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Runemagick's Nicklas Rudolfsson: " Questions like "what is reality?" may be relevant. In my eyes, much of today's civilization is blind and dying. Like a drone heading towards the tomb."

Interview with Nicklas Rudolfsson from Runemagick
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 October 2019, 10:21 PM

Surging with a flow of motivation and inspiration, comes Runemagick to what seems to be as covering for some of the loss time due to their last breakup. After a back to the roots old school album in 2018, the work continues, yet with a rather graceful touch, even if murky and dirty in the image of “Into Desolate Realms” and the EP, “The Opening of Dead Gates”. Steinmetal talked to the band's leader, Nicklas Rudolfsson, about his vision of the new album, signing with High Roller Records, perception of the new kind of Metal, and more…

Greetings Nicklas, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hi, thanks! Have a lot to do but the situation is good.

Ever since Runemagick made a comeback, you guys have been awfully busy, and particularly in 2019. Only just recently you celebrated your new EP, “The Opening of Dead Gates” and here we are with the emergence of “Into Desolate Realms”. What is the main connection between the two releases, either the fact that the latter full length includes the former EP as bonus?

When we recorded the album it became longer than we planned initially so in cooperation with High Roller Records we chose to split it into two releases, an EP and an LP. The CD version of the album contains the songs from the EP as well. So you could say that the vinyl EP and LP are interrelated.

After being a part of Aftermath Music for your comeback album, “Evoked from Abysmal Sleep”, you made a bold step, signing into the old school harbouring label of High Roller Records. Usually there aren’t too many extreme Metal bands in that label, therefore, what made you sign with it in the first place? Was it intentional in order to stand out than most of the roster?

We made contact with each other and agreed to release our upcoming album there. It wasn't much more planned than that. We have nothing to complain about Aftermath Music but the High Roller Records is a little bigger but not too big which can have some advantages around distribution and so on.

Our impression of High Roller was that it would fit us even though they do not have so many bands in our “more obscure” genre of death/doom kind of metal. But we had heard a lot good about the label from friends in other bands who are signed with them.

How do you feel about the label’s work to promote both the EP and the brand new “Into Desolate Realms”? In general, which of the promotional platforms offered to you is your top choice? The platform that you believe provides both the band and its releases a fair measure of exposure?

For our stature of band and what we expect, they do a good job. They have promo guys who work for them in a good and smooth way I think. In terms of platform, I do not have a good idea of how they work, but in some way they send out promotional material (digitally I guess). And we get contacted for interviews and so on.

There is a constant pattern going on within “Into Desolate Realms”, and the EP for that matter, and that is undying sorrowfulness, as if trying to find sense in endless mourning and discomfort. What is the journey that is ongoing throughout the mists of this new album? What is the storytelling that guides the listener forward into the depth of gloominess?

There are many different threads to follow in both music and lyrics and many possible interpretations to make of it. We have no concept or plan so directly but certainly it has a lot to do with doom, old civilizations and the current “dying” civilization, other dark dimensions and the like. And certainly it is not wrong if you can interpret parts as sorrowfulness. However, that does not mean that I or we did it when we wrote the material. This is what is exciting about music and art.

How would you say that your fascination for mysticism and epic tales was integrated with the extreme doomish desperation on “Into Desolate Realms”?

There is some inspiration from ancient cultures, forgotten worlds, astral dimensions and more. Which inspires music, riffs and lyrics.

Tracing back to our current reality, how can the themes, revealed on “Into Desolate Realms”, be meaningful to our everyday life? Any particular message that cross time and space that are relevant in order to understand a state of mind?

Questions like "what is reality?" may be relevant. In my eyes, much of today's civilization is blind and dying. Like a drone heading towards the tomb. Many have lost their connection to what is “important in life and death”, wisdom and knowledge on a deeper level, so to speak.

Though it is a rather basic question to ask, yet it is integral, when you make a contrast between “Into Desolate Realms” and your previous adventures, how would you describe the development of Runemagick as a band and as songwriters? Which lessons learned from the past did you make a reality on this release?

Earlier before our long break (2007-2017), I can say that we have made quite a long journey musically even though it is within the same genre. If you compare the early material with the albums in the mid-2000s, that is a pretty “big” difference in my opinion. From fairly simple mid-tempo death metal to heavier and, in some songs experimental death mixed with doom. The “Evoked From Abysmal Sleep” album that we recorded and released in 2018 was very straightforward and relatively primitive, probably mostly to get us started again I think. So comparatively, the new album is more elaborate, varied and maybe more epic.

