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Kvelertak Vocalist Erlend Hjelvik Talks New Album ‘Meir,’ Touring + More

Meghan McInnis, Facebook: Kvelertak

Frontman Erlend Hjelvik of Norwegian metallers Kvelertak was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Hjelvik spoke all about the band’s studio albums, including their forthcoming disc ‘Meir.’ He also discussed cultural aspects to their music and their first U.S. tour last year with Converge and Torche. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Erlend Hjelvik below:

There’s a lot of excitement coming from the new music of Kvelertak. The first album, the self-titled album was received really well – what aspects of that album did you want to continue with ‘Meir’ and what did you want to do differently?

Basically it’s just more of the same. We’ve been pushing our own boundaries in both albums. The catchy stuff is catchier and the heavy stuff is heavier so we’re happy with the new album. I think if you liked the first one, you’re going to love the new one.

Like the first album, ‘Meir’ was recorded in Salem, Mass., not long before Halloween. How does the ambiance and history of that town inspire your creativity?

I wish I could say it was a lot more inspiring than it was but it’s super cheesy the way they go about it in Salem – there’s people dressed up as witches and pirates there but yeah it’s just a super cheesy take on it, even on the tombstones look fake to me. I can’t say it’s been inspiring.

Rather than accommodating English speaking territories, you sing in Norwegian. What makes that language better suited for metal?

It’s just the fact that it’s my own language and I just feel a lot more comfortable singing in the language I speak every day. I feel if I write in English, I would be using clichés and stuff like that and my English isn’t perfect either so I think it’s better if I sing in Norwegian. Our fans don’t seem to mind either, it doesn’t seem to be a problem internationally.

Kvelertak just toured in the United States for the first time last year. What did you like best about American venues and audiences?

America, it’s awesome playing there because it’s kind of a different crowd we have over there than we have in Europe. I think we get a lot more metalheads in the U.S. and I appreciate that. It was when we were on tour with Converge and Torche and pretty much every night was sold out. It was a great tour.

What can we expect from Kvelertak in 2013?

Just loads of touring, a lot of festivals, this new album – we’re going to make new music videos. It’s going to be super busy for us, it’s going to be a great year.

Can you give us an idea of some of the influences that the band members have, it’s a very unique style of music and I feel like there’s a lot of different styles incorporated. So what kind of music do you think as a whole you’d say are bands you guys look to for inspiration?

There’s way too many influences to kind of start mentioning, you can make a whole list. Our guitarist BJ [Bjarte Lund Rolland] he makes all of the music and he listens to everything from Marvin Gaye to Darkthrone – he just takes all the stuff he likes and puts them into the band.

Full Metal Jackie will welcome Brendan Small – Dethklok frontman and co-creator of the show ‘Metalocalypse’ — to her program this coming weekend. She can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

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