Interview and Photos by Zenae D. Zukowski
Zenae: So I’m speaking with?
Dr.Leif: Dr.Leif Kjønnsfleis
Zenae: Did you have a Helluva time here at 70k?
Dr.Leif: Yes, I see what you did there. I had a Helluva time. We had two fantastic shows and a lot of beer and a lot of sun and everything was yeah, Helluva good time.
Zenae: Awesome. What bands did you end up seeing that were Helluva awesome?
Dr.Leif: I almost didn’t see any bands. I’m going to see Anthrax, which are my childhood heroes. I can’t wait to see them and, we saw Unleashed up on the pool deck, that was awesome. Swedish death metal. I guess that was almost everything I’ve seen. I’ve been drinking and sleeping and running, so.
Dr.Leif: I’ve been sleeping.
Zenae: I don’t know what that word means anymore.
Zenae: Speaking of Helluva, are you looking forward the release and what should fans expect to hear this time around?
Dr.Leif: Yes, I am really, really, really looking forward to the release of this album. We have, uh, promoted it so far, we’re, going to promote it still. We have, videos, T-shirts and we really haven’t done much of that before. I think people are kind of anticipating something awesome.
Zenae: How many songs did you guys play for the new album to the last two sets?
Dr.Leif: Two, two. We played, “Steel Sarah,” which has been out for, a couple of weeks, maybe a month on video. And then we played, “Fräulein Helluva,” a new single that’s coming, I don’t know, maybe within two weeks. I’m not quite sure.”
[Mr. Seidel enters the room]
Dr.Leif: This is Mr. Seidel and this is…
[Mr. Seidel notices Trollfest T-Shirt]
Mr. Seidel: Love the shirt by the way.
Zenae: Thank you. I love the duck.
Mr. Seidel: Quack quack.
Dr.Leif: So do we.
Zenae: You made a video for “Fräulein helluva?”
Mr. Seidel: There’s gonna be a video, yes, our first animation video to be honest.
Dr.Leif: Yeah made by this guy (points at Mr. Seidel).
Zenae: Very cool.
Mr. Seidel: Yes, it’s like a hobby to me. Not really, I just wanted to try it out.
Zenae: Back in 2015 you guys toured with Korpiklaani.
Dr.Leif: That’s right.
Zenae: At the North American tour, I saw you guys eat pizza on the stage.
Dr.Leif: There was pizza on the stage?
Zenae: Oh no, you don’t remember.
Mr. Seidel: We played yes, we played the Ice Rink and…
Zenae: Yes, that’s here. I’m talking about the New York, during the end of the tour.
Mr. Seidel: I’m way off, okay.
Zenae: It was 2015, the last show of the tour.
Mr. Seidel: Hey, New York. They have the fucking best pizza there. Sorry Italy, but New York pizza slice.
Dr.Leif: I don’t remember eating pizza on stage. We did a lot of weird stuff on stage at that particular concert.
Zenae: Yes, you did.
Mr. Seidel: But that was the last show on tour, right?
Mr. Seidel: Yeah, we usually end up in New York.
Dr.Leif: What a place to end a tour.
Mr. Seidel: I wonder what they think of us. Every last show is in New York.
Zenae: It convinced me to see every live Trollfest show whenever you guys come around.
Mr. Seidel: So let’s proceed to end up in New York.
Dr.Leif: I think so. Yeah, Viking helmets, and all those little balloons.
Mr. Seidel: Paper airplanes, no that was a different one.
Zenae: I take it you guys don’t eat pizza at every end of a tour on stage.
Dr.Leif: Every time, every day?
Mr. Seidel: We could.
Dr.Leif: I would love too.
Mr. Seidel: One of those bands that just go [makes eating noise].
Zenae: What I love most about your live shows are the fans, how did they start to form a conga line during your shows? When did that start?
Mr. Seidel: To be honest, we have played for so many fucking amazing people. I would love to say around the world but, in Europe and North America. And we’ve had fucking everything from mosh pits, dancing pits and I learned a new thing this time around, a folk pit.
Dr.Leif: Folk pit?
Mr. Seidel: Yeah. Apparently, that’s what we’re having, we’re not having mosh pit, we’re having a folk pit. Did I mention the wall of death? We had the yoga dancing routines, that we’re doing now with the up and down the squats. Conga lines, I don’t know when it started happening but for some reason, when we released Kaptein Kaos and we had, the song “Solskinnsmedisin,” which is apparently, the perfect song for a conga line. That song just adapted it. We didn’t do shit about it. It just happened.
Dr.Leif: Yeah, it just happened, the fans just took the responsibility and did it.
Mr. Seidel: But like I can’t pinpoint it because it’s been there before. I’ve seen it before but not at the extent of what happened. We had four conga lines at the same time. We had a conga line circle pit.
Dr.Leif: Conga pit.
Mr. Seidel: Conga pit, yeah, there you go.
Dr.Leif: You heard it!
Mr. Seidel: You heard it here first, copyright.
Dr.Leif: Conga pit.
Mr. Seidel: Conga pit.
Zenae: Conga pit.
Dr. Leif Yeah, like we’ve seen it and then we’re like, yeah did you see the four guys doing the Conga thing and then, oh yeah, we have to ask that at the next show and then there are eight guys doing it, and it kept going.
Zenea: That is awesome. I had to ask how the conga line started.
Mr. Seidel: She asked for a date and we, like when did this happen for the first time and we just gave her like a five minute story.
Zenae: I prefer the five-minute story.
Mr. Seidel: Really?
Dr. Leif: 5th of October, 2013.
Mr. Seidel: Yes!
