Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things in your world?
Well, actually things have been really good lately! We completed the album. Right now we’re working on some music videos, some promotional stuff, and of course we’re preparing for the live shows we’re going to do in 2018.
Do you have some special plans for the tour?
Yes. I think that right now we’re going to focus more on the show that we’re giving. Of course we’re quite an energetic live band and we always have a lot of focus on the people that are on stage, which is important. But I think this time we’re also going to focus more on effects, like lighting, different kinds of backdrops, just some more elements on stage. Nowadays we don’t play with amps anymore, so there’s only a drum kit. We play on guitar, so we only have a preamp, which no one sees. So, that way we can dress the stage a bit more, to make it more of a show.
So you’re going to up the experience, very cool.
I’ve seen you play many times and I understand what you mean by focussing on the people on stage. That’s always been your driving force, the artists on stage.
Yeah. I think that’s important about a band. When I look at a band, when I see a band play live, I always try to discover what the role is, of the different people on stage. I mean, there’s music, but there’s also the machine that creates this music. It’s great to see that some bands have these different people in them that all have their role on stage, they all have their own show on stage, but together they make the music. They are the machine. I always think that’s interesting. With Heidevolk we always focus a lot on that. That’s also why we don’t have someone in the back standing still or whatever. Everybody is just into the show and being as crazy as the audience.
Yeah, exactly. It is impressive to see such a large number of people, all working together, towards the same goal.
Uhu. Absolutely. That’s something we also experience of course when we’re on stage, that the crowd is also working towards the same goal.That is what gives us the energy.
Yeah. You can see that, when you guys play. I once was at a show from a really big band, and I was surprised to see that none of the artists were working together. They were all doing their own little thing on stage. WIth you, that’s completely different.
Yeah. You know, that happens when people do this for their day job, performing every day. And sometimes it just fits the music perhaps, I don’t know. But with us, we’re a team, you know? The big Metal brotherhood on stage.
I like that term. A big Metal brotherhood. Yeah.
We already featured you once before in our magazine. That was about two or three years ago.
You were about to release your previous album, Velua back then.
Probably three years ago then, 2015.
That might be. It took a while to publish. It was an email interview and the answers came in a bit late *laughs*
*laughs* Yeah, that happens sometimes. I prefer the interviews in real life and on Skype more, because it gives the opportunity to talk a bit more.
Yes, absolutely. This was actually my first interview ever, so it was quite special.
And you got it late? So sorry about that!
That’s no problem. In that interview you said that 2016 was going to be a creative year, and I was wondering if it worked out as you planned?
Oh, Well, what can we say about 2016. For me personally, 2016 was a shit year, but that’s also because there were different things in my personal life that happened. It should have been a very creative year, because I started writing the new album, but at some point the music for Heidevolk kind of blocked. For me, it was a good year but not the year I expected it to be, although we did get to go on a big European tour, through almost all of Europe with Equilibrium. We also went to South America for the first time in Heidevolk history, so in that aspect it was a creative year. I just hoped it would be a better year.
I had that feeling. In the interview you said that you were working on piecing together an acoustic set and album.
I’ve seen a few acoustic videos, but what happened to the album?
Yeah, I don’t know. At one point we had to give priority to the new Metal album, even though we’re also working on the acoustic stuff. We first did a few acoustic shows for TV Gelderland, which is the regional TV channel here, and we got a taste for it, so we did some more acoustic shows, all very small. At one point we said we’re going to do this. We’re going to record a Metal album and at the same time start producing an acoustic album. Those were big plans of course. And yes, there will be an acoustic album, but it did not take place in 2016, will not take place in 2017 and we’re not yet sure about 2018 *laughs*.
So, you put that one on the backburner.
Yes, exactly. Also because of the things that are happening in our personal lives, which we also have to control. We don’t work as full time musicians. It’s important to realize that we can only spend the weekends and our holidays on the music.
Yes. Real life comes first.
Well, I always try to put the music first, but sometimes real life hits you quite hard in the back.
Oh yeah, I know all about that.
There are important things in real life that you’ve got to take care of. You’ve got to take care of your job, your family, that kind of stuff.
Exactly. We had those dealings this year as well with our magazine.
