INTERVIEW: Janne "JB" Christoffersson (GRAND MAGUS)
Levi: You talk a lot about Vikings and Warriors on the new album 'Sword Songs', is there any particular period of history that this album is based on?
JB: E ver since we started this band, there's been quite a lot of focus on norse mythology and the part of history which concerned the Viking era. There's also some other stuff on this album, for instance the song "Born For Battle" is about or is inspired by a French general during the '100 Hundred Years War', that's one non-Viking thing. There's another track called "Varangian", it's connected to the Vikings, but it's about the Varangian Guard. It's about Scandinavian Vikings that were hired by the Byzantine Empire to act like a bodyguard. So that is also based on history rather than just the myth.
Levi: I've always thought there was a connection between the Vikings/ Norse Mythology and Heavy Metal. If the vikings from 700 hundred or so years ago heard Ronnie James Dio or Grand Magus do you think they'd dig it?
JB: I'm getting all kind of weird images in my head now. Very hard to tell isn't it? I guess no one really knows what kind of music was around at that time, but I guess they were probably more interested in food and silver than music. That's just my guess.
Levi: You toured with Ronnie James Dio while in Spiritual Beggars, did you get to meet him?
JB: Yeah, we did a tour in 2005 in Japan with Dio. It was Ronnie James Dio, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Simon Wright on the drums. Yeah we got to meet him, we got to have dinner, we were hanging out and everything. He was just... To me he was such a legend it's just difficult becuase I just turn into this pile of mucus. But he was just a real gentlemen and really cool and you know, super pro and you had to pinch yourself a bit and say "this is really happening". It was a great experience, something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Levi: Listening to old Bathory albums, there's a certain rawness to it, it seems like band's cannot reproduce that kind of sound these days. Do you think there was a time in Metal's history that was more special and original?
JB: Well that's the big question isn't it? It's hard to say. There's a lot of copy bands around today, but I guess it's always been like that. So I definitely think there are a lot of bands that sound like other bands and they do it really well. I think that Heavy Metal will continue, because Heavy Metal is not just about music it's also about the emotional content and the way it makes you feel, you know and that part of the music will never disappear. It's music that makes you feel powerful and people are going to want that.
Listen to the full chat below
Sword Songs is available to order HERE. Check out the single 'Varangian'!!!