Faroese Viking metal gods TYR are about to release their seventh album ‘Valkyrja’ on Metal Blade records and hit the highways and by-ways across Europe. Get Ready To ROCK! caught up with bass player Gunnar Thomsen to get the low down on the album, tour and the possibility of plumbing masterclasses -
DW – Hi and thanks for taking time out of your no doubt busy schedule to have a chat with Get Ready To ROCK!
GT – Hi Get Ready to ROCK! It’s a great pleasure to hear from you, and a nice break from preparing for the tour, to spend a little time on you and your readers.
DW – You have had a busy year so far which is about to become even more hectic with the release of the new album ‘Valkyrja’ and a European tour looming. How have things been going so far ?
GT – Extremely well. it’s has been a turbulent, but very exciting year so far. and things are only getting better. this year started more or less with touring, and then some more touring, and then making the new album, and then some more gigs, and now an other tour coming up again, and release of the new album, and hopefully, touring.
DW – ‘Valkyrja’ is the band’s seventh album and it has a conceptual theme running through the tracks, could you tells us more about the story ?
GT– It’s more or les about how important the woman is, for the man. the concept of this one is about a viking that leaves his woman to go and die impressively in battle to make the valkyries come for him to bring him to Freya.
DW – I have been lucky enough to hear the album and it really Is excellent, are you happy with the results ?
GT – we are extremely happy with the result of this album. and really hope that people will take the likes to this one to. we are looking forward to present this one to you all. LIVE.
DW – One of the stand out tracks on the album is ‘The Lay Of Our Love’ which features Liv Kristine duetting on vocals, was the song written with this in mind ?
GT – Yes. we had talked for a long time about doing a song with her on this album, course she has an absolutely beautiful voice, and also to do something a little different. and this one really went down well. our little surprise for you out there.
DW – You have also had a line up change this year with the departure of Kari Streymoy, who have you found to fill the vacant drum stool ?
GT - As for now, we are just trying different drummers, to make sure we get the right one. so we are not to eager to fill in this place anytime soon. its very important that the drummer fits just right to the music, and socially in the band. on this upcoming tour we have Amond Djurhus behind the drums. he has done one european tour with us a few years ago, filling in for Kari, which was when he injured his back for the first time. and he did a pretty good job. so we feel confident that he will do a good job on this tour to. we already did one show with him, and it went very well. so for now only time will tell who will get this vacant chair.
DW – Your music draws from many different genres with metal, folk and classical influences joining together into one glorious sound. Who were your early musical influences and did the isolation of island life affect how your style developed ?
GT – We are all, more or less, influenced by seventies and eighties hard rock music. such as Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Dream theatre and so on. and of course each one of us has our own set of influences, and inspirations. We also like classical music, and absolutely adore traditional Faroes music from the Faroe Islands and around the world. we are very proud of our roots, and it is a very well kept tradition, and we feel connected to all of the north. The human lives in the saga’s, and part of the saga’s lives in us all. I don’t feel the Faroese people are isolated, just remote. so no this did not have an effect on the music.
DW – Your European tour kicks off in Norway, are you looking forward to getting back out on the road ?
GT – we always are looking forward getting back on the road, course that is what we do best. its always a pleasure to se our well known fans, and meet the new ones. and what a great place to start a tour. Norway.
DW – As well as providing rocking nights across the continent you are also offering fans the chance to attend a guitar masterclass at each venue and there is, I believe, also a chance to get a tattoo! Is this something you have done before and how can fans find out more about getting involved ?
GT – The tattooing has been done before on several occasions, and now we present the Guitar Masterclass by Heri. next time around Ill have a plumbing Masterclass ;) all information about booking for tattoo and signing up for Guitar Masterclass is all on our Facebook site.
DW – Do you enjoy getting up close and personal with your fans in this way rather than sitting drinking at the bar?
GT – I’ll rather just sit drinking in a bar and talk to the fans :)
DW – Now, coming from Scotland I am well aware of the location of the Faroe Isles having watched our national football team struggle against the Faroes on many occasions! Do you think that TYR, with your continuing success, are helping to put the Faroes on the map?
GT – We like to think so. course us, and the football team are probably the biggest thing to Tever come out of the Faroe Islands. a part from the fishing industry and the football players are only human…….
DW – Gunnar, it’s been a pleasure, I wish you every success with the new album and look forward to catching you on tour soon.
GT - It’s been a pleasure. To all Tyr fans out there, Hail to the hammer!
Interview by David Wilson
Valkyrja is released on Metal Blade Records on the 17th Sept 2013
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