DATE OF INTERVIEW:
4th October 2008
STEFAN ZELL; THOMAS JANSSON; MARCUS LOSBJER
(Thomas Jansson on band members' optimistic and dedicated outlook for the future of Wolverine )
"...there were other people in the band not wanting to do it anymore but we’ve snapped out of it and now we’ve decided to work a little harder."
PART 3 BELOW
PART 3 ABOVE
Stefan, Thomas, and Marcus in the Sjiwa's basement, Baarlo, Netherlands, 4th October 2008
Photograph copyright © 2008 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
METAL DISCOVERY: How is the prog scene in Sweden?
MARCUS LOSBJER: It is a weird country in the sense that it is in a sort of commercialised state. You know, everything is idol...
STEFAN ZELL: Then again, we may not see the big picture when it comes to the UK. We only see the…when we’re in that vein, we are part of the underground scene - that’s what we see from Britain. So I guess maybe it’s similar to Sweden in that it’s commercialised.
THOMAS JANSSON: Yeah, talent shows, and you know…
ML: …and all of the bands - and there are many good bands - all the bands come from Sweden, but I think it’s part of the…it’s a thing that comes out of depression or something. [laughs] There aren’t many people to play gigs in Sweden for bands like us…the organisers are mostly too lazy, so they hire a cover band that can play all the songs.
TJ: And in Sweden, you know, if you compare Sweden to Britain for example, there are a lot of people living in Britain and if a small percentage of those people like progressive metal a crowd will show up. In Sweden, a crowd won’t show up for you, because we are too few people as well - it’s very limited.
MD: The UK is quite bad as well. Apart from Dream Theater, Rush, even Porcupine Tree, it’s pretty flat.
ML: But the UK is still a bit different in the sense that there’s more originality in a way, in the music that comes out. It can be some very weird stuff, you know, it doesn’t always have to be good, but it’s still something different. It’s not only this idol, Eurovision…
TJ: No, it has some true essence.
ML: Yeah, yeah.
MD: Are there any bands out there from any genre of music you’d like to recommend to people that will be reading this interview? Apart from your own band, of course!
SZ: Bands that we would like people to hear?
TJ: Swedish bands, or…?
MD: No, any.
TJ: Oh, there is…you know, you can’t ask a question like that! I can give you lists! The most recent CD I bought was Meshuggah’s latest album I think. I really love that stuff, but I can give examples from classical music to jazz and you know, grind core…electronic music as well. But, for me, on the grindcore side, Gadget are awesome; death metal..er…At The Gates…
MD: Did you see At The Gates on their reunion tour?
TJ: No, not from the beginning, but from ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ I saw them and it was fantastic.
ML: [to Thomas] But you saw them on the reunion tour…
TJ: Yeah, I saw the reunion…was it that you asked?
TJ: Sorry, yeah, I saw one of the gigs in Stockholm. Actually, that had sold out. I was reading in the papers - ah man, they’re playing two gigs in Stockholm, I have to see it because I waited like ten years to see them from hearing ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. And it’s sold out, what am I gonna do…but fortunately I have a friend working with security at that place so I got in for free so it was really good! It was a hell of a gig and about one week later I saw Meshuggah and that was completely amazing.
MD: A very intense live sound.
TJ: Yeah, if you have a chance to see Meshuggah live…
MD: I’ve seen them in 2005...I don’t know what tour that was on, but 8-string Ibanez guitars that must’ve been down-tuned as well…
TJ: Very down-tuned!
TJ: Yeah, and you get into all the, er…
MD: …all the polyrhythms.
TJ: Yeah. Fantastic band; fantastic live band.
MD: More of an experience rather than I’m standing here enjoying these songs.
TJ: Yeah, it’s a bit of both, and also they have a nice light thing going on, you know, blinding the crowd. You know, these amazing headlight things.
SZ: I kind of imagine it feels like being hit by a tank or something!
TJ: Yeah, it’s nice, it’s nice!
MD: [to Stefan and Marcus] Are you two into Meshuggah at all?
SZ: No, can’t stand them! [laughs]
ML: My personal…if I can recommend bands, the bands I listen to are mostly old rock…
TJ: Bruce Springsteen?
ML: Yeah, Bruce Springsteen; Depeche Mode; A-ha…and you know, Led Zeppelin…it’s more that…Pink Floyd of course.
MD: Were you quite sad to hear about Richard Wright recently?
ML: Yeah, yeah, it was sad. I didn’t expect it; I just saw him on a David Gilmour DVD. So I didn’t expect it. It came as a surprise because they recently got the Polar Music Prize in Sweden for a lifetime achievement - Roger Waters and Nick Mason were there.
