Now you are more or less in the middle of a long tour. How tired you guys are?
How tired do we look (laughing)? It’s the end of the tour, so of course you’ll get tired of the touring itself. The shows are very important thing, and tonight with the show in Budapest, we have got the energy, we got revitalized. There was a fantastic audience, and we were prepared to do the best we absolutely can. Today it was just fantastic. I think it was one of the absolute best shows on the whole tour.
Your last album is coming out this year. What about the feedbacks, and what about the acceptance?
It’s been very good, the reviews have been crazy good, and of course that’s a good thing. It also means more and more people are getting into the band. We also changed label to Seasons in the Mist, they have done a very-very good and solid job for us, and I think the album is getting good promotion. And then it’s up to us to do the next thing, go out and to do shows, make the show good enough to give the focus on the energy that is supposed to have. I think, yeah, it’s been a very good year for us, all right.
How would you categorize your music, what kind of music do you play?
I think that’s your job actually (laughing)…
…I can do it…
… you know, I don’t really care about those things. But of course, understand the need to put in some kind of box or whatever. For me it’s just about writing a music I like that’s all what it is, that’s a passion. Everything from 70’s rock to heavy metal, from thrash metal to black metal, and I don’t think we ever can put a label on it. We don’t match to a certain kind of genre, that’s just the way how it is.
Often the lyrics are in English, and quite often in Norwegian. What it depends on?
It is pretty much the gut feeling. When we start writing some ideas, some lyrics, some words, those are the first thoughts, and then we just follow it. I don’t usually think about should we be doing this, should we do in Norwegian this? I write a lot of lines very often, not just prepared for an album, just write up some notes and words, and then I just follow the gut feeling, and we’ll see it. If I have some lines in Norwegian and I think this will be the atmosphere of an album, then I go that way, if that’s the English, then I follow it.
If I’m right then you are speaking a special kind of dialect of the Norwegian called Sognamal. That’s true?
Yes, that’s absolutely true, and it’s a strange dialect, an old speak, not many people speak it, it’s only for Norwegian, and it’s a very distinct dialect. Of course, the rest of the people in Norway can understand it, but they may have to pay some extra attention on it.
What’s the difference between Sognamal and Synorsk or Bokmål?
The odd thing in Norway is to have so many dialects, they’re different for all kind of regions. But we have two written languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Then again, I think, many of the dialects can’t really relate to the written language, which makes everything a lot more complex. And I don’t really care about the written language, but I think it’s important to keep the dialect from the region where you are from.
Vreid arose from the ashes of Windir. How Windir has been formed?
Windir has been formed by Valfar [Terje Bakken], when he started writing music and he started playing music with a very-very young age. He played guitar and accordion, and then he played bass guitar, keyboard. I think there was never a special moment when it was formed, it was just the development of his character, when he started writing music. And we were all friends, living in the same area, we were neighbours, some of our cousins were relatives, so we were growing up with the same kind of music. When we started as a band, as a different band, then he started on his own to create his ideas and his strange passions that he had. I don’t think he had a big plan for anything, he just kind of started to develop, wrote music to reflect the person who he was.
What are the roles in the band now, who is responsible for writing music and lyrics?
I write the music and lyrics, but we work also strongly together as a band with the arrangement and how we going to do the main ideas. Then we do some preproduction and then we can continue to record. We start with drums and bass, and the rhythm guitarist, and then we can work with the lead guitars and then follow the vocal line. So it starts off for my ideas but it develops and the whole band is involved in it.
And how it was in the past with Terje?
With Terje in the beginning, it was his own thing, he was just writing music and that was the way how it was for the demos and for the first two albums. Later Steingrim, the drummer, did drums with him, but he did everything else by himself. But then he wanted to have a whole band and wanted to write music with someone else, so he wanted to do something different. So before the album 1184, we decided to go forward to be a band, properly together, and then on 1184 and Likferd, me and Terje brought the music together for those albums.
