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The Crown's Magnus Olsfelt: "I believe in cutting the crap. Taking away all the useless stuff to show the real core of things"

Interview with Magnus Olsfelt from The Crown
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 February 2021, 11:28 PM

Time flies but the music remains brutal, all over the place, moshing as if life is endless without any barriers or borders. So why really stop at no. 10, when only the skies are the limit. The Swedish Death / Thrashers, The Crown, have been on the rise, their previous album, "Cobra Speed Venom", really made an impact so for the no. 10, it was bound to challenge the former with a fierce and bloody release that would champion. It ended up with “Royal Destroyer”, receiving the honors. Steinmetal had the chance to talk with the veteran Magnus Olsfelt about the new album, raising up the bar of the musical level, looking a bit to the past and more to the future.

Hello Magnus, it is an honor to have you on board for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Well thank you, I’m just fine.

Usually we are saying “Lucky No. 7”, yet I guess that in the case of The Crown, it is lucky no. 10 with the band unleashing a massively charged Swedish Metal in its extreme upon the world. So how does it feel to have a tenth record? Does it really feel like being the big league or do you believe that The Crown could have been in a different place right now?

It sure feels good to have album No. 10 soon out, that is quite an accomplishment that very few bands can reach. No I don’t feel that we are in the big league at all, that was more an ironic hyperbole statement. We are a very small but a dedicated ”hobby band”. But I think music wise this new album can match any of the big dragons out there! I believe this album is better than what any of the ”big league” can come up with in 2021. I don’t think about how we could have done stuff different in the past. I focus on doing stuff the right way now.

You sure know how to pick them, titling the album, “Royal Destroyer”, so as you say, it is you guys that have the grandstand of being the ultimate destroyers, was this title generated due to high amounts of motivation from you guys to strive to the top, even after all these years? Have you felt the need to look back a bit or perhaps take it slower every now and then?

Yeah we got a bit of a fresh start again with Cobra with the new line-up. This album is pretty much a continuation of that album, but only better with more of everything. That was where the bar was set and we aimed to jump over it. Looking back can be nice but I prefer going forward. Taking it slower can be good but mostly it's more fun playing with high energy. But mixing it up is the best!

Since “Royal Destroyer” is your tenth album, let’s tread in the past for a bit, how do you perceive your past experiences, along with the wits and smarts that you had gained over the years, shaped the image that became “Royal Destroyer”?

I am never totally satisfied with our music and that pushes me to do it right and better on the next song or next album. But this time I am pretty close to being satisfied. But as time goes on you change and want the music to follow that. But I don’t really see that we have changed that much from the very first demo tape really. Still trying to make some noise that feels important.

Crossing through the themes of “Royal Destroyer”, you are sailing through various areas, exploring mankind’s darkest along with paying homage to your admirations. Which of these small concepts do you find closer to you on a personal note?

Hmm, I don’t know what to say, it’s one big whole thing and I can’t really pick a small concept one out. It’s an art and it is supposed to find an audience that likes it, we work by what we like and figure that If we like it others might too.

In light of the sheer energies that surround the record, like a constant electric charge, this record is coming out in an era of mankind where it is closer to a down low than upside looking out. Is there a view into the current reality of man through the record or did you rather choose to escape for this reality into a nicer, dicer, scenery?

Yeah the art of music is some escape from the current reality if you like. Mankind is probably in some Dark age, and that has probably been for quite some time now. But there are always some compensations down the line, Death Metal for instance!

Talking about the pandemic, and with The Crown being a demolisher of stages, what do you miss about going out there? I can only presume that you are quite anxious to wreak havoc with the new tunes

I know some of the other guys really miss playing live. Me personally I don’t mind not touring. For us It is usually a lot of hard work and not really that rewarding. Our headlining tours have been mostly disappointments when it comes to turnouts. With some few great shows in between.

With me being a fan of your early past, to be honest I lost track of your guys years ago and I am trying to make amends, you had me surprised with “Royal Destroyer”, as if I stepped on a mine. You proved that you can be highly diverse, unchaining everything that you have in your arsenal and made a fine mash out of it. What was your inspiration to get everything out of your systems, was it solely because it was a tenth album celebration, a kind of summary or more than that?

I don’t know, I think we always have been diverse. I think that this time we just managed to put those diversities more together in a way. I think we felt that we just wanted to show everyone how good we can be when we are on top.


Producing such an all-around kind of songwriting, as if making sure that every track is to present a different world of your vision, it is quite a step. How do you find the band’s musical development through this record?

