Metal Army caught up via email with GRAND MAGUS front man JB. The band has an excellent new album out, The Hunt, their first for Nuclear Blast. JB is never shy about his feelings on many topics and it was cool to touch base with him about what is going on with the band.
MAA: Please tell us about the writing process of The Hunt?
JB: The Hunt was a bit different than our past records because of the drummer situation. We knew that Sebastian (Sippola) as going to leave the band so we needed someone else to play on the album. At the same time we had tours booked that Sebastian had committed to do, so we couldn’t just bring in someone new for the writing. Anyway, three of the songs were written – jammed together- by me, Fox and Sebastian. The rest were written mainly by me and some by Fox and me.
MAA: The sound of the album is very crisp and analog sounding. What did you do in the studio to achieve that balance?
JB: Nothing special, just avoiding all kinds of triggers and sound replacements. All you hear on The Hunt is miked up drums and cabs, nothing else. I guess that makes it sound more analog, because it is, haha! Seriously, it’s weird to me that so many have reacted at the sound, that kind of shows how crazy the current standard of sound is. Super compressed, all replaced and streamlined to the max. This is something we wanted to avoid. The Hunt is meant to be played loud on a proper stereo. I guess this is not that common anymore.
MAA: What has Ludde Witt (SPIRITUAL BEGGARS) added to the writing process since joining the band?
JB: He hasn’t really had a chance yet, like I explained above. He certainly contributed with his drumming on the album, that’s his vision entirely. On the next album, I’m sure he’ll be part of the actual writing too.
MAA: The band have always had such a classic early metal sound. After ten years do you think people have caught up to the sound of the band?
JB: Yeah, it’s about time too, haha!
MAA: Your vocals seem to be more powerful than ever lately. Who are some of your influences as a singer?
JB: RJD (RONNIE JAMES DIO), DAVID COVERDALE, ERIC ADAMS, ROB HALFORD…. You know, the classics… also JOHN LAWTON, PAUL RODGERS… too many to mention really, haha.
MAA: Tracks like “Valhalla Rising” and “Son of the Last Breath” really tell great stories. What was the inspiration behind these songs?
JB: Personal experiences in both those cases actually. I’ve always tried to follow the Scandinavian story telling tradition in my lyrics. The Hunt as a whole deals with man’s relation to nature in general and The Wolf in particular.
MAA: What are the touring plans for the near future?
JB: We’re doing festivals in Europe this summer and then we’ll tour in the fall. We’re actually doing our first transatlantic gig ever in the fall: we’re going to Calgary, Canada. Hopefully we can do some US dates within the near future as well.
MAA: Sweden is always known for so many great bands. Who are your favorite bands among your countrymen?
JB: BATHORY, UNLEASHED, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED, MARDUK, NIFELHEIM, DISSECTION, WATAIN… there are more… Swedish metal bands in general are excellent players and songwriters I think.
(Thanks to JB, GRAND MAGUS and Nuclear Blast)
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes)