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Marcus Jidell (Avatarium)

Interview with Marcus Jidell from Avatarium
by Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia at 25 May 2017, 11:56 PM

For those fans that are used to Doom Metal, the names of the Swedish bands AVATARIUM and THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM aren’t new at all, because everyone knows that Leif Edling is behind them both. But as well, the guitarist Marcus Jidell is on both bands as well, and played guitar on bands as ROYAL HUNT and EVERGREY in the past. Then, we had the opportunity to speak with Marcus, about both bands and other projects, and to find out more about the man behind the heavy riffs from both bands.

Hi Marcus. Nice to meet you and we, from Metal Temple, want to thank you a lot for this interview. The first question is simple: when did you start to play guitar, why the guitar, and when you became a Metal fan? And what were you first Metal bands?

Hi. Nice to meet you, as well. I actually started as a cello player at the age of 8, I think. About the same time I heard IRON MAIDEN and SAXON and I immediately fell in love with the sound of a distorted electric guitar, even though I didn’t know what it was at that time. Hehe… Before I was 12-13 years old, I picked up my father’s acoustic guitar hanging on the wall at home. I tried to figure out how to play it by myself actually and discovered my first chords in my boy room. Funny enough, it was the power chord and that’s what I use most of the time now.  My first professional band was ROYAL HUNT, but before that, I played with a million different acts, mostly in Sweden.

When we see your name, the association with ROYAL HUNT and EVERGREY appears. How did you get invited to play with both bands? And how do you feel to play with them? On ROYAL HUNT, you spent 7 years…

My friend, Per Schelander, introduced me to ROYAL HUNT. It was a great opportunity for me to be in a band that was out playing in the world and it got me to both Russia and Japan a few times. Andre Andersen, the band’s founder, is a very talented man and I learned a lot from him. However, after a few years it was time for me to move on, and the opportunity to play with EVERGREY came up. I joined the band and we did a few tours together (including Brazil) and one album but after a while, it felt like we wanted different things. I always wanted to combine blues and jazz with Hard Rock/Metal, so when Leif and me started to work on the first AVATARIUM songs, I immediately felt like coming home.

On the other hand, you are known as a producer, signing works with AVATARIUM and HYSTERICA. But a question remains: what were the reasons that lead you to become a producer? And how is to work with bands with different musical styles? And are you doing some work as producer by now?

I actually started to produce music, since I couldn't afford working with the great ones I admired. So I had to learn how to do it myself. To me, music is not so much about genres, but more about emotions and atmosphere. When I produce a band, I try to find the “heart” or the core of the band and then help them to develop and explore that. Music is not supposed to be just technical and “perfect”, its about expressing and finding out who you are and share that with others. Yes I do produce bands on a regular basis. The last albums I released were SOEN’s “Lykaia” and THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM.

One more about the past: you joined forces with Pontus Norgren (now on HAMMERFALL) and Jakob Samuel (now drummer from THE POODLES) in THE RING. It was after you left ROYAL HUNT, so can we say that you were still into a Heavy/Power Metal tendency back then? And what do you think about the album, “Tales of Midgard”, today? And how did you feel during those days?

I haven’t actually listened to that album for a long time, but I think we did the best we could back then and it was also a process where I learnt a lot. I think it was before ROYAL HUNT actually, but I’m not 100% sure here. The music was our tribute to bands like DIO, SABBATH, and OZZY.

Now, time to speak a little more about the recent past. You played as a live member of CANDLEMASS 70000 Tons of Metal in 2012. Was that your first contact with Doom Metal, and even with Leif?

That was when Leif and me really became good friends, and soon after that, we started working on the AVATARIUM songs. I was already a fan of CANDLEMASS before and I also really liked KRUX actually, so doom metal wasn't new to me in that way. I have been playing live with both KRUX and CANDLEMASS a few times and love both bands!

