no blast beats on the tour bus

Heidevolk

Sometimes, being a journalist means you have to be patient. That's especially true where it comes to this interview. You are currently reading our sixth issue of Metal On Loud Magazine. When we started this adventure, half a year ago, one of the first bands I contacted was Heidevolk, a great metal band I've seen play many times, that sing in Dutch, my native language. This might well be the first interview I ever wrote. I almost forgot about it, but to my pleasant surprise, I found the answers in my email earlier this month, complete with the press kit. Good things come to those who wait!

How is the US tour going? How are the Americans receiving Dutch metal?

The North American tour was great. It was good to be back and meet the fans after two and half years. The tour we did was somewhat smaller (3 bands instead of 5 bands). This was on purpose. It gave us the opportunity to play for 70 minutes instead of 45 minutes and by doing so we gave the fans a walkthrough to 13 years of Heidevolk music.

You released your 5th full length album this year: Velua. What can you tell us about this album?

Velua is a concept album about “de Veluwe” a huge piece of nature in Netherlands. It is often revered to as the most beautiful part of the Netherlands because of its stunning wood and heathlands, its wildlife and of course its myths and legends. On Velua we bring these pieces together, reviving old myths and legends and singing the praises to natures undying beauty. Its basically a soundtrack for a walkthrough through Veluwe’s present and past.

In my opinion, with your latest release you have once again take a musical step forward to a more diverse sound. In what way you feel you have changed as musicians since your first release?

Indeed, we see this the same way. We do write what we want to write but we also try to improve ourselves every new album. This time we added new musical elements like a string quartet and we elaborated on the older elements like more diverse vocals and guitar solo’s. Since our first album our songwriting evolved. Before Velua we always found ourselves in the studio with songs that needed extra parts which we had to write during the studio time. Nowadays we start with a basis that was created at home and we build up songs in the rehearsal room with the band. When they are done we let them rest and pick them up again a month or so later to review, add extra parts or rewrite if necessary. This way songs can grow and evolve organically and we will be prepared for the studio to focus on the actual recordings instead of writing new parts during studio time.

On Velua, we hear you sing in English for the first time, you have so far sticked to Dutch. What made you decide to record a song in another language?

Vinland is a tribute to our fans in North America. Their support on our first North American tour in 2013 was overwhelming. So we captured our story and parallelled it to the story of Leif Erikson and his discovery of Vinland, North America. Obviously the best way is to do this in English.

The band's popularity has brought you to many international stages. I myself have even seen you in Slovenia. What is your best tour memory, and what was the best crowd to play for?

Ha, this is always a hard question. I mean, there are so many gigs we loved to play. Things that spring to mind are Italy (every show in Italy is great), our own album release shows, Summer-breeze, Graspop, Gramercy in New York (which we of course called new Amsterdam for the occasion), San Fransisco, Tel Aviv and a lot of German gigs. We’re blessed with great fans that give everything and more during our shows. This surge of energie allows us to give even more energie.

When on tour, what music do you listen to yourself? What influences do you have?

A wise man once said: “no blast beats on the tour bus” and we stuck to that. No extreme metal. On tour we listen to 70s and 80s rock and metal as cruising music, it is great to relax and party of course. At home we  For entertainment we try and create “theme evenings” with different kinds of music, to keep the spirit alive.

What bands would you be interested in touring with in the future?

It would be cool to be on tour with a package that is wider then our own genre. This way we could share our music with more people.

What will 2016 look like for Heidevolk?

2016 is a creative year for Heidevolk. We have started writing on our new album and soon the reproductions will start. We will head for the studio in Autumn to record it. Meanwhile we’re piecing together an acoustic set and album. This summer a team called “little victories” will shoot a docu about Heidevolk. Then there are some cool summer festivals and a new European tour is in the making for Autumn. So yeah, lots of things happening in 2016.

Any last words for our readers?

Thank you for the attention, if you haven’t heard us or our latest album Velua yet. Just give it a try. Find it on Spotify, Apple music or be old school like us and find the CD. We hope to see you soon at one of our gigs or at a summer festival.

Randy Gerritse