Earlier this year Kvelertak released their highly anticipated new record, “MEIR“, to fans everywhere thanks to Roadrunner Records. Although it’s only their sophomore album, this band has a cult following of fans around the world and their audience continues to grow every day. Since the release of “MEIR,” the six-piece from Norway has lived on the road and brought their insane live shows everywhere possible. Last week they came to New York City in support of High On Fire and truly put on a show! After their set was all said and done, necks were broken, blood was spilt, and fans loved every moment! Before their set I got to sit down with front man, Erlend Hjelvik, to talk about the current tour, the new record, their fan base, future plans and more! Enjoy the interview below and support this great band today!
Metal Mark: Erlend, thank you for taking out the time before the set. Last time you were here, you guys were crowd surfing, thrashing on top of bars and more. What do you have in store for us tonight?
Erlend Hjelvik: Yea last time we had so much fun here for sure. It was sold out and one of the best nights of that tour for us. Tonight may be a little bit different. It’s a bigger room, so we have more room to run around, so who knows what will happen. Once the music starts, we just have fun, so I hope you enjoy it.
MM: I’m sure I will! Let’s talk about this tour first because you guys and High On Fire is just an awesome bill. It’s a night packed full of awesome riffs! How’s it been so far for you guys?
EH: It’s been awesome man. This is only the fifth day so far, but every show has been packed so it’s off to a good start. Touring with High On Fire is amazing as well. Like you said, we both love our riffs, so we have a similar fan base as well, so the crowds have all been crazy so far. Let’s hope it stays that way!
MM: Well obviously you’re out in support of “Meir,” which the fans are all loving. It was number one in your country, and sold well here in the States too. Do you feel like you’ve finally broken into the States or is it still a huge mission for you guys?
EH: We are still working on it (laughs). That’s why we are trying to tour as much as possible right now.
MM: What do you think people are missing or not getting as they say?
EH: I don’t know, it’s a big country. You have a lot of people (laughs). We have a different sound ya know, so it may take some getting used to, but with every tour we’ve seen a bigger audience here, so I guess we are doing something right. You never want to play a Country where your audience gets smaller and smaller (laughs).
MM: Very true. With “Meir,” you guys definitely kept the Kvelertak sound, but threw in some surprises and different vibes as well. Was that the intention going into the writing of the album or was it just the progression of the band?
EH: Yea it is definitely different when you really listen to it. I think it definitely shows our progression well, and really hits on where the band was at during the writing of the record. We gained a lot of experience on the road with each other for three years. I mean, that’s a long time to be around anyone, let alone five guys (laughs). During that time though I really believe that we became better musicians and songwriters. As always with us though, we love to keep it interesting and throw some things in there that people may not expect. People would hate it if we released the same album over and over, as would we, so the new album had more hints of rock and more dynamics, but I think it still sounds like Kvelertak too. We are really proud of it.
MM: You mentioned the three years of touring for the last record. Do you see yourselves touring that long again for this album?
EH: Hopefully not that long (laughs). We may begin writing again next year, but who knows. We love being on the road, so if good tours come up, we’ll jump on them, but we love to write as well.
MM: So if you started writing next year, would it be out next year, or am I being to greedy?
EH: Definitely being too greedy (laughs). It’ll come when it’s ready, but we just released a record, so the new stuff is a long way away.
MM: Nice man. Well you guys are legendary for your live show, and since 2013 is coming to a close, do you have a favorite show of the year?
EH: That’s tough man. We’ve had some incredible shows this year, and my brain is a little foggy from all the drinking last night (laughs). We played to an amazing crowd at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark earlier this year. We were on the second stage, but it was still like 50,000 people or something and that was just crazy. As for the United States, on our last tour we played in San Francisco and had some special guests in the audience. Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and his wife, Princess Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby were there, as well as James Hetfield from Metallica, so that was just insane. Plus Robb Flynn of Machine Head was there and he took some amazing live photos of us, which was an honor. It was cool just to have him there, but taking pictures of us too, that was awesome.
MM: Obviously you are fans of Metallica and Machine Head, so to have those guys in the audience for your band, does that just give you an extra push to get better and better at what you do?
EH: Yes and no (laughs). Obviously it’s an honor and humbling to have them watching our band, but it’s something I really don’t think about. I mean, fifteen year old me would shit his pants, but I’m a little older now. It’s good they like us, because it would be pretty bad if they came up afterwards and said we sucked or they left the show early. So I guess we did something right that night too (laughs). There’s been a ton of good shows this year though, but I guess those two really stand out in my mind right now.
MM: Very cool. So looking forward, can we expect a full year of touring next year for you guys?
EH: I would think so. After this tour we have a few weeks off, but then it’s back on the road. We have some cool things in the works for next year, but it’s still to early to say anything. It’s looking like an exciting year for us for sure though.
MM: You mentioned some days off there. What’s the first thing you’re going to do on your first day off back home?
EH: Honestly, I don’t go outside for like three days man (laughs). I really don’t do anything and I like that a lot. I’ll take a shower maybe, but that’s about it. The road is a non-stop party and takes a lot out of us, so when I get home I’m pretty boring. Sorry for the not so exciting answer there, but that’s the truth (laughs).
MM: All good. As I mentioned earlier, 2013 is coming to a close and Thanksgiving Day is coming up here in the States. For the last question, what are you most thankful for this year?
EH: I’m just thankful for how well everything is going with the band ya know. We didn’t really know what to expect when we started this band, but it’s great to get the response that we do all over the world. To think that we can live off of this band still blows my mind, but it’s just awesome. It hasn’t been easy, and has taken a ton of hard work, but it’s all worth it once you hit that stage ya know. Not just myself, but the whole band is grateful and thankful to the fans, because without them who knows what I’d be doing. We are six lucky guys for sure."Metal Mark" "New York City" 2013 Erlend Hjelvik Exclusive Interview Kvelertak MEIR Vocalist