Few could have envisioned the bright future that the Norns had in store for HEIDEVOLK back in 2002. Since its inception in Arnhem (the Netherlands) thirteen years ago, HEIDEVOLK came, saw, and conquered stages throughout Europe with their very own brand of folk metal. Instantly recognizable dual clean male vocals and irresistibly catchy songs have ignited the pagan fire in the souls of many on the continent. They deliver their songs on divine matters and profane pleasures with equal integrity, fueled by a folkloric fire and pagan pride. With a repertoire ranging from epic to raging, captivating live shows and an undying desire to perform, HEIDEVOLK has become a familiar face Europe and North America.
HEIDEVOLK stands for an uncompromising attitude, intense shows, and the transcendence of barriers between performer and audience… even if your Dutch sucks!In 2005, HEIDEVOLK released its first CD, “De strijdlust is geboren”, followed by the “Wodan Heerst” EP in 2007. Both releases were re-released on one CD by Napalm Records in 2008. The sophomore full-length CD ‘Walhalla Wacht’ (Napalm Records) also saw its worldwide release in 2008. The internationally well received and more mature third full-length, “Uit oude grond” (2010), set a new standard. With their folkish roots and raw energy combined HEIDEVOLK made their most varied release so far. The more powerful and aggressive concept album about the revolt of the Batavian tribe against the Roman Empire, BATAVI (2012), was released two years later.
BATAVI opened new doors for the band with their much anticipated and highly successful first North American tour as a direct result (PAGANFEST MEX/USA/CAN). Now, 3 years later HEIDEVOLK presents you with their most epic and melodic album yet. The stunning masterpiece: VELUA.With VELUA, the band accompanies you on a journey through a world of myths and legends set against the backdrop of the most beautiful part of nature in the Netherlands and namesake of this album, the Veluwe.
VELUA brings you the wondrous, gruesome and weird tales about murderous brigands, deceiving wraiths, cursed souls and evil-minded goblins that roam the woods at night. Along with this dark folklore it sings the praises of the undying beauty of nature and the embers of early pagan traditions. With 11 songs, ranging from fast “in your face” metal to heavy folk hymns, HEIDEVOLK has maintained their tradition of giving the listener a variety of songs that each tells a tale of its own. Grooving drums, blistering guitars and the trademark dual clean male vocals guide you through the album. The atmosphere is raised to new heights by the melodic guitar parts, broad choir vocals and the addition of a string quartet. All these elements are intertwined and connected throughout the album to make this a rock solid piece of HEIDEVOLK heritage. A twelfth song was added as a bonus track and tribute to their fans around the globe. The English song “VINLAND” describes the journey to North America made by Leif Eriksson. A journey for new territories and experiences… a journey not unfamiliair to HEIDEVOLK themselves. The limited edition of the album adds three classic rock & roll songs of the 70s and 80s to the track list. The songs are selected by the band for various reasons, the main reason being: because they rock!!! Join HEIDEVOLK on their journey through the sylvan halls of VELUA or lose yourself in a maddening chase for the will-o’-wisp.
Interview By Mark Ellis
So welcome to England, when did you land?
Yesterday we came through the Eurotunnel
You are celebrating 15 years .. thats a great achievement how have you managed to stay around as a band for that long?
Managing to stay around in a band for 15 years is quite a task nowadays, because with this type of music nobody is able to live for the music unless you are touring constantly. We tapped into the genre with full metal quite early and we were one of the first bands to develop their own sound. We have some trademarks which have kept on going and being popular and it’s a good thing, we don’t have to live for the music so we can stay focused on our own road to what we want to do. I guess all these things combined and a lot of stubborness is why we are here after 15 years.
Do you think it’s an achievement to do that or just determination about being stubborn?
It’s more in our nature.
How would you describe the Heidevolk sound? You have changed the musical sound from very folky to quite a metal album then more back to the folk roots and then a bigger sound with the orchestra and the sound of the strings. How has that sound come about?
It is a variety of things actually, the albums are really the band and the state of the band at the time and who writes it of course. We went through a lot of different phases with the band, a lot of line up changes because it takes a lot of your personal life to be in a band like this. Everytime something happened it reflects in the music, also the topic is most of the time really accurate to what was happening to the band at that stage. Heidevolk was designed not to be one band but to be two bands, a full metal project and viking choir project and combining that became Heidevolk, the basis on each album is raw metal and the dual clean vocals which we present the choir that tells the stories. If there is a story about Batavi its’ about a fight with the Roman Empire. The last album Velua was about legends and myths so it was a more folkloric broader sound.