But back to the music! The new album, “Vuur van Verzet” (Fire of resistance). What can you tell us about it?
First of all, we’re really happy with how the album turned out. It was the idea to create an album like this. When you start an idea, and you start writing, and you have a picture in mind and then in the end the picture is better than you imagined, then you are very happy. It was right after “Velua” that I came up with the idea to do an album about the great migrations and the fall of the Roman empire, these big different stories. Normally we would keep it in the Netherlands, our stories, but this time we took different stories from Europe and put them together on this album. They all have the same concept, which is that people are awakening, people are taking back what is theirs, and people are searching for their home. That’s what “Vuur van verzet”, the fire of resistance stands for, that concept.
I was pretty surprised to see that your stories are now looking further than the Netherlands with this album, and I was wondering if that’s a sign that you are also growing bigger than can be fitted in our little country?
I think it was a natural process. The idea was born in 2012, to do something more in historic context about Europe, but we back then decided to go for Velua, which was situated around the Veluwe again (Edit: A Dutch national park). But yeah, it’s something that evolved very naturally. It’s still about the Saxons, but this time we also included the Anglos, we included the Friesians. It’s bigger than the Netherlands now. I think you can say the same thing about Heidevolk. Even though we’re not yet singing about South America or the US and Canada, of course. And I know the theme of the next album is most likely going to be, but that one I’ll keep to myself.
*laughs* Yeah, you have to keep some surprises for a next interview.
It was nice to see these stories from a different perspective, this time around, from the viewpoint of the Saxons. I’ve interviewed Ex Deo, for instance, and they write from a Roman point of view. So, it’s refreshing!
*laughs* Indeed, indeed. Back in 2013 when we did the American tour with Ensiferum, we met Mauricio, the singer of Ex Deo. We also played together at a show in Mexico and we had the plan to do like a duel tour, you know? Back then we were touring with the album “Batavi”, which is also about Romans and Batavians. Maybe this time we can join forces and tell the story from two perspectives.
Yeah, that would be cool! Especially if you’re looking to add more show.
Yes. We also did that in one song, in “The Alliance”. You have the song “Britannia”, which is from the perspective of the Saxons, and in “The Alliance” you have the perspective of the Britains. It’s interesting to see the different sides of the story, the conquerors and the ones that are being conquered.
Yes. Usually history is written by the victors, but it’s nice to see both sides.
Talking of “The Alliance”, that’s one of the two songs on the album that you sing in English. That makes this the second album where you use English in your songs. Are you getting used to it, singing in English?
Well, you know, as long as it is useful, we will definitely use it. I mean, with “The Alliance” we kept a part in Dutch, that was a clear choice. And with “A Wolf In My Heart”, that’s based on the story of Offa the Angel, which is one of the Angels, and in the end England is called after the Angels. Angel land. That’s why we also did that song in English, but then we couldn’t resist. Especially Lars couldn’t resist to also record a Dutch version of that song, which we put on the album as a bonus track.
Yeah, I saw the lyrics in the press package, but the track wasn’t included. So I’m very curious!
*laughs* Yeah, yeah. I think, the press package doesn’t have the bonus track, of course.
Indeed. How was it to work with the new lineup on this album? You have two new members that were part of your stage lineup, that are now officially in your ranks. How was it to record with them?
Well, those are experienced people. Both with recording and playing live. We had to feel each other out on how we would work together in the recording process and the writing process. For me personally, that was a challenge, but they made it really easy. They’re just professional people. We already played like 110 shows together, so we know what we are about. Of course, when you look at a person like Koen, who is also a member of Detonation, which was quite big back in the day, and Kevin. I mean, Kevin played in a zillion projects and he also did studio recordings as a recorder/producer. It was great to work with those guys. Then we have Jacco. It was also the first album for Jacco, of course. It was Lars’ second album and we have Bouke, the guy who produced the vocals who already produced the vocals on Velua with Mark and Lars, so he also knew how to do this. Of course it’s always a bit of a stressful period to be in a studio. You have to cram everything you worked out before into those thirteen days of studio but at the end I was happy with the process. Things can be smoother next time, but you know, but for me it was plain sailing.
There must always be room for improvement!
