DATE OF INTERVIEW:
13th February 2012
METAL DISCOVERY: The band obviously lost one of its founding members last year when Sebas decided to leave and he was quoted on your website as saying: “I have decided to focus myself more on Paganism”. Did he feel that Heidevolk no longer offered him a strong enough opportunity to exercise his Pagan views and beliefs? You weren’t Pagan enough for him?!
REAMON: [laughs] That was one of the reasons. I have to be careful not saying things… not speaking for him, you know. When he started the band he had really a lot of influence…and, now, everybody’s writing songs so maybe he thought – “it isn’t really me anymore.” Maybe it wasn’t his thing anymore or maybe he just did what he had to do with Heidevolk and was ready for a new challenge. Also, a big part of him leaving Heidevolk was he had a new girlfriend who lives in Germany and he decided to move to Germany, and Heidevolk is a real band in the sense of guys coming together, drinking a couple of beers and writing music together. That gets more difficult if someone moves away.
(Reamon Bomenbreker on camaraderie within Heidevolk)
"It’s not a band where we come together, play and then we don’t see each other again after. Almost every Sunday the whole band or a part of the band is together, watching rugby, like Six Nations, or just drinking a pint. There’s a lot of companionship so, in that way, maybe we are a tribe!"
Heidevolk - promo shot
Interview by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2011 Awik Balaian
Heidevolk Official Website:
De Strijdlust Is Geboren (2005)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
Wodan Heerst EP (2007)
Heidevolk Official MySpace:
Walhalla Wacht (2008)
Uit Oude Grond (2010)
MD: So you all live in the same town then?
REAMON: Almost everyone, but in the same region. It’s a small country so everybody lives close together.
MD: Yeah, of course, so even if you’re down in Venlo or right up north then it’s not too far.
REAMON: Yeah, exactly.
MD: Have you got plans to recruit another guitarist either as a fulltime member or a live session player?
REAMON: Well, we have a new guitar player called Kevin and he’s doing very good. I already knew him from another band I played with before so I already knew that he could play the guitar and he did fill in for me on a tour once so the guys already knew him. He did so great with the first few rehearsals that he even played some solos on the new album so he’s already sort of incorporated in the band.
MD: So is he just a session member at the moment or a fulltime, permanent member now?
REAMON: Well, we’re giving him a trial period, not because we’re afraid he can’t manage it or something like that but just to see if he could because he has a family.
MD: Yeah, because it’s got to work both ways I guess, it’s got to be right for him and it’s got to be right for you. So the forthcoming Paganfest tour, is that going to be his interview almost, like his trial period?
REAMON: [laughs] Yeah, if everyone gets back without any big fights or anything, you could say… [laughs]…
MD: … then he’s in the band!
REAMON: Yeah, exactly! But he’s a cool guy, just as crazy as the rest of us. We’re serious about the music, we’re serious about the albums, but we also have a lot of fun, and he’s a guy who’s easy to get along with.
MD: Cool, that’s what you want. So you’re generally placed under the folk metal banner, and you get called Pagan metal too but do you think that kind of label could be misleading for people who haven’t heard you yet because I think your music offers a lot more besides what some people might perceive as that genre?
REAMON: Well, I think the whole label thing is difficult for every metal band nowadays. In the old days if somebody said you played thrash metal, they played this… but now there are so many styles blending together. The new album, if you like folk metal, I think there are folk metal aspects to it but I think it’s widened. A lot of friends of mine weren’t really into folk metal and they said, “oh, I like this album”, and they didn’t really like the albums before because they weren’t really into folk metal. It’s possible that it will attract a wider audience. I hope so!
MD: I can even hear some black metal style parts in there with a bit of tremolo picking and whatever.
REAMON: Yeah, some people say there’s more black metal in it. Also, I’ve heard some people say it’s more power metal! [laughs]
MD: Oh right, really?!
REAMON: The genres of metal are pretty far!
MD: Definitely, it’s all mixed up these days. As part of the press materials I had, it says: “Heidevolk stands for an uncompromising attitude, intense shows, and the transcendence of barriers between performer and audience…Even if your Dutch sucks!” In what ways would you describe a Heidevolk show as intense and how do you transcend the band/audience barriers?
REAMON: Well, we just noticed that even if you play a black metal festival or something like that, a death metal festival, that they always go crazy. There’s a sort of vibe between the audience and Heidevolk so I think Joris wrote the part you just mentioned. There’s definitely something special between Heidevolk and the audience that’s difficult to describe. We don’t have a lot of bad shows under our name. I mean, there are shows where we play less well than other shows of course and after the show it’s, “oh fuck, we fucked up that”, but if you talk to the audience it’s, “ahhh man, this rules”. So I think that’s what Joris meant, there’s just a lot of energy on stage.
MD: So do you regard the band itself as a kind of tribe travelling around the world and conquering new territories?!
MD: In a very metaphorical sense, of course!
REAMON: [laughs] I’ve never heard that one! Yeah! Well, there is a sort of heavy companionship within the band so we do feel connected. It’s not a band where we come together, play and then we don’t see each other again after. Almost every Sunday the whole band or a part of the band is together, watching rugby, like Six Nations, or just drinking a pint. There’s a lot of companionship so, in that way, maybe we are a tribe! [laughs]
MD: As we mentioned already, you’re embarking on the Paganfest tour around Europe next month and you were part of Heidenfest in 2010… actually, was that the only UK show you’ve ever played, when you were on the Heidenfest tour?
REAMON: Let me think…
MD: I know you were supposed to do the Alestorm tour over here three years ago but pulled out of the UK dates.
REAMON: Yeah, I don’t know if we pulled out or never really said that we would!
MD: I was at one of those gigs and just before Týr came on the whole crowd were chanting “Heidevolk”! So up to the point of when you were due on stage people still thought you were playing!
REAMON: Yeah, but I think we never said we were going to play but there was some miscommunication. But the guys from Alestorm told us so I know that story! [laughs] Although I’m sorry for Týr they did it but it’s cool to hear people were chanting our name! [laughs] But I think Heidenfest was the only UK gig, yeah, maybe two times… one or two times that we’ve played in the UK.
MD: So how do you find being part of those package tours and in the company of a really strong lineup of bands?
REAMON: Well, the cool thing about package tours is you play to a wider audience which is always nice. And the cool thing about the last couple of tours we did is we played with guys who were just cool to hang around with. If you’re in a tour bus with a band who are the opposite of you or just arseholes then the whole tour could be a bummer! And it’s the chance to play for a much bigger audience than if we just played there by ourselves.
MD: Defintiely. My final question – why should people rush out and buy the new album when it’s released next month? What do you want to say to recommend everybody buys it?
REAMON: I like every album that we make but with this album… normally when we’ve finished recording an album, I’ve played the songs so much and heard them so many times that I just put it away for a few weeks or something, you know, I don’t want to hear it. With this album, when I go and work out or something, I still have it on my mp3 player so I think it has a unique combination of aggression and folk elements and that’s what makes it pretty special. The first responses and reviews are fantastic so I think the combination of the aggression and darkness and still the two male clean vocalists make it a special album.
MD: Definitely. I would agree as well. And I hope it does really well for you.
REAMON: I really hope so, yeah!
MD: That’s me done so thank you very much for your time.
REAMON: Cool, and thank you for the opportunity for me to, you know, tell my story! [laughs]
MD: And good luck with the Paganfest tour and hopefully you’ll make it over to the UK at some point soon.
REAMON: Yeah and well, if we do, knock on our door and drink a pint with us!
MD: Absolutely, we’ll share a beer or two! Alright, cheers.
REAMON: Hey, see you!