Where your inspiration is coming from?
So many things… (‘keep it short’, Sture says)… Alice Cooper, Metallica, death metal and Norwegian black metal.
Nature, environment? Sogndal is quite a nice place.
I think that… it’s just a natural thing for us, it’s not like something inspiring. It’s just the part of the upbringing of where you come from, it just comes you in a way, I think.
Have you ever learnt to play any kind of music or any kind of instrument, or you’ve just started to play guitar?
I think everyone in this band is self-developed actually, we never had any kind of education or whatever. We just picked up an instrument and started to play.
OK, but why guitar or bass guitar?
I found it somehow interesting and I wanted to do. When I looked into everything from especially Lemmy and Cliff Burton, I was fascinated with the bass instrument. The first time, I just wanted to make music and that’s how I started with. But for me bass guitar is not… I don’t really have a strong relation to it. For me it’s more important to make music, and bass guitar is a part of that.
How many gigs or tours do you have per year?
It depends. The last year has been quite slow because we’re working on a new album. Normally we have like two or three tours a year, but it varies a lot. We tried to count how many shows we have done by now, and I would guess it’s about 500 shows, visiting like twenty-five countries or so. So that’s where we are by now.
So you either hanging in the studio, making your album or something like that, or you are on tour. But what about the private life? Is Vreid your main occupation at the moment, or do you have any kind of civil job in the background?
Everyone has a full job in the background, we always had that, since we started, so the band is like… a very important thing for us, but, you know, we are not depending on that. It makes it a lot more interesting, and it’s not something what you desperately need to do because you have to make a living out of it. I’m fortunate to work with music, I work with a big rock and metal festival in Norway, I work with booking and stuff like that, and for last year it has been like an industry. But everyone has their daily job, you know, and when we go out touring, it’s like a vacation, it’s a really good holiday. It’s so hard to be able, especially in high cost countries like Scandinavia, to live out of extreme metal, it’s almost impossible. And you can easily become like a prostitute, you are desperate to make a new album, desperate to do more tours to make a living. If you have a completely different life than you really appreciate going out doing these things.
What about the family, and what about the family background? Do they understand this kind of occupation?
Yes, absolutely. When I speak about my family, I’ve been with my wife up to twenty years almost, so she knows what to expect (laughing), and it’s not a big surprise that we are doing these kinds of things. And I think… and I hope they understand that this is such a strong passion, and they also understand how much it means for us, and how lucky we are to be able to actually do these things, and travel the world with a music.
Are the family members like wives or children coming to watch dad on stage?
Actually, a couple of years ago I brought both my daughters to a show because my wife was traveling and I had no one to take care about them, so I brought them to the show and I put them on the side of the stage, onstage, they were sitting like on the monitor desk. They were six and nine then, and the youngest, she actually fell asleep during the show (laughing).
In the past, Norway had quite a strange Black Metal scene which has changed a lot. How can you see this thing?
Of course, there is a major difference since the black metal scene started. They were pioneers, they were doing something unique, and were really young. Of course, I think, those bands have been developed. So many bands are coming in the years after, like ourselves, and they developed into different directions. I think the most important thing for the bands it to do something special and unique, rather than being the next big thing, or to be very successful or whatever. Just do something unique. If I would say something that characterizes the Norwegian scene, I think that’s one of the main things.
What do you think about the role of your country in WWII?
I think we played a really small but also important role in many parts of the war. Such a little country, we haven’t had any significant military force, so we were occupied in a couple of days. But the interesting thing was how the resistance kept fighting, fighting and fighting, never surrendering, and some of the sabotages, some of those things become very important during the World War II. So I think that the spirit to never give up even you’re underdog, you are outnumbered, just keep fighting for your liberty. It is very easy for us to take the grant of living in such a wealthy society what we do in Norway, and I think it’s important to respect that and of course never forget.
What the music, and especially Black Metal means to you?
It’s just music. Do you know, who said that? Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver. He said it’s just music… just music.