windir after the tragic perishing of the “Sognametal” legends with the declared mission of exploring new musical paths. So, Vreid were formed in 2004.

The Norsemen proved true to their words and have so far delivered 7 albums and one DVD, each receiving high praise from critics and fans alike. Vreid chose a course of constant evolution that is marked by thematically denoted phases regarding their often historically inspired lyrics.

This became particularly clear with albums “I Krig” (2007) and “Milorg” (2009), which both revolved around concepts of resistance and liberation of Norway during World War II. With their following three records, Vreid returned to their Norse roots, especially on latest full-length, “Sólverv” which received high critical acclaim in 2015.

Vreid have hammered out their success partly by being a heavily touring band. The four-piece performed more than 500 shows in 25 countries so far. Their everlasting march to conquer new territories has led the Norwegians to headline tours in Europe, North America, Japan, and India.

Their style is often referred to as Black ‘N Roll and Metal Hammer UK described their music as “a unique time travel in metal” as elements of 70’s rock, 80’s classic metal, and Norwegian black metal are all clearly audible.

Now with eighth album “Lifehunger”, Black ‘N Roll is back! With eight brand new tracks, Vreid are ready for the next chapter. On that occasion, we had an opportunity to talk to one and only – Jørn “Steingrim” Holen.

For the ice breaker question, let’s take a deep dive into the past. Why did you choose the band’s name to be exactly “Vreid”?
We formed Vreid during the pretty dark and tough times after Valfars death early 2004. The name “Vreid” is an old norwegian word for “Wrath”, so the name itself just reflects the way we felt at that point.

It states that your musical direction is often referred to as Black ‘N Roll and Metal Hammer UK described your music as “a unique time travel in metal” as elements of 70’s rock, 80’s classic metal, and Norwegian black metal are all clearly audible”. Would you describe your music in different words than these ones mentioned?
We really do not care what other people call us. Black & Roll is fine, metal, black metal, heavy metal, rock & roll, whatever. Couldn’t care less, we are Vreid

What are your greatest musical influences? Are there any music genres you really don’t like?
We grew up with the same bands as influences as any other – Metallica, Death, Alice Cooper and those bands. As we grew older we, or most of us, also learned to enjoy the greatness of the 70’s and also the (back then) new Black Metal-bands emerging from nowhere, many of them Norwegian.

Nowadays I personally listen to pretty much anything, and different styles of music can influence me – but I never really understood the thing with HipHop/R&B

Seven historically inspired albums highly praised from critics and fans are already behind you, and your forthcoming release “Lifehunger” will be out this autumn. What was your main inspiration and focus while writing lyrics for the new album?
Philosophy is maybe the main inspiration to all Vreid-lyrics. The deeper you dive into philosophy, the more questions are raised. It’s mainly the questions more than the answers that triggers the interest and the hunger.

When writing new material, what do you try to avoid? What kind of lyrics would we never hear (or read) from Vreid?
Almost all our lyrics fall into the “philosophy and history-category”. Much is of course personal, some fiction. I guess you will never get a classic lovepoem “come here and kiss me” lyric.

In December you will ravage European lands alongside with Finnish melodic death metal legends Kalmah, and Slegest as special guests. How do you feel about touring again with your former bandmate Ese? After the longest live break in your career, are you feeling hungry for stages and crowds?
YES! We are really ready for going back on the road! Can’t wait to be honest. Of course we are more than pleased with sharing stage (and bus) with Ese again, that will be great! He, and the rest of Slegest, are very, very good firends of us, and have been that for ages. Also, we’ve been touring with Kalmah in Japan earlier, so we know them well, and consider them friends as well.

So far, you have played more than 500 shows across 25 countries. Is there a place you did not played yet, but you would like to?
Of course there are many countries we’d like to play, but personally I have always wanted to go to South America. Australia would be cool as well.

What do the members of Vreid do in their free time? What are your hobbies?
We all have families and kids, and most of the time we spend time with them. Except from that we like hiking, or get out in the nature in general. Living in Oslo I always miss having the high mountains close by, walk 3 minutes and do some fishing and so on. I can mention football/soccer as well. Especially Hvàll and my self are major Liverpool-fans, and watch every match, on tour as well.

What are your plans after the tour in December ends? Is there a chance we could see you in Croatia soon?
We are planning shows and festivals for 2019 as we speak, and hopefully we’ll make it back to Croatia as well. We have been there a couple of times, always great shows – we feel like home there.

We have finally reached the end of our journey. Thank you for your answers and time. Say something nice to the followers of Metal Jacket Magazine.
Thanx for your interest and support! Keep supporting metal, check out “Lifehunger”, and hopefully we’ll see you soon in Croatia!

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