Interview with Gra done by Patrick
1.Hails please introduce yourself to the readers? And how are things going in Sweden this week?
This is Heljarmadr and Sweden is turning from winter to spring at the moment. Not much else to report from here.
2.You all formed Gra in 2010 what gave you the idea to start this band?And how did you choose Gra for the name of the band does it have a special meaning?
Yes we started the band in 2010 after having a writers block, working on the Cursed 13 album Triumf. We basically just improvised and recorded a couple of tracks for the Hell of it. That turned out to be the first Helfärd EP.
Grá means grey and I guess you can find thousands of ways to interpret the word. Does it have a special meaning to us? Yes.
3.Vasen is the bands third full length how long did it take the band to write the music for this release?
Usually we need about two years to make an album. From the demo stages to actually have finished songs I don't like to rush things. The oldest parts were written about the time we released Ending and the newest one we actually pretty much wrote and recorded in the studio.
Worth mentioning though is that the song "Dead Old Eyes" was actually written way back in 2003 for another band I was in at the time. We thought it would fit well into Väsen so we tweaked it a bit into the Grá shape. It's a tribute to a fallen brother.
4.Who usually takes care of the lyrics and what are some topics written about on Vasen?
I write the lyrics most of the time and on this albums every song stands alone, not tied to any concept. I write about whatever comes to mind, I encourage everyone to find out for themselves as art is in the eye of the beholder. We are a black metal band, we don't write about happiness or calm forests.
5.As mentioned Vasen is the bands third release how would you say the bands music has changed and evolved over the years?
Well the first EP and the first album were more or less improvised and thrown together without too much thought and consideration. We simply recorded whatever we had and released it. When we came to Ending we wanted to make a really compact album with more structures so we started to exclude things that weren't 100% necessary. For Väsen we have peeled off so much and turned every riff around so many times that only the absolute best remains. Since I have been recording/mixing/mastering all the albums myself I can also say that I have gone from "trying to make it sound decent" to "complimenting the music" in my evolution as a studio engineer. This of course adds depth to the songs. It is a constant evolution and if you listen to the first EP and then immediately to Väsen you can obviously hear the great gap and if you listen to the whole catalogue you'll hear the constant progress in song structures and overall sound.
6.Does Gra play live very often or do you prefer working in the studio? If the band has played live what were some of the bands most memorable shows?
We play live as often as we can and do smaller tours now and then. We love both, studio creates creativity and the live atmosphere brings the songs to their fullest and the audience gives it a dynamic that a studio can't reproduce.
We've done several memorable shows but I'd say that our gig as only support for Dark Funeral here in Stockholm 2014 tops it for me. Sold out gig and we made a good video recording from it called The Apoteos Ritual (the whole concert is on our Youtube channel). That gig is also the reason for me being the vocalist in Dark Funeral.
7.Are their any tours or shows planned in support of Vasen if yes where will the band be playing? And who are some bands you will be sharing the stage with?
There will be shows and tours! We start with Eradication Festival in Wales and a club gig in Gothenburg before the summer. Many things are being planned for later this year, stay tuned for more info on our social media channels!
8.Besides the upcoming Vasen release are the previous releases still available for the readers to buy? Besides physical releases does the band have any other merchandise available if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
The first EP was recently re-released by Carnal Records so it's available. Our debut album has been sold out for some time and we don't know when it'll be available again due to the slowness of Unexploded Records. We've been waiting for response from them but in vain. Ending should be available through many distros around the world.
We handle the merch by ourselves and you can order straight from us. Right now we are very low on shirts and such but a new design line is in progress and will be available with the new album coming out. Like with live bookings, stay updated through our sicoal media channels.
9.What does black metal mean to you?
Since I was a teen in the mid 90's it has meant everything. I am a musician by heart and the darkness and mysticism around black metal has been filling a big gap for me throughout the years. Life hasn't been easy and music has been what has kept me somewhat sane through it all. People come and go, death takes some, others you just drift apart from but my music stays until I die myself.
Black Metal is so much more than just notes put together for listening pleasure, it's a lifestyle which promotes individualism and a struggle for constant progress. I used to be upset about the fact that the so called scene have forgotten the foundation of black metal. Strength, misanthropy and to walk your own path. To be your own leader, not a follower. But I have realised that people can call their plastic fruits real apples all they want, I really don't honestly give a shit. I guess some prefer canned soup but I prefer a real stew made from proper ingredients.
10.Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final words for the readers?
Thanks for your time and interest, we are constantly amazed by the dedication of our fans all over the world and we hope to meet you all on tour as soon as possible!
Check out Väsen, you will not be disappointed
/Heljarmadr on behalf of Grá https://www.facebook.com/graofficial