Interview: Kverlertak’s Meciak/Live at Altar Bar Friday


Norway’s rock royalty, Kvelertak, just announced their new album, NATTESFERD, and will be leaving their Viking ships behind next month to embark on their latest North American headline tour. They’ll hit Altar Bar on April 15th with support from label mates Wild Throne and Torche.

Kvelertak made a stunning international impact with the release of their 2013 album MEIR, earning the six-piece numerous “Best of 2013” honors. Both Rolling Stone and SPIN placed MEIR at #2 on their ‘Best Metal Albums of 2013’ recaps, while The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff picked standout track “Spring Fra Livet” as one of his ‘Top Songs of 2013’. Additionally, MEIR landed at #15 on Stereogum’s ‘50 Best Albums of 2013,’ and came in at #4 on Revolver’s ‘20 Best Albums of 2013’ list.

PMM: You got a pretty exciting tour coming up, here. How do you guys prepare for a tour?

Maciek: This is the first tour we do in a long while. We are just going to rehearse a lot, I guess.

PMM: Are you in the middle of rehearsing, now?

Maciek: Yeah. We just a couple of weeks ago, we came out of the studio, and we’ve done one show after we finished a new recording. We’re not in a playing, state of mind, right now. We’ll get there.

PMM:Is the new record still slated for May thirteenth?

Maciek: Yes.

PMM: Excellent. It’s named by Rolling Stone, one of the twenty-five most anticipated metal albums, for this year.
Does that come as a surprise, not singing in English?

Maciek: It would have come as a surprise even if we did sing in English. It’s a huge, I personally think it’s a huge thing. I would never think that they even, I don’t know how they knew all of us. I don’t know. It’s insane. I just find it very insane. It’s cool. I hope it delivers.

PMM: Oh. I am sure it will. I’ve actually heard a few songs. Of course, including 1985 …

Maciek: Oh. Cool.

PMM: 1985 it has an Orwellian influence, can you talk about that a little bit?

Maciek: Yeah. It definitely has, I mean, I feel like we, the whole vibe of the album is very space out there, very spacey. I feel like we’ve made a space rock album, basically. That’s where the Orwell thing comes in.

Maciek: We recorded this album, live. The other two are on a click. It kind of sounds different, it has a different vibe. The songs are all so different. I just feel like we went in a little different, you know, we added this different angle for this album. I personally feel that it worked very well. I guess, the space thing comes from how the songs sound, but also how the sound of the album turned out, seeing as we, it’s very organic and natural. It floats, as you would do in space.

PMM: How do you guys approach the recording process? Before you get into the studio, how do you guys usually collaborate?

Maciek: It’s been different, every time. The first album, was pretty much done, and written before we went into the studio. The second album, we basically wrote on the road. Because we were touring so much from the first album.
This, the third album, we had, we took time off to be able to have time to rehearse, and write songs together. Being in the rehearsal room. It was a completely new approach to writing together. The reason why we did it live, was that we wanted to do something new. We just wanted to see how that would turn out, and we got kind of tired of the process of laying track upon track. Just wanted to do something new in the studio.

PMM: Outside the studio, obviously you’ve done a lot of touring. I was able to see you open up for Mastodon, and Gojira. Which was a great show.

Maciek: Oh. Cool. In Pittsburgh?

PMM: Yeah. Stage AE.

Maciek: Oh. Awesome. Yeah. That was a cool show.

PMM: Yeah. It was a great show. It’s always good to see a full bill of great bands. You also toured with Slayer, and Anthrax, earlier, what was that? October, or so?

Maciek: Yeah.

PMM: What do you get from some of these bands that kind of have bigger names, and so forth. Obviously, Slayer and Anthrax have been around, seems like forever? Do you interact and get some advice, at all?

Maciek: Yeah. Definitely. We interact with, I mean, every band that we’ve ever toured with has been awesome to us. Mastodon and Gojira were, we did that tour twice, and that was a game changer for us, in the states, and also a personal experience, a mean a personal growth, you grow from an experience like that. You get to talk to musicians that, I personally look up to, and love, and have been a huge influence for me. It’s cool to see how they approach the process of everything, being on tour, writing songs, how they play live, what gear they use. You get inspired in every aspect of that, the Slayer tour was also, really fucking cool. [inaudible 00:06:26] and Anthrax were really, really cool to us. That’s an even bigger tour, a bigger production, and it’s just cool to see how bands approach touring, from that perspective, that you get to see what they do everyday for six weeks. It’s inspiring, and yeah, definitely, it’s very inspiring.

