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Interview with Kvelertak

Interview with Erlend Hjelvik


Can you please detail how you came up with the name ‘Kvelertak’ and what it was that inspired you to begin your metal journey?

I can’t remember, I guess we were just throwing names around and ended up with Kvelertak since it’s short and sweet. At least in Norway it is, I guess for you foreigners we’re just the band with the weird name.

Note: Kvelertak means 'strangehold' in English.


You've been described to me as a form of Punk Rocking Metal heavily influenced by Black Metal. How would you describe your style of music to a close friend? And which genre do you think the shops should be placing your CD under?

I would say to that friend “Hey, don’t stand so close to me and check out my rock band instead!”


What do you, Kvelertak, tend to base your lyrics on and could you quote your personal favourite?

Bad ass topics. On our debut it’s been mostly about old Norse mythology along with the occasional devil worshipping. On that album I’m the most pleased with the newest songs; Offernatt, Ulvetid and Nekroskop. It wouldn’t make much sense for me to quote lyrics in Norwegian here, but in the album sleeve I’ve written some liner-notes on what they are about.


What kind of costs usually go into creating and releasing an album? And how does the record label help with the overall recording and distribution process?

We’ve only made one album and it turned out pretty expensive! The record label just gave us a pretty small loan, so we got the rest of the money elsewhere. I don’t know much about the distribution process, but at least the album is in most stores.


What would be your most memorable gig to date and why?

I guess it would be warming up for the Foo Fighters in Oslo last summer, because it was the biggest crowd we ever played for - 22,000. When you play for that many people they look like a giant bowl of porridge!

kvelertak cd



Kvelertak - 2010 - Debut Album


You will be performing at Australia's Soundwave Festivals in 2012. Do you know much about Australian metal or Australia itself?

The only Australian bands I know of are AC/DC, Airbourne, Wolfmother and Deströyer 666. I wouldn’t say I know much about Australia, but I know you have shrimps, barbies, beaches, Aborigines, kangaroos and the tv-show, 'Home and Away'.


Most bands tell me metal has no money in it, so what do you all do besides playing in the band in order to earn your living?

Luckily we're not a metal band, so we actually make enough money that we don’t need any other jobs. But Bjarte records bands in a studio now and Marvin works as a shop-guy in a tattoo shop, us other guys don’t really do anything else.


What brand of instruments are you using and how did any endorsements come about?

I actually don’t know what brand of instruments we use, but I know we use orange-amps. I don’t know how the endorsement deal came about, I guess we just sent them pictures of us using their stuff.


What have been some of the more interesting adventures you’ve had with the band? Have there been many, if any, lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way?

Too much to mention! I guess most of the lessons we’ve learned the hard way are concerning money and logistics. I don’t want to get into details on that here, but we are learning (or at least trying to) all the time.


What have been some of the more bizarre signings you’ve had or the most bizarre experiences in general during your time with the band?

We had a Norwegian couple having front row sex during our show last summer. Fun. And on the last tour a German fan tried to give me a pack butter while we were playing, pretty considerate since we were having a butter-crisis at home at the time!


Let’s pretend you were creating a tour survival guide. What would be your top three tips for surviving a long tour with the band?

1. Laptop

2. Weed

3. Cough medicine - in that order.


Have you ever had any mystical experiences?

I encountered an old CD player that had the ghost of Jimi Hendrix inside it once! The CD player wouldn’t have any CDs in it, but would still play 'All along the watchtower' with the lyrics “There must be some way out of here”. I’m kind of curious on how Jimi Hendrix ended up in a CD player in Norway... weird!



Kvelertak Website

Kvelertak Facebook

Kvelertak Myspace

Kvelertak Twitter

Kvelertak Flickr

Kvelertak USA Merch

Kvelertak Europe Merch



‘Interview with Kvelertak’ by Déa di Morté © 04 February 2012
Hails! to Erlend Hjelvik for agreeing to participate and taking the time to complete this interview
All pictures courtesy of Kvelertak and Mads Maursted