Heidevolk is an exciting Pagan Metal metal band whose tales from Gelderland are absolutely wondrous to behold. Batavi is the name of their latest Napalm Records creation, a thrilling journey about through time and history. Conveying the intriguing story of the Batavian tribe and their battles with the Roman Empire, the new album shows Heidevolk in their finest hour.
We recently interviewed one of the Heidevolk warriors to find out more about the historical concepts of Batavi, the earlier masterworks, compelling lives show, and other grand and glorious topics. Let the epic adventures commence…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Heidevolk, and how long the band has been together.
I am Reamon Bomenbreker. I am the guitarist of Heidevolk. We have been together for ten years
Is there any story or concept behind Batavi CD title?
The Batavi were an ancient Germanic tribe that lived in our region. We wrote one song about the Batavians on our previous album “Walhalla Wacht”. But the story just was not finished; the legacy of the Batavians deserved more attention. So the logical step was to create a concept album about them. The tracks on our album describe: the tribe’s origins, the journey to our regions, their cooperation with the Romans and after that their revolt against the Roman Empire.
What did Peter Tagtgren contribute to the overall band’s sound and what was he like to work with? The new album sounds amazing!
Thanks! We recorded the drums at his studio in Sweden. The rest was recorded in “Nijmegen”, a Dutch city which the Romans named “Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum”. This means something along the lines of “City of the Batavians”. It actually is the oldest city in the Netherlands. We sent all the guitar, bass and vocals to Peter and he mixed the album. The cooperation with Peter was great. He is a true professional, who thinks like a musician. Also a nice guy to drink beer with.
De Toekomst Lonkt is one of my favorite songs on the new album and an all out metal classic. What is the inspiration behind the lyrics for that song?
The English translation of the title is “when the future beckons”. It describes the search for a new homeland. The Batavi lived in Germany but they followed the river Rhine downstream to our region, the county “Gelderland” in The Netherlands.
Please select two other songs from Batavi and what inspired the lyrical content.
“Het verbond met Rome” (The alliance with Rome) is about the reasons the Batavian had for their alliance with Rome in 12 BC: facing warring tribes on the one hand and a mighty empire on the other.
“Als de dood weer naar ons lacht” (when death laughs at us again) is a pretty aggressive song which we chose for a video. It’s about the battle of the Batavi and allied tribes against the Romans.
What could one expect from a live Heidevolk show?
A lot of power and fun. We all like to play live gigs and I guess the audience picks up on that. The gigs always become big party with a strong response from the crowd.
Has Heidevolk ever played here in the States or plan to do so in the future?
We have never played in the States, we get a lot of questions about this from our fans in the U.S. I can tell you that we are working on it, we all have jobs beside Heidevolk, so a U.S tour takes some planning.
Who did the cover art for Batavi and how much input did you have on it?
Awik Balaian. A great artist and a good friend of ours. We went to some museums together, when we finished the tour we went to the pub to discuss our ideas on the artwork. So you can say we designed the artwork together.
When you look back on the earliest Heidevolk releases such as De Strijdlust Is Geboren and Walhalla Wacht, what do you think of them now?
I can still listen to them without twitching my face, hahaha. I still like the albums. Although the production was not very good and maybe I would have done some of the writing differently now, the albums were honest and reflected Heidevolk at that moment in time.
The two vocalists work so well together in Heidevolk. What do you think makes the duo work so successfully?
Mark and Joris don’t really work by the rules. They don’t say “okay, this next song will be sung in E minor”. They work with their gut instinct and really take their time to create great harmonies. If a song has an aggressive theme, they focus on the feeling and atmosphere the song should convey and try to make that subject come to life.
Has Heidevolk ever wanted to do any acoustic folk songs or albums or even shows?
A few. But I personally miss the power of metal. Sitting on a barstool with an acoustic guitar on my lap doesn’t really do it for me.
Which member of Mondvolland is also in Heidevolk and have the two bands ever wanted to tour together?
Michael of Mondvolland is a sort of stand in Heidevolker. The guy can sing, play bass and play guitar. So if one of us can’t play he can fill in. A great guy and a good friend. I would love to tour with Mondvolland, it’s a good band.
What’s up next for Heidevolk?
Doing what we love the most: playing live gigs, some festivals and the Paganfest tour.
Do you have any messages for metal fans here in the States?
Hang in there; we’re working on a tour!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! I really hope to see your band here in the States some day soon!
Thanks for the interview and if all goes well, we’ll see you soon!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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