2015-02-13 THE CROWN - Interview with Magnus Olsfeld (b.)

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If a band has a history of ups and downs, its THE CROWN. The band had a very succesfull time in the late 90s, but came to a grinding halt a few years ago. Even though they never offically disbanded, nearly all band members had new projects and bands, but none turned out to be as succesful as THE CROWN. So it wasn't a big surprise to see them get together in 2009, followed by the release of "Doomsday King" in 2010. Now its 2015 and their latest album "Death Is Not Dead" has been released. I took the opportunity to speak with founding member and base player Magnus about the album, the recent line-up changes, and the band history in general. Interview

Your latest album "Death Is Not Dead" has been released a few weeks ago. How's the feedback you received from fans and media?


Yeah we are reading reviews now and most people seem to really like it. Some reviews have actually been 10/10 which is always nice to see. The criticism I have heard have mainly been from older fans expecting it to sound exactly like it did 15 years ago. Or that it isn't extreme enough. But we have never aimed to be the most extreme band out there, and besides for a band 25 years in, I think we are still keeping up pretty hard but mixing up the  mainly fast songs with some more variation. No clean singing though!


Did the album turn out the way you wanted it?


Yes! We are very satisfied. Taken as a whole I think it is one of the best albums we have done.


You've had some line-up-changes between "Doomsday King" and the new album. Why did Marcus (guit.) left and how did you found his replacement? And why did Janne (dr.) left? Do you still hang out with 'em?


Marcus priorities lay in his other band so it was getting impossible to work out doing both. It was actually Marcus himself who came up with the idea of asking Robin to fill in for him. We have known Robin for a long time since he was part of the same scene in Trollhättan. He is a great guitarplayer and a stand up guy. Janne left because he moved to California where he lives and works now.

We don't hang out that much naturally but we stay in touch.


Speaking of hanging out: how often do you see the other band members, apart from rehearsals?


We have contact on a regular almost daily basis concerning the band. Me and Johan grew up together and used to hang out all the time for many years. Now we are grown up and we have other obligations but it is still great to rely on that friendship as a base.


Which brings us to the question of the band's importance in your life: how important is it for you?


It is very important. I need to have it as a creative outlet. I have tried quitting but it has become a lifestyle to have the  ongoing songmaking always there in the back of my head. But it is also important to be able to have other stuff to do, to keep it still fresh and fun. Like when we started the band we were all in school and you had the band as a creative outlet. Now we all have families and jobs and have the band as the same kind of creative outlet as back when we first started. This is our fun time not our job!


What do you want to achieve with THE CROWN? Do you want to do longer tours, play overseas, release more albums...?


Yes I really want to build legacy, a long good career with many great albums. I think we already have done a lot but I still feel that we have more to achieve musically. Right now is not the time for long tours. We concentrate on making albums and play som special select shows. It would be really great if we made an album that people like James Hetfield and Tom Araya would listen to and approve and make them feel like they have influentual.


How long did you need to write the songs of "Death Is Not Dead"? Who's your main songwriter?


We put a lot of time into the songwriting 2-3 years I guess, but also we got a bit delayed due to the line-up changes and Marko practicing drums and so on. Me (Magnus - bass) and Marko are the main riffmakers. Johan write mosy of the vocal arrangements and lyrics and Robin write the awesome leads.


Did you discard many songs and song ideas or did you find a way of focused songwriting?


We put some songs on hold until the next album, because we constantly write new material. During the writing process only the good riffs are kept, but when we finally have a full song it is almost never discarded. Maybe some changes or something.


Which song turned out to be your personal favourite?


It is hard to say because all the songs are different and fulfill their role on the album: "Headhunter", "Iblis Bane", "Struck by Lightning", "Herd of Swine" and "Ride to Ruin" are my favourites, but I am also very pleased with how "Meduseld" turned out, being the first proper instrumental track we've done. And the Eternal track, wow,  that is maybe the best we have sounded, ever...


How much do you follow the modern metal-scene? Which young bands impressed you in the last time?


I don't follow it at all really. I don't know any young bands but maybe I am missing out something here.


Which advice would you give a young band?


Keep doing what you like, keep doing it and eventually you will be good at it. Stay together and don't do sideprojects and new bands all the time. Don't lose the magic of the first band.


What has been your best experience with THE CROWN?


Just to be a part of the music scene for such a long time is amazing! Record and release albums. Be one of those bands that I was a fan of myself as a kid.That is something I am very grateful for.


And what has been the low point?


Well it is not always how you think it will be, but looking back the low points are still meaningful. It is worth it.


The last words are yours....


Well, thanks for the interview and the support. We really like to take the oppertunity to encourage people to listen to this album from beginning to end, to take the full ride for a couple of spins. - LOUD!!! It will be a great experience.