Yes, we want each and every song to be special and to have its own character. I think we have always worked in that spirit but sometimes you hit closer to the mark. I believe this album is very close to a bullseye.

Once you completed the songwriting process, and I might add even the recording, though I was surprised to notice that it was actually a walk in the park, did you feel squeezed out as if all your energy levels were dropping or did it rather charge you up to start the next in line record?

Yeah the recording was very smooth as we were properly prepared. The more you sweat in the rehearsal room, the less you sweat in the studio. It is mostly first or second takes on all the songs. So we recorded the whole album in less than a week.  We all react differently to this experience.  I get inspired and pumped up to make more music and keep the momentum but others feel more exhausted.

Marco looking at “Royal Destroyer”, like its predecessors, it joins a massive market of albums and bands that are trying to prove themselves with various means that aren’t that far from you guys. Other than the diversity of the record, which is its peak attribute, what other aspects of the record do you believe that makes it an odd animal, a special kind of animal?

I haven’t heard any other band that sounds exactly like us, not that we are super original or have invented a whole new music genre or anything but I still think we have a bit of a unique sound going on.

When it comes to the future of The Crown, it seems that this bar that you raised for yourselves is quite a task to take on. Do you believe that age is just a number when it comes to producing music? What is entailed to become one of the big boys? What would it take from you personally?

I believe age is real. I think very few can show this level of energy at this age. But it's not only negative you can also gain more presence and knowledge with age. I believe in cutting the crap. Taking away all the useless stuff to show the real core of things. That is perhaps a thing that gets easier with age. Success in music seems like a closed club, you have these very few, very big bands. It seems like they can release really anything, bad music, boring albums, and still be there on top, while there are a lot of smaller bands that can release great stuff and beat themselves bloody, still not have any success to speak of. If I knew how, I would have kicked that fucking door in a long, long time ago. But to be successful means equal amounts of sacrifice. I have doubts that it is worth it. But I would love to find out for myself!

Delivering the destructiveness of Hardcore / Punk and Death Metal, you decimated everything in your path with Scandinavian Satan. Parts of the songs are in Swedish if I could understand correctly. Would you say that in general this song characterizes an era that is gone in Metal music or rather a future to come with a brand new hope?

It is both. I like to take inspiration from the history but not make it retro but to fit for the future. It would be great If we could be big and be an influence to younger bands like the older bands have been to us. Passing the torch and keeping the flame alive. Those lyrics are at least 1000 years old. From the Völuspa, a mythic prophecy about the End of the world and that lies also certainly in the Future.

“Ultra Faust” is a pictorial of the album’s musical efforts, covering nearly every corner within extreme Metal along with moshing with Punked up Hardcore in the pits. What I noticed is that this song has something that is closer to two personalities, as if a song within a song. What is your take on that? How do you find this song personally?

Yes, I wanted to make a really long epic song with different parts that feels almost like a journey to different worlds. That also goes along with the lyrics about the Faustian spirit of endless exploration and finding unknown Worlds.

“Glorious Hades” and “We Drift On” reminded me of the earlier days of the Gotenburg Death Metal era, yet with a modern touch of sound, damn I miss those days and those classic albums that carved in stone the power melodies in Death Metal. I guess that these songs are an example of a lookout to your achievements of the past? What can you tell about these songs’ songwriting?

Both those songs are on the heavier side and carries different emotional sides. I guess you mean the darker Romantic vibes that was a bit of new thing in the 90ies combining that with Death Metal. But I don’t think these two songs really are achievements of the past as you said. Glorious Hades is some sort a mix of Blessed Era Morbid Angel / Metallica / Bathory / Heavy Metal and is a really proud and powerful song whereas We Drift On is sort of melancholic/nostalgic, Paradise Lost meets Metallica territory.

I noticed that a lot of bands started planning ahead for tours for the second part of 2021. Do you actually believe these tours would take place? Have you started making plans of your own?

No. It is impossible to make any plans right now.

So when can we expect yet another pushed to the limit kind of album from The Crown camp?

Who knows the future? Hopefully we can take the time that we would have spent doing shitty gigs and make a new kick ass album instead. Let’s see what happens.

Magnus, many thanks for your time for this interview, I am glad that you could make it. Massive thank you for this amazing record and for a legacy well preserved. Cheers sir. Lior

Thanks for the interview and your support!


 



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Edited 28 July 2021
 

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