King Of Asgard
Date: 20 July 2012
MM - Could you give us a brief history of the band?
Jonas - King of Asgard started in 2008 by Karl and Karsten which later on got joined by me. KoA sort of picked up the members previous musical directions, thinking of predecessor Mithotyn and such. With folk inspired tunes blended with death and blackened metal, our Norse heritage as main lyrical approach things fell in place. A demo was recorded in the early stages which among others gained interest from legendary Metal Blade Records. A deal was agreed and from there on things went fast. In 2010 we both recorded and released the debut album 'Fi'mbulvintr' and 'Einhärjar' video as well as brought in second guitarist Lars Tängmark which also made us able to start doing live shows.
The debut got well received, both from fans and media, and a second album was written while doing some festivals and one off shows etc. That's very brief on how things went and here we are with the second album right upon us. Music video for 'The Nine Worlds Burn' just released and the actual album right around the corner waiting for peoples reception and reaction. For more detailed story: http://www.metalblade.com/english/artists/kingofasgard/bio.php
MM - How would you describe your music?
Jonas - To someone that doesn't know of us we'd say we play a mixture of death/black metal mixed or spiced with folk music. Other than that I guess people could put us into any category they consider most appropriate. That we end up in the Viking metal genre doesn't come as a surprise though, much due to the band name and that most of the lyrics are about Norse mythology, Vikings, their faith and worldview. Quite obvious. That's nothing that bother us, or see as a problem. It is quite natural, and we need to be categorized somewhere. The sad thing is, it does not directly describe our music
MM - "... To North" is out soon, does the album have a certain theme / story?
Jonas - Actually not. Our main source of lyrical inspiration is based upon Norse mythology, legends and sagas. But no, there's no concept behind the "...to North" album as far as it goes throughout the whole album. There are main themes that is Norse mythology based, prehistoric tales and believes, but no more than that actually. So every song/lyric stands on its own. The title "..to North" kind of reflect upon that, our Norse heritage and has ambiguous ways of being seen upon. We felt it fit right away as we came up with it. I hardly see we'll ever do a concept album, just feel it don't fit us really, but still, never say never.
Still we do not limit ourselves on just these topics so there are other matters to reflect upon. It is probably or certainly the name King of Asgard that's that kind of made us paint ourselves into that corner. But our tentacles are reaches far!
MM - Any personal favourite track/s on "... To North"?
Jonas - Oh, this is hard as they all bring different feelings and remembrance from the creation process. But as how it all came out I guess 'The Nine Worlds Burn' is a good punch thinking of the turns it took in the making. 'Nordvegr', 'The Dispossessed' and Gap of Ginnungs' sure is good as well and 'Plague-Ridden Rebirth' has a big place in my heart with the good old black metal feeling it brings. I'm weak for such. But again, every song has its own way and place in all of us and hopefully they'll convince and bound our followers as well.
MM - How different is the new album to “Fi’mbulvintr”
Jonas - Well it's not really breaking any boundaries, it’s rather protecting the ways of old! But the album as a whole is way much better when one really gets into it though.
When we started working on the songs for " ...to North" we just let creativity flow really and didn't set any boundaries. We put up some small 'goals' of what we wanted to accomplish, such as building atmosphere, power, aggression - alone or combined. We wanted to build a sensation and 'feel' to the music and hopefully we delivered it in such way as well. We build songs from a solid ground depending on what feeling we want it to reach or create. So this fundament is basically making the song, taking it to different directions which could be in a varied way or a more stagnant one.
So the base really are just making strong songs that we can all stand behind and from there it goes to different directions, which also was the case on the debut. What differs "..to North" from the debut is basically a much better album and the songs are much more thought through and worked through. It is a small step for a Giant, metaphorically speaking, and you'll never know where this giant is taking us next time. Doesn't matter as long as we're satisfied and feel we're doing something out of satisfaction and worth both for us and our fans.
MM - What bands inspire you now, and growing up?
