Interview: Magnus Pelander (Witchcraft)

von am 14. September 2012 in ...in english please!

Interview: Magnus Pelander (Witchcraft)
Magnus Pelander is the Leader an Founder of the Swedish Doom/Metalband Witchcraft. We speak to him about the upcomming comeback-record ‚Legend‚.

Heavypop:Legend‚ is not only the first Witchcraft Album in a long time, it’s also a huge – and also brave – step: The record’s sound (tighter and thicker, closer to Hardrock and Metalfor the most part) is notable from the get-go. A big difference not only compared to the last album, but also to what could be expected after the excellent, laid-back ‚ Sinner Child‚-EP. How did it come to that?

Magnus Pelander: You know what? I really don´t know and that´s how I think it should be. You do your thing and try do to it as freely as possible and then you move on. But yeah,ok, it was a conscious effort to make this record a bit „heavier“ than the previous ones. Thanks for mentioning my solo EP. It is still out there and can be purchased through Svart Records.
Still, ‚Legend‚ sounds influenced by Black Sabbath but even more by „modern“ rock/metal music, ‚An Alternative to Freedom‚ even has Stoner-characteristics. You don’t seem to be concerned that you could step on the toes of your fans with the new record. Wouldn’t it have been easier to reproduce the sound of ‚The Alchemist‚ or your former records and have the same success with it?
Nothing is easy for me when it comes to writing and recording music. It can be a very painful experience but the relief when it´s done is definately worth it.
Jens Bogren produced the record this time. How does the work with him differ compared to his precursors?
It was very different indeed. He has a great ear and knows his job very well. 
New label, new producer, an almost complete change in your line-up – did you ever consider releasing ‚Legend‚ under a different name?
I think what is most important is how things are for you at this very moment. And right now we have a new record out by Witchcraft. Anything else is just speculations and mind games.
Did the change of the label influence the sound? Or are you not that strict of a head of the band, so that the new line-up could be reflected in the sound? (Do you have a different approach to songwriting?)
The label has nothing to do with our sound. They are helping us to reach a wider audience with their hard work. The songwriting process is as usual. Most of the music is written by me on guitar.
With bands like Graveyard and now Witchcraft Nuclear Blast seems to turn into some kind of new institution of 70s influenced rock music. Was this part of the reason you signed for the label?
We signed with Nuclear Blast because I think that our music and the musicians in Witchcraft deserve to reach a bigger audience and I really think that Nuclear Blast will help us in that. So far everything is going great.
With its ambitious lyrics and song titles, ‚Legend‚ seems to be your most political album to date. Is that correct?
As far as lyrics go I wish that the listener himself make his own meaning from the lyrics. The same with the music. I wish that people would stop analyzing too much and just go with the flow and see if they can find some positive experience out of it.
Do you see Witchcraft in some kind of pioneer role, since more and more bands seem to have success with a similar retro aesthetic – such as The Devils BloodBlood CeremonyThe SowrdUncle Acid & the DeadbeatsGraveyardEarl GreyhoundRival Sons and so forth?
I don´t know. Again, go with the flow. Try and experience things in so many different ways and angles that you can. Try and put yourself in a situation where these things (Rock, Retro-Rock, superficial images, etc. etc.) doesn´t matter and see if you are in the right place.
You are not playing guitar ond the new record anymore, and concentrate on only doing vocals? If so, how did it come to that decision?
I do actually play guitar on almost every song. More on others less on some. Live, I am just doing vocals and focusing at one thing at a time. I have been trying before but the time really wasn´t right up until now.
Der Spiegel used the term „New Wave Of Northern Occult Rock“ for the re-release of the last Graveyard-album, and described new and old label-colleagues with a similar sound like yours with it. Can you get behind that description?
I think it is totally up to the receiver and the listener to do whatever he/she feels like with the music and the lyrics. Maybe you just want some entertainment in your life? But more hopefully you will get something greater out of it and get inspired to do something creative in your life.
What were you doing in the five years since ‚The Alchemist‚ anyway? What kind of music did you and your bandmates listen to since the last record?
Touring. Writing new Witchcraft-material and simultaneously trying to launch a solocareer.
I really don´t know what the others have been listening to but I hope that their musical abilities can reach you through this record.
By the way: Is there new solo material from you on the horizon?
Hopefully. I don´t know when but I have stuff written already.
Is there something to tell about the artwork? 
Pretty much the same as with the rest of the experience. Make up your own meaning about it and in doing so try and be as free in yourself as possible when doing it.
And do you have a favorite song on the record? In my opinion they are all grower, after you get familiar with the new sound, but especially ‚Dead End‚ is a masterpiece, one of the best songs Witchcraft has ever done, incredible riffs and atmosphere!
I have to be very pretentious again and say that we are only messengers. It is YOU who is important once the record is done and out there.

So, thanks for answering the questions and greetings from Graz, hope to see you on tour soon!

Thank you. Be strong and creative.
Zum Heavypop-Artikel.
Zur ‚Legend‚ Review.

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