Heidevolk is not teaching history but tapping themes

From the Netherlands comes Heidevolk. This six piece unit plays pagan/folk with a little pinch of black metal. Heidevolk composes music glorifying their country’s glorious past. having to suffer though the oppessive occupying forces of the Romans, Spanish and later the Germans in WWII. Not taking their occupation laying down the Dutch fought and resisted all occupiers. March 2nd Heidivolk will release the new opus titled “Batavi”. Which is one of the best pagan metal albums I heard in quite some. What makes this album different from most pagan metal album is the heaviness of the guitars and producer Peter Tagteran. Let’s take the journey though time with the Batavi tribe of Heidevolk.

Good afternoon I hope all is well as for me I’m enjoying this beautiful 80 degree day in febuary?
And a good afternoon to you to! We’re doing extremely well, had a hell of a CD release party last Saturday and now we are enjoying the reactions and comments of our fans.

80 degree? I know the weather has been a bit weird (2 weeks of 14 degrees in February) but 80 degree?

First I like to know a little about the band and a little about the band’s name too?
Heidevolk is a six piece band from the Netherlands who play metal in their own style and their own liking which can best be described as folk metal or pagan metal. We make songs about forgotten times from an historic point of view, which we deliver in our native tongue. We’re not trying to deliver a history lesson (you should go to school for that) nor trying to deliver a clear message, we’re merely tapping themes from the rich history of the region we live in.

Having said that it sounds a bit dull doesn’t it? But I can smile and tell you guys and gals that our band is about having fun, enjoying yourself with good music. We’re six men with fulltime jobs and a grown outta proportion hobby, which is our band.

Starting off as a partying beer, nature and battle themed metalgroup we’ve grown during the last years into a semi-professional band that plays all around Europe and is currently looking over the Atlantic for nice raid. Hahaha!

Heidevolk means people from the heath. We’ve chosen that name ten years ago while we we’re walking through the beautiful nature Gelderland provides. Heath is quite dominant here. So we we’re playing a long with that word and came up with Heidevolk.

How many albums the band released prior to “Batavi”?
We’ve released four albums and two mini CD’s. We’re trying to deliver one each one-and-a-halve years but that always turns out as a two year wait. So lets see if how we manage it this time. The first CD’s and two mini’s we’re self financed and self released. With me running to the post office with piles of CD and merch order every day we realized it was time to find a record label. So we’ve found Napalm (or actually they found us) and we’ve released three albums since we’ve signed on (2008).

I’m listening to the band’s music for the first time it’s somewhat heavier than most pagan metal albums? Is it the band’s intentions from the beginning for this album to be more gutar heavy on this album?
Yeah, we’ve noticed that too. Its funny actually because normally we don’t hear if its gonna be heavier until it is fully recorded. This time we’ve chosen for rougher production and faster songs from the start. We were (typically Heidevolk) having a drink in a bar somewhere in January 2011 when we decided that the album, should be more aggressive, faster and more metal. That is when we decided that it should be produced by Peter Tagtgren and luckily he accepted the challenge.

Comparing “Batavi” with other pagan metal albums I indeed think it is a bit heavier then you’ll find normally in the scene. But its good to have some refreshing music in a crowded scene and with that I know for sure that a lot of people that do not listen to pagan metal might really enjoy the album. It sounds organic and determined.

In your own words, can you tell the readers about the new album “Batavi”?
Batavi” is a concept album about revolt and the fight for freedom, which is carried by rough and intense music. The drums and riffing could be classified as metal with folk, power, black and death metal influences; actually the folky parts are reduced in this album in favor of straight-out neck twisting metal. The vocals are mainly dual male clean vocals with the occasional scream or battle cry.

Please give the readers a brief summary of the Batavi tribe and how this tribe different from the picts?
The Batavi are a tribe that lived around the year 0 in the most turbulent time of the roman oppression. Forced to make an alliance with the romans they had to fight in their armies as an elite force. When the demands of the Roman Empire became to high they revolted against the Romans and fought and defeated them along the river Rhine. In the end the revolt was crushed and they had to ally again with the Romans.

They we’re a horsetribe which did exceptional great service during the invasion of Brittain as they could swim while sitting on their horse, ready to meet the enemy on the shore.

How you like working with Peter Tagtgren? How is working with him different from wother producer you worked with in the past?
Peter is a great producer everybody knows that. But having worked with him I must say he really is a great producer! He is professional and precise and will tell you when you’ve made a mistake when you are not ready to admit it. He knows his metal sound and is a guarantee for a great product (if the songs are right of course hahaha). Dick Kemper (Uit Oude Grond and Walhalla Wacht) is a rock producer and there is the difference. Our music now is slightly out of the comfort zone of a rock producer but straight in the zone of a metal producer.

Which studio the band used for the recording of the album?
Drums where recorded in The Abyss in Sweden under the watchful eye of Peter and the other instrument where recorded in the XPZ studio which is the home studio of our sound tech Nico van Monfort. The total mix was done by Peter again in The Abyss and mastering was done by Jonas at the Black Lounge studio in Sweden.

What kind of feedback you recieved from the fans and the press so far? Have the reviews been positive so far?
The feedback has been amazing! Very positive reviews. Some of them are struggling with the fact that we’re not the folk metal blueprint everybody knows anymore but then again they appreciate the change and the more distinguished sound. This was the first time we were all completely happy with the album. And it turns out the world is also happy with our album.

“Batavi” will be released March 2nd, has the tested any of these new songs live yet? If so how the fans responded to the new material?
Last Saturday it was the first time we played the new album. Realizing that nobody ever heard the new material the reaction of the crowd was great to say the least. We were a bit nervous but everybody picked it up and it turned as a great night. We will be playing a lot of it next couple of months so they should be well oiled growling live vehicles in no time hahaha

How’s your fan base in the States? Are there any plans for the band to play some shows in the States in the near future?
Most definitely, we’re working on that!

Are you pleased with the job Napalm Records doing as far as supporting and promoting the band?
Napalm is great in promoting! When you see how much attention they have for advertising we’re lucky to have them as a label. We are pretty much self supplying when it comes to the metal business but they add everything we do not have.

What shows and festivals the band is playing this year?
First we’re doing the Paganfest tour in March and the Metalfest shows in June. In between we will be playing shows in the Netherlands, Germany Italy and more.

I like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview any last words?
Thank you man, take care and to everybody: enjoy Batavi!

Interviewer: Paul Lewis

Feb 27, 2012

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