(Photocredit by Severin Schweiger – www.severinschweiger.de)
After providing support for fellow Swedish heavy metal giants Amon Amarth’s “Jomsviking” European tour in late 2016, Stockholm trio Grand Magus returned to the U.K. and Ireland for their ‘Frost & Fire’ tour. On an unusually hot and sunny day in Belfast and prior to their performance at Limelight 2 last month, Matthew Kirk sat down with Fox Skinner and Ludwig Witt to talk more about touring, the band’s latest album release and more!
MK: So, welcome back to the UK…
FS: Thank you very much!
LW: Thank you!
MK: You’ve been in Dublin, last night, how was Dublin?
FS: Oh, it was cool. Saturday night, y’know, good vibe. People were in a good mood and drinking a lot and, y’know, *laughs* yeah it was good.
MK: There’s a little bit of a rivalry between the North and the South so we’re hoping to beat them tonight…
FS & LW: *laughs*
FS: Well, you’ll have to work for it I think.
LW: They were pretty loud actually, yeah!
MK: So, tonight’s the start of the ‘Frost and Fire’ tour in the U.K., what’s it like performing in the U.K.? Compared to the rest of Europe, up in Sweden and in Scandinavia, how different is the U.K. compared to the rest of the continent?
FS: I think, for us, it’s always been a good place to go, like many places in the U.K. But it’s good for us to go to the U.K. because we’ve been touring here since the beginning in, like, 2003 – I think the first tour was – so it’s been good. Hopefully they can go and see a live band even though it’s a Sunday, as it is today, because if you try to play a Sunday in Sweden it’s no use because people won’t go out.
MK: Why is that?
FG: They’re thinking about the day tomorrow…
LW: Yeah, it’s a very Swedish thing that people only drink on Fridays and Saturdays and then they go completely crazy and fight and throw up and pass out and everything. So, they couldn’t do that on a Sunday if they’re going to have to go to work on the Monday…
MK: Yeah, I suppose… that’s what going to gigs is about I suppose.
FS & LW: *laughs*
MK: ‘Sword Songs’: It’s a brilliant album. I’ve listened to it; it’s really good and I’ve enjoyed it. But it’s also a pretty impressive milestone being the 8th studio album you’ve had. Is it difficult, because you’ve been doing this for so long? Do you have to adapt when you’re recording album to try and keep the music fresh or is there a particular way that you approach it at all?
FS: I don’t think we’re changing style. We have changed style – the band has since the beginning – but it’s not because of the outside world, it’s because we wanted to make changes. So I don’t think we have adapted, we just follow our own path…
LW: I guess we just try and do the best albums we can.
MK: For people who have never heard you guys before, one of the things that really stands out about your albums, not just ‘Sword Songs’ but the rest of your records in general, is the link to Vikings and Norse mythology. A lot of other bands have done this, like Amon Amarth, Tyr, to name a few… in Scandinavian and Swedish bands, is it very much a heritage thing? Is it fun to write songs about this mythology?
FS: Well, it is our heritage, so, why not sing about it? We’re not really religious or whatever in that kind of way… Norse mythology, it’s where we come from so, why not sing about it. We haven’t been that obvious about it earlier on. JB’s (Grand Magus’ vocalist) is doing the lyrics and he’s not here…
LW: I think it’s a big thing for him. He was really into that growing up and stuff, I think. I guess all of us learn about it in school and stuff. It’s a part of us, I guess…
MK: A lot of people might not know about Norse mythology, Viking mythology, etc. Is there any big figure who really interested you at all looking back at all in the writing of the music? Like if JB were to write something and you’d think “Oh, that’s really cool – I never knew that!” or “I’d forgotten about that”?
LW: Yeah… well, he knows a lot more about it than me that’s for sure *laughs*. He knows all the stories and things…
FG: Yeah, we had one song… I can’t remember what album it is, it’s called ‘Lodbrok’. It’s about a guy… who wears leather pants *laughs*. We used Viking lyrics before, but it’s more obvious nowadays I think!
Grand Magus’ brilliant 8th studio album ‘Sword Songs’ is OUT NOW!
Click here to listen to Matthew’s full interview with Fox and Ludwig.
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