Interview with Månegarm
We saw a huge amount of releases in 2022, as bands came out of the isolation of Covid-19 to record together again and show the world that you can’t silence the metal. Månegarm was one of those bands and what a release they gave us. “Ynglingaättens öde” was named Best Album of 2022 on folk-metal.nl and it is a pleasure to interview a band I have followed since 2015. Månegarm’s inception was in 1995, and has provided some awesome metal over the past twenty-eight years.
What made you want to become a musician(s) was it a record you heard, a performance you saw or some other event that made you say, this is what I want to do?
“I started to play music early in school where we practiced wooden flute and after a while I started playing trumpet which I did for a couple of years. At that time I had no bigger plans, just played because it was quite fun and because my friends did it as well. At the age of 12 maybe I learned to play guitar by a older guy named Anders. Our families had a summer houses close to each other and Anders was a great guitarist. He had this red Squire and he tought me to play Guns n’ Roses and Metallica… that’s the moment when someting happened within me. I got hooked on guitar and on heavier music and since that day it has been a big part of my life.”
The band has been around for 28 years, how fast have those years gone by and how has metal music changed since you first started?
“The years have gone by so very fast. Sometimes when I think about it I almost can’t believe it… 28 years!!! I mean, what the f**k haha! But it has been a great ride and it still is, there is nothing better than to play rock n’ roll with your best friends.”
How did you come up with the name for the band, was there a previous name and if so what was it?
“We started with the name Antikrist (Antichrist) but only after a month or so we changed to the more suitable name Månegarm. It was our formed guitarist Jonas Almquist that came up with the name and we all thought it was a great choice!”
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
“Oh I find that pretty hard to explain. I usually say that we play rock n’ roll but I guess that’s not a good description of our music haha! But maybe a mix of death and black metal with a lots of folk music influences. The use of traditional instruments as violin makes the sound more ”folky” and adds that nordic touch to our melodies. Lots of people call our music Viking or Pagan metal. Sometimes folk metal. All is fine by me, it’s not that important what the music is called I think.”
What band(s) or type of music are you currently listening to?
“Right now it’s country in my speakers. I listen a lot to Whitey Morgan & the 78’, that’s some really cool outlaw country right there :)”
if we in Månegarm can be an inspiration to other bands it just awesome
In some interviews with other bands I have done last year, they list you as an inspiration, how does that make you feel?
“Wow, that’s fantastic!! I get very very happy to hear that. There are so many great bands and musicians out there and if we in Månegarm can be an inspiration to other bands it just awesome! I feel very humble by this!”
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music? And as a follow up how do spend time when not creating or performing?
“I go to the gym 3-4 times a week and sometimes I play floor ball, that’s fun. I like beeing out in the nature/forest but mostly at sea. I really love beeing out at sea, I have my own boat and in the summer I often go for a ride, I really like that!”
“When I’m not playing music it is family life on the schedule 100%! We live in a pretty big house and I have a big family so there’s always stuff to do haha! But I love it, my family is the best and the family life is a great contrast to the music, at least for me. I am very lucky to have both! :)”
The Creative Process and Current Release
How do you approach your creative process when you write new music? Is it within a defined style in mind, adding elements of folk, black or death metal or do you just compose based on your frame of mind at the time?
“Usually I just sit down with my guitar and riffs comes to my head. I have tried to have like scheduled writing sessions but that is not my thing… Sometimes I can go for months not writing a single riff. Like now, I haven’t composed a simple thing for months… but I know how I am, it is just one of those periods. Later on I will get some ideas and then the riffs start to flow. I can’t force it, when the time is right new music will come to me :)”
Are there any musicians who inspire you?
“Lemmy is king and the totally uncompromising rock’n’roll he brought to the world is legendary to me. I have listened sooooo much to Motörhead and I really love it!!”
How has the experience been working with Napalm Records?
“I love working with Napalm Records. We have a really good realationship, a good communication and there have never been any problems at all. The whole Napalm-crew that we have worked with over the years is very professional and they put a lot of effort in making our album releases as good as possible!”
You released a video for “Ulvhjartat”, who’s idea was it to do a video and why was this song picked?
