Týr - The one handed god of warUpcoming Viking Folk Pagan metallers Týr are doing a damn fine job these days. Time for a little chit chat with frontman Heri Joensen. Here’s the result.
Hi, how’s life?
‘Life is good, thanks very much.’
Please introduce yourself and your band to the ones unfamiliar with it.
‘I am Heri Joensen, singer and guitarist in the band Týr. We are from the Faeroes in the North Atlantic ocean. We have released 4 full length albums since 2002, and we are currently on tour in Europe. We play Viking Folk Pagan Metal, but we don't sound like the bands that are usually connected to those styles.’
What does Týr mean and how did you come up with the name?
‘Týr is the one handed god of war in the Nordic Mythology. I was fascinated by the stories about him and the chaining of Fenris the wolf. We were also lead to the name by the Black Sabbath album of the same name, and it was also the inspiration for our runic logo.’
Except for the fact that you’re influenced by Viking stories and such, what bands are you influenced by?
‘Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Metallica, Savatage, Dio, Judas Priest and bands like that.’
A lot of people like Folk Metal as long as they don’t have to listen to it all day. It tends to bore them a bit after a while, what’s your perception on that? Do you listen to other styles of metal as well? Please tell us about it!
‘I listen to many styles of music, Metal, Rock, Pop, Classical, Folk, World. As long as it has some qualities that I can appreciate I can listen to mostly everything. One quality that I cherish above all else is good songwriting.’
Back to the Viking stories. What do you consider the coolest story and why this one?
‘Njáls Saga. I'm not sure it counts as a proper Viking story, but Gunnar á Líðarenda, the hero of the story, does some Viking activities in the story. The description of Gunnar and the integrity of his personality, the sadness and melancholy of the story are the things that capture me.’
In the official biography you say there’s a typical oral tradition at the Faeroe Islands, how exactly does this happen? I can’t really picture it since we don’t have this tradition in Holland. I mean, how important is it and how often do you still use this tradition in your culture?
‘Most people come in contact with it sometime in their lives, but there are those who really don't care about it. It is used at special occasions like weddings, national holidays and such. Some people gather once a week during the winter to practice these ballads and to keep them alive and fresh in memory. I sometimes attend these gatherings when I have time.’
So, a new album is about to be released. How are the reactions in the press so far?
‘A bit uneven to tell you the truth. Some don't like it at all and some say it is better than the last release. Most reviewers agree that this is more progressive than the last album, and that may mean that this album requires even more listens than the last one to "sink in", and I hope that accounts for some of the below average reviews that we have gotten for this album so far.’
Does the title (Land) refer to a certain Viking story, if so, which one? If not, how did you come up with it then?
‘It refers to the Viking expansion in the 800's. It is not a story as such, but more like speculations about why, how and when this happened.’
How did you guys come up with the spoken poem in the first song?
‘It is a poem by J.H.O. Djurhuus (1881-1948), the greatest Faeroese poet of all time. He has been my lyrical inspiration as long as I have been writing lyrics and this was a good opportunity to use some of his poems. There is another one, the spoken, or shouted, parts in the title track.’
Looking back at your previous albums and the new one, you don’t seem to have a certain pattern in writing songs in English and writing songs in your native language. When do you choose English and when do you choose your own language?
‘When I have time I write in my own language, Faeroese, because it takes longer time and I find it much more difficult than writing in English. If I am pressed for time, which I often am, I write in English.’
Týr has been touring quite a lot and will tour the European festivals this summer again. What places are you looking forward to the most and why?
‘Tuska [Finland – red]., never been there and I heard a lot of good about it. Bang Your Head [Germany – red.], never been there either and heard a lot of good about that too. Summer Breeze [Germany – red.] and Bloodstock [UK – red.]. A lot of people have said that they are coming to watch us at these festivals, and I hope to play for good crowds.’
What’s your most memorable show and why?
‘Wacken '07, I have never seen an audience act like that, give anyone such a warm welcome, not at any other concert that I have played or even been at. It was fantastic.’
Can you tell us a bit more about the metalscene at the Faeroe Islands and how Týr managed to get its name out to the world?
‘There is not a Metal scene as such, but a large scene with all styles, it is too small to be fragmented like that. We just worked hard at getting noticed and getting our name out there. The facts that we have an original sound and come from an unknown corner of the world have worked to our advantage also.’
That was my final question, if you have anything to add, please do so now!
‘BUY THE FUCKING ALBUM!’