Thursday, September 5, 2013

Interview with Heri Joensen, lead vocals and guitar, of Týr

Being a mostly folk influenced driven band, is it hard to create riffs that cater to the genre while staying original?

HJ: I find it very easy because I just write the music that comes most naturally to me so there's no forced direction or style that I feel obliged to follow. What Týr's music is today, as far as my part goes, is what comes most naturally to me.

What influences does the band take from to create such awesome music?

First and foremost folk, obviously. Also the genre that we have come to belong to, the nordic kind of metal, I find inspiring to listen to but I never feel I'm ripping off songs or sounds. I feel we naturally belong in that area of music and knowing that each time I write a song I add to that legacy is sometimes plenty inspiration for me.

Folk metal has become quite popular over the years, what are your thoughts on the present scene?

HJ: I think it's getting bigger and better, less underground for each album that is released. The bands also tend to spill over into other genres, which I think is a very good development, and something I hope we will do too.

To what extent do you believe in what you sing about?

HJ: I don't believe the mythology is true in any literal sense, but I have great respect for nordic tradition and I find the stories, both mythology and history, quite fascinating.

Do you consider yourself a pagan?

HJ: Yes, a cultural pagan, and that's as far as I think anyone should go. But it's a muddy area and when asked I usually say I'm an atheist just to be very clear on where I stand on literal beliefs. But the way I see it, being pagan is to have some fictional deities represent natural phenomena, and being pantheists means you think all gods have the same scientific merit and being atheist means thinking that the value is zero. From pagan to pantheist to atheist, without contradicting myself. I could add one more, anti-theist, as being one who thinks it's a bloody relief that we don't have to answer to some psycopathic vengeful monster once we check out.

What are your thoughts on modern day paganism?

I have nothing to spare for literal belief in mythology. Be it abrahamic, finno-ugric or nordic, it's obviously fictional, and believing in it literally I find ridiculous. I guess you could call that archaic paganism. I would advocate a modern cultural paganism, but as I said, most of the time it's way simpler and easier to just call yourself an atheist, or anti-theist.

How was your experience on 70 000 Tons of Metal this year? Does a festival on a cruise ship differ from an open air event?

HJ: Oh yes. It's luxury compared. No wading around in mud, no standing in line for a cold shower, no dixie toilets etc. It's the best festival experience I've ever had, as for attending shows and being a guest. Open air events have better stages and have the option for more people seeing you at one time, so that's obviously better at, say, Wacken. But the floating festival has it's advantages, definitely.

Being a big fan of Metal Blade Records and their roster of great bands, I was quite ecstatic when they signed you because I’ve always been a fan. Are you excited about being newly signed to Metal Blade Records?

HJ: Yes, we're very excited and we're very hopeful for the release of our album. Metal Blade, and Brian Slagel, are big names in the metal business and they are already part of metal history and legend, so it's an honour for us to have our name mentioned in the same sentence.

If you had to pick a few favourite bands off the label, which would they be? What bands would you like to tour with on Metal Blade’s roster?

HJ: Amon Amarth are one of my favourite bands for some years now, and we have toured with them a few times. But I wouldn't mind going on tour with Behemoth, King Diamond or Primordial.

What would be your dream line up bands to tour with?

HJ: I was already on a dream tour, back in 2006. It was Amon Amarth, Wintersun and Týr. Of course I wouldn't say no to go on tour with Metallica, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest.

Have you heard of any Canadian folk metal bands, such as Vesperia?

HJ: No, I'm sorry to say that I've not heard of them before. And thinking Canadian folk metal bands doesn't bring up any names in my head, sorry.

What is your alcoholic beverage of choice?

HJ: Eldvatn vodka!

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