Freelance PRO

Latest Posts:

Entries in rock music (53)


Interview: Earthless (Beat)

Psychedelic rockers Earthless are the envy of their distant friends: they'll be chiming the New Year in at the Thornbury Theatre. Is it ex-pro skateborder, super-organiser and jet-setting drummer Mario Rubalcaba's preferred kind of party?

Is it? Find out at


Review: Bad Religion - Christmas Songs (The Big Issue)



I get down and cheery with Bad Religion's Christmas Songs for the Ho-Ho-Holiday edition (#447) of The Big Issue. $6 and half goes to the homeless and long-term unemployed.


Interview: From Frozen Fish to Freeballin’ – Kvelertak

NB: This interview was conducted in August 2013.

Erlend Hjelvik is a beast of an unpronounceably named man. He’s Kvelertak’s kutte-wearing, fur-chinned shouter. His mission: spitting whiskey-soaked gravel directly into your ear drums. If he doesn’t induce fifth-degree whiplash, his duded-up platoon of punk-sucking metal-trash do. Their song titles alone sprint like Rottweiler barks. Fossegrim. Bruane Brenn. Snake Plisskenist.  These Rottweilers also have circular saws for teeth.

In 2008, Before Kvelertak stormed barns across fjords in Ford Fijestas, Erlend would trudge over wintry ground and ironically earn his daily crjust.

“I worked in a warehouse. It was like a freezer,” Erlend grumbles, his pipes running thick with a billion kroners worth of tar. He says ‘like’ a freezer, but means ‘literally a freezer.’ “I’d drive the truck around and load pallets with frozen fish. I’d be in the cold in minus 23 celsius seven hours a day.”

Fuck that noise. His after work $20 Norwegian Bijers are now best remembered. His excuses are getting fucking ridiculous. You’ll be in Japan? Are you kidding me?

“It’s one of the things I enjoy most about playing in the band,” Erlend retorts. “I get to travel the world and go to new places. For us it’s great.”

His friends, however, still shiver in the world’s last Ice Kingdom. They’ve stood still, watching Erland’s black star rising. It’s pretty much the plot of Wayne’s World. Except there’s six dudes. Six Norwegian dudes. Just bear with me.

Six guys buggerise around in crusty ole metal band. They drink and plop around until the Norwegian headbanger set trips over them. Cut to handshakes in front of oversized novelty cheques. By 2009, Happy Tom from Turbonegro chides them for not speaking the gooda Inglese. He says they’ll never make it. Erlend tells him to stick his advice cobra up his ass. Sorta.

“I think the fact we sing in Norwegian makes us stand out more,” Erlend enthuses. “It makes us sound more metallic. It could work in English, who knows? Most bands sing in English to get on the radio. I think it would be more interesting if bands sang in their own language.”

Barely a year hence, metalhead tongues stumble saying 'Kvelertak' worldwide. Later, Rob Lowe cameos as a slick talking villain and Erlend bangs 90s Tia Carrere. Roll credits, the end.

Well, not quite. They’re nowhere near a peak from which to plummet. Shit, their MTV Cribs spot is inevitable, considering their pimped out rides.

“We got to catch a private plane from Sweden to Leipzig, that was pretty cool,” Erlend interjects.

They’re living a rock n’ roll slacker’s dream. You just don’t see them falling to their knees and worshipping at the feet of their idols. It’s not cos they’re uber-cool superstars with Kanye-sized egos. They just don’t know how. Hold on to your crotch, Charlie:

“What scene with Alice Cooper? I don’t remember it. It’s been a couple of years since I watched it.”

Does ‘We’re not worthy!’ not translate into Norwegian? (I checked. It does.) Some needless exposition sparks up a browned-out memory. “Oh yeah,” he recalls. Finally.

“I’ve never had that feeling,” Erlend nervously admits. “We played in San Francisco earlier this year. James Hetfield came to our show and he was standing on the side of the stage. I’m glad that I didn’t see him before, but met him after. I didn’t react the way Wayne and Garth did. He was really down to earth, a real cool character.”

No big deal, Erlend brushes past metal heroes on a daily basis. Oh, there’s Gojira. Hey, Mastodon, how d’ya do. Thanks for that Gold record, Dave Grohl. Meet us after for Taco Bjell. If I dutchen up my courage to say Hi.

“I mostly just try to keep to myself,” he says, dryly chuckling. “When we’re hanging out backstage I don’t want to be an annoying person. I dunno, I would prefer it if they came up to me than I go up to them. I don’t want to smother them or anything.

“Sometimes I look at bands and I want to talk to them, but I probably don’t have anything to say. Nothing that they haven’t heard like a thousand times before from other bands, anyway. So I rather not.”


Wayne’s World isn’t Erlend’s bag, but Spinal Tap sure as shit is. “Spinal Tap gets referenced the most in the band,” Erlend thankfully confirms.

They’ve put in Tufnel-esque requests to beef up their live shows, like coaxing the Norwegian National Guard to the stage.

“Yeah, we had them come out with owl masks on and they did a drum routine. We had to make sure it didn’t turn out like Spinal Tap. That something goes wrong and then it all looks completely terrible,” he laughs.

It probably went well over (and under) the heads of some of their wilder fans. Whole swathes of Erlend’s boozy tour memories lie dead in a gutter somewhere.

“One time at a festival in Norway there were a couple having sex in the front row,” Erlend says, deadly serious. “Another time, a guy made us homemade mead. That was awesome.” He stops for a second.

“It’s too hard to remember everything,” he snorts. It’s okay Erlend. We still love you.



Interview: Hand of Mercy (Beat)

Hand of Mercy can't be brought down. The young'un moshers are locked away in a Cape Cod, Massachusetts studio recording their second album. They're counting down the minutes like waiting for the home time bell. When it finally rings? It's Aussie Vans Warped Tour time.

Read the rest at


Interview: Every Time I Die (The Brag)

Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley once felt he was paying for mistakes made in past lives. Bolting over personal hurdles, Buckley and his merchants of metalcore masala will blow the minds of us antipodean types, appearing on Aussie soil for the second time this year.

Read more at The Brag.