And now maybe not the most usual band for this blog, even if originally rooted in black metal... but Heiden music has developed and evolved strongly. Into what? Dark, melancholia. I like their all albums anyway, so I wanted to get this interview... which my friend Karel did for www.nbc.art.pl. This here is nothing else, but an English version of the same interview, to support the great Czech band. Heiden!
Hi, Same guys as on previous record, brand new album and totally different music. What pushed you to make such radical changes of genre? Was it a fact that black metal at some point was holding you down or maybe you feel that you have much more to offer to the world?
Einsk: Hello, you're right. Every each album is little bit different from the previous albums. The reason is our own entertainment. The main cause why we still do the music, is that we love to try new things and discover unknown places in our music. It would be very boring to play the same music for years. We need to push our work forward. It is very important for us. We don't think about our music like about the genre. It is just our music and the fact that black metal disappeared was not planned before.
Those changes weren't violent, but really smooth, just step by step. Can you mark on your timeline that particular moment when you seriously started to think about doing something different with your music? Could it be the split CD with Trollech, where we can hear Heiden as a (still black metal) mature band versus more typical harsh & a little bit folkish black metal by Trollech? Or maybe it was a time when next album („Obsidian“) appeared?
Einsk: In early years we have been playing pagan black metal. But all what we wanted to show was done and we felt empty since “Tinne” album. Also our minds moved forward and we started to compose more rock influenced music as well as more melancholic lyrics. This album was „Era 2“. However more progress could be found on the split with Trollech. It was our symbolic „goodbye“ to pagan black metal act. “Obsidian” was very grim album. We have taken all of our personal darkness and putted it into the music of “Obsidian”.
„Dolores“ came out two years after „Obsidian“ and it's clearly obvious from the first note that the music was different this time. Less brutal, more diverse and simple at the same time with some remarkable melodies. There was no black metal at all on this record. It was a time when melancholy just dominated everything: the atmosphere, the lyrics, even the sound of the guitars… I really enjoy this album because it was very fresh at the moment. What are your thoughts about it after couple years?
Einsk: “Dolores” is very special album for us. With lots of personal feeling and memories. These times weren't easy for all of band members. Kverd's serious hand injury in job has changed everything. We decided to delete all already finished songs and start with the new ones. More atmospheric, more eerie and spiritual. When you listen to this record maybe you feel really compact mood. This album was very successful here in Czech Republic and won Anděl (Czech Grammy for best Hard&Heavy album) and Břitva award for best metal album. Our career 's highlight moments.
And after I heard it there was no way you can run away from similarities to early Katatonia („Brave Murder Day“ or „Discouraged Ones“ era) and on the other hand Agalloch – that was easy hearable, but in a good way. What do you think about latest album of Swedes? Because I think they had their best time and now it's just ride with the same ticket…
Einsk: We don't know Agalloch so much but Katatonia is really great band for years. However I think their music is more melodic on these records than ours. Somewhere behind our tunes there is a little touch of black metal still to hear.
Latest Katatonia albums are great and we always look forward to another one and never miss. I can find the differences between their last albums. So here I must to disagree with you :-)
„Dolores“ it's pretty good album, with up and downs, but after I heard „AKUNVST“ my first thought was: damn, it's so delicious! Best spent 10 euros lately! Really, congratulations on your latest effort – this album turned my top list of 2013 upside down! How was the writing process look like? Was it different is some way than the previous?
Einsk: The writing process of “AKUNVST” was little bit different, more focused on details and more than before we worked with atmosphere. Also we felt that harsh vocals are not enough for this upcoming record. This is the most complex Heiden record. The recording works in the studio were also harder than before.
Call me annoying, but still I hear mid-Katatonia influence on the new record. That just my impression, but I think your arrangements are pretty solid, natural, I don't know – even less complex maybe? One of the coolest things about this album is that I can say that it sounds like a… Heiden album! Do you think you found your own sound this time?
Einsk: I think we have found the Heiden sound completely on “Dolores” album. “AKUNVST” needed clearer sound but to keep the atmosphere. Sound is natural and real. It was hard to mix it together but it worked out well, I think.
Plus of course Czech language – one of your biggest advantage in my opinion – it just fits your music very well. What is the main reason you are holding to your native language from the beginning? Some people may perceive it as some exotic thing since Czech language isn't popular in Europe. Are you not afraid that this one particular thing could close many doors to your music?