Since 2013, you’re on AVATARIUM, one of the other bands of Leif Edling. How did you become involved with the band? Was it an idea of Leif, of you, or an idea of you all? And what was the main musical concept back then? And by the way, how are things going with the fans? Are you receiving a great response from them? I hope so…

Leif called me quite soon after 70,000 Tons Of Metal and asked me if I could help him demo a few songs. He wanted to do something different from CANDLEMASS; a more “70’s feel thing”. Being a huge EDLING fan, I was more than happy to help. At the time we tried to find a good singer with the right Robert Plant feel, but without success. But when I asked Jennie-Ann Smith to sing on our demos, everything changed totally. I still remember when we recorded “Moonhorse” and how I felt that we had something unique going. Jennie-Ann Smith opened so many new musical doors for us, since she is such a talented musician and singer. She can do everything from singing powerful Rock & Roll to fragile and emotional stuff. It’s like having Ronnie James Dio and Emmylou Harris in the same person, you know? AVATARIUM is about light and shadow and to be able to express that, everybody in the band needs to be both extremely sensitive, explosive and technically skilled. The reception from fans has been overwhelming this far and it seems to just keep growing. We are extremely happy and thankful for this!

And what can we expect from “Hurricane and Halos”, the new AVATARIUM’s album that is about to be release on May 27th? And were you involved on the composing process of the album?

Leif Edling wrote 6 songs and Jennie-Ann Smith and me wrote 2 songs. As always, the band arranged the music. We have such a great band now with Rickard Nilsson on organ and Mats Rydström on bass… They are both a big part of this album’s sound and I’m very happy to join forces with them. As always, Lars Sköld on drums is, of course, also putting his mark on what he does. This album is the best I’ve ever been a part of and I am so extremely proud of what we accomplished. There’s a lot of 60’s and 70’s feel, but with a modern and heavy sound. Jennie-Ann never sounded better and neither did the band.

In the beginning, THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM seemed like a project, a one-man band of Leif, who sang and played all the instruments on the Demo EP, “Never Machine”. But on the single, “Never Machine”, there you were on guitars and drums, and Niklas Stålvind on vocals. What had changed in Leif’s initial idea? Or was THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM meant to be a band since the beginning?

Leif didn't play all the instruments on the demo record. I play all guitars and Niklas sings most of the songs, except for “The Whispering”. We used drum machine though, since it was just a demo. It’s a bit like EDLING’s solo album, but it’s still a band effort in every way.

And then, THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM came and smashed our head with a bitter and heavy form of Doom Metal. What do you think about the album now that it’s released? And did you worked on the composition process of the album as well?

I love the album. It’s early 80’s inspired metal the way it should sound. Leif Edling wrote all the songs and I produced the album and play all guitars. Also you have Andreas “Habo” Johansson playing drums like his life depends on it. Niklas Stålvind is a true metal singer down to the core.

And how was the first show of THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM at Roadburn Festival last April? How did the public receive you? And are there plans for more shows in the future?

It was a great evening, indeed. We felt very welcomed by the audience and, of course, we want to play more.

You play both on AVATARIUM and THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM; both of have albums released in 2017. Won’t it cause a conflict of dates?

You just need to plan stuff well. TDK will not be a touring band in the classical sense, so I’m not too worried.

Being a member of both bands, how do you compare their works? What are the main differences between AVATARIUM and THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM?

I think if you listen to both bands, you’ll get the picture. They are actually very different and it wouldn't make any sense for me to be in two bands that sound the same.

This one is for me, because I’m from Brazil: do you know that “The Doomsday Kingdom” is about to be released here? And what do you think about it and about the Brazilian Metal fans? We are Metal maniacs here; I hope that you know that…

Cool. So hopefully we can come to Brazil in the future, then with both TDK and AVATARIUM.

Well, that’s all. I want to thank you again for your kindness, and please, leave you message for your fans and our readers.

Thank you and I miss Brazil, so I hope I’ll see you good people soon!!


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