The Band: Harm
Answers by: Kevin Kvaale (drums)
If you wanna clean your ears after listening to some commercial stuff all day, or you wanna forget a terrible day in the office, if you wanna burn out some adrenalin, or simply enjoy great, dark and powerful thrash metal, we just got the perfect prescription for you: HARM! They have released their third album, intense and furious, diverse and full of fun, just as Thrash should be. Kevin Kvaale guides us through it all to get a closer picture at one of the best thrash metal albums of the year.
Hello Kevin, how was the band created and how were the beginnings of Harm?
Steffan and his schoolmates just really loved metal and wanted to start a band in the 90s I am not a founding member but it is really great that Steffan has always been the driving force behind Harm I didn’t join the band until 2011.
Although the band was created in 1997 you didn’t release your first album until 2006, almost ten years later, what happened in the middle?
That I really cant say since I didn’t play in the band at the time but as always things take time and being from a small town in Norway there isn’t any “open doors” and you have to make the most of what you’ve got. But there is a lot of demo recordings from that time but nothing really solid happened until Devil came out! You can hear a lot of the demo material on the re-release of Devil out now on Battlegod Production
In this 2016 we get your third full length, how long did you work on it?
We have been working on this album for a couple of years and we are really pleased with the result. We really feel that we had to work a while to get both the sound and the feel that we wanted for this album and the end result is more darker and brutal than ever before
What differences are we gonna find between “October Fire” and your previous albums?
I really feel that all albums should be different. This time we wanted to go much deeper in the music and make it reflect the lyrics. We wanted a bit of a “live” approach and we did that by recording without a click track! In the studio the drums was recorded live while I was jamming with Steffan so that we really got that personal feel. I was very active in the writing process and we worked out a lot of ideas as a band this time around. we wanted it to be a bit more oldschool but without getting that “retro thrash metal” sound that a lot of bands are going for these days. We wanted to mix the old with the new and have our own twist on the thrash metal genre. We went deeper on this album, with a more gritty, bluesy and dark feel but keeping the brutal and aggresive elements that Harm is known for
What are the lyrics about in your new album?
They are very personal and honest, which is something that I really think helps Harm stand out in the genre. Having a vocalist that have a great voice but also a personal style of writing lyrics is one of the things that makes this band a force to be reckoned with ! The lyrics are somethimes really darkand when really worked on trying to make the sound fit with the themes of the lyrics.
I like the cover art of this “October Fire”, it fits very well with your music, how did you get it?
It was Steffan that worked very closely with Pär Olafsson who made it to the great artwork that it is today! We have worked a lot with Pär before and he always seem to get the vibe of the albums. Steffan told him what themes and emotions he wanted to come across and then Pär took it from there! Not only is the cover really nice but the layout of the album looks amazing as well. its wonderful to work with fantastic artists that really makes an effort to make this album truly special.
Another reason to buy the album. One of the things I most like of your music is the aggressivness you deliver throughout the album, no trace of commercial sounds
The aggressiveness is just the way we feel that this music should be played. It is supposed to hurt and make the blood pump in your veins! Also the production is really raw and gives the whole album more edge to it. We worked a lot on making the guitar and bass mix well together with the drums so that it never sounded too compressed or too fake. We really wanted the album to sound like us and not like every other metal band out there.
It sounds like a thunder in fact. We get thrash metal, very powerful, but also amazing mid tempos as Shadow and the Slave
Music should be varied. If you are just playing the same tempos and having the same feel in every song then what is the point of making an album? You have to let music breathe at times to make for a better musical experience. In the slower songs on this album there is more room for the lyrics and atmosphere.
When we made these songs, we didn’t use the same feelings and emotions and we wanted the music to reflect that. It’s a darker step this time and I really feel Harm is more versatile than ever before.
Well thank you! I can understand people playing music that they grew up listening to and respect and that they want to capture and emulate that sound, but EVERY band should not do it. We worked really hard on getting the vibe right for this album and we really feel Harm has a place and a sound in the thrash metal scene.
It should be that way, sure. It’s hard to pick up just one song, because all of them offer a great level, but do you have any favorite?
I really like Executioner since there is so much going on in that song! Also a lot of groove on that track and a lot of great riffs! It was a blast to make that song and record it since it just has a nice live feel to it and a lot of heavy parts! Also Trying to Grow Wings has a great hook and a strong verse with the drums and guitars playing of each other. But you are right it’salways hard to choose a song since they are all so different
If I had to choose a song maybe it would be In These Moments, dark, primitiv and raw thrash metal, so intense...
This is a great track and is featuring some of Steffans best vocals ever! That scream at the last riff is just unbelievable. Also the lyrics for this song is really great and gives the song a special vibe. Its really cool that you liked this track!
It’s you guys who deserve all recognition. Kevin, who is in charge of the composition tasks inside the band?
We worked so much as a unit this time with arranging the songs the three of us. But mainly Steffan makes the most of the riffs, and also all of the lyrics! I had a couple of songs that are made out of drum ideas. we worked really hard as a unit to make the album have more personality this time around. In the studio we were very creative together and pushed ourselves to make great music together and really solidified this trio as a band!
The result is clear as water... What bands have influenced your sound?
When we made this album, we took more inspiration fromdifferent genres. Me and Steffan really love delta blues, so this album is more influenced by Robert Johnson, Son House or Howling Wolf than any metal band! We don’t really compare ourselves, but strive more for having a personal and interesting sound within the genre and not just play thrash metal. We focused a lot more on groove and atmosphere yet somehow thrashing it up with bone crushing metal riffs!
Cool! As a band from Mandal (Norway), how do you see the metal scene in your country?
Norway is known from having a great metal scene. There is a lot of bands here! But that doesn’t necessary mean that everyone goes to every show. There are not that many gigs on weekdays but in the weekend there is a lot of shows in many cities in Norway. And we have great festivals here in Norway that are just getting better and better!
What are the most important bands you have been touring with and what live shows you have scheduled for this year? Have you ever played in Spain?
Harm has played with many great bands! We have played shows with Overkill, Entombed, Malevolent Creation, Rotting Christ, Blood Red Throne, Nidingr and many, many more!
We have a few shows soon with the great Wyruz from Norway! We really love to play shows with those guys! After that there is a few UK dates and Germany dates and working on more.
We haven’t played in Spain yet unfortunately but if there is an opportunity we will take it immediately!
I hope it’s true Kevin, and you guys don’t make as wait until the end of time hahaha. What are your projects for the future?
Just supporting this album with shows both in Europe and Scandinavia. After that we want to go to other countries as well. Playing shows is what we love to do!
we are really feeling the fire burning within us, and we want to make you feel it too
Thanks Kevin for this interesting conversation and congratulations for your fantastic album!
Thank you so much for this interview! If there is anything, please contact us via Facebook or talk to our awesome label Battlegod production from Australia. You cannot find a more supportive label!