Another band who had to shelve recent plans to tour the UK was Norwegian punk rock unit, Kvelertak. Having just released their awesome new album, Splid, now seemed like a good time to speak to the group so we grabbed a few words with guitarist Vidar Landa.

Thanks for your time; Splid is finally out, how does it feel to start this chapter of the band’s career?

Vidar Landa: “It feels great! Very happy with the album and response. And the shows so far have been really fun!”

After the last album, you brought Ivar into the band who it seems was your only choice. What qualities do you think he has brought to the band?

“Ivar is a great singer/screamer, he’s a creative force, and a fantastic frontman. The band is the same as before, but with a new spark!”

As we’ve said you’ve started a new chapter but what are your memories and thoughts now you’ve had time to reflect on Erlend leaving the band? How do they differ to your thoughts immediately after you heard the news ?

“Been busy making an album and rehearsing for our tour. I haven’t really been thinking about that.”

The record took about a year to write, what was the experience like of getting to work on a full album with Ivar?

“It was fun. I guess the biggest difference is that Ivar has been more involved from the beginning of the writing process. And that we have been able to work more around the vocal melodies than before. I think this has lifted the quality all over.”

And in late 2019, you went out to work with Kurt Ballou, what qualities did he bring to the Kvelertak party?

“I’ll just quote Bjarte Lund Rolland here: ‘Kurt is just very easy to work with, and has a very particular trademark sound, with a room and amps and gear he knows in and out. You can just go there and not bring anything, and head home with a finished record that sounds like nothing else, and it’s 100% Kurt. I can tell if a record has been recorded at Kurt’s studio, actually. I can tell if a record has been recorded there, but not mixed there, or vice versa. That’s just a testament to his unique sound, not my hearing.”

Artwork for ‘Splid’ by Kvelertak

Sadly, you had to postpone your UK shows because of the coronavirus pandemic. What can we expect from you guys in 2020?

“As soon as this Coronavirus situation gets under control we’re ready to get back on the road. We’re very sad about not playing shows and continuing the tour, we had such a good time and great shows. But at the moment bigger things are at stake.”

The album title translates to “Discord,” although all is now happy within the band, what about outside the band? A good album title to describe the state of the world in 2020?

“It definitely was a good title to describe the state of the world, I guess the world has always been in a state of discord throughout the history. But let’s hope this crisis can make people come together a bit more and realize we all depend on each other. But we’re probably more likely to forget about all that as soon as everything is back to normal and Splid will be a fitting title to describe the world again.”

On that subject, what are your hopes for the planet over the coming years?

“Right now I just hope we get through this crisis and come out of it as better people and a better society.”

You’ve had ups and downs in recent years, what does Kvelertak mean to you in 2020?

“Kvelertak means a lot to all of us, maybe more now than ever. It’s been our hobby and our job for over 10 years and we really enjoy making music together and play shows. We feel very fortunate to be doing this. So we put a lot of work into everything we do and we’re very happy to see that so many others get a kick out what we’re doing as well!”

And finally, good luck with the album, do you have any message for Kvelertak fans looking forward to the next twelve months?

“Just that we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone on the road. Our crew (our sound guy Frank has been with us for ten years, and he never says nice things) says we are better than ever. Come out to a show and judge for yourself.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.