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By: Andrew Rawlinson
Earlier this year Týr released their latest album Valkyrja, which was received very positively by us, describing it as “It is simply… perfect”. Andrew Rawlinson asked guitarist/vocalist Heri Joensen some questions about the band, influences and more.
(((o))): You formed in 1998, so first of all, how did the band originally meet?
Heri: Kári Streymoy and I casually bumped into each other in Copenhagen after moving there separately. We got together again to make a band, and soon after we asked Gunnar to join us. We all knew each other from playing in the same band in the Faeroes a few years earlier.
(((o))): Apart from the obvious bands who else have influenced and inspired you over your career?
Heri: Judas Priest, Dio, W.A.S.P. Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Savatage, Blind Guardian, and a lot of Nordic traditional music.
(((o))): Pagan/Viking metal has increased in popularity over the last few years (especially in the UK), has this surprised you and why do you think this is?
Heri: It hasn’t really surprised me. Everything Nordic is on the way up, and has been for years, and the styles of music associated with the Nordic countries follow by default.
(((o))): Is there a strong metal scene in the Faroe Islands and how did/do you fit into it?
Heri: There isn’t a separate metal scene. There is just a big music scene with all styles in it. We made our own place in it, as do other bands. It’s not really a question of fitting in anywhere.
(((o))): Your latest album Valkyrja has a more “straight up” heavy metal style of music compared to previous albums. Was this intended or by happy accident?
Heri: We’ve tried to streamline our style over the last few albums, without losing our recognisable style and trademarks. It’s a fine balance that we constantly work with.
(((o))): Valkyrja also includes two covers, the Iron Maiden cover is perhaps expected, but the Pantera cover of ‘Cemetery Gates’ is a bit more left field. What made you choose this song to cover?
Heri: It’s Terji’s favourite heavy metal song. We’ve covered the favourite of all band members, two on the last album and two on the second last album.
(((o))): You are soon to embark on an European Tour with Sabaton and Korpiklaani, what can the uninitiated expect from a Týr live show?
Heri: We’re going to put on the best show possible. We’ve done some improvements to our performance lately, and we hope for a good turnout at the shows so we can entertain our good old crowd and win over those who didn’t come to hear us yet.
(((o))): What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Heri: That’s hard to say. One of the really high points has been to sign with Metal Blade Records.
(((o))): You’re given the opportunity to create your own festival. What would be the first five bands on your list?
Heri: Judas Priest, Wintersun, Twisted Sister, Moonsorrow, W.A.S.P. …and Týr.
(((o))): Are they any places you have yet to play that you really want to?
Heri: Australia, Japan, China and Svalbard.
(((o))): What are your goals for the next year?
Heri: To write the best music so far and record it for our next album.