Hel Awaits: An Interview with Týr

Týr are a progressive metal band from the Faroe Islands, known far and wide for their folk-inspired take on the genre. First formed in 1998, the band has released 7 albums with and 8th soon on its way. We got the chance to catch up with vocalist and guitarist Heri Joensen to chat a bit about the band’s past, future, and everything in between.

First, I’d like to thank you Heri for taking a bit of time to chat with us. Hel is set to release on March 8th of 2019, what can fans, both new and old, expect from Týr this time around?

My pleasure doing this interview. This album is heavier, harder and darker than our previous few albums. Terji and Gunnar have had a bigger role in the songwriting process, and they write harder music than I usually do. There are still the usual Nordic folk influences, so our listeners will definitely recognize that aspect. As for the sound of the album, we took our time making sure this one was properly arranged and recorded, and I hope people will agree that it is clear from the final result.

Listening to the band’s previous work, it sounds like the larger-than-life sounds of bands like Dio and Amon Amarth have been an important influence. Are there any bands or artists you see as key in crafting Týr’s sound?

I have come to appreciate Amon Amarth very much, and that may have had an influence on our sound, yes. Dio has been a great inspiration ever since I was a teenager, so it would be only natural if our sound went a bit that way. Other important bands for the sound on this album are Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Rainbow and maybe some other bands.

Týr has been a band for over 20 years at this point, is there anything you attribute the band’s staying power to? And what would you say are some of the most important things you’ve learned in that time, either personally or as a band?

Our staying power is simply our need to do music. There is nothing else I can imagine myself doing. I love this, the whole creative process, and I don’t think I’ll stop until I drop dead.

I’ve learned, to my disappointment, that it is incredibly difficult to make ends meet in the creative industries, and I’ve learned that I can endure more poverty than I would have imagined when we started.

Mythology is not a new topic for heavy metal, but a quick look through Týr back catalogue shows that you have a much greater interest in the subject than most. What sparked your initial interest in Norse mythology and what keeps you coming back to it as a source material?

When I was around 10 years old, we learned about the Norse mythology and Nordic history in school. I was captivated by the subjects immediately and I have been ever since. When we made the band, I wanted to put together the things I love, and that is still my mission with the music. History, mythology and heavy metal. Isn’t it amazing?

Being a music review website, we pride ourselves on helping people find some of their new favourite records. Were there any standout releases from 2018 that you’d like to shout out?

I’m not really one to keep up with the latest development in music, but Firepower by Judas Priest was an album that had me excited.

Obviously, Týr has accomplished a lot since 1998, but is there anything left for you to cross off your bucket list?

I have some projects not related to Týr that I’d like to do, but my immediate goal is to make enough money from music to pay all my bills.

I’d like to thank you for your time. What’s the best way for people to keep up with the band?

Thank you! Our Facebook page is the place to keep up with everything we do.

Hel comes out March 8th on Metal Blade Records and Týr’s first single “Fire and Flame” can be heard here.

Written and compiled by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito

About Justin Bruce 53 Articles
Justin is a Saskatoon-based musician with a degree from the University of Saskatchewan where he studied medieval and modern English. These days, he can usually be found behind the stack of comic books he’s trying to keep up with. Justin has been playing music since his early teens and has made 10’s of dollars from it in the years since. An enthusiastic packrat, his prized possession is a vinyl copy of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag.” Justin snores really loud if he’s been drinking and thought that Revenge of the Sith was actually a pretty sweet movie. You can hear Justin in Swayze, here: https://swayzelives.bandcamp.com, and A Ghost in Drag, here: https://aghostindrag.bandcamp.com, and you will occasionally see him and his bandmates playing Beerio Kart on tour.

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