PMM: Originally, I had seen that you were supposed to go out with Anthrax, and Lamb of God. Did something happen there, or was it just bad information?

Maciek: That we were supposed to go out with Anthrax, and Lamb of God?

PMM: Yeah. Here in the states.

Maciek: Oh. I didn’t know that, actually.

PMM: The PR company for it, actually put that out, and then two days later they were like, don’t say anything to anybody, and then …

Maciek: Oh. Really?

PMM: A week later. Yeah. A week later, it changed. I am like, wonder what happened there?

Maciek: I would love to do that tour, but I actually honest to god, had no idea that we (considered for) Lamb of God, and Anthrax in the states.

PMM: Your influences, you talked about being influenced by some of the bands you played with. When you read about, your band, there’s the automatic, typically, AC/DC feel. For yourself, personally, as a guitar player, what type of influences, like some specific ones, have really developed your style?

Maciek: Oh. Man. That’s a lot. I started playing guitar, because I wanted to play hard core, and punk.
From that, I got into metal music and I wanted to improve my technique. That was pretty much, the classics, Metallica, Maden, and also, Death, the band Death had a huge influence, for me, personally. From there, you pick what you like in music, generally, and I just tried to find different stuff, everything from Mastodon, but also, Joe Pass. You just take different, I hear stuff that I like, and I kind of figure it out, and blend it in to my own playing.

PMM: For those of us, in the states, that see some of these amazing Norwegian bands, come through, can you describe the scene there?

Maciek: Yeah. Like you said, there’s tons of great bands coming out, out of Norway, and a lot of them have been around for a very good while. That scene is awesome. It just keeps on growing. There’s new bands that are popping up that are fucking amazing. Yeah. I don’t see an end to the Norwegian metal scene, at this point. I think it is going to keep growing and getting bigger, and bigger, and better.

PMM: Tough question, for you what do you think has been the biggest mistake the band has made?

Maciek: I wish we didn’t rap on national Norwegian radio. When we first started to break through in Norway, we were invited to this talk show thing on the radio, and we had to rap on an Norwegian artist.
We had to do a cover of a Norwegian rap artist. If I could go back and change anything. That would be that. I would never say, yes, to that, now. At the time, we were just like, fuck, we can be on the radio, that’s insane, they want us on the radio? Today? No, fucking way that I would do it.
Thankfully, I think no one heard it. Yeah. Write that in small letters. I don’t think you can find it, either, it was just aired live once, and that was it.

PMM: Oh. That’s good its not on Youtube.

Maciek: No. Thank God. Yeah.

PMM: You guys will be here pretty soon, actually just over a couple weeks, April 15 at the Altar Bar, about your fourth show …

Maciek: Yeah. We’ll be pretty fresh. We start rehearsing, now, on Monday, and yeah, I’m excited, man, we’ve had, like I said, we’ve had a lot of time off, from playing so everyone is really hungry to go out on tour, this is going to be our first tour from, the last tour we did, was with Slayer, and we got home in November, so we haven’t played, we’ve played two shows, ever since. Yeah. We’re hungry. It’s going to be good to get out in the road, again. Especially, in the states, we haven’t done a tour in the states, in fucking forever or so. I am really excited.

PMM: Great. We are excited, too. Cannot wait to see you guys.

Maciek: Yeah. Awesome, man.

“…these guys are modern-day hard rock’s burning core, fusing various metals, punk, and thrash with a screamingly melodic flourish.”

“…a timeless beer-hoister, like a Back in Black outtake souped up with hardcore-style gang vocals, post-Jailbreak fret dancing and a soulful, bittersweet chorus….it’s basically perfect.”

“…bringing together melody, speed, and volume in totally new and entrancing ways; it’s a stunning display of fury and might… one of the catchiest things you’ll hear this year.”

“Meir — is shimmering poptimism in the face of commercially unpopular heavy music…musically inclusive, but still outrageously ravenous.”