Norwegian black metal group Vreid celebrated their tenth year in 2014, and as such have embarked on a special Sognametal tour. Formed out of the ashes of Windir after the tragic death of vocalist Valfar, and with members having also played in Ulcus, the show has seen them pay tribute to all three bands, playing festivals in the summer and a European tour. I caught up with them this year in London.
This year you’ve been on the Sognametal tour, performing songs from Windir and Ulcus as well as your own material, what made you decide to do this?
Well actually we started discussing this about a year ago while we were on tour, as it’s ten years since we started with Vreid, and twenty years since Ulcus and Windir started, so we thought about it, veryone was really into the idea and we also got Valfar’s brother Vegard on the project and he was really keen on taking Windir’s music outside of Norway live as we hadn’t done that before. So the ball started rolling and we did some festivals but due to different reasons with some band members having kids we couldn’t do all the festivals that we really wanted, so we decided to do a tour package all over Europe.
And how do you think the reaction has been to these shows so far, have people been enjoying it?
Very much, yes. The people are really into the shows, especially for the old songs, lots of them are there for the old Windir classics and are singing along to all the melodies and stuff.
You’ve got a lot of material at your disposal with the catalogues of all three bands, how do you decide which song’s will make the setlist?
We roll the dice, haha, just put numbers on them. But no, it was difficult because we can’t even represent all the albums so it wasn’t an easy task. But we obviously had to put in songs from all three bands. We wanted to cover the whole history and not just focus on one album, we tried to play songs from the early albums right up to the latest songs to show our whole history.
With playing songs that Valfar originally performed, does that make it more difficult and emotional, or have you had more energy to do it as a result?
We do have Valfar’s brother Vegard with us on the songs so of course it’s been emotional for all of us. But personally I think it gives me an extra boost to have him alongside and endorsing the project and being so into it. But yes, we all want to keep the memory of Valfar alive so this is a good way to do it.
You released your sixth album Welcome Farewell last year, how pleased were you with it compared to previous albums, and how was the reception towards it?
It was very good, it’s been the best selling album we’ve done, so it shows that the audience have appreciated it. And it’s an album we’re very satisfied with, and I think it’s actually the best album we’ve ever done and it also felt like we were ending something with Vreid, some kind of period so the next album is going to be quite different.
And that’s something I was going to ask, have you started working on a follow up album yet?
Yes, we’ve started writing four or five songs for it and when this tour ends we’re just going to focus on this new album and n0t do any more shows until it’s finished. We’re going to spend the next five, six months working on this album and hopefully tour in the Autumn.
And Welcome Farewell is a really interesting album title, what’s the inspiration behind it and what does it mean?
It means Welcome and it means Farewell, haha. It’s a title for me that has several meanings, but it’s also it’s quite open to interpretation and so are the lyrics on the album, whereas the previous album was more concrete and about certain events, while this was a more personal album. The lyrics are really there for people to find whatever they can in it.
Well you’ve been playing prestigious festivals such as Hellfest and Wacken this year, and in the past you’ve played as far afield as India and the USA, but what’s been your favourite place to play?
This is where we’re supposed to say London, right? (laughs) London’s always good. But I think the first time in the USA was something special, the first full tour in the US. But it’s hard to pick out one single show, I don’t think it’s possible from the 400 plus we’ve done.
Well Vreid has now been together for ten years, and you’ve all been playing in black metal bands for much longer. How do you see the scene now compared to when you started?
It’s changed a lot, and a lot of bands too have changed a lot during that history. Some bands stick to the old formula, but you see bands like Enslaved, and Ihsahn from Emperor taking things further and out of the black metal genre. But I think it’s a good thing you know, it develops and that’s what keeps the genre from stagnating and staying the same all the time.
Are there any newer albums or bands you’ve been listening to a lot lately?
Well especially the last Solstafir album, I think that’s a fantastic one. But also the new Behemoth album, it’s their best. I have to mention Opeth too, we all would mention Opeth.
And finally is there anything else you’d like to add?
Vreid are currently touring with label mates Posthum around Europe on the Sognametal tour:
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