Two Singers.. why two?
The origin is in the viking choir idea that started the band,one wouldn’t do and really nice to have the harmonie. Telling the stories in a twin configuration it gives a little more layer and power than just having one vocal.
Do you tell stories as you are playing or do you tend to just play the songs?
No there is definitely a lot of storytelling going on within the songs, explaining the songs, we don’t ramble on for 10 minutes about what the song is about we do a short introduction and the story is told through the song. The good thing about having 2 singers is that on stage they give each other more energy so when Jacko is saying his line and Lars is singing his they put more energy into it and you get the best combination, it has the effect of having two guitars its complementary, it can be epic followed by something more brooding and dark, lots of possibilities.
Where did it all start for you musically we have the viking choir and the folk element but in terms of your musical roots where do you come from?
I get a lot from Madonna, Britney Spears and Bieber too (laughing). Way off from each other, so many we all have a lot of different interests in music. A heavy metal sound and also a black metal sound and trashy kind of metal.
Going back to when we were all a lot younger what made you want to start playing?
I come from a breed of musicians natural thing to also play music specifically this kind of music, brought on from a very early age and my parents found me acting out being in a band on stage, lamps turned on me and iron maiden and stuff.
Actually it was this kind of music that made me want to be on stage to make music, I have an uncle and he is a bouncer my brother and I always thought he was a really cool guy, he liked Motley Crue, Whitesnake, we were 7 or 8 years old listening to the music in the back of the car – we want to make this kind of music.
For me it was Metallica , a video clip I was 11 years old and pointed at the television set and said I’m going to be that guy, I’m not quite there yet but working on it’.
It’s been so long I can’t remember I started playing guitar when I was 15 by accident actually, I got an acoustic guitar from my neighbours, it was like a ¾ model and I put it in my room and after a couple of months I taught myself how to play it, I was ruthless and played for 5 or 6 hours every day until I reached a level that satisfied me and then I started playing in a band as a singer and guitar player. I never thought about it, it just happened.
My cousin, he gave me a choice I could take any vinyl from his collection and I picked 2 kill em all by Metallica and the other was a Flemish, who made funny songs and I picked the Flemish one and he said wrong one. I remember playing kill em all at the wrong speed for over a year and I thought heavy metal sounded like the chipmunks. My cousin came to my home and said you are doing it wrong and I hated it, it was really slow. Since then I’m trying to achieve those feats.
So how does Heidevolk write a song?
A few albums ago we would do everything in the rehearsal room, we had a few riffs and now we have lives so now we bought a machine on ebay and put a few euros in and out comes the song with notescript. Nowadays with this album I wrote the album, basis of the songs and Kevin helped with guitar, then make real guitar riffing, do the same thing with the vocals. I make a line that is very good, crystal clear and then we try to approach it, that’s how we got our rough edge, programme the drums to match it.
I am currently working with a band who are still working day to day, they have just cut their first EP and are going on tour. How do you guys manage the working life and trying to be a band at the same time?
That is the hardest part to keep combining that and losing everything, working full/part time whatever fits, we are lucky to have supportive employers and partners, without that support we end up alone or it not happening at all. You need support from both sides of the home front. Advice is to keep expectations low also from your employer and you have to be clear at the beginning and be honest from the beginning if you have to be really clear about it if you have to be away for the next month.
Are you having to finance yourselves or does the band pay for itself?
No the band pays for itself and when we are on tour, we have to tour all year, it’s a choice.
Visiting England, are you going to take time to get out and see some more of the UK while you are over here?
Actually we have planned a few trips throughout the country, we have a van we will see everything through the window.
And the future.. What is next on the horizon?
A new album just finished recording drum tracks, next week guitars then the vocals, probably end of October. A yet to be announced tour in the US and next year an European tour.
If you could have written any song at any time what would would it be?
Ghost of an evening
Music was my first love
Rainbow in the dark
The cry of mankind
Wasted years – Iron maiden
Black number 1
|Kevin Storm||Rowan Roodbaert||Lars Nachtbraecker||Joost den Vellenknotscher||Kevin Vruchtbaard||Jacco de Wijs|
|Guitar (2014)||Bass (2006)||Vocals (2013)||Drums (2002)||Guitar (2011)||Vocals (2015)|