Leslava: First of all tell me about «Väsen». I like art, music, voice, but I’m interesting in inspiration. What inspire you?
Heljarmadr: Well first of all one must ask him/herself what inspires a person to even get out of bed in the morning? Many carry on their little tasks of getting the kids to school, go to work like good slaves, saying ‘‘yes sir’’ at work and ‘‘yes ma’am’’ at home. So I would say that the biggest inspiration for people in general is the fear of being left out, fear of death, fear of the void.
Ideologically inclined people get out of bed for a cause, be it soldiers, political fighters, environmentalists or religious fundamentalists.
As a musician I get out of bed to continue exploring the world of my music, to find out what sonic landscapes I can travel to, what pieces from my inner being I can extract into a gathering of words. And of course I am inspired by everything I experience outside of this closed little world too, people I meet, books I read, events in the world (both recent and historical), both the idiocy and brilliance in different actions or creations by my fellow humans. I get inspired by forests, by infrastructure, by industrial sites, by mountains, by the sky and the earth and the underworld.
Leslava: Philosophy of the album and the idea.
Leslava: «Väsen» is the beginning of the new way after «Ending»?
Heljarmadr: I’ll answer these together. «Väsen» is the first album after finishing the task we started back in 2010, to make conceptual releases about Death. It resulted in an EP, an album, another EP, a split 7, another album and several music videos and live concerts. When we felt that this task was fulfilled we had two options, either lay the band to rest or move in a new direction.
The first action we took was to have a new logo created so we hired the extremely talented Luciana Nedelea and she pulled it off as greatly as we knew she would. The second action was to record the «Ramsvarta Tankar» single, which lyrically moved in a more psychological direction and musically we worked more with the rythms, both on the drums and the rest of the arrangements.
This single was kind of a test, to see if we were doing something good or just continuing out of passion or just habit. The passion was definitely there and we immediately started to continue working on what would become «Väsen».
On «Väsen» there is no concept carved in stone but all songs are standing individually, with some kind of loose thread about war, the psychology and spirituality around it. That is reflected in the cover art.
Leslava: I like more «King of Decay» and «Dead Old Eyes». Can you tell me about this songs?
Heljarmadr: I’ll start with «Dead Old Eyes» since I guess there’s more to tell. I wrote that song back in 2003 for my old band Diabolic Lust, it was called «What is the Meaning?» back then and released on the demo «Embraced in Paradise».
I was going through old demos and rehearsal recordings from the past and that song stuck in my head. I re-learned it on guitar and made a fresh demo of it and realised that it’s a great song and that it would bring some diversity to «Väsen» as it’s a bit different and inspired by old Thrash metal bands like Sodom, Destruction, Megadeth and Slayer. I was heavily into that back then so I guess it came natural to write music in that style.
All the riffs are pretty much the same but I re-wrote the lyrics to bring them up to date with what I am doing and to better fit the music and the album as a whole.
Our new bass player Vediger was actually playing guitar on that old demo as he was in that band too which is pretty cool, to be able to bring the past to the present. Full circle.
About «King of Decay», I wrote it myself last year and presented it as a whole product to the rest of the band basically. Actually I think I wrote it after reviving «Dead Old Eyes» which may be the reason you seem to feel a connection between them.
Another detail about «Dead Old Eyes» is that the title is a tribute to the Diabolic Lust drummer who sadly passed away some years ago. His last name is the finnish word for «old».
Leslava: The theme of death is close to you. What is the last minute before death, sung by Grá?
Heljarmadr: That would be the lyrics to the song «Krämpor och Kval», the opening track on our debut EP, «Helfärd». I think that was the first song we wrote for Grá and a good place to start.
Leslava: For Dimman. What do you think that Heljarmadr is also with Dark Funeral? Is that a problem or not?
Dimman: I don’t see any problem with it, I’m happy for my brother that he got the opportunity and took it. We are all very proffesional and support each other.
Leslava: There is art therapy. How do you think the black-metal therapy is possible?
Heljarmadr: That would be the way of the razor or the rope according to many...
Everyone is different but for me black metal has always been about finding the inner flame and feed it with whatever it craves. And that is also different for every person.
Leslava: I would like to see Grá in Ukraine Maybe you are planning a tour?
Heljarmadr: We would like to come of course! We’re not having any such plans right now but we are always open for suggestions.
Serious promoters should contact me by sending an e-mail to
and we can have a discussion about what is possible or not.
Leslava: Your attitude to religion.
Heljarmadr: For me there’s a big difference between religion and spirituality. Religion is politics and a power tool to control people. Religions have followers, not because they agree with everything but by following someone so they don’t have to think for themselves.
Spirituality is your own personal journey where you have to make your own discoveries and draw your own conclusions. But in the end only Death will show us what’s beyond the curtain of life...
Leslava: What are you in everyday life, outside music? What are you interested in?
Heljarmadr: I enjoy travelling and I get a lot of that by being on the road with either Grá or Dark Funeral. I enjoy trying food from different cultures, learn about their habits, superstitions and way of seing the world. I especially like roaming ancient places which holds the powers and memories of a past forgotten.
We have many powerful places here in Sweden and I go on explorational journeys as often as I can. I also really love to wander through the ruins of old Greece for example.
Leslava: Do you like horror in art, movies, stories? Your favourite horror movie or painter...
Heljarmadr: I’m not too much into horror films anymore, I digested a lot when I was younger but nowadays most films seems to follow the same pattern. Old Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Omen, the Romero zombie films and the Buttgereit weird films still stand unbeaten for example. The last time I was completely mesmerized by watching something was the new Twin Peaks season. David Lynch is a genious.
When it comes to painters the Norwegian artist Kittelsen has always been my absolute favourite.
Leslava: What are you afraid of?
Heljarmadr: I don’t know really, I’ve been through all kinds of turmoil and things that would put a lot of people in a mental hospital forever, I survived it all so I know that everything can be overcome.
It’s not a fear but a concern that something would happen so I can’t continue being a musician, I think that would be the end of my life. I die when I die but some things I wouldn’t want to live without.
Leslava: The last words are yours. Thank you.
Heljarmadr: Thanks for the support and interest in Grá!
Here are some links that may be of interest: