I was introduced to Vetterkult, the debut album from Norwegian black metal band Vetter in the closing days of 2013. I knew pretty much straight away that I needed to get under the skin of the man behind the mayhem, Håvard Tveito. I’m honoured that Håvard agreed to an interview for Wyrd Words & Effigies and am extremely proud to present it to you now.
Vetter has been in existence since 2003. What would you say the reasons are for the debut album appearing in 2012? Were the years leading up to it fundamental development years, or was it more of a matter of life getting in the way?
The first demo was released in 2005 and after this I had a long creative dry period, and some general disillusions. Though I worked constantly from the demo up to the album was finished, though it was never clear which direction I would take with the album. It was carved out over many years, perfecting the songs and the sound.
What is the back-story to the name Vetter?
Vetter is a common term for supernatural beings, or those who dwell below the earth in old Norwegian folk-lore. The name is closely linked to the rites connected to the ancestral rites. Sacrifices would be made to these beings to preserve the well-being of the family and the farm. The theme of sacrifices is an on-going theme throughout the Vetterkult album.
What is your starting point with a song? Do you have a tried and tested routine, or is it more of a spontaneous happening?
I tend to shy away from routines when it comes to writing. But is double-edged sword, to be able to write the music I want a certain amount of practice and routine is required. But I in general hate practising for the sake of practising as it usually makes a dull result. The music should have an edge, and this is best achieved with a certain amount of spontaneity or pure chaos. I tend to layer my music with a certain dissonance between the elements to make up for the fact that I am a sole person recording this music, and one can lack some of the effects of a group of musicians playing together.
In my research, something I read which interested me was that when Vetterkult is taken as a whole, it ‘defies categorisation.’ What are your thoughts about this? Where would you personally place the album?
Where to place the album may be a tough one but it does not concern me too much. Though I would say that one should regard the album as a whole. To me categories, genres or techniques is not the most important, but rather the overall message or simply the overall feeling of the work. As I did not only work with the music and words on this album I would use each element of the album to express something that I was unable to express purely through the music. As such the cover art is not something which sums up the music or rather compliments the music it says something I could not otherwise express. The gatefold stems from an old installation I did, where parts of Slaatten was used as the sonic part, so it has been a constant investigation which led up to the album.
What are your three major influences when it comes to the music you create for Vetter?
As far as my inspirations for the album goes it is the hard life in woods of Norway in ancient times. The relationship between man and nature. The music reflects this, and it is the bottom line. To me all the music draws upon this relationship. The folk music in Norway is born out of this relationship as well, and you can both hear it and feel it I think. The scales are different from the tempered western art music or modern popular music. Which makes it sound almost foreign even to Norwegian ears today. I believe that this is a great loss. To me which category one would put the music is not so important at all, it is more about the larger picture. Though I would guess both folk music and Metal are the main terms to be used. Though a lot of people seem to miss the folk aspects of the album, but I think this derives from the misconceptions about what folk music is coming from so-called “folk-metal” which for most cases has nothing to do with folk music, which is rather sad. Personally I prefer folk rock any day ha ha. Bands such as Fairport convention, Steeleye Span and Folque have been great inspirations for me. As folk music a draw mostly from the traditional material from Herefoss and Setesdal, which have the most vibrant tradition in the south of Norway. Aani Rysstad who was a mouth harp player from Setesdal has been a great inspiration. But I also draw inspiration from a lot of avant-garde composers such as Stockhausen, Arvo Pärt and Ligeti. As well as some of the more obvious references such as Burzum, Darkthrone and Mayhem in the one end to Black Sabbath, blue cheer and Sir Lord Baltimore in the other.
Are the lengthy winters in Norway of benefit to your creativity?
Well I would certainly guess so, the winters here does cause a certain amount of isolation… You get more time to reflect and to write. The social life is in general a lot different than in central Europe. As well as when the woods are draped in snow you have an amazing calmness. They way you hear your surroundings change as all is muted by the snow…
Would you say that you’ve fully embraced the internet where music distribution and listening is concerned? Are you a heavy user of sites such as Spotify and LastFM?
I have used Spotify ever since the first free version came out, and I must say that the concept is really good at least from the listener’s point of view. Though it did cause a bit of musical hyper-activeness in the beginning, constantly searching for new stuff rather than deep concentrated listening. I do not have too much to spare for LastFM and the like, as it is to “public” for me. I don’t like the idea of sharing my every move or what I listen to all the time, this constant self surveillance is not for me.
Were you hesitant in getting a Facebook page for Vetter, and what are your thoughts on the social media site as a whole?
In a way I do not see using Facebook to promote my music as any different than it was to use the postal service to trade tapes in the 80s, it is a mere system of communication. Though I am not using it very actively these days.
You are a multi-talented individual, and have numerous other projects on the go. Can you provide some details about these?
My main project aside from Vetter is Sonisk Blodbad. A project I started together with Ole Christensen. The band just released a new single with contributions from Clive Jones from legendary Black widow. And Laurie Amat who worked with the residents. And at the same time a film I made with Ole called Against the grain is also out these days, after a few years of delays. It features among others Manheim (ex Mayhem) on drums, German electronic music pioneer Conrad Schnitzler of Tangerine dream also made a contribution to the project just before he sadly passed away. As some of you may know he made the Silvester Anfang intro to Mayhems Deathcrush, so it was quite an honour having them both work together on this project. The film was recorded in an old industrial silo, with a unique reverb, which really gave the music a distinct sound…
What can we expect next from Vetter, and where on the web can we find you?
The next planned release is a 10” split with Norwegian band Detritivore. The release has been finished for some time now, but it has had some delays. Hopefully it should be out during the spring 2014. I have quite a lot of material written for a new album, but nothing has materialized quite yet. But I tend to use some time to finish an album. I would never release anything until it is at the level I want it to be. General info can be found through Demonhood as folknoise.com has not been updated in a long time. Thanks for your interest in the music.