Aug 19, 2011

Q&A With JB From Grand Magus ...

Grand Magus was formed by former Cardinal Fang vocalist Janne "JB" Christoffersson and bassist Fox. They soon teamed up with drummer Fredrik "Trisse" Liefvendahl and recorded a three track demo. This recording led to an appearance on the Waterdragon Records compilation, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (2000). After this compilation they put out a split 7" with Spiritual Beggars (who JB would later join) on Southern Lord Records. This split was followed closely by their debut album, Grand Magus (2001), on Rise Above Records. Two more albums would follow, (2003) and Wolf's Return (2005), both on Rise Above. In 2006 Trisse left the band and SEB was recruited on drums. The band released their fourth album, Iron Will, on June 9, 2008 on Rise Above. Hammer of the North was their last release which come out in 2010. John Wisniewski has put together this interview for Doommantia with the one and only JB.

Q: Could you tell us about the early years of the band-how did you get your name out there to the listeners?

A: Me and Fox (bass) had been playing together for a couple of years, writing songs mostly in the classic hard rock vein like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. In 1998 we found a drummer called Fredric and recorded a demo in 1999 called “Firepower 99”. We also decided to play and make much heavier music and started downtuning our guitar and bass respectively (to C). As we were recording our second demo, called “Demo Two Thousand” in 2000 (Duh!), I came up with the name Grand Magus. After some time we got signed to Rise Above records and released our self-titled album in 2001. It was album of the month in the German Metal Hammer which got us attention straight away and I guess things just started growing.

Q: What has kept Grand Magus going through the years?

A: One thing only: The passion for metal and hard rock music.

Q: Is occultism an interest of yours? What magical writings or grimoires inspire you?

A: It used to be, but the norse tradition and its own kind of magic was always strongest and kind of took over by the time of the demos we did, especially the second one. I would say that the EDDA and the Scandinavian history is a much bigger part of me and the band than O.T.O or Crowley stuff like Golden Dawn ever was, you know?

Q: The album covers are unique. Who designed the cover of your latest album?

A: It was designed and painted by Necrolord (Dissection, At the gates, Bathory, Dark Funeral, Dismember etc.)

Q: Who are some of your influences?

A: Too many to mention. Everything from classic blues based hard rock and metal to death and black metal bands. Most of all nature is the strongest and longest inspiration.

Q: What is your opinion of the doom-metal scene currently?

A: I really know too little about it to have an opinion. I mean if I listen to doom metal it’s going to be “metal doom metal”, like Candlemass or Solstice, you know? I’ve also always loved Cathedral and Electric Wizard, but I haven’t been checking out any new doom bands since then really. I’ve never considered Grand Magus to be doom metal at all. Maybe our second album MONUMENT had some pretty doomy songs, but it was still very much rooted in classic heavy metal rather than doom, you know?

Q: Any plans for the future-will the band be touring?

A: We’ve been touring constantly since 2001 brother! As I’m writing this we’re finishing off the festival season in Europe with 4 more festivals. 11 festivals in 2 months….

Q: For the last few questions can we discuss the new album due out on Roadrunner Records-Hammer of the North. Like the band Bathory are you inspired by norse legends and myths?

A: Yes, very much so.

Q: Are you an avid reader of historical books?

A: Yes, when I feel the urge. I love battleships and I have quite a library of history books of various types at home.

Q: Tell us about the ups and downs of recording "Hammer"-where the band members getting along well?

A: Well… Sometimes, haha. It’s always a bit of a painful process to record an album and there will be disagreements and discussions. Also it really takes its toll both mentally and physically and when you’re tired you’re easily pissed off. However, we’ve been doing this for such a long time that we know what to expect.

Interview By John Wisniewski

Grand Magus Official

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