Interview - M�rten Hagstr�m


The AbsolutMetal staff finally hunt down Meshuggah at MA Metalfest

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Sean: You guys have been off the road for a little while now, have you been working on any new material?
M�rten: "No, not really. We haven't been off the road really, too much, after the Tool tour ended we had like a month and a half off, then we started rehearsing again for the Scandinavian tour, it was just a short tour, about 10 days. After that we had another few weeks off, then we started rehearsing for this tour we're doing right now so, we're pretty busy."
Sam: How was Tool?
M�rten: "That was great, no doubt, opening for a band like that was definitely a good thing."
Sean: With all of the high profile tours that you guys have been doing, have there been any acts that have really caught your eye?
M�rten: "It's kinda of hard to say yet, I donno, we're kinda of a tough band still, you know, the music is pretty fucked up I guess, so it's not like we're gonna have this huge difference all of a sudden, we're gonna blow up and have huge sales or do fuckin' huge tours."
Sean: No, no I meant like, when you've been on tour have you seen or heard any of the local bands from around here that have caught you ear?
M�rten: "Oh, oh ok. Actually, not really, we haven't really listened alot...well we get you know, alot of demos and stuff from people. I'm sorry to say but maybe we'll listen to a bit of 5 out of 10 of those because we gets tons of it. So, I haven't really...I don't think we've really checked it out that much. We've been listening to alot of other music on the tour, mostly electronic music and some other stuff, so as far as metal bands go, we don't really know."
Sean: Since you guys do like electronic music so much do you ever see that becoming any part of Meshuggah?
M�rten: "No, not really. We go through phases all of the time especially on tour it gets even more, like everyone will start listening to the same kind of thing because you're either up here up front, or in the back all the time so you kinda share in a different way and listen to similar types of music. On this tour we've been listening alot to like freaky bands like Geezum (sp?) from Japan. The singer tries, you know, deliberately to hurt the crowd, he hates the crowd. He goes out with a chainsaw, he's like a G.G. Allin type times 10. He's like trying to hurt people seriously." There's alot of funny music out there no doubt. We've been listening to the new Fantomas album, great album.
Sean: There are so many side projects coming out of Sweden nowadays, has anyone in Meshuggah been thinking about starting one?
M�rten: "No, not really. Fredrik has done the occasional guitar leads for other albums and for other bands, and he's done some music for a Quake 3 clan, you know, like little stuff apart from his solo album he did in like '96. But that's the only major thing that anyone in the band has done aside from the band. Also just this band seems to take up most of the time that we have.
Sean: Why 8 string guitars?
M�rten: "Because they go lower, and you still have the high notes left for like lead guitars and for clean parts and stuff like that. You could do it on a six string guitar if the measure was long enough, but then you'd miss out for guitar leads and the calmer parts, it would be hard to do it so, hence the 8 string. And it's an additional low to the 7 string that we've used before so, playing in unison with the bass on the same note sounds pretty cool."
Sean: Aren't your guitars custom now?
M�rten: "Yeah"
Sean: I saw that on a website, you had somebody, not like a name brand, but someone who specifically made them.
M�rten: "Yeah, the guy that makes the 8 sting guitars, that company is called Nevborn. And the guys have endorsements with Ibanez too, so they use Ibanez for all of the 7 string songs and the Nevborn for the 8 string songs, so they keep changing guitars in between songs and so on. Ibanez is trying to build 8 string guitars for the guys too, so we'll see how they'll end up, maybe it'll be all Ibanez, we donno yet."
Sam: How do guys come up with the time changes/signatures that you guys do?
M�rten: "Well, it's kind of hard to say how we come up with it, it's just we've been together for a long time now, like 15 years, and just, this is basically what comes out. We start's kinda hard to pin point exactly what it is that makes us write these kind of beats."
Sean: What do you prefer in the studio, digital or analog?
M�rten: "It's not really a matter of preference, but to keep everything simple when we record we basically have to do it digital. It's a pain in the really need a good engineer if you're gonna do it on...we do alot of cuts, like in and out cutting. We never record whole songs and keep one whole recording of one song. We do parts, we record parts and sometimes it's half a song, sometimes it's just one part that you do over and over to nail it. Our records are very like, cut up actually so, that's alot easier to do digitally. You can do it analog too, but you need a really good engineer to sit and cut that tape."
Sam: What are you guys doing after this tour?
M�rten: "After this tour we go back home, we do a few festivals in Europe and in Sweden this summer. And we may or may not do a European tour this coming fall depending on how things look. Otherwise we're just gonna go back to writing mode. And to avoid another one of those 3 1/2 year gaps we're gonna start writing again this coming fall no matter what. And hopefully we'll have the next album out within a year, a year and a half from now."