At the excellent High Voltage Festival last month Rocksins had a chance to catch up with Fox, bassist of Swedish power metal trio Grand Magus. Read on for thoughts and discussion on many topics, including the horrible incidents in Norway (which had happened only a day or two before the interview):
Rocksins: First of all, with yourselves being Scandanavian, have you seen what’s happened in the news the last 24 hours?
Fox: We were on the plane when it happened, I just had some texts when we landed that there was this big thing going on in Oslo and it was shocking.
Rocksins: I know you’re due to go to the Hole in the Sky festival after this (High Voltage), have you heard if that’s likely to be affected?
Fox: My first fear was that they were going to cancel it, but I don’t think they are going to. Seeing as we know whats happening and it was one crazy guy and not the Al Qaeda thing that they thought it was. I think the festival will carry on, I haven’t heard anything else.
Rocksins: With this being the last Hole in the Sky festival it’s a pretty cool thing for you guys to be able to play
Fox: Of course, especially since we are not like a black metal or death metal band and we have a singer with a clean voice – it’s not every year you get the opportunity to play those kinds of festivals and we are really into those kinds of bands so we are really looking forward to it.
Rocksins: With a festival like that it allows you to be fans as well as performers.
Fox: Yeah (laughs), the bad thing about it is that we can’t stay for more than the night that we are playing because we are playing in Germany the day after and Holland the day after that.
Rocksins: This is the first UK festival you will have played since Hammerfest and you’ve played Hammerfest a couple of times. Has that always been a good experience for you?
Fox: Ya I think so. I was first a bit skeptical when I heard about it but it turned out great. Playing in an amusement park, when you first hear about it (laughs) but it really works. In Sweden and in Finland sometimes you have bands playing on the ferries so in some ways it is similar to that
Rocksins: I guess in some ways its nice when the chance to do something different comes along its good but also a little scary sometimes
Rocksins: Is this the first “more traditional” festival that you’ve done in the UK?
Fox: We did Bloodstock once before, I think that was back in 2008 but that was a few years ago now, so this is going to be really fun. Is this the second year (of this festival)?
Rocksins: Yeah it is
Fox: Ah ok, I really hope it can continue
Rocksins: So do we, there isn’t anything else like this in the UK
Fox: I think because everything else is not in the city like this, hopefully it’s going to be great
Rocksins: You released Hammer of the North just over a year ago now..
Rocksins: I keep seeing more and more positive reviews and press for it even though it came out quite a long time ago now and that must be gratifying for you
Fox: You know I haven’t seen a really bad review for it yet and that surprised me because someone has to hate it (laughs). People seem to like it, obviously you want to reach a bigger audience but I think we doubled the sales from the last album so its not all that many but it is better.
Rocksins: Do you think thats partly due to the fact you’ve changed labels to Roadrunner and they’ve given you more PR?
Fox: Yeah, more promotion has been going on and that helps, you know it helps a lot
Rocksins: As far as the band is concerned do you think that is a relationship you would like to continue?
Fox: Yeah I think we’re gonna stick to Roadrunner if they want us (laughs). You know if they don’t make money they maybe gonna drop us, but the plan is to record the next album in December and release it early next year, March, April, something like that.
Rocksins: I think you guys are not what you would call a typical Roadrunner band; You’re not a Machine Head or a Slipknot but I think that gives you quite a nice place with them that they don’t have any other bands like you
Fox: That’s true we are kind of the odd one out
Rocksins: But in a good way!
Rocksins: Going back to the positive response to Hammer of the North a lot of people put it in their top 10 albums of the year both online and I think some of the guys from Metal Hammer also, things like that must please you but also motivate you to keep going well for the next album?
Fox: Of course and we did four records for Rise Above records so we’ve been going awhile and also playing quite a lot for a Scandanavian band in England so I think that has helped us quite a lot.
Rocksins: You said earlier the recording for the next album will start at the end of the year, have you been jamming any ideas or written anything yet?
Fox: Yeah, we have actually already pre-recorded three of the songs. We usually only write the songs we’re gonna have, we don’t write thirty songs and then pick ten out. We make eight to ten songs and then have every one of them on the album. We’ve got more writing to do but we’ve started.
Rocksins: After this batch of festivals do you have any plans for the rest of the year in between going to record the new album?
Fox: I know the only confirmed gig is with Cathedral on the 3rd of December on their last gig here in London.
Rocksins: Oh cool I didn’t realise you were playing that, that will be something quite special.
Fox: Yeah and we’ve been touring with those guys earlier so that’s going to be fun to play with them again. But apart from that I think we have nothing planned. There was some talk of a gig in Athens but I think that one has gone down the toilet (laughs)
Rocksins: Yeah you might find nobody could afford to come to the show at the moment
Fox: (laughs) Yeah I do not think it would be a good idea at the moment, so we have a lot of time to write songs and that’s good I think.
Rocksins: Have you discussed in the band whether it will be the same sort of musicial direction as say the last two albums or maybe try something a bit different?
Fox: I think it will be in the same direction as the last one but we’re going to change the way of recording, we want to do it more live and maybe change the sound a bit as well. The last one was very clean and maybe we will go for a more rough sound. It won’t be anything like Monument, thats a great album, but you know we like to play heavy metal.
Rocksins: So you’re very happy with where you are musically.
Fox: Yeah I think so.
Rocksins: Well that is a very good thing, I think thats about it, good luck for later and thanks very much!