Interview from the Swedish Metal archive, originally posted on 2013-03-16.
Marduk, one of the most intense and brutal acts that exists have just recently released their eighth masterpiece, World Funeral. Since we found this album so interesting, we though it would be a nice idea to have a talk with a member in Marduk about how things have been lately.
Swedish Metal: How would you describe the music that you are playing?
Legion: We play raw and fierce metal at a speed of 180km/h, or sometimes it’s so heavy that you might fall apart and faint. I think that description fits rather well, but if you want to put a label on the music it would be Black Metal.
Swedish Metal: Very extreme in other words?
Legion: Yeah, we like to push the limits.
Swedish Metal: Just a few weeks ago you released your new album, World Funeral. What do you think of it?
Legion: I’m very pleased with it! Especially because everything turned out so well this time. When we made our previous album, “La Grande Danse Macabre”, we were rather tired because of our stressful schedule. We also had too much to do when we began to take care of our own record label and started to work with that. Then, if you add 3 months of long tours to that you understand that we were very worn out when we made the album. This time things were different. We spent a month in the studio with over 18 hours of work a day, so the sound and production became really awesome. It felt so much better to do this album now, when we are a working unit again.
Swedish Metal: You say that you now work like a unit again. How did the change of your drummer affect this?
Legion: Well, of course it affected the situation in Marduk. It was very good to get some new fresh blood into the band. Our previous drummer (Fredrik Andersson) was obviously tired with all this demanding work and didn’t put all his energy into what he did anymore. You have to go 110% all the time if you’re going to get somewhere in this business, so he quit playing with us instead. It was a tough situation because Fredrik had been in the band for such a long time. However, it was a real coincidence that we met Emil (Dragutinovic, drums). He was playing together with his former band on a gig that we visited, and we were really surprised with his skills! We contacted him and then we played a couple of songs together. We thought it sounded really good, so we offered him the place immediately. He’s been a member for about a year now and he’s really grown into his place in Marduk.
Swedish Metal: Marduk is a very controversial band. What is your thought about the your lyrics and the message that you are spreading?
Legion: Well I guess we’ve always been a bunch of “bad guys”. *laugh* Otherwise you mostly write your material about those things that fascinate yourself. I think that our songs are about very different subjects. I think that we have covered many topics and issues in our lyrics, both historically and so on. If you compare us with many other bands in our genre, that just sing about the same things all the time, I think our songs have many varied subjects. But anyway I think it’s rather interesting to see how such small things can make people so upset. I don’t think the things we deal with are extreme at all, there are many other artists (not just black metal bands, but rappers, and others too) who provoke a lot of people that are concerned about their ethics, who will eventually try to spread the word about the “evils” of the artist, even though they don’t say anything special at all.
Swedish Metal: But the things I think characterize Mardurk’s material are the lyrics about the church and the christianity. Does the whole band agree with those opinions?
Legion: Yeah, basically all of us stand on the same platform. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to get along together at all. Mainly, I just can’t stand authorities, especially if there is some moron who stands and shouts at you with a book in his hand. Then he is obviously just out to make trouble. That is something that I love to attack. However, there is always something to write about, but at the same time you’ll never sit and say, “Now we shall write a text that is exactly like this.” I think people would get tired to read such texts for the hundredth time. Mostly you just go and think about something special and then you write a text about it. If you come up with something that sounds really good, plus it is something that affects yourself, then it ends up on an album.
Swedish Metal: How much do you think your extreme lyrics and music has affected the amount of attention that you’ve got?
Legion: I don’t know, it is obvious that you get people’s attention if your sound is harder and higher than all the others. But on the other hand there are many doors that haven’t been opened, because we aren’t considered as an acceptable group. But actually I don’t know, I haven’t thought so much about this. The only thing you can think about is to follow your vision and work as hard as you can to fulfill it. If you just try to be a businessman and control your style to appeal to a big audience, then you must love money as much as Gene Simmons does. Otherwise it’ll never work.
Swedish Metal: What is the process like when you write a song?
