Brendan Crabb of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mårten Hagström of Swedish experimental extreme metallers MESHUGGAH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loud: I’m sure like many people within the metal world you were actively following Randy Blythe‘s [LAMB OF GOD] recent trials and tribulations. What was your take on that situation?
Hagström: I was following what happened; I knew what was going on. I kept up to date on the Internet, but I really didn’t get too into it. It’s one of those things where it was fairly obvious what was going on, but it’s also one of those things where… It’s out of your hands, sort of. But the thing is, it’s scary, stuff like that. And as a travelling musician, or whatever you want to call it, every once in a while, stuff goes wrong. And it doesn’t have to be something like that; that’s a very unique situation, a very strange and tough situation for Randy, of course. But there’s shit happening all the time when you’re out on the road. You never really know what’s going to go down around the corner. It was a sobering thing, I think, for others, standing on the sidelines.
Loud: Although obviously not on such a level as that, but have you witnessed similarly concerning or dangerous behaviour at MESHUGGAH shows?
Hagström: No, not really. Sometimes, granted, you see stuff going down. But when you’re up there playing, you’re so focused on what’s going on onstage that you’re not always… You realize that there’s a moshpit going on or whatever, but it’s not like you’re consciously taking it in. But we’ve been around for a long time, so yeah, definitely, we’ve seen stuff on the road that’s scary. But you can’t think about it that way. Every occupation has a hazard, so it’s not often that anything happens. The scary thing about Randy‘s situation was how easy things can go wrong, and how bad and confused the consequences can get.
Loud: How much longer do you plan to tour in support of the latest record before you bunker down to write new material?
Hagström: End of the year. I think the last day of November is our last show for this album. So we’re basically looking to have some time off in December, and then we’ve been on the road with “Koloss” for like two years or something, on and off. So then I guess it’s about time to start writing new stuff again.
Loud: You mentioned that every album represents a slight progression for the band. In your view, what is the next step forward for MESHUGGAH creatively?
Hagström: I have no idea, and I never do. And I think that’s a good thing, ’cause people sometimes say that we’re pretty unpredictable, but I don’t really think we are, because we have a sound that’s been with us since at least like the “None” EP (from 1994), that’s very us. [laughs] It doesn’t really change all that much, but it’s still a progression, and what I mean by taking a step forward is that we’re still, we’ve been around now. We’re veterans in this game [laughs], and we’re still having fun with what we do, with experimenting with the music that we want to create. So as long as it feels like we’re making it better, and as long as it feels like we’re doing something that we can at least stand for and be proud of, that’s all that we ask.