“HJELVIK im Interview”

Albumcover “Welcome To Hel”

Am 20.11.2020 kommt HJELVIK´s Debütalbum “Welcome To Hel” in die Läden. Die gesamte Metalwelt wartet gespannt auf Erelnds Solowerk, natürlich mit Band im Hintergrund. Ich habe mich mit ihm zu einem Interview per eMail verabredet und er bzw. seine Frau Shelby sagte sofort zu. Also, kein langes Vorgeplänkel sondern rein ins, wie ich fand, sehr schöne Interview mit HJELVIK.

Metal and Me


Hello Erlend. My name is Tobi. Thank you for taking the time to answer me a few questions. I run a Facebook page and a web blog. On this page I post reviews of current albums, interviews, band presentations and reports about concerts that I visit with a wheelchair. On the one hand, to tellother wheelchair users how the venue is equipped in terms of accessibility and, on the other hand, how best to proceed to get tickets, which is usually not possible with conventional ticket portals. Of course, I also rate the bands‘ performance. Today I have a few questions for you for your the Debutalbum „Welcome to Hel“. The first question: How are you?

Hey Tobi! I’m doing great, thanks! Just working away on everything that comes with putting out an Album, busy days!

How excited are you when you think about release day?

I’m very excited, especially since I’ve been listening to the album for over a year now. It feels great to finally be able to share it with people and I look forward to hearing the feedback. Hopefully people will like it as much as I do, hehe.

How was working with Matt Pike and Mike Scalzi?

Awesome! Matt came by the studio one day and did his vocal lines and then improvised his guitar solo on the spot. He did about 15 takes and all of them sounded amazing, so it was actually a little tough to choose the right one! Mike spent two days with us in the studio to do the vocals and guitars and he works a little differently, almost like a mad professor.

On the two solo parts and one of the bridge parts of Necromance he would layer lots of guitar melodies on top of eachother, the results turned out really cool and I’m amazed at how he could come up with all these complimentary parts on the spot. Very happy to get to work with both of them, they are both legends in their own right and it was very cool to watch how they work in the studio!

Can you tell us something about „Kveldulv“? My Norwegian is unfortunately very bad and the translators on the internet are bad.

Yes, the title literally translates into Evening-wolf. It was the nickname for an old Norwegian viking chieftain and scald/bard who was said to shapeshift into a wolf in the evenings, hence his nickname. I used his name to write the story about a Ulvhedner (wolf warrior, like a berserker) shapeshifting into a wolf and going into battle.

How long did you work on „Welcome to Hel?“.

I spent about 6 months writing all the music and lyrics, but I would say it took almost exactly a year to finish the whole album with mixing and mastering.

Do you know your way around Nordic sagas or did you have to research songs like “Ironwood”?

The story of Angrboda giving birth to Hel, Fenris and Jormundgandr in “Ironwood” is pretty straightforward though so I wouldn’t say it required much research, but I usually always do some extra reading and freshening up on a chosen topic before writing the lyrics just to have it fresh in my mind and maybe get some extra ideas.

Which myths or which character from the Nordic legends of the gods inspire you most when working
on your songs?

I feel the most inspired by Odin and hold him to be my patron-God. The stories where he sacrifices himself or his eye to gain more knowledge are inspiring to me and he is also associated with being a god of poetry as well as death which is appealing to me in my work. I have a wood statue of him that I give wine to on important occasions!

Wich is your personal favorite Nordic Legend?

There are alot of good ones, but probably my favorite ones are the ones involving Loki since they usually have a humorous element. For example the story of how Loki gave birth to Odin’s horse Sleipner is pretty peculiar!

Will you do Albums about famous Vikings in the Future?

Nothing’s set in stone, but on Welcome to Hel the song Necromance revolves around an event involving the famous Harald Hårfagre (or Finehair) and his at the time wife Snefrid. I’m sure there will be songs about other famous Vikings in the future as well.

How important was it to you to stay in touch with your fans via social media over the past few months and to find out what the mood is like in the fans‘ camp?

It feels especially important these days since I’m not able to connect with people on the road due to the pandemic. It feels good to have loyal and dedicated fans get in touch on social media, it seems like a lot of fans are happy to have me back which is very nice. I’m very happy and thankful for the support!

How did you deal with the restrictions from spring / summer? And how about them right now?

You just have to make the best of the situation and stay busy. We’re planning on touring next year, so we’re staying optimistic. The next step in the touring plan is to build a practice space in our basement so the whole band can come stay here at HJELVIK headquarters and practice when it comes time to go touring.

How much has it restricted you in your work life? Quite apart from the fact that no concerts were possible and at the moment there is also no possibility of performing live.

Yeah, it sucks to not be able to go out and tour right away, but for us it’s a double edged sword, the positive thing about it is that it’s allowed us to have some extra time with rolling out this release properly. Since we’re a totally new band everything has to be set up from scratch so it requires a lot of extra work, it would have been stressful to have to get ready for tour in the midst of everything. It is what it is, I’m confident everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

Do you have a stream concert in the near future or do you only want to perform in front of an audience.

There’s no plans of doing that yet, I would prefer to do some real, in-person touring first before doing a live-streaming event as it’s just the best way to connect with your fans. I’ll keep that option in the back pocket for sometime in the future though, and just see how this COVID-19 situation shapes up.

Is music also a means for you to switch off everything in this hectic world and to forget all the crap in „real life“ for a moment?

Yes, it’s had that function for me in the past, not so much anymore since I’m happy with what’s going on in my world. These days I mostly listen to music when I’m either working out or working on some project, it doesn’t make me forget about things but rather it helps me focus better on what I’m doing.

Finally, a few sentences from you to the metalheads out there!

Hey Metalheads! I urge you to check out my new music and if you like it, I would be really grateful if you support the band by pre-ordering the album or merch from our website www.HJELVIKmetal.com. Look forward to seeing everyone on the road, skål!

Thank you for the interview. Something that is important to me: stay heavy and healthy and good luck with the album!

Photo by Tom Lund