Swedish black metal group GRÁ have their third full-length album "Väsen" out this late spring/early summer time. Main man vocalist/guitarist Heljarmadr talks of this album, its first single "Krig", and what other projects he has done both past and present.
1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Me and Dimman go way back and in 2010 we needed a break from the Cursed 13 album we were working on so we just did something different and, that became Grá and the rest is history.
2. How would you describe your style?
Swedish black metal the way it should be done. Not as followers but leaders, walking our own path in the service of the Devil.
3. Why did you go with a name like GRÁ for your band choice? Does it have a meaning behind it at all?
I wrote a lenghty article about the subject of the band name, album name and the use of Swedish lyrics that you can find here:
Here's a short exerpt from the article: "It's a wordplay in the Scandinavian languages which ultimately means grey. Which is, again, a word with many meanings. It's obviously a colour but it's also a word that can be dragged a bit deeper. Grey is in between, grey is nothing yet everything at the same time. When talking about death some say that all goes black, others see a white light. I guess you see where I'm going with this... In life very few things are this or that, after leaving your teens and if you can shake off your indoctrinations from society or religion you will also understand that most things in life ends up in a grey zone. What is right and what is wrong? It depends on the viewpoint and if you can see things with an open mind, through the heavy veils of morality and upbringing."
4. "Väsen", is the third full-length album to come from you guys, so how does this release compare, contrast and come to equals with your previous albums?
That's something you all need to find out for yourself as the beauty art is in the eyes (or ears in this case) of the beholder. From my perspective there's a constant progress, breaking new grounds, with every release.
5. What is this album about as a whole?
Again I must leave that up to the listener to decide, the previously mentioned article might shine some light upon my personal reflections about it though.
6. You have released your single "Krig", can you tell me about the single?
"Krig" is the slowest track on the album and for our hard core fans it's probably the closest to a "Helfärd pt IV" that you can come. The demo version was much longer (the final one is "only" 7 minutes) and more monotonous but to fit in on "Väsen" (and the mind set that I was in while producing the album), all the layers are necessary and really add to the mood of the song.
7. Why did you think that allowing the fans to decide upon which track would be said single was the right decision? Will you be doing the same deal for other singles?
Why not? For us, all the songs are equally strong on the album so why not give the option to our followers? No we will not do it again as we have other plans....
8. Will "Krig" be made into an official video or just remain as a lonesome single, with other tracks receiving the video ordeal?
We will not make a "normal" video for "Krig", no. There's no point. Regarding other singles and videos you will have to wait and see. ;)
9. Besides GRÁ, there are several other projects under your belt, Cursed 13, Domgård, and Dark Funeral, will we ever see these acts coming together with GRÁ, for a one off showcase or perhaps tour?
No I see no point in that. All the bands I am working with have different kinds of expressions and all of them demand so much energy on stage that it would be stupid to even try. I might also add that I left Domgård in 2014 and I have disbanded Cursed 13 earlier this year so I am currently only working with Dark Funeral and Grá.
10. Do you think you would be able to handle all of the vocal duties behind all of those acts, or would it be too much to handle?
On the same night on stage? Haha no I couldn't do it justice.
11. For two of those acts, you adore the make-up dollying yourself up as it were, while the others see that not happening, why the change of pace of the make-up between the acts, or does it not matter to you?
Different bands - different purposes, I guess thats a straight and forward answer. A band is not the single members, it's a unit and the combined effort takes different expressions. Some fit better with the make-up and visual aspects and others work better without.
12. How long does it take for you to get all dolled up in your attire and make-up set up?
That depens on how much time we have to dispose, usually 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the circumstances.
13. What do you want people to take away from hearing material from GRÁ and this new album as well?
Like I said earlier, art is subjective. We have made an album that we are extremely proud of and that's ultimately what matters in the end.
14. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
We're getting back on stage after the album is released and we have a ton of wishes and ideas that we want to fulfill alongside "Väsen", stay updated on our social media channels and you will find out!
15. Is that your final answer?
Yes. Thanks for your time and support! /Heljarmadr