Interview with Robin Engström (drums)
Interview conducted by 4th Horseman
Date online: December 4, 2005
First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, and congratulate you on the release of yet another spectacular album. It's great to have you guys back!
Robin: You're welcome and thank you, it's great to be back on track!
For those of our readers that haven't a clue who Morgana Lefay are, could you provide a brief description of the band?
Robin: What can I say? We're five guys from Bollnäs, Sweden who like to play Metal. We play what we enjoy ourselves and we don't really follow any trends or anything. Musically I'd say we play plain fuckin' Metal, there's so many sub-genres these days so I lost track of which one we belong in (laughs)...
Lyrically our vocalist and main lyrics writer Charles is very much into occultism, Gnosticism, religion and other obscure things like that so the lyrics tend to be a bit on the dark side maybe...
I have noticed through reading reviews for Morgana Lefay around the web that everybody seems to categorize your music under a different label -> ranging from Power Metal to Thrash. I even recall seeing something like Power/Doom/Heavy/Thrash. To end this once and for all, how would you classify Morgana Lefay's music?
Robin: (laughs) Well, as I just said...plain fuckin' Metal...or something..."Home Made Metal", "Very Metal", "Bollnäs Metal" are the ones I like best so far, (laughs).
Between 2000 and 2005, the band was put on hold so to speak. How did you keep yourself busy during this time?
Robin: Well, I guess we needed a break from each other for a while there but the break wasn't that long. We all missed the playing so much that we came together already for our annual "Halloween" show in our hometown at the beginning of November 2000. After that we felt as we had no pressure from any label at the time we took it very easy and kind of tried to find the fun in playing again. We kept playing stray gigs in Sweden through the years and in late 2004 the idea for a new album started to grow and here we are...
How did the reunion come about now?
Robin: We don't really see it as a "reunion" or even a "comeback" for that matter, that's a way for the media to describe it I guess. As I said, we never really quit for that long so...Why we came together again? Well, apart from the urge to play we've all been friends for a long time so I guess it's hard to stay away from each other (laughs).
It is noticeable that the band has taken a slight shift in sound on "Grand Materia" compared to its previous works. How has the response been so far for the new album?
Robin: We've been getting both good and not so good responses, but mostly good. I mean, even though Peter has now stepped in as a large contributor in the song writing we still keep the "spirit" of Morgana Lefay and I personally feel that we're on the right path so to speak, the album feels fresh and up to date and we're very happy with the result.
What would you say is the best Morgana Lefay release to date?
Robin: Difficult question, we tend to favour the latest one, in this case "Grand Materia", probably because we've all heard the old albums a million times, (laughs)... But if I have to pick one "oldie" I'd go for "Symphony Of The Damned", for some reason, even though it's from -90, I think the songs are great and the album still holds up...but that's my opinion, heh...
Morgana Lefay and Tad Morose hail from the same town in Sweden and both bands are the closest comparisons to each other and I am told that both bands are in very friendly terms. But is there ever any sense of serious competition between you guys?
Robin: Competition? No, not really...we've always been good, close friends and we even rehearse right next door from each other. We recently had the opportunity to play in Norway for the first time ever and we did that together. We also played in the U.S together this year, first time for us but I think it was the third or fourth for them. We are also booked for the Karmoygeddon festival in Norway in May 2006 together. We've also made a bunch of gigs together in the past and it seems there's one thing we still need to do and that is to get us and the "Taddies" on a co-headline tour or something, that would be great.
So as you can see, we don't compete at all...more like co-operating a bit one might say. But in a way, when we play together we tend to push each other a little on stage...but that's only a good thing, both bands do a better show.
I'm sure you've heard of Demons & Wizards (Iced Earth & Blind Guardian joining forces). You think the fans will ever get a Tad Lefay or something of the sort? :)
Robin: There actually is a "side project hybrid" of the two, Charles and Krunt had a band in the past called Sepher Jezirah (check out www.tadmorose.com for more info on that) and now they dragged Peter in to it as well (laughs). There are no immediate plans to record but the thoughts are there and maybe some day...who knows...
A general phenomenon in North America is that bands like Morgana Lefay are not quite as popular as they are in Europe. What do you attribute this to?
Robin: I have no idea, maybe Americans don't like the music or maybe we don't have enough media coverage over there...the reasons can be anything I guess, but I do hope we get the chance to go there and play again.
What are your views on this Nu-Metal and Metalcore trend we are seeing nowadays? Should these bands be considered "metal"? Do you think metal magazines should review albums by such bands?
Robin: I'm a bit sick of people nagging at "Nu-Metal" and claiming that it's not Metal. It's a natural progress in any genre of music. If people were afraid of changes and new ideas through the years we wouldn't even have Heavy Metal to begin with... No Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Metallica and all the Thrash-, Death-, Black-metal bands that had followed would not exist, so I say embrace new ideas but if you don't like it...don't buy the album, plain and simple.
A few weeks ago, a statement was released that Morgana Lefay are looking for new management. Why now, and how is the search going so far?
Robin: Well, for the moment I'm doing most of the "managing" and it's very, veeeery time consuming and as we all need to have day jobs still we really need help in that department. So far we've got a few offers which we are looking into; hopefully we'll reach some kind of agreement soon.
Despite the dark and serious lyrics of the music in Morgana Lefay albums, the band is also known for its humour. Are there any particularly memorable or funny stories of the band that you would like to share with the readers here?
Robin: (laughs) Well...hmm...we're actually a pretty well behaving band, although we've had A LOT of fun parties through the years we never made any headlines in the tabloids or anything and the memories I have I think I'll keep for my grandchildren one day (laughs)...
If you had absolutely no choice whatsoever and HAD to pick between the two options which of the following would you choose?
Whoopie Goldberg or "Old lady from Titanic":
Robin: Whoopie anyday!
Fascism or Communism:
Robin: Communism, it's a good thought...in theory.
Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars:
Robin: Tolkkien rules!
George Bush or Tony Blair:
Robin: I'd have to go with T. Blair; at least his name has some connection to a witch (laughs).
Big Bush or Shaven Haven:
Robin: Again with the Bush huh? Shave it, NOW! Or there will be no presents for Christmas!
Corpse Paint or Glam Metal make-up:
Robin: Well, Kiss did invent corpse paint so...
Dark Tranquillity or In Flames:
Robin: Tough one...to make my girlfriend happy...In Flames.
Legolas or Gimli:
Robin: Well, as I'm in the short, square-built fashion myself...Gimli.
In closing, if there was anything that you wanted to mention and weren't asked the right question, please feel free to say it. Thank you very much for your time and best of luck with the new album and your future projects. You get the last words….
Robin: BUY THE DAMN ALBUM SO WE MAY COME AND PLAY FOR YA'LL!!!
P.S Stop by www.morganalefay.se and have a look!
|Other information about Morgana Lefay on this site|
|Review: Symphony of the Damned|
|Review: Past, Present, Future|
|Review: Grand Materia|
|Review: Aberrations Of The Mind|
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