Dr.Leif: There’s your answer.
Mr. Seidel: Scratch all of what we said, skip everything else and yes that is my cowbell.
Dr.Leif: Cow triangle.
Mr. Seidel: Cow triangle, yeah that’s our new accordion too.
Zenae: Do you guys, plan on booking a Helluva headlining North American tour soon?
Mr. Seidel: Oh fuck, yeah that would be awesome.
Dr.Leif: Oh yeah! A headlining tour? I don’t know.
Mr. Seidel: No I, I don’t know…
Dr.Leif: Is this possible?
Mr. Seidel: No.
Dr.Leif: Not yet!
Mr. Seidel: Have I dreamt it? Yes but, no, but, to be honest, we are working on it. We’re trying to get a tour going. There’s been a lot of ideas but the market, it’s really hard at the moment, in Europe too. Struggling a lot too to get gigs, and we’re not the only one. The music industry is struggling to find its position with all that is happening right now and, we’re caught right in the maelstrom. Is that what it’s called?
Mr. Seidel: Male… Stream. I love that word, malestream.
Zenae: You guys have the Britney Spears cover song “Toxic.”
Mr. Seidel: That’s right.
Zenae: Do you guys plan on making another cover song of a different genre such as pop, hip-hop or even country?
Dr.Leif: We’ve always talked about doing covers. Oh, we have to cover that and cover that because it sounds fun when we were at a party or something and then we try and it’s like meh, it didn’t really work. And then we did “Toxic” and everything just clicked.
Mr. Seidel: Yeah because it’s a song we liked. We didn’t do it We didn’t do it to fuck with Britney Spears or fuck with the metal community or whatever. It’s just a song that we genuinely liked.
Dr.Leif: And it just clicked. This is a song we tried demoing other cover songs at home and stuff but it hasn’t clicked as much as Britney did with us. Maybe, sometime in the future, we’ll have another click and then BOOM, another hit.
Mr. Seidel: It’s a really trendy thing to do now in the metal community, every album that comes out, there’s a cover song on there. And they usually try to do something to create some talking. Yeah, we recorded like people thought about us doing the Britney Spears songs but then when they actually heard it, oh we love this song. What, why?
Zenae: And you guys also made it original, which was the best part about it.
[Trollmannen enters the room]
Dr.Leif: Here’s the third, Trollmannen here.
Trollmannen: Hello everybody. Sorry, I’m late. I got caught up eating broccoli.
Zenae: Can you say your name and you are, just to help transcribe.
Mr. Seidel: What year were you born?
Trollmannen: A lonnnnnng time ago.
Zenae: You came in just time for my final question. Do you have any advice for any starting out musicians?
Trollmannen: Quit, (laughs) No, I don’t know. Practice, practice a lot, that always helps. Do something you like yourself. You can’t expect other people to like stuff you don’t like yourself. So you should make something you’re really happy and proud about and enjoy it.
Mr. Seidel: Can I say something?
Trollmannen: Go for it.
Mr. Seidel: Thank you. What I’ve had and all of you too when I say it right now. A bucket list, that is what made it for me. The first thing, I wanna play live. I wanna, have a band of course. You gather a band then it’s the next one. I wanna play live and then I wanna play in front of a hundred people. And then, the bucket list keeps getting bigger and bigger but the satisfaction of checking off the goals that you put in front of yourself, that is what has been, my motivation for getting me where I am today. The second we got the first US tour, that was one of the biggest things EVER for me. I’ve been working so hard for it. I have family in America, I’ve been there many times. Every time, I’ve gone off the plane and in New York, at the airport, it’s like next time, I’m gonna be here with my band. Next time, I’m gonna be here with my band and when I finally did that, that fucking rush is, you can’t explain it. I’ve always had this goal ahead of me. I wanna get there and that could be everything from like playing a new song, I wanna learn that riff, whatever it is. I think that’s really important, to have a goal in life.
Dr.Leif: I was just about to say, work really, really hard and enjoy yourself and have fun with everything you do creatively. That’s the key, for me. Fun, enjoy it, laugh, joke, and have fun. Yeah, do not take yourself seriously or anybody else seriously.
Trollmannen: That’s true. Basically, what happens when you take yourself too seriously is you expect everyone else to take you just as seriously and you’re already taking yourself too seriously. So the chances of anyone else doing that are pretty much zero, I mean unless you have like fanatical fatuous people like really, get into your stuff, you know, like stalkers and stuff. Those are the only kind of people who can sort of feed an ego of, over compensating self-seriousness.
Mr. Seidel: Like I have been doing for you for the last three years. (joking)
Trollmannen: Yeah, it’s the only reason why I’m in the band. (joking)
Mr. Seidel: I’m, I’m outside his window every morning. (joking)
Trollmannen: Because he’s infatuated with me. (joking)
Zenae: So infatuations, bucket lists, and work hard.
Dr.Leif: New York pizza.
Zenae: And New York pizza.
Dr. Leif: Yes!
Mr. Seidel: Not infatuation, that’s usually not a good thing unless you can get someone in the band to do that for you.
Trollmannen: I think infatuation should stay in the bedroom.
Dr.Leif: And another thing that’s really important to starting a new band is to decide a name, and let’s find a name and the t-shirt design before you make music. These are the rules and they must always be observed and obeyed.
Trollmannen: And logo.
Dr.Leif: And the logo, the logo is perhaps the most important thing.
Mr. Seidel: Website first, then name.
Zenae: What about ducks?
Mr. Seidel: You need the duck.
Dr.Leif: You need the duck pond, yes but that’s when you start to earn millions of dollars like we did (joking).
Mr. Seidel: Yes.