Legion: It’s very different from song to song, sometimes I just sit here at home and write a text, then Morgan (Steinmeyer Håkansson, guitar) read it, and then he just hears different riffs in his head. Some of our songs have been made on a quarter, while on other songs when all members in the band contribute with material, they can take a very long time to make. Still it’s mostly Morgan who writes the music and I come up with almost all the lyrics, but it still happens that everyone contributes to the songs. We wrote World Funeral entirely in our rehearsal room. We just played and played all our material and then added new parts to it. Sometimes, you have written parts that you show for the others in the rehearsal room, too. Most of the time the others think it sounds good at once, and then we just make some small adjustments to it. That’s how it is!
Swedish Metal: How did the recording of the album work out??
Legion: It was good as hell! Since we recorded the album in Studio Abyss again, we knew that everything would be perfect. We’ve known Peter (Tägtgren, producer) for such a long time, so it almost feels like he is the fifth member in Marduk. Now, after Peter closed Abyss for commercial use, it feels even more like your home studio. Everything works out so fluently when you are there. Sometimes when he has something to do he just lends us the keys and then we record a lot of stuff during the day, then he edits and sorts everything up during the evening/night. We know eachother so well that he knows exactly what we want and how we want it to sound. Everybody is in a relaxed mood and it feels really safe to record an album at that place. It couldn’t have been better!
Swedish Metal: What have you done after the recording of the album?
Marduk – 2003Legion: We went on a tour together with Danzig immediately after the recording of the album. It felt so good to go with Glenn now, since we couldn’t accept his offer last time. At that time he wanted to have us with him in the USA. We’ve had some trouble traveling into the States since the September 11. They have investigated this for nearly 1½ years now and we still don’t know how it will end. But they’ve promised me an answer soon. Just because of that it was so damn nice to hear that Glenn wanted us to play on this tour in Europe instead. After that we did some gigs at different festivals around the world and after that we’ve mostly rehearsed for the upcoming gigs. From now on we’re going out on some different tours that’ll go all over the world, except for the USA of course. We’ve also thought that we shall begin to write the next album as early as we can, so it won’t get stressful this time. If we write continously with all our other work, then it will be more focused than before because then we aren’t that tired. We have already made up some guidelines, and we have so many ideas for different songs, that we can’t see any reason to wait with this album.
Swedish Metal: How come that you rarely play in Sweden then?
Legion: Before we went out on tour with Danzig, we didn’t have time to play any gigs. After that everything has just kept going with many offerings from other places. It’s a pretty big difference with offerings that we receive from other countries. The offers that come from Sweden haven´t been interesting at all. It costs a lot to tour in Scandinavia, if you think of all free-days and the long way to travel, especially if you’re going all the way to Finland. It’s so much that has to be payed, so if you don’t attract a huge amount of people, you just lose money to go there. We’ve thought about playing some gigs here and there, but we haven’t recieved any interesting offerings.
Swedish Metal: Where do you get your inspiration from when you write your music?
Legion: We get inspiration from everything, we don’t decide that we should have special guidelines or things like that. After such a long time within the band you know which things that sounds Marduk and which don’t. When you sit at home and play some guitar it different kinds of music just pop up in your head. You can write about almost everything lyrically, something you’ve read, seen, or just anything! Mostly you get an idea that you play around with. Sometimes you also have different parts that you’ve written a long time ago. Like the chorus in the new song “Hearse”. When we wrote the lyrics to that one, I remembered that I had written something about that subject earlier, that I never used. Morgan just sat and laughed over the fact that it would be so bizarre to have a song about a hearse. With “Hearse”, I got inspired by the old Phantasm movies. So as you see, you can get inspired by anything!
Swedish Metal: You are one of the bigger black metal bands in the world. How did you come this far? How did you become as big as you are now?
