Interview by Craig Obert
As a lifelong music enthusiast, I am once again faced with the question. “How have I not heard of this band?”☺☺ . By far, the biggest benefit of being a member of MHF and a writer for the magazine is getting to literally hear new music every day…and then pass it on to others.
Heidevolk is a six man band from the Netherlands. Their music has been described as Pagan Metal, Folk Metal, even a bit of Death Metal. Whatever label you care to use, this band is absolutely brilliant. Singing almost exclusively in Dutch, subjects includes Nature, Gelderland history, Paganism and German Mythology. Utilizing 2 deep set male vocalists, their sound is quite unique. Tight, yet heavy guitars (with that perfect crunch) meld seamlessly with galloping bass and drums. A sincere tip of the hat to the band’s sound engineers. Their songs are largely bombastic, with an occasional lull. I am proud to present this amazing band to you.
They are comprised of: Kevin Storm: Guitar
Lars Nachtbraecker: Vocals
Joost den Vellenknotscher: Drums
Koen Vuurdichter: Guitar
Jacco Bühnebeest: Vocals
Rowan Roodbaert: Bass
The band has taken time to speak with Metalheads Forever. Thank you so much, let’s get started. Thank you for your time. I realize you are busy as your latest release, Vuur Van Verzet, will be arriving soon. What can you tell us about the new album?
Hi there, busy is the word but were be happy to answer your questions anytime! “Vuur van Verzet” translates to “Fire of Resistance” an album with stories about revolt and resistance, about standing up for what is yours and finding your place in this world. Most of these stories are written from an historic perspective that emphasize the thematics. Music wise you will hear a mature HEIDEVOLK that plays a style which is best described as a raw bombastic piece of metal with folky influences. The connoisseurs will here a combination of the previous two albums, the raw BATAVI and more melodic VELUA though this time we added a choir of 24 men that accompany Jacco and Lars with vocals.
You have collaborated with several artists over your 15 years. Any stand out moments?
Who would you love to collaborate or perform with if you could? have read that you are not a political band. Understandable, seeing the world as it is. Even so, are there any events or subjects that you feel strongly enough about… that might make you put pen to paper? What would be your musical slant?
If there would be one thing Heidevolk is conveying politically, is that fear is never the answer. Today fear is what seems to reign supreme in many a place in the world and within many people. Stand up to your fears, never give in and fight for what you think is right. And communicate. Communication is key.
Collectively, your musical influences are quite diverse. They range from Behemoth to Neil Young to Paul Gilbert to Classical Music to Type O Negative. Quite the range. Can you expound on how these varied influences have shaped your sound?
In how one interprets and translates his performance musically, one always shows a bit of their personal influences. None of us is copying literally, obviously, but i see no point in trying to hide where you come from in a musical sense. As a result, being in a band with six musicians (not accounting for all the guest musicians that also brought in their ingredients to the recipe), making an album is kind of like cooking. If you mix ingredients that, each individually taste good but are lacking sudden elements, and you mix that tastefully, the result can only be a tasty meal!
Many bands have a male and female vocalist. You employ 2 men. This isn’t unique, but it certainly makes you stand out. What else are you doing to rise above the crowd?
Heidevolk tries to stay true to their origins, which was originally an odd combination of wanting to start a Viking choir and wanting to start a metal band. That formed the basis for the Heidevolk sound; dual male vocals in harmony, over a band that is both bombastic, in-your-face, a bit of brawl and tastefully complex at times.
We also distinguish ourselves through the dominant use of our native language, Dutch.
In that we also try to be poetic and well-spoken as it is a language that lends itself beautifully for storytelling.
On Velua, you have 3 cover songs. I won’t divulge the songs to our readers…let’s just say, you have to hear it to believe it. In other words, they are damn epic! Any other covers we can look forward to? What song would you love to put the Heidevolk stamp on?
We didn’t put any covers on this album, but we do like to fantasize about us playing some rather unexpected songs by maybe even more unexpected artists. Who knows? The future will tell.
You have experienced a number of lineup changes over the years. Assuredly, this will alter the sound of the band, lyrically and musically. What changes have you seen with band member changes and what has not wavered at all?
Maybe the most apparent change is noticeable in the vocals. Joris has been replaced by Lars for quite some time now, and with Jacco filling Mark’s shoes there has been, not so much a shift, but a bit of a different approach to vocals. As one singer is never a drop-in replacement for a previous one, it is to be expected that the overall sound did change a bit. Same goes for guitars. Our current axe-slingers both bring their own style and methods to the table, resulting in a different sound altogether.
What didn’t change is the intention, power and boldness of Heidevolk as it was.
We still make music that stands up straight, stares you in the face and, above all, is recognisable as being Heidevolk.
“Deemstering” from Uit Oude Grond is amazing…even haunting. What is the story behind this beautiful piece?
Deemstering means “twilight”, the opposite of dawn which features on the album Walhalla Wacht. Listen to it again when you witness the sun setting and all will fall into place.
Rowan has expressed a liking for “special beers” and Jacco likes “proper beers.” I realize this isn’t music related, but from an everyday fan perspective, can you elaborate? I live in Colorado.
Beer is a big deal here…if you are in town, I will gladly take you on a “beer tour.”
Special and proper are both terms to describe beers that are non-generic. In our eyes there is a certain type of beer, or lager if you will, that is strongly associated with the Netherlands. And in our opinion for all the wrong reasons… I think if we come to Colorado, we will take you up on that offer, so you can surprise us! We like an experiment when it comes to tasting beers. Just don’t bring us the eerie green bottles and cans that is all too familiar with us back home…
Ok…standard interview question: What is next for Heidevolk? Where do you see the band in say…4 years? What is in the near future? Tours, filming, recording, a cameo in a blockbuster movie?
All of it, really! But seriously, we want to keep making records, taking said records on the road and perform all the songs for all you people around the world! What better goal is there for a musician to be able to do that? So yeah, recording, touring, filming and, who knows, if a cameo comes up… we might be inclined to accept.
Final question. 15 years as band is no small feat. Sincere congratulations to you all. What has been your proudest moment? As a band? And as individuals?
Thank you very much!To answer your question, being able to still be doing this, against odds and advice sometimes, is a feat to be proud of, in my opinion.
Aside from proud, we are mostly grateful that we get all the support from all of you, which is what really keeps us going as a band!
Thank so much for your time. Best of everything to all of you.
With pleasure, all the best and see you around!
MHF Magazine/Craig Obert