Musicscan: Right now, the harder metal scene seems to go even more extreme than ever before. Bands are pushing the boundaries as far as complexity, technical approach and extreme arrangements are concerned. What are your thoughts on this development? In a way you did the opposite with Hammer Of The North as you are focussing on melodies, intensity, etc…
Grand Magus: Exactly! Instead of doing things as complicated as possible we try to cut off all unnecessary parts, just keep what is best for the song.
Musicscan: Grand Magus seem to be an extreme and straightforward band, never sticking to any formulas. But listening to Hammer Of The North quite a bit, I have been noticing a lot of groove and flow. Is this something you guys tried to do with your stuff or did the writing process just head in that direction?
Grand Magus: I think that is one of the main things we’re looking for from the beginning when we start to try out a new riff in the rehearsal studio. If it doesn’t work from the beginning we throw it away, it’s hard to put the groove into a song afterwards.
Musicscan: Do you think there are still new metal sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
Grand Magus: Well, of course it’s harder and harder to stand out and do a unique song that people don’t compare with something already done. We’re trying to do our best not to sound like anything done before by for example put a Nordic feel into the songs.
Musicscan: What sort of evolution has Grand Magus gone through that lead to Hammer Of The North? Where did you start musically and how did your sound progress? What are you looking for in a song, and how do you know that a song is finished?
Grand Magus: When we started off ten years ago we played more bluesy and slower. Our music has been called 70’s rock, stoner, doom and heavy metal. I think heavy metal is the right definition nowadays.
When we’re writing songs we’re looking for some kind of directness and groove. The last things we put on are the singing melody and the lyrics which is JB’s work. After that it’s all done.
Musicscan: Musically, and especially lyrically, Grand Magus seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time connected with a "reflected approach". What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
Grand Magus: We like strong and powerful emotions. We want to help our audience to be in charge of their lives, make their own decisions and have the courage to follow their will.
Musicscan: Is it an intentional drive to make the songs as varied, heavy and straight-forward as possible?
Grand Magus: Yes, as simple as possible without getting boring, cut off the crap that doesn’t help the song.
Musicscan: A last question: What makes the band special to you? How would you describe the essence of Grand Magus?
Grand Magus: We’re three strong individuals that manage to work as a group and strive for the same goal. When you are a three piece band all members are important, nobody can hide behind someone else.
Musicscan: Final thoughts?
Grand Magus: Hopefully our fans will like the new album. At least, we are pleased with the outcome. Since it was a long time ago we were touring in Germany we’re hoping to do that right after the summer, people are working on it right now. Have a nice summer. Skål!