Monday 21 June 2021

An Interview With Christopher, Gabe and Greg from KVASIR

KVASIR are a band who have been on my radar for the last few weeks ever since they announced details of their upcoming album 4 and when I premiered their new song The Black Mailbox.

I wanted to find out more about the band before I hear their upcoming new album which I'll be reviewing near the release date of 28th June 2021 or just soon after. 

Here's an interview that I did with Christopher (Guitar/Vox), Gabe (Guitar) and Greg (Bass) from KVASIR.

Hi KVASIR. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. For people not in the know. Can you give a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today?.

Christopher (Guitar, Vocals): Hi! Thank you, we are well! Greg (Bass), Gabe (Guitar), and I are all friends from growing up together in Wyoming. When Greg and I reconnected in Portland in 2017, we started Kvasir as a three-piece. We added Gabe and Jay (Drums) in 2019 to complete the current lineup.

How would you describe your sound in your own words. As you seem to delve into different areas of Heavy Metal and Doom Rock. 

Christopher: I think it’s fair and even desirable from our perspective to have some difficulty in assigning us to a genre. Part of what makes this band so much fun to be in is that its members all approach the role of being a musician in a different and very uniquely personal way. That culminates in what you hear, which is sometimes straight out heavy metal, NWOBHM, with jazz and funk influences combined with deliberate artistic and classical nuances, sometimes not so subtle.

Why did you choose the name KVASIR for your band and what does it mean to you all.

Christopher: Kvasir was from the Norse pantheon, a mythical figure who represented the Explorer and the Sage. He was divinity who dwelt on Earth in order to soak up knowledge and experiences, and to share them with others, which resonates with me.

Thank you for allowing me to premiere your excellent new song The Black Mailbox. Much appreciated. Though, we’re here to talk about your upcoming new album – 4. What can people expect from this album and what’s the concept or story of the album?

Gabe: When you go from 3 dimensions of space to 4 in physics a cube turns into a tesseract. It’s hard to imagine a tesseract if you’ve only experienced 3 dimensions of space. We approached that concept with the Solve Et Coagula maxim of Alchemy which means to dissolve and reform. Adding another instrument opened up arrangement possibilities. We had all the right musicians in a unified coagula and the goal was loosely to make a full length of eight songs at about 44 mins, but we didn’t know exactly what that may entail.

Was this a hard album to write and record for. Especially during COVID-19 still being around us all.

Gabe: Covid did present a practical challenge postponing the original recording date of 04/04/2020. There were also some supply chain problems later as far as pressing goes. Someone grounds a ship in the Suez and all kinds of things get fucked up. Luckily the album just wrote itself.

What influenced or inspired you when making this album.

Christopher: The lyrical content all comes from my life experiences. Greg had the cover art done before the album had been written, so the context for those experiences on the album was then inspired by the themes of his art.

Gabe: I strive to be an open vessel through which the oracle speaks.

What formats the album is being released upon.

Christopher: Vinyl and digital.

Glory Or Death Records are releasing the album. How did you hook-up with that label and did you have any other offers to release the album on?

Christopher: We did have an original offer from another label before the pandemic started, but the ensuing chaos led to other decisions for both parties (very amicably). Our album was given to Buddy Donner who runs Glory or Death by a mutual friend, and Buddy was immediately stoked on the project, which really pleased us!

Who designed the fantastic artwork for II. And how much input did you have into the final design of it all.

Greg: Thank you for digging the art. I’m also a visual artist and create most of the art for the band. Luckily, everyone trusts me enough, so I get total freedom to do whatever. It’s a nice luxury, but then again, it’s probably saved us a lot of money and hassles too… One conscious element I’ve intentionally incorporated into all of the band’s art is a loose connecting narrative. From our first EP to the new album, it all tells one epic esoteric story. Usually my art is very busy, so creating the art for Kvasir has been a great exercise in restraint and using blacks.

COVID-19 has pretty much put a stop to all life as we know it for the time being. How big of an impact has it affected the band. And how are you surviving in this stressful time.

Christopher: Other than it being incredibly frustrating to be patient and not play shows, I think we were able to use the time to really refine not only what we were doing musically, but also our relationships to the band and to each other.

After everything is back to some sort of normality. What does the future hold for the band. Will you be touring the record if possible?

Christopher: Yes, there will be tours for sure. We already have shows lined up in Washington in July with our friends from Tigers on Opium and Grim Earth, and we’re looking forward to bringing the album to the entire West Coast in person very soon!

Will you be anxious, scared or excited when performing on the live stage again.

Gabe: There was some anxiety before our very first shows after long periods of inactivity due to the pandemic. You get back on the horse and you’re not sure if it will buck you off, but hell or high-water you know you’re going for a ride.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your fans.

Greg: Love, value and respect creative people. Discover a new way to express yourself, it can be anything from painting to plumbing, and then get obsessed with the process. It’s the passion that matters.

Words by Steve Howe and KVASIR

Thanks to Leanne at Mettle Media PR for arranging this interview and for the promo materials. Thanks to KVASIR for doing this interview.