MD: I’m guessing that Wolverine’s far from a full-time job…
TJ: Oh, very far, very far!
MD: …although are any of you, or the other band members, fortunate enough to work with music for a living?
ML: I have been working in music for many years as a teacher, and as a musician as well…in cover bands! As a prostitute! A prostitute in cover bands!
TJ: He is a prostitute!
SZ: He is our whore!
TJ: Harlot would be a better word. Marcus the harlot! Yeah, but neither of us have except from you [to Stefan] have actually been working…
SZ: I’ve been working for nine years with music - a co-ordinator for rock schools for young people. But I recently quit.
TJ: And I’m a full-time student. I’m gonna be a high school teacher of English and Swedish in a few years, so that’s what I do.
MD: [to Stefan] There was a statement on your homepage recently that you had to cancel Rock The Mountain because your daughter had some urgent surgery that was due because she was born with a heart condition?
MD: How is she now?
SZ: She’s still not…she hasn’t had her surgery yet, but it’s under control. But that’s also one of the things that made me…actually, before we started the rehearsals for this show, I had pretty much…I had told the other guys that I was gonna quit the band because it felt like I held everything back. Because of all the troubles at home with her…
ML: It’s fully understandable.
SZ: I didn’t have the energy for, you know, all this that we talked about - all the fights we have when we write and it was too much. But then whilst we started rehearsing for this, that was gonna be our last show, I felt that if I could get some time to solve the problems with Freyja, that’s her name, maybe we could take it a bit slow until she’s healthy, then I would love to go on. Because I found that during the rehearsal I loved the band, and I don’t want to lose it, so…
MD: It must be quite worrying being away from home and coming away for something like this I suppose.
SZ: Yeah, so it’s constant SMS…[laughs]
TJ: It wasn’t only Stefan’s…but, of course, that played a big part for me, but we are five strong wills, and there were other people in the band not wanting to do it anymore but we’ve snapped out of it and now we’ve decided to work a little harder.
MD: Finally, what do you anticipate and hope the future holds for Wolverine?
SZ: I hope that we stay together for many years to come…release albums, but I don’t want to live from the music. I want to be able to go like a week or two to do some shows, and then get back to the ordinary life - keep it on that level. That’s my vision of the future.
TJ: Yeah, I agree, but first and foremost more live gigs. We have to play more to keep up the spirit. That’s probably one of the problems that when we sat down to - okay, let’s make an album - we don’t do anything else; we don’t say yes to taking this gig or that gig and just concentrate on this. And I think that was a very wrong move actually because you never get inspired. When you are on stage, you get as inspired as you can…
SZ: The last gig we had was August ‘07 - that’s not very busy playing live!
ML: No, last year had been extraordinary in a sense.
TJ: But we work our way through.
SZ: I think we’ve passed the worst. I’m more optimistic now than I’ve been in several years.
MD: [to Thomas] You’d only be able to tour in school vacations when you graduate!
TJ: Actually, I see it like this. If some sort of longer touring, you know, like a month or whatever if it would be offered us, I would definitely skip school because school you can do whenever you want. Opportunities like this, they never occur again and it’s worth so much, you know, being on stage in England, travelling to a few cities and meeting people who really like what you do. It’s so rewarding, and it’s worth everything. How many people can say like, you know, when I was this or that age I was in England and played for all these nice people and it was a ball. So school can always be dealt with at a later stage - that’s how I perceive things.
MD: Well, thank you very much.
SZ: Thank you.
MD: It’s very cool to hear that Wolverine are going to carry on as well.
TJ: We will carry on; we will.
MD: Just stop arguing!
SZ: [laughs] Actually, I think it’s the arguing that makes us what we are.
TJ: You know, it’s civilised.
ML: I think if we agreed to everything it would turn out shit!
MD: Exactly, productivity comes out of good arguments.
TJ: And giving birth has never been easy…
TJ: …but what comes out is hopefully beautiful!
MD: You’re talking metaphorically I hope!
TJ: [laughs] Right!
MD: That would be a whole other interview!
SZ: Well thank you.
MD: Thank you.
Fervent Dream EP (1999)
The Window Purpose (2001)
Albums & EPs
Cold Light Of Monday (2003)
Official Wolverine Website:
Official Wolverine MySpace:
Official Candlelight Website:
Official Wolverine Forum @ Ultimate Metal:
Huge thanks to Marcus, Stefan and Thomas for the interview, and Wolverine collectively for 2 astoundingly brilliant sets at ProgPower 2008. May you continue to make music forever!
Thanks to Hannah Sylvester for recording the interview.
MD: Yeah, and it makes your whole body vibrate…