Intervista Kvelertak (Maciek Ofstadm, Marvin Nygaard)
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Hi guys, how is it going?
Marvin Nygaard: It’s going well.
Maciek Ofstad: Good yeah, all is cool.
I’d like to start talking about the latest news in Kvelertak: first of all, last year your singer, Erlend, left the band after 11 years together. Was it an unexpected choice or was it already in the air?
MO: We knew about it so…we were prepared.
You played a few shows with Ivar last year, and now this tour is the first time really on the road with him. How is this new line-up working out together?
MO: It’s going really, really well.
We already knew that it was gonna work really well, but the shows have been awesome, the reception has been great, Ivar is killing it, he’s getting into the motion.
I think it’s the longest tour he ever did ‘til this point and its’ working out really well.
It’s been three years now since “Nattesferd”, have you been working on new music?
MO: Yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing right now, writing new music, I mean, when is it coming out? I don’t know, but we are writing music right now.
Do you write music while you’re on tour, or just when you’re at home?
MO: We try.
It’s hard because when you’re on tour there’s no really any room to sit down and chill anywhere but, you know, a lot of ideas are born on the road, but you always have to go home, we need the time to be in the rehearsal space and just go through everything.
What can we expect from the next album?
MO: It’s so early in the process that we don’t know what’s gonna happen, but at least the goal is to, I don’t know, just write a kickass album.
MN: Make a better album.
A peculiarity of your music are the Norwegian lyrics, are you planning to keep the this way, or will you add some English to your music?
MN: That’s a question for Ivar…
Everything is possible, I guess.
So you are not dead set on keeping only Norwegian lyrics as some sort of trademark?
MN: For now, but everything’s like…for us is just, as long as stuff feels like it works, and the most important thing is that the music is good.
MO: Yeah, that the music is as best as it can be.
I’m only speaking from my personal perspective, but I don’t care if it’s Norwegian or English as long as it sounds cool, and we are comfortable with what we’re doing, and is the best it can possibly be, that’s what matters.
We’ll see what happens, everything’s possible but, you know, we’re a Norwegian band, it’s always gonna be…you know, we’re gonna be very Norwegian-based no matter what.
How has Ivar’s presence influenced what you wrote so far, if you are at a stage where you can already say something about it?
MN: I don’t think we are there yet, but obviously his voice is different from Erland’s, he has more of a range in his voice, so if we want he can sing.
It all depends, I’m not saying he’s gonna do it, but his voice is better than Erland’s voice in many ways [laughs] he’s more of a vocalist, more of a singer.
Is he part of the songwriting process?
MO: Yeah, very much, we invited him.
Of course, when you get a new member you’re 100% in from the get go, your ideas are equal as ours.
Yeah, he’s cool man, he comes up with ideas and with riffs too, he doesn’t know very well how to play guitar, but you get a riff in your head and explain how it’s supposed to be.
He also has some cool ideas for lyrics, melodies…he thinks, and he knows how to make stuff work.
You said you’re gonna leave the lyrics-writing to him?
MN: That too, hopefully he’ll be comfortable enough to write lyrics, if he wants people to join in.
The most important thing for us is that whatever we put out is good.
You’ve played with some huge bands, most notably you toured with Metallica. Do you think playing with those big bands helped you grow, or changed you in any way?
MO: Yeah, definitely, that’s like going to Rock school [laughs].
Watching those bands every day, Metallica, but also when we did that tour with Slayer a couple of years ago, to see how the whole thing works, and you get very influenced by stage presence and doing those shows over and over, big shows, you get more comfortable with the stage.
It definitely evolved us somewhere as a band, for sure.
Did you hang out with them a bit too?
MO: With Metallica?
Any of the big bands you toured with.
MO: Yeah, they’re cool dudes, everyone’s always been really nice and cool.
The Metallica thing was funny.
I remember seeing some photos of them gifting you customised jackets, right?
MO: That was awesome!
MN: They were super down to earth, they came in our backstage every now and then, especially Lars, he was keen on hanging out and saying hi.
They took us out for dinner a couple of times.
