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Witchcraft Interview

A Conversation with Vocalist Magnus Pelander and Bassist Ola Hedriksson




Nuclear Blast Records
Updated September 26, 2012
After a five year absence and some lineup changes, the Swedish band Witchcraft has returned with a new album, Legend. Vocalist Magnus Pelander, who did not play guitar on a Witchcraft album for the first time and bassist Ola Henriksson give us the lowdown on the new album.

Chad Bowar: You've had a lot of lineup changes since your last album. What led to those changes, and how did you find Tom, Simon and Oscar?
Ola: John and Jansson quit and we had to find new members. We had two criteria: that they had to live near us and be good musicians. We recruited Tom after watching him play live with his former band Bad Karma. We've known Oscar a long time and actually had plans to recruit him when Jens quit back in 2006 so it was an obvious choice for me. Simon is known locally as the best guitarist around and when he decided to join I knew we had something special going on!

  Did the lineup changes contribute to the five year gap between albums, or were there other reasons as well?
Magnus: A little bit of this and that. I  also tried to launch a solo career while writing for this fourth Witchcraft album. I did an EP on the Finnish label Svart Records and it is still available through them.

With the new lineup, how did the songwriting/recording process for Legend compare to your previous Witchcraft albums?
Ola: We did everything in our own pace and we had that new spark in the rehearsal studio. It was a lot less stressful for me. I think it is a delight to play with these musicians because they are the best ones I've played with.

Magnus, after playing guitar on all the previous albums, you only did vocals this time. Was is strange to do an album without playing guitar?
Magnus: No, it is more of a relief not to have a guitar strap around your neck.

How has the band's style/sound evolved from The Alchemist to Legend?
Ola: We have a heavier sound on this album. The songs have had the time to develop longer and feels more complete to me. It's a perfect Witchcraft album.
Magnus:I think that is more for the the listener to play around with. I am just trying to be as free and creative as possible and bring out some good sounds.

What inspired your lyrics for this album?
Magnus:What matters to me is what happens to the one who is subject to the experience. I am really not the best guy to interview since almost all of my music or anything else I succeed to create I am hoping for to maybe inspire somebody else to do something constructive in their lives. The whole point is really not to talk about it or dwell on past album recordings or past lyrics. Just try to be here and now and strive to let go of the past.

How did you go about designing the artwork?
Magnus:It was designed by a designer named Andreas Norrefjord. We were bouncing off ideas to each other and the end result was pretty much his interpretation of an idea that I had. I think it looks good.

What has the early response to the album been like?
 Magnus: From what I have heard people seem to appreciate it a lot.
Ola: Really good! Some people think that we have changed the sound too much but who cares? It sounds better and it's not about sound it's about music.

What are your upcoming tour plans?
Ola: We will tour Scandinavia this fall and then it's Europe and the U.S. early next year. It's gonna be hectic but this is what I live for!

What has been your most memorable Witchcraft live show?
Magnus: That must be the latest we did since it is freshest in my mind. We actually played on the porch of Fredrik Larzon's home. He is the drummer in Millencollin.
Ola: San Francisco in 2007, I think. It was a magical night with a packed venue. Good times!

How did you get started in music?
Magnus: I guess I started to play some guitar around the age of 12 and then things just kind of happened.
Ola: My brother played the drums and when I was 14 or 15 we started a band together with a friend, Martin (now Troubled Horse). I played the bass because he already owned an electric guitar. We played everything from pop to black metal. It was schizophrenic.

Who were your musical inspirations and influences?
Magnus: In the early days it was Metallica, Primus, Nirvana, Slayer, Soundgarden and Bad Religion.
Ola: We listened a lot to Black Sabbath and Pentagram back then, so they were a big influence. I tried to play the bass like Cliff Burton and of course we all wore the bell bottom jeans and tight leather jackets. Now it's trendy, but then we were called hippies.

What have been the high and low points for you during your time in Witchcraft?
Ola: It is always sad when a member decides to leave, so when both John and Fredrik left must have been the low point. I think I'm at the high point now and it keeps getting higher.

Who are your top five Swedish metal bands of all time?
Magnus: I thought long and hard about this one. I couldn´t come up with five metal bands but here are five great Swedish bands/artists: The Strollers, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Great Mammoth, Laleh and Cripple.
Ola: Not necessarily metal, but they are November, At The Gates, Troubled Horse, Hellacopters and Norrsken.

Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
Ola: Come see us live! We kick ass!

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