Einsk: We need to use Czech lyrics, because themes are very personal and we can't translate these thoughts in English without loss of sense. Maybe someone has a problem with the Czech language and Czech can sounds unusual, but we don't care about that. I know lot of Russian, Swedish, Finnish bands, which use the native language also and no doors seems to be closed for them.
Can you explain those who don't know a single world in Czech language what is „AKUNVST“ about? Some titles are clear for me, but I'm curious what's behind those words of yours. I'm pretty sure you don't sing about positive things at all. Or maybe you do, but in a very sad way :)
Einsk: “AKUNVST” (“A kdybys už nebyla, vymyslím si tě”) means “If you won't exist anymore, I'll imagine you”. This album is about the fact when you have lost your closest person and you don't want to accept it and feel you'll never forget. Whole album is conceptual in lyric theme. Some tracks are about the reunion, lost, lies, disappointment and loneliness. We also use lot of allegories in Czech.
How fans / critics react to your new album? Did you met haters and alikes on your way? Hypothetical situation. Someone said: „they sold out“, „their latest CD is so soft I can use it as a sponge in the shower“ :D What do you have to say all those, let's not afraid of this word: losers? Yeah, I know, world is brutal and some people are stupid, but hey, everyone may say and think whatever the hell they want…
Einsk: Critics are very good , I must say. We are grateful that people welcome the progress in our performance. Sure we hear some opinions that it's too soft. You know, we do what we do and it's your choice and taste if you'll enjoy our tunes. We have lost some black metal fans and got lots of new rock fans. We are very attentive to critics but they can't affect us.
What was the reason to change your previous label? You didn't fit to Naga Records anymore? Or you want to try something new? Correct me if I'm wrong but Epidemie Records is much bigger label, is that true? Any expectations you have with your new management? What's your opinion about them so far?
Einsk: Naga Productions was my own label, but I was tired with that work and have no energy to lead that anymore. So the label split up and we wanted to self-release “AKUNVST”. But 3 months before recording Martin from Epidemie Records offered the deal for the CD release. We are glad to cooperate because Epidemie is steady label at Czech scene and we like lots of his releases. Epidemie isn't bigger than Naga was, I think. The level is the same, but Martin is very cool guy with lot of energy and ideas about music. We have also released limited “AKUNVST” vinyl version with THE AARDVARK music zine.
There are two important people with whom you continue cooperation. First one is an author of your cover Ludek Rezac. I like this picture, even if it’s much quite opposite to previous one. Was it a painting on demand or you choose it from his portfolio?
Einsk: The painting was on demand because we had a complete idea about the cover. We chose the swan because they live their life with the only mate. And when the mate dies they live alone for the rest of their life. Very sad... Luděk is very skilful guy and helps us so much. And another great thing is exclusivity, because Luděk is our friend and don't work with any other bands :-)
The second person I have on my mind is your keyboard player aka Werlinga. This guy fits very well to your style and even if I'm not a big fan of this instrument (OK, Hammonds are great) this time I think he did an awesome job. Is he a friend of the band? I see he also take pictures of you this time?
Einsk: Yes, SHE has made great job and now I can't imagine “AKUNVST” without keyboard. This instrument help us with creating the atmosphere. We don't like the orchestrations so much, but these hammond sound fits to us great. Werlinga plays with Morgue Son band and she is very closed person for us. And of course she helps to take photos when we need new band photo to do :-)
You have played couple gigs in Czech with bands such as Morgue Son and Et Moriemur. Are they your friends? What can you tell us about them? How the newest music was receive by people at concert?
Einsk: Yes, we know some of these guys for years and we always support each other. Morgue Son plays atmospheric progressive metal with lot of very cool influences and Et Moriemur plays true funeral doom. Very devastating old school act. All the gigs we played with “AKUNVST” were great and people were amazing. Hope we will play more live shows in future.
Is Heiden a popular band in your country? What is the condition of rock / metel scene behind our south border? I know Six Degrees o Separation or Brutally Deceased and Draco Hypnalis. Do you have bands (beside Heiden of course;) that can seriously conquer the Europe or World? Some recommendations from you would be appreciated.
Einsk: No, we are not so popular here. We are underground band and lot of our activities we organize by ourselves. We are very satisfied with the responses but still we are more unknown than popular, I think. Yes, we have really great bands here. Try experimental electro Floex or indie rock band Sunshine. Great acts. And if you like some metal bands try Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy or Dying Passion.
Thanks a lot for your time! Wish you all a great year!Einsk: Thanks a lot for all your support! Great work!