Interview with Mårten of Algaion 2009
By Bradley Smith
Marten it has been a long time and it is really good to see you active with Algaion again. What lead to the band’s resurrection? What are your goals with Algaion now and what have you been doing all these years in the interim?
I am not sure exactly what did directly lead to our “resurrection”. Mathias started making Algaion songs again in 2007, and we were offered to play a gig in England which we accepted. After that we realized that maybe we should give it a go again. In the decade that Algaion rested we were both involved in other bands, me with Arditi and Mathias with Hypocrisy and Pain among others.
As you have announced there is a new Algaion album on the way. What can we as digesters of your art expect from it? What have you as an artist invested in its creation and what are you hoping to accomplish with its birth?
Our new album sounds somewhat as if it was created between our “Oimai Algeiou” album and the “Vox Clamentis” mcd, in other words we still try to sound like Rotting Christ. The new album will be called “Eimaste Exthros” and we will start recording it any day now. We signed to Pulverised Records last year.
There are new members that have entered the Algaion fold so to speak. Who are they and how were they chosen? What do they bring to Algaion?
Robert and Viktor are friends of Mathias’ that also play in the band Corporation 187. I guess they were selected on grounds of competence and ability to set time aside to play with us. Robert also runs the studio we use, Hell Tower, which is convenient.
When we last met in person waaaaaay back in 1998 you left me with 3 tracks. I assume they were supposed to be used on The Herostratic Legacy EP. Did that EP ever see the light of day? If not will we ever see these songs officially surface?
Yes, those tracks were the Herostratic Legacy EP, it never saw the light of day and I doubt it ever will. Even though they are all good songs they differ too much from how we sound now.
Each Algaion release had a different feel to it. Can you describe the moods and goals that shaped each of your recordings?
I don’t know. When we did our first album at least I was really excited about just getting to do an album. I had to dodge my military service to go to the studio, and the studio was Peter Tägtgren’s old Abyss studio, the one that was flooded all the time and had ancient equipment, but we were really happy anyway. The “Vox Clamentis” album was recorded in the new fancy Abyss studio and that recording is by far the one that I am most content with. Everything went just perfect. About “General Enmity” I honestly don’t know what we were thinking when we recorded that.
On a similar theme, what areas do you feel like you have not yet explored but would like to? Are there any designs you have on conquering other fields of musical creation or other mediums of artistic expression you want to try (or have tried)?
We have tried some of that in the past but I think we should just let that go. We have a decently distinguished sound that I think we should try to stick with.
As an older and wiser artist within the underground I was wondering what your thoughts are on the current state of the Swedish extreme metal scene? Are there bands that you follow or have you distanced yourself from the metal underground?
I am really not up to date with the metal underground here anymore, but there are indeed a few Swedish bands that still record excellent material. The new albums from Ofermod (“Tiamtü”) and Nefandus (“Death Holy Death”) for example are the best music to come out of Sweden for a very long time. The new Funeral Mist album “Maranatha” is also so excellent it is hard to believe it is true. All of those bands also consist of very dedicated people. Even though my life is a lot different now from when I was 20, I am now both old and married etc, I still will never accept that Black Metal is “just another style of music” as some would have it.
I remember driving through the ghetto parts of Lakeland Florida with you and Jon (FMP) where you were video taping our excursion. What were you trying to capture and what did your friends back in Sweden think when you showed them the footage? Incidentally what were your impressions from your visit to America?
Hahaha. I figured some people back home would have a hard time believing how bad the projects were, so naturally we had to do our part of wildlife footage. I went to America a few times after that as well, the last time in the year 2000. I like America in its essence, it is just not in a very good shape now, and has not been for more than a 100 years.
What’s up with Octinomos these days? I understand there is a new album forthcoming from this entity as well. What can we expect from the new recording? What other projects are you active with these days?
Yes, me and Fredrik of Puissance have recorded a new Octinomos album. It will be released as soon as we can agree on how it should be mixed. It actually differs quite a lot from the previous Octinomos CD’s, it is more in line of how it sounded before I left the band, on the demos. Apart from Algaion, Octinomos and Arditi I have no projects right now.
In regards to music what separates true art from disposable garbage? To me it seems like a simple enough question but often times the answer is harder to put into words. How do you as an artist “connect” with the listener? What methods and tools do you use to convey your message?
This is indeed a very hard part. Reluctantly I have to realize that most of our listeners are just the average drunk metalheads, people I cannot connect with in almost any way. But reaching out to the people you believe could actually grasp the essence of what you try to say with your music is hard, and you don’t want to be too open about what it is all about either. It is hard and I don’t know of a perfect solution. People have tried various approaches before, with varying results.
I know that Algaion did a one–off reunion gig of sorts in 2008. Can you describe how this went and what your impressions are of Algaion in a live environment? Can we expect any other live experiences of Algaion in the near future?
We had played live before, twice in 1997, but the England gig went well I think. We do not have anything booked in the “near” future but we will play live again in the fall of 2009 or so. At least we are open for suggestions now, instead of turning everything down as we used to.
Each release has been unleashed by a different label. Why so much label changing? What was your impression of each label you had to work with and how did you end up on Pulverized?
Actually Vox Clamentis and General Enmity were released on the same label but I see what you are getting at. I don’t know why we changed labels so often but I hope things will work out with Pulverised. With Arditi we also changed label for every release for several years until we ended up on Equilibrium Music which we are very happy with. I guess it will be like that with Algaion as well when we find a really good label.
Thanks again Mårten. It has been good to hear from you again after so many years. I’ll leave any final thoughts to you.
Nice to hear from you again too.