Hear the Rivers is the seventh Greenleaf album and second for Napalm Records. It follows a path that began on 2014’s Trails and Passes, when vocalist Arvid Hällagård and drummer Sebastian Olsson became part of a more permanent lineup that since then has also come to include bassist Hans Fröhlich. With 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow, the Swedish outfit established themselves as one of the most essential acts in the European heavy underground, playing massive festivals and headlining tours as they never had before.
-Interview by Fani Nadki-
We talked with Arvid to know more about their new released:
The band started as a side project but became a full time one, tell us about the evolution of the band from the idea until nowadays.
Yes in the beginning you could say Greenleaf was just something for Tommi to play around with when Dozer wasn’t touring or recording, you could say he’s restless guy in that way haha. Then when Dozer decided to go on a hiatus back in 2009, Tommi decided to focus on Greenleaf instead, me (Arvid) and Sebastian joined the band and “Trails & Passes” was recorded. Pretty much since it got released we have been a full time touring act. We found each other musically right of the bat both writing wise and on the stage. And since then it’s just been a natural progression. Yes, we changed bass players since then but it’s more about them not having time to play anymore with families, work and so on… Now with Hans in the band we feel very much at the top of our game.
Is the current line-up a stable one for the future?
Yes very much so. This will probably be a very stable line-up for a long time.
The new album “Hear The Rivers” is coming out next friday, tell us more about the composing and recording?
The natural order of things is that Tommi comes up with an idea for riff, a verse or whatever and then he records it on his phone. He then sends it over to me and I work on a melody and a lyric idea, after that we all met up in the rehearsal space and kind of jam it out. It always easier to get a sense of where a song is headed when you play together and how well it will work out in a live situation… For us the combination of drive and melodies are key. In the studio we try to capture the vibe you get when you played the song before rehearsing, that's why all the basics are recorded live, drums, bass and guitar at the same time, and scrap vocals. But for the vocals we almost always lay the the real final tracks afterwards, since there so delicate when it comes to tone, expression and so on. Same with guitar solos and harmonies.
You recorded the album with Karl Daniel Lidén, how was working with him?
We always work with Daniel haha! It’s great he knows exactly what we want and everytime we do an album with him the results always seems to a little bit better than last time around. He’s a fifth member in the band in many ways. Sometimes when doing long sessions he be bit grumpy, but I all guess sonic professionals are.
You stayed with Napalm Records, tell us about your relationship and how is working with one of the biggest Rock/Metal labels.
It’s all good! The Napalm guys are very easy going and helpful and so far I think all us of are happy with the arrangement. It’s nice for us to have label with a little bit bigger budget so that we have the possibility to use the studio that we want and so on.
Your first EP was released in 2000, are you planning something big for your 20th anniversary in 2020?
Haha, I don’t maybe we’ll have a cake or something? No but I don’t know but it’s two years from now, so probably a new album!
Do you have any songs which are always part of your live set list?
Yes since Trails & Passes got released back 2014 I think both the title song and “Eyes Wide Open” have been on that list. Both songs are very powerful and fun to play live.
How many songs from your new album will be on the setlist for the upcoming tour? For example you play in Dresden before the release, so this is going be totally new for your fans.
Yeah we will try to play at least 2 or 3 new songs every night, depending on the mood.
The tour is really short, just ten dates. Any other tours around the world planned for the next year? Summer Festivals?
Yeah it’s because of our family situations at the moment… Me and Tommi just became fathers, we wish we could have done a couple of more shows but it is the way it is… Yes! Next year we will do festivals and some more weekend shows.
Have you reached all your dreams as a musician or is there anything else you want to achieve?
We have done some stuff that I’m very proud of but you always want more. When you don’t, that might be the time to quit.
What is the best and the worst part of being a rockstar?
Worst part is easily waiting.... waiting on the plane, waiting to play and sitting in the bus 6 hours a day and so on. Best part is trying to turn a crowd over to your side and succeed. When you kind of look them in the eyes and you can see that they get what we are trying to do.
Your Dream Tour line-up?
Oh really hard question to answer… But supporting Queens Of The Stone Age would have been really cool. Especially right after they released Songs For The Deaf.
Any interesting story happening during a tour you want to share with your fans?
Well at Up Smoke Festival a couple of years back our old blind bass-player lost both his shoes in muddy ditch being to drunk with the singer Fredrik from Dozer. He then had to walk around the rest of the festival with only his white muddy socks on his feet. We laughed a lot about that…
Anything else to add?
No I think we covered plenty.