What were your ideals while writing the music for “Into Desolate Realms”? Which inspirations and elements aided you to reach your goal with this album, unless you sense that the goal has yet to be achieved?

As I said before, there was no direct plan initially, but the inspiration and creativity have flowed and sculpted an album. I have a hard time saying where my inspiration comes from. I almost never watch TV or movies so there is no such thing. It happens that I read a book every now and then but then it is mainly facts, history or reality-based books.

Would you say that Runemagick is a democracy when it comes to writing material in the studio? Is there a fair share of ideas crossing paths or rather a guiding individual calling the shots?

As it is now, I write about 95% of all riffs/music and all lyrics. But we all more or less come with inputs around arrangements. Jonas writes his guitar solos and some melodies as well. However, if we were to record a new album in the future, it is not impossible for more people to contribute. It depends on inspiration, time and commitment.

I found “Decay To Nothing” to be one of the album’s peak moments, it portrays the heavily psychedelic values of the others, yet it shares a rather unique atmosphere. What can you share about this track and its process of creation?

It was a song that slowly grew and became more epic as the more we worked on it. I remember Emma standing beside me and listening as I wrote the melody that is at the end after the calm part of whispers. She said that the melody fits perfectly even though I was unsure if it got a little too “buttery”. But I think it turned out well too.

With that asked, which is your top track? The track that influenced you most and have wondering in thin air.

After a recording I usually get pretty tired of the songs so I barely listened until recently when we got the vinyls from High Roller. If I have to pick a song from our new album right now, it must be "Necromancer Of The Red Sun”.

How did you feel about getting back to work with Andy LaRoque after so many years? What is your appreciation of his work on the drums on this release? Johan Bäckman made an excellent work upon providing you with a suitable morbid sound. What draws you to this darkened obscurity in your sound?

Andy and I have been in contact for many years and I help him with various things. He did a great job with the basic sound set up of the drums. Daniel and I rehearsed and arranged all the songs and recorded the drums during a weekend in his studio. As for the sound, we wanted it to still sound like us. But also try to get a combination of "dirty" and clear sound. I mixed my old Runemagick guitar sound with a cleaner sound where you hear more of the strings (split signal to two amps), which I thought gave a little new dimension to the soundscape.

I have no idea if you were asked about it, ever since your comeback, but it would be interesting to know. The Metal scene has undergone many changes, celebrating the rather modern subgenres while some of the old school bands deciding to modernize their efforts to be relevant. Runemagick, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like a band that is giving up, yet I have to know, how do you feel that Runemagick is still a relevant band in today’s Metal scene?

We do what we like and do not change because what is popular or trendy right now. I write music mainly because I like it myself. Then it is a bonus and an honour if there are others who like and buy what you created.

Recently, you conquered for the first time American lands. Any experiences that you can share from this journey? How were the local reactions to your music? Are you planning another visit to support the new album?

We just did a gig in New York. I am extremely grateful to Vinny and Signature Riff who booked us. We had a really good time there, even if I had hardly slept for over 24 hours or something when I got up on stage but it is a bang you can take. We enjoyed it!

Although it was a blizzard when we landed and it took half a day to go in a van to the hotel. We even got to jump off and push the van haha and we learn to know Henry Yuan the driver, great guy!!! (check out his band Impure!!). We only have good memories from that trip and are grateful to those who came and saw us. We haven't booked anything in the US now but hope it gets more. Unfortunately, we had to refuse to a festival in the US next year because we could not plan it in our calendars.

Where do you see Runemagick going in the coming years? Let’s call it your five-year plan.

Nicklas: Do a smaller number of gigs in 2020. We have no plans for further albums right now as we release a new one now and split the vinyl with Chthonic Deity (US) that just came out. But if there is interest in us releasing another album, it is not impossible that it will happen in the next few years. If we have the inspiration, creativity and motivation!

Nicklas, I wish to thank you for the interview. No doubt that you have a deeper approach towards extreme Metal’s darker sides, I thank you for this great release. Cheers mate.

Thank you very much for the interview! Btw, I am busy enough being involved in other bands and projects too like Den Tunga Döden, The Funeral Orchestra and so on…



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