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17th February 2016
METAL DISCOVERY: Looking at the newest album, ‘Månegarm’, the first three songs - ‘Blodörn’, ‘Tagen av Daga’ and ‘Odin Owns ye All’ - each offer wonderful sections of build, climax and transition. There are many times I hear albums from bands that, while some songs are great, they have a hard time transitioning from track to track. Do you have any secret recipes that help you organize these excellent songs?
ERIK: I wish I had that secret recipe but, unfortunately, I don’t ;) First of all, we try to come up with great songs that WE are satisfied with. Then it’s also important, in my opinion, to place the tracks in a good order to get that nice “overall-flow” on the album. On this album, we had many songs and also quite different songs, so it took a while to come up with a satisfying track order.
(Erik Grawsiö on the cover art for Månegarm's latest, self-titled album)
"The cover art is our interpretation of Ragnaroek and you see gods and giants fight the final battle at the great plains of Vigrid. Manegarm was a great wolf that hunted the moon in the Norse mythology so he got a central part in the cover."
Interview by Joshua Jaeger
Official Månegarm Website:
Nordstjärnans Tidsålder (1998)
After two decades of exercising their Viking/pagan metal might, last year saw Sweden's Månegarm release an eponymously titled eighth studio album, and their second for new label home, Napalm Records. Metal Discovery's Joshua Jaeger sought to find out more about the Swedes' latest work, their mixed fortunes with different labels, and live shows past, present and future, for which frontman Erik Grawsiö kindly provided various interesting insights and observations...
Månegarm - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2015 Uncredited
Official Månegarm Facebook:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview.
Havets Vargar (2000)
Dödsfärd (2003)
Vredens Tid (2005)
Vargstenen (2007)
Nattväsen (2009)
Legions of the North (2013)
Månegarm (2015)
MD: It’s honestly a very advanced skill to piece together an album so eloquently with diverse passages, with softer tones that quickly jump into powerful galloping riffs, and Månegarm pulls this off better than anyone. Is this something you’d say you’ve become better at doing with each new release?
ERIK: Thank you very much! I also think we managed to pull this off in a nice way but, as I said earlier, it was not that easy and I spend several hours thinking about it ;)
MD: After so many years and so many excellent albums, how do you keep it fresh when creating a new release? Have you encountered any challenges this time around when turning out hordes of solid and varied riffs?
ERIK: It’s a good question but I haven’t thought about it that much. We really like what we’re doing and the riffs, melodies and songs just keep coming. We didn’t have any problems at all this time; for me, it was easier than ever. I don’t know why but I really had tons of ideas for this album.
MD: Do you have any tracks that fell to the editing floor? If so, will we hear them on ‘B-sides’ or future releases?
ERIK: Yes, Jonas had maybe two or three songs that didn’t work out in the end. They were not bad songs, just not as good as the others. I “stole” two riffs from those songs which we used in ‘Call of the Runes’, though. I don’t think you will hear these songs on a B-side though; some songs just don’t make it ;)
MD: Do you have any insight in regards to an overall theme that went into the song writing of your 2015 offering?
ERIK: It’s not a concept album so it has no “red-line” that goes through the album, but the lyrics deal with death, war and retaliation… to give you the easy answer ;)
MD: The album art is very well done - I love the blood moon and wolf imagery combined together! Do you have any insight as to any messages or story to the cover, and how this might tie in with an overall theme?
ERIK: The cover art is our interpretation of Ragnaroek and you see gods and giants fight the final battle at the great plains of Vigrid. Manegarm was a great wolf that hunted the moon in the Norse mythology so he got a central part in the cover. We had all the ideas which we mailed Kris Verwimp, which is the painter, and he did a nice job painting the cover art.
MD: How have things changed over the years with now releasing under the label Napalm Records? What are the major differences between your releases under Regain and Black Lodge?
ERIK: We have had a couple of different record labels by now… Black Lodge is a Swedish label which we had a good collaboration with… and still has. After we released ‘Vargstenen’ for Black Lodge, we got a call from Regain Records and they said that they wanted to sign us. We thought that this was great as we believed that Regain still was a solid label… they were NOT!! We didn’t gain anything from that deal except headache and later on they went bankrupt. We released ‘Nattväsen’ on Regain but didn’t receive a single penny in royalty. That was just sad as they were a great record label back in the days. We stood without a record label for a while but then we luckily got in contact with Napalm Records and, in 2012, we signed on to them. We have released 2 albums for NR and it’s been really good so far!
MD: What would you say in your professional career would be the drunkest or craziest crowds you’ve ever played for?
ERIK: We have played in front of many great crowds but I will say in Paris on the Heidenfest tour (2008), together with Eluveitie, Primordial and Finntroll. I don’t remember the name of the venue but that crowd was fucking amazing!!!
MD: Of all the places that you’ve toured over the years, what would be your favourite venue? Can you think of a place that you’ve yet to play, but always wanted to?
ERIK: Thor Hammerfest in Brazil last year. Maybe not the biggest venue or the biggest crowd BUT the crowd was fantastic!! The whole trip was fantastic!! Great organization, nice hotel, great crowd and some days in a beach house after the show… all together it made this trip to Brazil one of my best musical moments ever!!
MD: Some that you are looking forward to most in 2016?
ERIK: We’re going to Japan for two gigs in January; one In Tokyo and one in Osaka. Never been to Japan so that will be awesome!!
MD: I’ve always been curious about the band members’ musical backgrounds. What were some deciding factors in getting started in music and what made you continue to focus on metal primarily? How long have you been playing?
ERIK: I don’t really know how the other guys started so I can only speak for myself here. I started playing horn and later on trumpet when I was a kid and how “metal” is that??!! Hahaha!! When I was maybe 12-13 years old, my neighbour showed me how to play guitar and we played Guns n’ Roses, Metallica and other cool stuff. From that moment, I was completely stuck with the heavy metal music. When I was 16 years old, I learned how to play drums, which I played in Manegarm from 1995-2008. From 2010 I play the bass guitar in the band.
MD: What does the future hold for both Månegarm and your personal goals as a musician?
ERIK: This year looks very good so far, with a mini tour in Spain in February, a European tour together with Skyforger and Ereb Altor at the end of March/beginning of April. Then we have some good festivals coming up; Inferno Festival in Norway and Ragnard Rock in France, just to name a few. Personal goal as a musician is to continue composing good songs for Manegarm and keep on releasing good albums.
MD: Thank you so much for spending a few moments to chat with us. As always, we look forward to hearing more from you guys in the future!
ERIK: Thank you so much!!