Legion: Actually, I don’t know! *laugh* When I discovered this scene a long time ago, I could never dream that it would become as big as it is now! The entire metal genre has really grown into a big scene, and groups like Cradle Of Filth are real rockstars nowadays! They headline gigantic tours and sell over a half million copies of each release! That’s insane! A thing that I think that has been good for Marduk though, is that our popularity hasn’t skyrocketed, we’ve just slowly became bigger and bigger. We haven’t gone away in a stupid direction, we know who we play for and what they want to hear. In spite of that, we’ve experimented with some small different elements without breaking our musical borders. It has made our fans very loyal and at the same time new fans find us, and start to follow us with each new release. In some aspects I can think that it must be amazingly nice to have your popularity skyrocket, but it is just as damn easy to slip and fall all the way down again. Speaking for myself, I am very pleased with the way things have turned out
Swedish Metal: Which is the most memorable gig that you have been at as the singer in Marduk?
Legion: Well, I remember so damn many gigs. Like those in the beginning when many people came to look at us, or the one on Wacken 2000 when it was between 15-20.000 people watched. It’s like to be Iron Maiden for a day, fucking sick, man! Or when I played with food poisoning in Scotland and I puked nine times before we went up on the stage. Then after just a few songs, I puked again a couple of times. I became so dried up that I almost fainted, and had to be carried off the stage! *laugh* Well, you remember so many different things, you know. Both chaos and such things that have been fun as hell! It’s too hard to choose a special gig, there have been too many cool and special experiences to just choose one.
Swedish Metal: What are your plans from now on?
Legion: In the beginning of April we’re going out on an European tour. We’ll be away for about a month. After that we’re going out on some more tours that we’re planning to do. We’ll also continue to negotiate with the INS (the American department of justice) and Legion in his Tattoo studio in Norrköping – 2003the embassy in Stockholm to see if we finally can solve this issue. If we manage to do that, we’ll travel to the States and play a huge amount of gigs there, plus that we’ve also recieved many good offerings from South America, Japan, Australia and other countries that are close at hand. During the spring, we’re going to record a DVD that will be released this autumn, plus we’ll begin to write Marduk number nine. That is the next album, we also have plenty of ideas for the next, tenth album, so presumably it won’t be too long between the recording of those two albums. We have so many good ideas now, so it would be bad to wait with them.
Swedish Metal: What can we expect from the DVD release?
Legion: The DVD will mainly be based on a liveshow that we will record during the upcoming tour. Instead of including one long gig which will last for about 1½ hour, we will record two shows with very different setlists. Those long gigs are very tiresome for both us and the audience, because of the fast tempo and the intensity of the show. When we wanted a large amount of live-material on this DVD, we figured out that this was the best way to go. That’s the main thing this DVD will consist of, but we will also include a lot of bonus-material. We don’t know exactly how much of it, or which things we will include yet. We’ve some things concerning the DVD that we must discuss, but everything is planned and we’ve started to make guidelines for it, so we know what we’re working towards. We’ve got plenty of time to plan this DVD since our deadline is after all our upcoming tours.
Swedish Metal: When a band has existed as long as Marduk have done, what makes you want to continue?
Legion: Well, that’s the question! *laugh* Sometimes we just sit and laugh at the entire thing! We’ll start to wonder what the hell we’re doing, actually! *laugh* You can stand in your rehearsal-room and shout out the worst obscenities that any normal people can imagine. And at the same time the guitarist and bassplayer just stand and slaughter their instruments until they’re bending them, and a mad drummer sits in the middle of everything hammering and smashing his drumkit. Then when the song is over all of us have ringing ears, the sweat flows and we’re happy as hell! We’re convinced that it was a good song because it was even faster than the last one! I mean, what the hell?! *laugh* But I don’t know actually. It must be some kind of need that you have, it just feels so damn good to play. At the same time I think I’m a very lucky guy who is allowed to be in this position, that I am one of the few persons who can follow their vision. This isn’t just a hobby that you have time to potter with for just two hours a day or something like that, because then you have to go to your bloody factory and work in order to survive! So I think we have a very good time here in Marduk!
Swedish Metal: Well that sounds nice! Are there anything that you want to add to this?
Legion: Nah, I think you pretty much covered everything! Thanks a lot for the interview and have a good time!!!
Interview with Legion (vocals 1995-2003)
Interview by: Emil Landin – 2003-03-16
Proofreader: Carl Kraus
Tattoo studio photos of Legion by: Fredrik Kreem in Norrköping, Sweden 2003