25 May 2024

Månegarm 09-04-2016

[schema type=”person” name=”Erik Grawsiö & Jacob Hallegren” description=”Interview by: Basak Günel” country=”DE” ]

Swedish viking metallers Månegarm have had a busy schedule recently. The band has released their self-titled album last year and it was a special one since it marked the 20th year anniversary of the band. They also did a mini-tour in Europe with Ereb Altor and Skyforger.

On the last day of the tour in Hamburg, I had the chance to interview Erik [vocals, bass] and Jacob [drums] about the tour, 20th year anniversary of the band and much more!

Hello guys! How are you doing? How has the tour been so far?

Erik: We have had a great tour but we are also a bit tired and it would be nice to come home! But it has been a nice one. It’s a smaller tour and we have been playing in venues with 200-300 people capacity.
Now that this is the last day of the tour, what has been the highlight? Do you have any impressions?

Erik: I have to say that Ragnarök Festival [has been the highlight].  I think we played there 5-6 times; first time was 2005 and it was the second edition of the festival!

Oh wow! What are the improvements/differences between back then and now?

Jacob: Ragnarök has gotten bigger of course!  It was also really crowded this time!

Erik: Better organization and more bands. It has also gotten bigger. This time,  it felt like we played for the whole festival!

Your latest album “Månegarm” has been released last year and it marks the 20th year anniversary of the band. How has the feedback been so far; both in reviews and in live shows?

Jacob: Overall, it has been quite good, both in reviews and playing the songs live. I think people liked it.
Erik: As for the reviews, I read several, we scored good overall. And there are also reviews that don’t like it but it’s always like that. Regarding the live shows, we played 2-3 songs from the new album and some old stuff as well. We are the headliners [of this tour] and so we have a longer set so we can play a couple new songs but also the old songs from the previous records. We also played 2 acoustic songs.

Jacob: It’s not so often that we have time to play some acoustic songs. In Sweden, we played some acoustic stuff and it turned out really good!

Erik: We also have Martin [Björklund, violin/guitar], who is a friend of ours, on this tour as well because Jonas, the original guitarist, could not join us in this tour due to health issues. Martin can also play the violin, which was an advantage for us. He also played the violin in the last 2 albums.

Does this album feel somehow special because of the 20th year anniversary of the band?  Was there a different vibe overall during recording?

Erik: For me, it was an important album. We had the idea to make it very diverse and also to compose big atmospheric epic songs; like a great blend of everything or a summary/compilation of what we have done so far.

Jacob: We had also more time to do everything because we did most of the job ourselves so we had more time to listen to it.

What also caught my attention in this album was the ‘natural’ approach with the Swedish songs but also a bit more ‘mainstream’ approach with the English songs. Was this intentional somehow?

Erik: It wasn’t done on purpose. Jacob has written most of the lyrics in Swedish and I managed to write 1-2 songs in Swedish. Jonas and I also wrote 2-3 songs in English so [you can say that] It just happened.

A highlight of the album is definitely the Bathory cover “Mother Earth Father Thunder”. How did you get to collaborate with Quorthon’s sister Jenny?

Erik: Jenny is an old colleague of mine and we worked at the same place in my hometown a couple of years ago.
When we were about to record this album, we wanted to do something special and the record label too. So Jacob had the idea to do a Bathory cover and we thought that it would be a cool idea!  We listened to a couple of Bathory songs to figure out which songs would sound “Månegarm-ish”. After choosing the song, I contacted Jenny and I wasn’t sure if she was gonna say yes but she did and I am glad.

For me personally, the song definitely has this emotional side..

Erik: Yes, definitely..

If you were to do another Bathory cover, which one would it be?
Jacob: Maybe “Raven”, the acoustic version. It also has this feeling.
Erik: We have the Bathory masters here, Ereb Altor so we can ask them for ideas! *laughs*

Let’s turn the tables around… If a band is to do a Månegarm cover, which song would you want them to cover?

Erik: No idea! A song we play almost in every gig is “Hemfärd” so maybe they can dig their teeth into that and try to do it. *laughs*

Looking back to the 20 year-timeline, do you think that you have achieved what you wanted to achieve? Are you satisfied with where you are?

Erik: 20 years has passed in a rush, so fast! It”s hard to say whether we are satisfied. Surely, this is not our full time job. But being on tour with great bands, great friends and playing in front of great people; that’s a privilege and that’s something we have achieved. And for the future, we have to keep on playing and recording great music. I think that we have managed well to release great albums.

Especially in today’s viking metal scene, bands change their styles which might be disappointing but you stayed true to your roots.

Erik: Yes, I think so too.So we will continue with that and keep on releasing good music.

What was the milestone for Månegarm in the band’s career?
Erik: For me, Heidenfest.
We have been on smaller tours before that and our first big tour was with Skyforger in 2005 in smaller venues. We got a chance to play in Heidenfest. We were not veterans at that time but we had played for many years and we had played with ‘newer’ bands as well. We weren’t the headliners at all but we thought ‘What the fuck, we will do it’. Those were the sold-out shows everywhere with 1500 people; 17 gigs in Europe.. Great crowds overall!

Jacob: I can say, when we played for the second time in Summer Breeze festival [in 2012]. We got to play at the main stage. We got a really good time slot and there were so many people. That was crazy!

Erik: Last year, we went to Brazil to play at a smaller festival. İt was sold-out with 700 people. They had brought Skyforger and Thyrfing as well. I mean we are not Iron Maiden but the crowd was crazy!

Jacob: And also Japan!

Erik: We have lots of memories indeed!

Are there any other countries that you want to ‘conquer’?
Erik: Some more South American gigs would be cool!

What does the future hold for the band?
Erik: In May we have nothing which is quite relaxing. On June we play in a Swedish festival.
In July, we will play in Hungary and later on in “Baden im Blut” and “Ragnard Rock” in France
Jacob: Also in the UK this fall
Erik: We will play for the first time there!

And do you visit any festivals?
Erik: I don’t have any plans.
Jacob: I usually visit Wacken with a couple of friends which is like a tradition but this year it will be a break from tradition! *laughs*

Any last words to your fans?
Erik: Thanks to everyone who has attended to the shows. If it wasn’t for the audience, no band would exist so they are the reason!
Jacob: It’s an honor for us!

Special thanks to: Erik, Jacob & Napalm Records Promotion