Jason (J) recently caught up with Per Valla (P) of the Norwegian crew Vredehammer over email to discuss the band’s blistering debut – “Vinteroffer”. Here is how it all went down:
(J) First of all, many thanks for taking the time to speak with us – we really appreciate it!
(P) Same to you guys!
(J) Information about Vredehammer is hard to come by – what can you tell us about the band’s formative years?
(P) Vredehammer was started by me (Per Valla) in march of 2009. Nothing serious in the beginning, but with time i got more and more serious with the project as new songs were written and EP`s were released. In 2012 Kristoffer Hansen joined the band as the bass-player. He is now the second guitarist in the band beside myself and Cato Skivik joined the band as the drummer in 2013. Recently, John Erik Andersen joined as the bass-player. Besides that we live in the north of Norway and live pretty normal lives.
(J) The band’s sound is pretty difficult to categorize – while your Bio claims “Black Metal”, there is clearly a lot more at work here – could you describe Vredehammer’s sound in your own words?
(P) I guess the main influence is black metal, but i agree with you that there’s alot more going on. I guess we are what some people call the “second wave of black metal”.
(J) Your debut release – “Vinteroffer” – has made quite the impact on the BurningFist crew: what can you tell us about it’s inception and the creative process behind it?
(P) Great to hear! Honestly the album consists mainly of old songs that were written during the last 6-7 years. I felt it was time to release them before they were forgotten. The songs “Cthulhu” and “We Are The Sacrifice” however were written just weeks before the recordings. Normally i write the music first and then throw some lyrics on top of it.
(J) There is a massive amount of variety on offer with “Vinteroffer” – what would your biggest influences be? I can hear elements of the likes of Myrkskog or December Wolves as much as any contemporary Black Metal bands, yet the intro to the song “Vinteroffer” has a classic rock vibe that reminds me of Pink Floyd.
(P) December Wolves are totally new to me, but i have listened to some Myrkskog in my youth. I really like the good old stuff like Metallica, Pantera and Dream Theater, but i also like instrumental stuff like Vangelis and Mike Oldfield. Maybe that`s where i got the inspiration for the Vinteroffer-intro.
(J) How do you guys tend to create new Vredehammer music – is it an organic process of jamming in a rehearsal space?
(P) It’s mainly written by me, and the other guys make some riffs here and there. I’ve been writing music nearly every day the last ten years, so i guess i have become pretty obsessive about how i want things too sound. But luckily the other guys in the band are cool with me being an asshole about the writing part in the band!
(J) The production of the album is a triumph as well – Jacob Hansen has done a great job – are you happy with the results?
(P) Yes, very happy about the result. It was exactly the kind of sound we were looking for on this release. Simple as that. We recorded the album at a local studio, then sent all the material to Jacob. This way all the communication was done by mail, but he knows what he`s doing, so that wasn’t really an obstacle.
(J) You’ve had some good feedback from your earlier EP’s – did you feel any pressure when recording your first full length?
(P) Sure! Especially when we are now signed to a bigger label now than earlier. (Indie Recordings) I’m glad to see how well the album is being received by the listeners.
(J) Many bands tend to revisit earlier songs when producing their debut – was there a conscious decision to write all new material?
(P) Yes, we already have enough material to fill at least two more albums, so can`t waste any space on the old songs HeHe! However, one day i would really like to re-record “Pans Skygge” which i truly believe is a release worthy of greatness if it gets the right sound.
(J) Are there any lyrical or conceptual themes running through “Vinteroffer”?
(P) Yeah some of it is about the black plague and general suffering in the wintercold. Normal “Black Metal”-stuff i guess hehe.
(J) You guys are now signed to the highly respected Indie Recordings – how did the deal come about? Had the album been recorded before the offer?
(P) We have been in contact with them for some years, but they were hesitant to sign us before we were a full band. However when we showed them a taste of “Admissa” from “Vinteroffer”, they said “Let’s make a deal!” right away.
(J) Do you still actively follow the extreme metal scene?
(P) No, i can’t say that i do, but the other guys in the band are well updated on what’s going on out there.
(J) You guys were taken out on the road with Six Feet Under – that must have been a great experience? What can you tell us about the tour?
(P) Truly a great experience, and we made many new friends and fans. Actually the last tour resulted in us being offered a headlining European tour this coming November which to me is just unbelievable since we are still such a “young” band in the scene. Seems like awesomeness is on our side these days! hehe!
(J) You’ve more recently played a handful of European shows in support of the album – how were they?
(P) The shows were all good, but some venues we get the situation that the “true” black metal audience (one or two guys) tend to turn their backs on us. Litterally standing in the front of the audience protesting. To me this is such bullshit that i have trouble understanding what’s wrong with these people. If they want Gorgoroth or some other old school band they should just go to one of their shows, not come to ours and be assholes. But hey, at least they are buying the tickets and filling up the audience, so i guess we should be thankful for their support hehe. It just gets to me that some people have the nerve to give us crap for trying to be creative and do something a little different you know?
(J) Any more plans to tour or festival dates in the near future, and more importantly, are we going to get the chance of seeing you play in the UK?
(P) Yes, like i said, November. The plan is to do a ten-day tour. At this moment we are planning on doing a show in London. Really hope it works out!
(J) You recently released a fantastic promo video called “Headbanging” which is a stroke of genius – whose idea was it and were you worried the black/extreme metal community wouldn’t “get it”?
(P) Hehe, thanx man. We wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary, so our new bassplayer John came up with the headbanging idea, then we started figuring out different silly situations to headbang in. It was a fun day filled with many laughs and many beers!
(J) Is the Cat OK?! 😛
(P) He`s still a little grumpy after the washing machine incident – he prefers the dishwasher 😉
(J) Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about Vredehammer?
(P) We would really appreciate it if you check us out. Some of you might even enjoy our crap!
BurningFist would like to thank Per for his time with this interview and look forward to seeing the guys out on the road towards the end of the year.
We will have a full review for “Vinteroffer” coming this Saturday, 24th May!