With just 24 hours to go until Ramblin’ Man Fair 2018 kicks off we focus on another of this weekend’s must-see acts – progressive rock masters Von Hertzen Brothers.
The Scandinavian siblings talked exclusively to HRH Mag.
HRH Mag: New album War Is Over has been winning rave reviews and there seems to be a buzz around the band right now. Is that how it feels to you?
Von Hertzen Brothers: Of course it’s a relief after a long and intense working period to have the music out there for people to enjoy. We’ve had ‘a buzz’ around the band before so that’s nothing new. We just hope our music resonates well with our fans. Finding new people to listen to us won’t hurt either.
HRH Mag: How easily did the album come together?
VHB: After realising we had a really good set of songs for the album it was mainly a matter of breathing life into them and staying true to the vision of each track. Luckily we were able to perform well with the help of Sami Kuoppamäki and thus ended up with a really strong and balanced piece of work. And we think it is our best to date.
HRH Mag: War Is Over is an interesting title given what’s going on around the world?
VHB: John Lennon died 37 years ago and how easily we forget that confrontation and hatred leads to nothing good. The title was born out of the desire to express our worry. That there is no path to peace…peace is the only way. And we need to see, feel and experience it now. War and all that it brings cannot be an option to solve things for us humans. It has never been the answer and never will be.
HRH Mag: How have the new tracks been going down live?
VHB: It’s very enjoyable to play them and the response from the audience has been great.
HRH Mag: You were back at Camp HRH for last year’s Prog festival only a week after your HRH XI show. Did you see that as a chance to mix things up within the set?
VHB: Having seven albums under our belts, we have a huge body of work to choose from. According to every event we can emphasise a certain feel in the set. Playing to a Prog crowd allows us to linger a bit more in the landscapey stuff, whereas for a rock crowd we might choose a few more heavy riffers!
HRH Mag: How does the family dynamic hold up on the road? What’s most likely to spark a fall out?
VHB: Well, we all have our differences but we also have plenty of miles behind us so we know each other really well. One of the most awesome accomplishments for me personally is that we can still do this as brothers and have learned to give space and kudos to each other – whether it be work related or family issues.
HRH Mag: Do you all share similar music tastes? Any secret disco fans in the tour van?
VHB: Yes and no. We all love good songs, so the tour van is usually filled with good music. In the UK we dive headlong into a Dire Straits binge. Don’t ask me why!
HRH Mag: You have become a top band in Finland but has being based there made it more difficult to get a bigger international following?
VHB: It definitely plays a part. We have an ocean to cross to get to mainland Europe and a few to get to the UK. Bringing everything and everyone over is expensive and time consuming. But we are happy to do it all if we feel there are people who appreciate our music and take us ‘as their own’ as the UK has done.
HRH Mag: Are there other new bands from Finland ready to follow in your footsteps? Is the rock scene there still healthy?
VHB: At the moment things are a bit slow on that front. There is a new generation of rockers growing up who are into guitar driven music but compared to rap, R&B and all that kind of stuff, rock is definitely experiencing a dip.
HRH Mag: If HRH Mag was to meet you guys again in 10 years’ time, how do you think the decade would have panned out for VHB?
VHB: No one knows what to future brings but let’s make a prophecy here: in the next 10 years we will most probably establish ourselves as one of the spearheading rock groups in the world. Since it’s post Brexit time, HRH XXII will be held on a huge boat cruising in the northern seas. We will all have lots of fun together and VHB is on every night playing a different set of two hours!
*This feature first appeared in Volume IV of HRH Mag – OUT NOW!
*Image courtesy of Mari Lehmonen