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Axewitch's Magnus Jarl: "We only have ourselves in the band as judges when it comes to the songs now in 2021"

Interview with Magnus Jarl from Axewitch
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 April 2021, 11:38 PM

As if a sleeping bear awakened for a very long slumber. And yes, it was that long, a little more than two and a half decades. One has to question how does a group can retrace its own steps as a unit after so long. People are people, at times predictable and at times not. The story of the Swedish Heavy Metal Axewitch has been that different of other bands from the 80s that made a return recently. However, as always, each band has its own anecdotes for its story and how it shall be continued. Releasing their new album, “Out of the Ashes into the Fire”, through the German label Pure Steel Records, Axewitch bring what they know best, as most of the time, old dogs deny new tricks. Steinmetal had the pleasure to have a chat with Magnus Jarl about the return, the early end, new music and more…

Hello Magnus, it is great to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have things been on your end? How is Sweden doing in these last couple of months pandemic wise?

Hi it's ok despite the pandemic, so maybe by the end of 2021 we can live normally again

Axewitch is certainly one of the oldest names in the early Swedish Metal scene of the 80s, in particular your first two albums that I think are great examples of traditional Heavy Metal. Going through a little history right there, everything ended up, for the first time in 1986. What caused hell to break loose and disband the band back then?

We shut down the band at the end of 1987, mostly because we did not get a record deal with our new demos that we have recorded.

I presume that the next question is rather obvious. You made a comeback in fourteen years ago, slowly catching up with the times, which changed rapidly within Metal music in particular, however, there was no sign for new material. Did you feel dried out of ideas or simply without the wish to write anything new but only perform with the gems of the past?

We did a one off gig in 2007 at a local motorcycle club. Then we thought there would be nothing more with the band, but then we called each other and said why not try to play together again, and now with a new bass player Instead of Tommy Brage who was our original bassist from the beginning

Talking about catching up with the times, you left the Metal scene back in 1986, in the middle of the golden years of Metal music throughout Europe and North America, and came back to a totally different Metal scene in 2007. How did you find the changes in the attitude of the music, the fans, the multiple directions that Metal has been channelling?

When we started again, it was a completely different time than in the 80's. Now everything is much easier with internet when you have contact with promotors and record companies and our fans.

Part of the previous question was also to get a lead on your will to return to action in the first place. Other than the burning inner wish to return to play together and live, did you also feel motivated enough to know that Axewitch can become one again with its local scene for instance?

Yes, we feel that Axewitch has made an impression in metal history. So in 2008 we got to play at Sweden's biggest metal festival, Sweden Rock Festival. Which was great for us.

Recently you found a new home with the old school driven label, Pure Steel Records, which I believe is a suitable home for Axewitch. How did you find the fact of being signed again? What are your expectations from Pure Steel Records when it comes to pushing the band forward in a different era of Metal music?

We hope that the record contract and the release of the new record will lead to us getting gigs in and outside Sweden. After the pandemic of course

Entitled “Out of the Ashes into the Fire”, your newly released material after no less than twenty-six years, not including the 1986 demo. First things first, how does it feel to have something fresh out after so many years?

It feels good and I think the new songs sound like classic Axewitch but with a modern feel to it.

About the freshness aspect of “Out of the Ashes into the Fire”, is the material, in its whole, is newly written or there are modified, or edited, versions of earlier tunes that were never released on a record, for instance the two bonuses “Axewitch” and “Nightmare”? I am asking since you pretty much dragged the 80s with you in your music in such a manner that one might question the time he or she is living in

All songs are newly written but "Axewitch" and "Nightmare" are new recordings of 2 demo songs written back in 1981-82

Judging by the title, and I do not find it as a cliché, it appears to me that there is hope in sight, you guys rising like a phoenix, burning hot and ready to roll in the mud of a vast Metal scene. Is this a sort of a motivational kind of title or simply stating a fact that you are here, and to stay?

Hopefully we are here to stay

Since you dragged the 80s with you, as I stated earlier, your fusion of traditional Heavy Metal, with just a small ounce of Hard Rock, once again was made for the better, reminding a true form
of vintage. With the efforts on “Out of the Ashes into the Fire”, do you believe that Axewitch still needs to prove itself to the worldwide Metal scene?


We only have ourselves in the band as judges when it comes to the songs now in 2021. But I think we still have our own sound with influences from the late 70's and early 80's

How did the songwriting and recording process of “Out of the Ashes into the Fire” develop you as a songwriter and a musician? It is not merely due it being a long time since you had anything going with Axewitch, but because every single releases changes those involved

I think as long as the riff comes naturally, and that we as a band make the songs work, it feels good

Even though the early days are only a memory, when you approached the songwriting process, along with the arrangement of the songs, would you say that fulfilled lessons were learned from the earlier days of the band in order to perfect your efforts?

I think the way we make songs is as before, Anders and I comes up with guitar riffs and then the songs are put together with the rest of the band.

Without a doubt the wall of sound of the record elevated the excitement, a modern engineered sound, but with an old school flavor, serving old school written tunes. Who made this wonder in the studio? How do you find the band’s new sound?

We've had a long time to get this record ready, and no one put any time pressure on us except ourselves. And we wanted a bigger sound than on our albums from the 80's

One of the album’s major songs, which I believe that went level high up with both their musical performance and message, is for me “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”. I sensed that there is more to what it tries to express. What can you tell about this song and of course your own appreciation of it?

The song is built with several different parts, that took their time to make the song work. But we are happy with the end result.

Were there thoughts of perhaps releasing a new version of past songs from the earlier albums, like a sort of a compilation, which I believe might ignite your old fans?

We will probably re-record some old songs again and release them this year, As Axewitch turns 40 this year (1981-2021)

What is coming next for Axewitch when all of this will blow over and slowly dissolve back into a form of normality? Do you even think forward to plan shows ahead or rather sit on the side-lines and wait?

We hope our fans will like the new album, and that it will lead to more live shows after the pandemic.

Magnus, I would like to thank you for this interview and for the effort that you made for it. Thank you for coming back with a strong record and I can’t wait for a new one. Cheers

Thank you


 



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