Ahead of the release of their second album, Meir, Norwegian blackened party punk rock ‘n’ rollers, Kvelertak had a day of hanging about in London talking to relative strangers about that album. We were among that press gang and asked singer, Erlend Hjelvik and guitarist, Vidar Landa all about Roadrunner Records, lyrics and being Norwegian.
How is Meir different from the debut?
Erlend: “We didn’t have any massive plans when we wrote the album – we just had eleven songs and they’re the ones on the album.”
Vidar: “The playing is better and everything sounds better, especially the guitar sound – I’m super happy with how it sounds on this record. And the song-writing is better.”
How about the lyrics?
Erlend: “The last time I wrote lyrics, it was just me reading up on Norse mythology and seeing a cool story and writing a lyric about that. This time it’s mostly just from the top of my own head. It’s just a little bit of a different approach. I’m just happier with them; I think I’ve got better at writing them. On the last album I didn’t even know that people were going to listen to the lyrics.”
What is your favourite song on the album?
Erlend: “They keep switching but I think ‘Trepan’ and the opening song, ‘Apenbaring’, I love too. Also ‘Nekrokosmos’ is a favourite for me.”
Vidar: “Yeah, at the moment for me it’s ‘Nekrokosmos’ and our new anthem, the Kvelertak song. I can’t wait to play that live.”
Erlend: “It’s going to be a closer. I’m happy that all the songs sound really different. That’s one of the things I’m most pleased about. I don’t think there are two songs that sound the same on the album.”
And you’re still singing in Norwegian…
Erlend: “Yep. I think it should go down well. I haven’t heard any complaints from people, that they want us to sing in English. I think it’s more exciting for them to hear us sing in Norwegian. It seems like people are trying to figure out what I’m singing about.”
Tell us about the video for ‘Bruane Brenn’.
Vidar: “Basically, we just wanted kids to play us. At the beginning I was talking to Marvin [Nygaard, bass] about these kids going crazy, drunk driving and doing coke and stuff but the director took it in a slightly different direction. The main idea was just having kids looking cool. They didn’t have any experience from before but you didn’t have to tell them. Once the music started, they just started going crazy.”
Tell us about signing to Roadrunner USA.
Erlend: “There were a lot of labels that were interested this time but Roadrunner just seemed like the best choice this time. It’ll be fun to see what they can do with the new album. It’s pretty exciting.”
Vidar: “They’ve been onto us for a long time and they were just super eager to have us. It’s a license deal so we own the masters. We have our own record company now and we license it out.”
Erlend: “And now we’re constantly looking for bands to sign to our album.”
How are the new songs going affect your live show?
Erlend: “It’s almost been three years. We’ve been touring and doing way too much on that album, personally. I guess the problem is when you have to play an hour-long set and you only have one CD… So it’s going to be great to get the new album out and we get to change up the setlist and add more songs to the list.”