Hailing from Norway, Kvalvaag made it to release the third album under the name of Seid. About the album writing process, the theme behind it, and other things related to the band, below you can read an interview I had with the band mastermind himself, Kvalvaag, where he talked about the new album and other interesting stuffs.
Greetings Kvalvaag, my pleasure having you here, how are you?
Hello! I’m good, thank you!
First of all, congrats on the new album, an album I’ve been looking forward to hear ever since you first announced it. It’s entitled Seid, please tell me more about the writing process behind it.
I started to write some of the songs before Malum came out. I bought a new seven-string guitar for the occasion and tried to write a bit differently in order to avoid the traps that caused the biggest problems during the Malum recording prossess. I took my time and worked on the material only whenever I would feel inspired, so the writing prossess in itself was fun and easygoing. I also added some new elements to give it a bigger atmospheric touch and turned up the tempo a bit. I wanted the album to be intense and atmospheric, and excluded the use of too many eerie and doomy parts this time in order to keep the intensity up.
I’d say Seid is a continuation of the previous album Malum. That was the first Kvalvaag album I’ve heard and I have been a fan since then. The reasons are the atmospheric elements you are bringing in. Would you agree that Seid is like Malum part II?
I think it’s somewhat of a continuation of Malum since it has the natural progression like I said earlier. I didn’t take a break from writing after Malum, but I was also focused on not repeating myself. The riffs are a lot darker and technical on Seid. We also included a lot of rhythmical breaks and odd beats this time.
Tell me more about the theme behind Seid. As mentioned earlier, the atmospheric and symphonic elements are present on both Seid and Malum. I would not say the same about the debut, Noema. What importance do these elements of Kvalvaag’s music have for you?
I wrote almost all the material for Noema without an album in mind. I just wanted to test my skills as a multi-instrumentalist after my other band Astaroth fell apart. I was fed up trying to cooperate with other musicians as there was too much arguing and drama at the time. Noema is more or less art by accident. I had never played synth before so I had to learn how to use it. Therefore there’s less synth compared to the two previous albums.
On Malum I wanted to take it more in the same direction as the music I’ve been listening to on a daily basis for the last seventeen years. I have always been a fan of the second wave of Norwegian BM scene (as I guess you can probably hear). Since many of my old favorite bands have evolved in other directions on their later releases, I wanted to go back in time and create an album that sounds like it’s from 1997, and write music inspired by their early releases.
I like bands that use such elements as I mentioned earlier. Indeed, not all bands impress me but Kvalvaag did since I heard the second album! Three albums released and for each one you’ve decided to do a cover; bands like Mysticum, Troll and on the new album, Gehenna. I wonder what band you’ll cover next, hehe!
I consider the first three albums as kind of a trilogy. I therefore wanted to add a track from the bands that inspired me in my youth on each one of them. The music is more or less written as a tribute to all the bands I have been listening to over the last fifteen years, with my own expression of course. I will not make any more covers on the next two albums, I guess we will take a new direction as I feel we have now completed the trilogy. Progression is also important to us.
In 2015, you were joined by Telal (Sarpedon, Elvarhøi, Astaroth) on drums. You were still playing in some bands together, but how does he fit into Kvalvaag and what is it like working with him?
Telal was a natural choice for me as we are good friends and share the same vision musically. Since we have also shared a good musical communication over the last ten years, he’s a perfect fit.
From where do you get inspired to write your music and lyrics?
The lyrics are mainly inspired by old Norwegian folklore and superstition etc.
Since the first release, two years have passed to release the albums. Do you consider two years to be a sufficient amount of time to write and release new material?
I think so, at least for me personally. As I mentioned earlier, I do not rush the writing prossess. The most important thing for me is to write when I feel inspired. I do not try to force the process as I believe it would destroy the expression, atmosphere and the fun of creating music.
Kvalvaag is a studio band and you never hit the stage. What are the reasons for this?
I created Kvalvaag because I wanted to avoid any cooperation with other musicians. If I want to play live I’d have to create a live line-up which includes a lot of planning and people. Maybe I will change my mind one day and do some selected live shows at some point.
Thanks a lot for taking the time for this interview, Kvalvaag! Skål and Hails!
Same to you! Thank you for the support and interest!