After an unusually quiet year for Vried, the band came back with a vengeance last month with their sixth album Welcome Farewell. Darker and more direct than its predecessor it will no doubt get an airing over the coming months as the band gear up their touring schedule once more. On the eve of the latest Fire Walk With Me tour, front man Hvall tells Ave Noctum about touring, avoiding hangovers and his burning hunger.

AN:  You tour very intensively – I always seem to have a Vreid tour date in my diary but just looking at your schedule makes my eyes water. What keeps you going when you are on tour – alcohol, fast food and groupies?

Hváll: The spirit of wanting to play shows. As long as we have a burning hunger, we will keep on touring. That’s said, I don’t think we tour that much. I see bands that tour a lot more than us. Last year we only did 35 shows, old and lazy is what we are. But we will hit back hard this year.

Vreid TourAN. And you’ve written and recorded music on tour, music for the new album Welcome Farewell – which I imagine many bands would find virtually impossible to contemplate?

Hváll: With 23 hours off each day while touring, I just wanted to get some work done. So I did some writing on the road, and we also did some recording. When people say that it’s difficult to get things done while touring, that’s just a lame excuse for hangover or laziness. Playing in a band is a lot of hard work, but also a privilege. There are many other jobs that demand a lot more and are a lot harder.

AN: Do you argue over what music to play on the tour bus – who wins and what do you tend to end up listening to?

Hváll: We have somewhat similar taste within the band, and it’s not often big arguments about songs, but it happens. We listen to a lot of different stuff, me & Steingrim especially listens to a lot of 70ies rock. But after a 6 pack after a show, all the same songs comes over and over again. It’s like that frigging Groundhog Day movie.Vreid1

AN: The latest album already seems to have made a big impact. Vreid is clearly not short of creative juice after eight years. Do you feel like your profile in the music scene builds every year – that you are getting ever more traction? And in which countries?

Hváll:  The interest in the bands has been growing with each album and each tour we do. We have the privilege of touring in many different countries, and it’s fantastic to see that people come to see out shows in so many different cities all over the world. After the “V” album we played in Berlin, Wacken, London, Oslo, New Delhi, Los Angeles, Montreal, Zagreb to name a few places. That is a fantastic feeling, and also something we appreciate a lot.

AN:  I heard the new album and thought it sounded more intense than V in some ways – darker, perhaps even more in keeping with some of the first four releases. How would you describe the progression (or journey?) through the albums? And from V to Welcome Farewell?

Hváll: I think it’s difficult to describe myself, I rather let the listener make their own impression.

AN: You said once that the relative darkness or light atmosphere created by your music reflects your mood when you are writing. Listening to Welcome Farewell might suggest you were pretty hyped up at times last year! Is that anger or exhilaration I can hear? Can you share with us what inspired the creative process?

Hváll : It’s a bit of both I guess. Vreid is a prolonging of my personality, and the album pretty much reflects my state of mind over the last few years. This time around I wrote a lot of the music & lyrics on my daily hiking trips, so nature and my surroundings has inspirited me a lot.

Vreid 2AN: Tell us about the artwork for the new album? Does this mark a move away from the ‘Pitch Black Brigade’ image?

Hváll: I wanted something new, something that fitted the lyrics. So I got in contact with Kim Holm, who proved to be a wizard. He captured the lyrics in a fantastic way and gave it a new dimension. It’s not about moving away from anything, more about continuing to march on.

AN: Does Vreid still have an overarching ‘concept’ that you are able to describe?

Hváll: No, I don’t want to categorize this album as a concept. As I said, it’s more a reflection of my state of mind while creating the album.

AN: How would you describe Vreid musically to someone who hadn’t heard the band?

Hváll: I prefer that they listen and make up their own mind/description, but I can agree to that it’s a blend of 70´s rock, 80´s thrash & 90´s blackness.

AN: Just one Windir question…. How do you see Windir now? Would there ever be any chance of any new Windir related projects – obviously not new material, but perhaps along the lines of the compilation or the DVD?

Hváll: No plans for anything. I view the Windir years/album as n very important part of my history. Something that I look back on with pride & joy.

AN: Last year you played Oslo’s National Opera House? It seemed like that was, understandably, a special date for the band. What was the experience like? Will you repeat that? And do you have any unusual or one-off gigs planned this year or in the future?

Hváll: It was a part of the “Questionings” performance. Four shows in India & two in Oslo. Playing at the opera house was great experience, and the acoustics there were amazing. No one off gigs planned for 2013.

AN: Are there any countries in which you feel you have gone down well and want to tour more? Or places you haven’t yet been to but are planning to visit over the next year or two? Vreid0004

Hváll: Germany, Holland, UK & North America is always good and many other cities can be fantastic like Zurich. We have not played in Japan, Russia & South America. I would love to travel to these places for a show.

AN: Is Vreid a full time job for you now or are there things you have to do to supplement your band work?

Hváll: We all have other jobs as well. I work with band management & booking which is a great match with my work for Vreid.

AN: I always think you guys are more ambitious than a lot of bands – I’d like to say business-like but perhaps ‘driven’ is a better word? Do you agree and is that just a symptom of your belief in the band?

Hváll: This is my life. This is what I like to do, and what my heart burns for. So I put all my energy into Vreid, and always want the result for our albums and shows to be best possible.  Driven is definitively the word.

AN:  What is your ambition for the band over the next few years? How would you measure the success of the band in five years time?

Hváll: To create new music & do shows is my ambition. Success I measure in whether I am pleased in what I do. So far, so good…….

Thanks very much, Hváll!

Interview The Reverend Darkstanley