“We decided pretty early in the album process that we should pick ”Ulvhjärtat” and ”En snara av guld” for the two official videos. We all liked that song so it was an easy decision.”
Are you pleased with the video?
“I think it’s a cool video. I like ”En snara a guld” more but ”Ulvhjärtat” turned out good as well.”
Your daughter made an appearance on this album, how was it working together with her and is she a fan of the band and extreme metal in general?
“I have my two daughters in the song/video actually. My youngest daughter Lea (15 y/o) sings and my other daughter Tuva (17 y/o) plays the role as the girl Skjalv in the video. They both did a great job and I am SOOO very proud of them! None of them like extreme metal though hahaha. They like Månegarm, some songs at least, and they think that it’s cool that their father plays metal on big festivals but that’s it haha ;)”
Jonne Järvelä (Korpiklaani) was a guest on the album, whose idea was it, are you close friends with him?
“I was my idea. Just got the idea that his voice would fit perfect in the end of the song, so I wrote to him and asked. He sad yes right away and I’m really happy for that. We’re not close friends but you know, we have both been playing for a very long time so we have ran in to eachother a couple of time over the years 🙂 He’s a really great and friendly guy!”
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of “Ynglingaättens öde”?
“Yes, I am. I rate Ynglingaättens öde very high, up there in the top 3 of the Månegarm albums I guess. I think it turned out great. The album has a nice flow to it and the storytelling is great as well. Great sound on the drums and guitars and the production is super!”
Is there anything with Ynglingaättens öde you now would have done different since it has been released?
“To much reverb on the vocals!! It is not the end of the world and I definately can’t do anything about it now, but it definately should have been less reverb on the vocals hahaha :)”
They both did a great job and I am SOOO very proud of them!
How did Manegarm Open Air come about? Has it grown since inception?
“Our good old friend Björn asked us many years ago; ”why don’t you guys start your own festival, I think it would turn out great”. Björn is a great guy and is also a booker but in the Americana/country genre and his words must have stucked in our heads because later on, guess it was in like 2018, we decided to go for it. Björn is on the train and is the festival manager and togehter with the best crew in the world (friends & colleagues) we run Månegarm Open Air in a really succesfull way if you ask me! It is a shit load of work but at the same time it is the best and most fun thing we have ever done together! It’s a small festival with 1000 visitors and it has been sold out both years. 25-26 of August we will do it for the 3rd time! We’re waiting already! :)”
Do you like to play live and if so, name two of your favorite songs to perform?
“I love to play live. The whole thing with festivals/gigs is great; go to another country with your best friends, play metal, drink some beers, talk to nice people…it is just great and also a privilage!”
“Hemfärd is a favourite and we always play that song! Hervors arv is also a nice one!”
Describe a typical Månegarm live show for those who haven’t seen you play live.
“Fun, interactive and lots of Rock n’ Roll!”
Have you ever played in the United States and if so, how was your music perceived?
“Besides twice at 70 000 Tons of Metal, we have played in Saint Paul in Minnesota many years ago. I think it was in 2007 and I think the name of the festival was Heathen Crusade!
Great gigs all of them!”
All over the world there are different music scenes, what country or where have you had the best music scene experience?
“Oh that is hard to say, we have played at many great festivals and in many great countries. But Hellfest in France is a killer!! An amazing festival and so well organized.
70 000 Tons of Metal is the coolest floating metal festival there is and we have been blessed to play there twice! Awesome shit both of them!!
And Brazil, must not forget about Brazil! We have played there in 2015 and 2018 and that have been awesome experiences!!”
What is one message you would give to your fans?
“THANK YOU so much guys for supporting in different ways; buying albums and merch, sending us nice messages, coming to shows!! We are so grateful and your support makes ut wanna go on forever! See you all soon! :)”
What’s next for the band?
“We will go to Germany the 14-15 of April for the Ragnarök festival where we will play an acoustic show on Friday and a regular metal show on Saturday! This will be so much fun! :)”
Summary: Again, thanks for taking time to answer my questions. I wish you continuing success in 2023 with the new album and playing live.
“Thank so very much for having me :)”
// Erik – Månegarm