Interview TÝR

16 January 2018


Heri Joensen (vocals & guitar), Terji Skibenæs (guitar), Gunnar H. Thomsen (bass), Tadeusz Rieckmann (drums) – Friday 16 June

« Being proud of your own roots doesn’t mean you should look down on others »Heri Joensen


Heri Joensen (vocals & guitar), Terji Skibenæs (guitar), Gunnar H. Thomsen (bass), Tadeusz Rieckmann (drums)


How the hell are you?

Heri:  Wonderful! It doesn’t get better. The Hellfest experience has been wonderful, better than last time!

Tadeusz: And now you have a German drummer, so how can it get better? (laughter)

Gunnar: You’re German? I thought you were from somewhere else!

Tadeusz: Technically I’m from Hungary, but I’m an immigrant. It’s fucked up.


What is it like having a German drummer?

Gunnar:  Same old same old, I guess! It’s a bit like having a Hungarian drummer! (laughter)

Heri:   And you know what? He’s a fucking vegetarian!

Tadeusz: I have been since the 80s!

Heri:   We’re going to feed him some meat later on!

Tadeusz: You can try but you won’t succeed.


What inspired you to become a vegetarian?

Tadeusz: It wasn’t an inspiration. My parents told me in 1988 there was no more meat and then we stopped eating meat.


That seems non-German!

Tadeusz: Actually it was very German because it was like “We have to stop!” and we did, y’know.


Part of what I love about Tyr is the fusion of prog and Viking metal and like eight other things. Where did that very unique combination of influences come from?

Heri:   I liked Nordic folk music and British old school heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and of course Rainbow. Terji like more of the Metallica, Pantera stuff. Gunnar has a different preference, Deep Purple and black metal.

Tadeusz: He can’t sleep without black metal!

Heri:   I tried to keep what I liked. The Viking thing is more ideological. It doesn’t have as much to do with music as much as the ideology. I don’t see the musical influence from the viking part. The viking part goes into the lyrics. I want to write the best music ever written ever and when it comes to the lyrics I have great respect for the ancient myths and I like to use Nordic mythology. That doesn’t mean I’m superstitious or a traditional pagan, I just like to use the imagery.


How do you separate the paganism and simply using it as an inspiration?

Heri:   Well I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe Odin exists in person but its an ideology and I’ve liked the stories since I was a child. There’s no need for a specific separation. If people want to believe it literally they are making themselves look silly.


Don’t you value the archetypes?

Heri:  Of course they have value but that doesn’t mean they exist in person. The archetypes have value but I don’t believe they really exist. I really don’t know a lot about modern day paganism though. I don’t get into that scene, I’m an atheist. If people want to believe it’s up to them.

Gunnar:  We respect it.

Terji: We respect it as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.


One of the struggles of being a folk leaning metal band is the ties with the far right, obviously you’re not that but that link is there, how do you deal with that?

Heri:  Exactly, this is a problem. So I wrote a song called “Shadow Of The Swastika”. If you read that and think we are your allies then you are fucking stupid.

Terji: You should be proud of where you come form but you should also stretch your hand out towards the other nations.

Heri:   Being proud of your own roots doesn’t mean you should look down on others.

Gunnar:  And not in the name of a god, just in the name of yourself.


To what extent do you as Faroese people feel different from other Scandinavian peoples?

Heri:   Not really. When I go to Norway or Sweden we look like the people there and the language is only a little bit different. We just live out in the ocean.

Gunnar:  We are very isolated.


Is that in terms of being Faroese or your town in particular?

Terji: The islands themselves are very isolated which is a little crazy.


So something I love about Tyr is that it’s sort of a fusion of Bathory and Rush… was that a goal setting out?

Terji: To be honest I don’t listen to either of those bands! The progressive side is probably Pink Floyd, the metal side is Pantera and Judas Priest and the folk side comes from the islands.

Heri:   I couldn’t name a song from Bathory or Rush either!

Gunnar:  I could, I love them!


What do you love so much about music?

Tadeusz: You can relieve your aggression in a safe and natural way.

Heri:   It affects and dictates your emotions which is very important. It is the most effective non-medical way to change your emotions. That’s a powerful thing.

Gunnar:  It’s a universal language.

Terji: When you’re hungover it’s the only thing that helps asides from more alcohol!



Interview: Matt Bacon.