Yeah. And that’s the cool thing about a process. It’s never finished, it’s never 100%.
How do you compare Jacco’s vocals to Mark’s vocals on Velua?
Well, we don’t try to compare, because Jacco’s voice is obviously different from Mark’s voice, but we still keep the dual vocals, the vocal battle in there, like we did with previous albums with Mark. When I look at it, I’m very happy with how it turned out. We tried some different things with Jacco’s vocals, we did more parts where he would sing, and then Lars would sing. We did more parts where Jacco is singing and Lars is singing something different. So yeah, we experimented a bit, and I’m happy how it turned out!
As am I. It sounds a bit different, but it’s still distinctively Heidevolk.
Cool. That’s nice to hear!
You chose to re-record the song “Drankgelag” from “Velua” with Jacco’s vocals. Why did you choose to re-record an old song, instead of recording a new song with him?
Well that’s very easy to answer. I can make a whole story about it, but it’s simple. It’s budget. This way we only had to replace the vocals of Mark by the vocals of Jacco, which saved us setting up the whole studio to record a new song.
It might have been a nice chance to release a new acoustic single, perhaps?
Yes, if we had the budget and the opportunity, we would definitely have done that *laughs*. But we’ll keep that in mind!
Yeah, exactly. I was wondering, when I was going through your Wikipedia pages preparing for this interview, I noticed all the stage names you guys have. Vellenknotscher. Roodbaert. Vuurbaert. Nachtbraeker. Where did you get those names?
Most of those names either defines an individual, or describes something that happened. For instance, we had Bomenbreker (tree breaker). He was a bit drunk and he threw someone through a wooden table. That’s why he was Bomenbreker. Then we have Nachtbraeker (nightcrawler), Lars, which is of course because he is kind of a night creature. He does not sleep that often. And there’s another story there, but I’m not going to share that *laughs*. Some are obvious, like Roodbaert, red beard.
Quite obvious, yeah. It’s fun to see those names. It gives it some flavor!
Yes. Also, Joost den Vellenknotscher (skinbeater). He hits the skins of the drums.
Yes, that makes sense as well. But what does that say about Jacco. Buhnebeest?
Well, when you see him perform, he is running around a lot on stage, doing all sorts of stuff on stage, so we decided that name also fits him.
We will have to come see why then!
Exactly. Talking about shows, This year you had some anniversary shows (2017) for 15 years of Heidevolk. How were those shows?
They were great. We used the opportunity to do a DVD recording, to do a mini tour in Britain and do a few more shows in the Netherlands and Belgium. It was great to explore the old albums again, and play a lot of different songs.
I bet. Were there any tracks you played, that you hadn’t played in a long while?
Ooh. Yeah, I think “Koning Radboud” is one we didn’t play for quite a while. We had “Walhalla Wacht” in it, which we had not played for some time. There were a few more tracks, but I can’t remember the setlist right now.
It’s already late in the year, I don’t blame you! *laughs*
So, you would say that 2017 was overall a better year than 2016?
Yes. Definitely. It was a year to remember, because we completed the album, and it almost was the release year of “Vuur van Verzet”, but it isn’t smart to release an album in December, with Christmas in the way. We will hold on to it until January!
Or you should do a Christmas single. Could be interesting!
Looking forward to 2018, What is the year going to look like, tour wise? Can we look forward to some surprises as well?
Well, the European tour is coming up, we are working on a US/Canada tour and I hope we will be doing a lot of festivals, we are already booking those right now. So… Surprises are that we are going to be playing a hell of a lot of shows, I think more than ever before with Heidevolk in a year. Other surprises we will keep surprises *laughs*.
*laughs* That’s a good answer. That brings me to my final question, and that’s always, do you have any last words for our readers?
Well yeah, definitely. We would appreciate it if your readers give “Vuur Van Verzet” a chance, just a chance to listen. You can find it on Spotify, or on Apple Music, or you can buy it at a CD store, of course. Just browse through the songs and let us know what you think! I’m really curious what the fans are thinking, and I really hope they enjoy it! And if you like it, or don’t like it, please come see us at our show.
Those are great words, and we will definitely see you again on the road.
Thanks for your time!