Jonas - The early nineties wave of both death and black metal was and still is a great source of inspiration. The ever influential Bathory and the like, King Diamond, Slayer etc. further on the Swedish death metal, Entombed, Dismember... the Norwegian black scene, Mayhem, Emperor, Satyricon, Darkthrone and so forth. Well I could mention hundreds of bands and still make no sense. It all started with traditional metal and thrash. Later on I somewhat got stuck in the nineties, death and black metal, and that is where my heart still beats. Hard to pick out just a couple of acts but Bathory is definitely one that both I and the other KoA members stand behind and that still inspire.
MM - There some great bands coming out of Scandinavia at the moment , do you have any personal favourites?
Jonas - Yeah it sure is. At this very moment I’m listening to the new Ereb Altor album ’Gastrike’ which is really good and highly recommended! Skogen is also a great act that soon will release the album ’Eld’. Seem very promising as well.
Our fellow death metal friends in Vanhelgd and Maim is cool too. As you say there are many bands up and coming and that was just some that came to mind.
MM - How would you describe the King of Asgard's sound?
Jonas - Well we've been playing in numerous bands during the last twenty years or so and this being mainly in the vein of black and death metal so this is something that is deeply rooted within us and that is very present in our immediate sound. This is the music we personally like and feel we want to create and bring to others. We do not try to hide it. That's why we sound very black/death oriented and traditional, not really innovative in any way more than our blending with folk tunes and such.
When we write our songs we're also keen on being able to perform them live close to what they are on the actual albums. Basically there are only one thing to do, to create the folk/traditional parts within our set of instruments, adding vocals (harsh sounding or soft choir) to emphasize certain emotions and bring in melodies of which derive folk/pagan atmosphere. We often use words as power and melancholy to describe it in an emotional way.
We're defenders and keepers of our own sources of inspiration.
MM - Any festivals lined up / plans for the rest of the year?
Jonas - Actually not any official. We have some interests here and there but nothing booked as we speak unfortunately. Probably the bad side of releasing an album just when the festival season is about to end so it is understandable and quite natural. We'll se what happen when the album is out. But sure we'll take opportunities if they occur and we'll be promoting the album in all ways possible throughout the year.
Next up is closed (at least unofficial) release party for '...to North' on the release date which will be cool of course with our closest friends, fellows and fans. It's a small venue whence we had to keep it private so to say. We're performing the whole album from start to finish as well as some songs from the debut so it'll be a night well to remember I hope.
MM - Which bands would you love to tour with?
Jonas - Very difficult to say, depending on whether you should think in real terms or let your imagination go to excesses. But to take it simple and convenient. We met the guys in Einherjer earlier this year when we played at Ragnarök Festival in Germany. Really nice guys and a band we really like musically and would perhaps be appropriate to share the stage with. Or why not hook up with Andy and King Diamond if they're going;). Not that important really, but of course it helps if you get along well and know that it works on all levels.
A dream scenario is of course if we would have had the opportunity to open for Quorthon and Bathory!
MM - When can we expect a King of Asgard invasion in England?
Jonas - I have no idea but we would sure like to come no doubts about that! We have yet not got any offers so that’s the simple reason but when the right one is upon us and we have the opportunity we’ll sure do it. It’s a beautiful country and it seem we have many followers in England too so it would be great in all aspects. So we might keep the invasion on a peaceful level and not as in the eleventh century, which by the way got dealt with to some extent in the song 'Nordvegr'.
MM - If you had a choice .. would you rather be a proper Viking back in the day or here and now?
Jonas - Wanting to decline all the conveniences you become accustomed to living in today's society would obviously be a huge challenge and attractive idea. However, it would be really fucking stupid to do so in exchange for what you actually got and achieved. But definitely the feeling of it all and really get an idea of how the time and its society really was like. This, being for a marked period of time. It sure would be a great escape in many aspects and I love the thought of it but wouldn't change for all eternity.
MM - Any thing you would like to say to our readers ?
Jonas - Thanks a bunch, Seb, THE METAL GODS MELTDOWN, the readers and the followers of the King for supporting King of Asgard!!! Hope for some shows ahead and that the album gets the attention I believe it deserve. Make sure to check it out.
Hope to see ya!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto