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Interview von: arne mit Marten, am: 28.09.2006 ]

Die schwedischen Meshuggah sind ohne jeden Zweifel eine der progressivsten und einflussreichsten Metal-Bands überhaupt. Der Einfluss des wahnwitzigen Quartetts auf den Heavy-Sektor kann wohl nicht einmal annähernd bestimmt werden, doch gewaltig ist er, keine Frage. Die „Technik Frickler wissen um die eigene Verantwortung und glänzen scheinbar spielerisch ein ums andere Mal durch zutiefst effektive wie effiziente Veröffentlichungen. In Kürze wird ein Re-Release von „Nothing“ erscheinen, doch auch auf eine völlig neue Platte müssen die Fans nicht mehr allzu lange warten…


Musicscan: Please state your name at first. What has Meshuggah currently been up to?

Meshuggah: Mårten Hagström. Well, we are writing material for the next album right now. Up until the middle of the summer we've been buzy building and upgrading our studio.

Musicscan: Who came up with the idea of doing the Nothing re-release? From what I have heard it’s more than a regular re-release, cause you re-recorded the guitars, right?

Meshuggah: yes the guitars are re-recorded. We actually started discussing re-releasing it pretty much straight after it came out in 2002. We were not entierly happy with the production on the album(we were on a deadline 'cuz we were leaving for the Ozzfest that year) and felt thet the songs deserved to be presented in a proper way.

Musicscan: What do you remember best about the original recording sessions, and what was it like to re-work it now?

Meshuggah: I remember the total chaos of trying to piece the whole thing together in time. We were exhausted and were staying up for days just to be able to get it finished so we were all constantly ready to fall asleep while trying to mix the album. Fredrik actually fell asleep standing up TWICE during the mastering. Re-working it was not as chaotic. More inspiring.

Musicscan: Do you feel like Nothing gets more props now than it did when it once came out? Especially in the states people discovered Meshuggah years after you impressed the European scene…

Meshuggah:Yes it gets more props now but thats always been the case with our albums I guess. I mean Chaosphere was an album that took a couple of years for people to start getting into. At first reception was pretty mellow but gradually people started really getting into it. DEI was the same. Alot of people claim to have loved that album from day one,but apart from some really good reviews it didn't do all that well until a couple of years after release.

Musicscan: In retrospect, is there anything you’d change about the album Nothing beside those guitars you re-recorded?

Meshuggah: No not really. I mean there are ALWAYS things you want to change from a songwriting point of view but you have to accept that an album is kind of a "fingerprint" of what the band is like at the time of writing and recording it. The production however is a different story.

Musicscan: When the Nothing album was released here in Europe were you surprised that a lot of people of different musical tastes were getting it? How soon after it came out did you realize the influence it had?

Meshuggah:We never really stopped to think about it. It's been obvious that alot of different people have been able to get into our music and maybe more so on "Nothing" and "catch 33" than on the others but its not up to me to evaluate what influence its been having on others,if any.

Musicscan: I read a couple of reviews telling Nothing to be a milestone within modern metal. Your comment?

Meshuggah: I don't know....its flattering but you have to remember that we just want to have a musical journey together in the band that feels like its worthwhile nomatter of reviews or such. But its better than hearing its the crap of the century he,he.

Musicscan: What’s to say about the bonus-dvd and its material?

Meshuggah: Well its some pretty cool live clips from the Download festival and some other weird shit like the original and not so original version of "Rational gaze". I like it.

Musicscan: How do you feel about your place as a band in the extrem metal scene? What scene if any do you guys consider yourself a part of?

Meshuggah: I never think like that. We play aggressive music. Metal. I don't feel like affiliating with any sub-genre. I know thats a cliché answer but it has nothing to do with us feeling special or anything. Its just that there are so many ways to try to describe different bands and scenes that its bound to become incorrect. Some say we're death-metal some say cyber-metal some say metal-core etc and I don't even know what those things are. Hopefully any band is uniqe enough to stand on its own legs without having to feel part of a bigger movement in order to be able to do what they do.

Musicscan: It seems that your sound is continually changing, while other bands are stagnant. What’s Meshuggah’s secret? Is it a challenge to continually record new crazy songs and records?

Meshuggah: Yes and no. We don't have a secret. We just do whatever feels interesting to us at the moment. We NEVER think "oh guys we really need to top the last album here. lets do something even weirder and more fucked up than before" We just try to write cool shit that feels inspiring to us personally.

Musicscan: You guys are masters of your instruments. How important is that for you and do you feel you'll always keep that brutal edge to your music?

Meshuggah: Thats not an issue for us. We write songs,we play 'em. To be honest we are almost never practicing our respective instruments. Its just the way the songs turn out. I've never liked the notion that being good at your instrument is equal to being good at creating music (even though I know some people sometimes see us that way) since,to me, any instrument is just a tool to get your idea across. Technical or not doesn't matter. But IF you play something technically "advanced" you should know how to do it. Its basically all about the songwriting in my opinion.

Musicscan: What are Meshuggah’s plans for the next full length? Is there already a good amount of material written?

Meshuggah: Well,there is quite alot of ideas in the air over here right now and that feels really awesome. The ball is rolling so to speak. We are in writing mode right now so we'll see how fast things move along this time. This album is going to be VERY interesting to make,I can tell you that much.

Musicscan: If yes, what did you guys do differently for the next record that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing?

Meshuggah: I don't know. Its just a natural process to us. We write music and if it feels cool we'll use it. Simple as that. We cant have a specific agenda 'cuz that would be too limiting. To have no restraints is the best working situation,creatively speaking.

Musicscan: Were there any particular adjustments or things that you wanted to improve upon from a technical aspect of writing?

Meshuggah: No not really. Like I said earlier thats secondary to the writing.

Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressiong on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especcially in Meshuggah’s context…

Meshuggah: I think that line is individual to everyone listening. There is no ONE place where the line is drawn. take "Nothing" for example. Lots of people found that album less experimental and original than the earlier work while most found it very unique so Its impossible to say. I think its the same within the band aswell.

Musicscan: Do you listen to a lot of metal music lately, or where do you get your inspiration from?

Meshuggah: No not really. When writing I hardly listen to any music. We basically get mostly influenced by eachother. Its like a symbiosis where we feed off eachothers ideas. We are always looking for somekind of vibe that kindof sets the pace for the whole project.

Musicscan: How would you respond to the charge that throwing in breakdowns or any other ‘heavy' qualities to a more hardcore sound is an attempt to blend two unmixable sounds?

Meshuggah: Tough one....Whatever is good is good. there are no do's and dont's . Some bands manage to pull stuff off that others fail miserably at so i'd say it depends.

Musicscan: What are your thoughts on all those modern “crossover-bands”, that are mixing different styles like emo, hardcore, metal, whatever…

Meshuggah: I feel alot of them are scared to find an identity for themselves and are mixing up things to appeal to as many as possible. It feels like a commercial plan saying "we need to reach these emo-listeners and then we need to reach these metal-listeners etc". But hey its just a matter of opinion. They do what they do we do what we do.