MO: They were obviously busy.
MN: Like, this with Mastodon, we’ve known them for years, we’re just friends, it’s a different thing with Metallica, they are so huge and have no time, but they try and they are super down to earth.
MO: They are really, really nice people, and with that jacket too, it’s a really nice gesture.
You feel really taken care of, even though you’re just an opening band, you know that everything’s set up for everyone to have a really easy time.
Yeah, it’s like, they didn’t have to, but they did it anyway.
MO: Exactly, and that was very cool.
Talking about your past albums, after you had the artwork of your first two albums done by John Baizley, you chose Arik Roper to draw the cover of “Nattesferd”, why this change?
MN: I think it’s good for us, we work with different artists for t-shirt designs and we always try to find new people to work with, which makes everything more interesting.
You want to work with different producers, and you want to work with different artists when it comes down to visual stuff as well so it doesn’t get boring.
The music changes and I guess so should the visual stuff.
MO: That’s very much what happened on “Nattesferd”, we recorded live and it sounds way different than the first two albums, so it was very natural to put another artwork on it.
And I also think it turned out really well, that album and that artwork, they speak very much the same language so it turned out very good.
So I guess it will be the same with the next album, you’ll decide when you get there.
MO: Yeah, no idea, we’ve gotta see how the sound evolves first.
But, you know, there are already ideas on who can do it, we just haven’t lined up anything yet.
Another change that happened with you latest album is that it’s the first one you recorded in Norway, while the first two were recorded in the States. Why did you choose to go back to your home country only at that point?
MN: I don’t think it was necessarily the “staying in Norway” part that was the reason, it was just doing something different.
There are so many good studios in Oslo, it was like, “Okay, we’re not gonna work with Kurt [Ballou]” – not because we didn’t want to work with Kurt, we just wanted to do something different – and we thought, “Why don’t we just choose a studio in Oslo when there are so many good ones here?”.
Looking at it from another side, why for the first two you didn’t stay home and went all the way to the States?
MN: Because we definitely wanted to record with Kurt!
MO: Yeah, we heard the albums he put out, it was like, “Holy shit, if we can nail this guy that would be great”.
So we tried and we absolutely, 100% thought we wouldn’t get a response, and it took like a day and he came back to us like, “Fuck yeah, let’s do this!” and then that happened.
You sent him a demo or something?
MO: No, well…yeah, we sent him a couple of demos and just an email.
What is the craziest thing that ever happened to you on the road?
MN: That’s a hard question because it’s kind of boring to be on tour, to be honest, it’s the same thing every day.
MN: We played a festival in Norway once when I was in a car accident because of a jealous boyfriend who tried to attack the car, he broke…well, it’s a long story [laughs].
MO: Okay, you got that stuff and you got like…shows, obviously, when there’s shit going down and you can’t really, it’s hard to…it’s a hard question, the craziest thing, I’ve got no idea [laughs].
MN: We’ve got a fan in the US, a fan and a friend, who’s super rich and he flew us…that was the last tour we did with Mastodon in the US, our bus broke down…
MO: Day 2!
And the bus driver just went to airport and flew home, so we didn’t have a bus and we didn’t have a bus driver.
Day 2 on tour.
MN: …and this guy was following us on tour, we’re good friends, and he was like, “Ok, I got this private plane, I can fly you”, and he flew us.
Was it two shows?
MO: No, five shows!
He flew us five shows around…and we said hi to Vince Vaughn [laughs].
It started really shitty and got really funny [laughs].
So we were really rockstars for five days there, and then straight back into the mud.
MN: And there was this time in Sweden when the bus broke down, our manager at the time called the bus company and was like, “You’re gonna fix this, we need a fly!”, and we ended up flying with Toto’s private plane.
MO: [Laughs] Yeah, 2014 or something.
We flew to the With Full Force festival in Germany.
So, yeah, a lot of private planes [laughs].
Thanks for your time, I’ll leave this spot for you to say a final message to our readers, if you have one.
MO: I hope you guys read this interview [laughs] and come to our show next time we are in Italy!
Hi to all our friends in Bologna!