“It’s our heritage, and we believe that it is important.”
As part of our coverage of the great Bloodstock Open Air festival, we met with both the bass player and the drummer of the heavy metal band Grand Magus.
Since the release of their first album (“Grand Magus”, Rise Above Records) back in 2001, the band has found a way to recruit a large number of followers that, although may not rival those of the headliners, were numerous enough to let the everyone know that Grand Magus‘ power does not go unnoticed.
Now signed under Nuclear Blast, and having just released a critically acclaimed album (“The Hunt”) Grand Magus was eager to thank the fans and explain some of the band’s history and future plans.
Metal Blast: It’s been almost two months since the release of The Hunt, your latest album. Looking back to it, does it represent everything you wanted to do, or are there things you would have changed or done differently?
Fox: It’s hard to tell, but I think the result was very good.
Ludde: I don’t think like that, in terms of changing something. I’m really happy with the way it turned out; plus you can’t go back in time and change things, so there’s no point in thinking about it. It’s more about what you’re going to do in the next one.
MB: The reviews of the album tend to have one thing in common, besides being very positive, which is that they have a hard time classifying the band, mentioning everything from Doom to Power metal. Do you think that it’s possible to label Grand Magus?
Fox: I think that the problem is that people always try to label a band, which might be important for people who don’t know about the band. In our opinion, however, we simply play heavy metal.
MB: Well, you do play a more classic style of heavy metal, which has actually even been compared to NWOBHM. Do you feel comfortable sharing stage with the likes of Watain, Mayhem and Dimmu Borgir, which represent a much “harder” style of metal?
Fox: Yes, because although we don’t play that style, we bring the same energy!
MB: The viking and nordic themes are recurring in the lyrics of Grand Magus, particularly in the latest albums. Is it simply a theme you like, or is there a deeper meaning to them?
Fox: Well, we’re from Sweden, it’s our heritage. It’s always been in the lyrics but, as you say, it’s more obvious now…. then again, you may have to ask JB; in any case, it’s our heritage, and we believe that it is important.
MB: Regarding JB, he once spoke of Grand Magus as a “Black Magick Metal” band, referencing the Left Hand Path, Crowley, etc. Has this changed over the years, or is this “occultism” still part of the band?
Fox: I don’t think there’s much of that left, but I’m not right person to answer that [laughs]. I’m not writing the lyrics!
MB: Do you think that, over the years, the band has changed a lot in term of its sound?
Fox: Production-wise we’re always trying to do catchy songs that people can remember and sing along; for me, the changes of the band are not a giant leap, but rather something that happened gradually.
MB: Was the change from roadrunner to Nuclear Blast very big in terms of differences between the two?
Fox: Not for us, we had a lot of liberty. We chose the producer, the songs we wanted to record, the artist for the cover work, etc., and it was the same with RoadRunner. We wanted to be involved in every creative part, and we did.
Having said that, Nuclear Blast has done a lot of promotion and they released the album in the States, so they’ve been trying to push it as hard as they can.
MB: Speaking of that, every year Grand Magus covers a larger area with its tours; are there plans to do a proper American tour?
Fox: We’d love to tour the States, but it’s hard to go there as a small band because [laughs] no one knows you.
If the right opportunity comes along to be, for instance, the support band for someone I think we’d go there… in the meantime, we’ll start with Canada in September!
MB: Are you focused exclusively on Grand Magus, or do you have any side projects going?
Fox: Ask him! [laughs] Ludde: Well, I still play with Spiritual Beggars.
Fox: Yeah, for me it’s mostly Grand Magus.
MB: And what are your plans for the future?
Fox: Tomorrow we’ll play in Belgium, then we have other shows in September, and then we won’t do another European tour until… January I think.
MB: And this time is just to rest or to write?
Fox: You never know when the inspiration hits you… but then again, when you’re resting at home it’s more likely to happen than on tour, because then your brain is completely worn-out.
MB: Any final messages for your fans?
Fox: Thanks for the support… and keep supporting us! [laughs] Ludde: Thanks to everybody who came out today, it was really a special evening for us.