Stefan Jonsson (Gormathon) - interview

*** STEFAN JONSSON (Gormathon) - "Most metal bands aren’t marionettes..."***

Gormathon is one of the most interesting new metal bands that emerged from Sweden in recent years. Melodic and powerful songs included on Gormathon's newest album Following The Beast show their great potential and vast musical inspirations. We talked with the band's guitar player Stefan Jonsson about his favourite albums, music television, ups and downs of musical business and future plans. Enjoy!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: I have to say that Following the Beast surprised me. Your newest album's really melodic and full of songs that have a big hit potential. I even think that in lot of tracks you're getting quite close to the classic heavy metal with thrash elements included. Were you inspired by any of the contemporary artists? Or perhaps you were trying to distance yourself from the music scene while preparing the new album?

STEFAN JONSSON: Thank you very much! We all have different music backgrounds and I think that reflects in our music composing. We have grown up with everything from classic heavy metal, like Judas Priest to thrash like Metallica, Slayer and Exodus. And later on death/melodic death metal as well. I don’t distance myself from any music when I compose new material, I get inspired from both new and old stuff.

Gormathon HARD ROCK SERVICE: My absolute fav on the record is a track called In Benevolence. It’s really heavy but also catchy at the same time, thanks to its melodic chorus. Could you tell me something more about this song?

STEFAN JONSSON: That’s my favourite too (laughs). I don’t really know exactly how that song came up. Maybe it was when I have worked with some heavy stuff and just felt like I had to write something faster and more powerful. Or maybe I was angry or upset...

HARD ROCK SERVICE: You have prepared two really strong music videos to promote Following The Beast. Nowadays the only way to get those videos aired is to put them on YouTube. I remember that back in the days when MTV was still playing music, it was a great fun to see a clip of one's favourite band in one of their programmes. It became less exciting now, when you can see anytime anything you want on Tube. Tell me, what are your thoughts on degeneration of music TV stations like VH1 and MTV?

STEFAN JONSSON: I can only agree to that! The best time of the week was when Headbangers Ball was coming up on MTV. I kinda miss those days. And as you say, nowadays you can hear/see anything at any time and that makes all the music and videos less exciting than before Youtube.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: And what about programs like The Voice of...? Don’t you think that it's harder and harder to prepare music that is honest and straight from the heart? Nowadays you can always take a shortcut and participate in shows that give you a deal with a big label for the price of losing your musical freedom… Tell me please, how rocky was the road a band like Gormathon had to take to sign a professional record deal?

STEFAN JONSSON: We have been on that rocky roads for so many years, in different constellations, but we’ve always done our thing and believed in it. And finally it paid off when we got this record deal with Napalm Records.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Which do you prefer: gigs in small clubs where you can establish a close bound with the fans or a massive festival concerts?

STEFAN JONSSON: Both are very important to us. But a festival gig on a hot summer night with thousands of happy, beerdrinking fans moshing around is unbeatable!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Did you ever experienced pressure from outside the band? You know, pressure from the people that want to tell you what to do to be successful? Do you have an advice for the young bands, how to fight against such pressure?

STEFAN JONSSON: No, like I said earlier, we’ve always done our thing and I think most metal bands aren’t marionettes dancing around the middle finger to some producer or "know-to-guy". Just do your thing and believe in it. It will pay of sooner or later!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Is there any rivalry on the Swedish metal scene between bands or is it still "a big family"?

STEFAN JONSSON: I think the rivalry between Swedish bands exists, but we're all very friendly. Most of the time there’s always a helping hand or a great advice given, especially to newer bands. And of course we're very glad if we can help someone in the beginning of their carrier.

Gormathon HARD ROCK SERVICE: I know that gentlemen don’t talk about money but I wanted to ask if it is possible to make a living just from playing in the band?

STEFAN JONSSON: That’s really tough man! I think you gotta be a really big band to make a living just from music. It’s a hard work to write music, travel around the world and have an ordinary job as well. But it’s all worth it in the end. I mean, I just love to play metal and when you stand on stage with screaming fans in front of you, you just forget about that long flight and the wait for the taxi that forgot about you...

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Are you working on a next album? Do you have any finished songs by now? What can we expect from it?

STEFAN JONSSON: I write music almost constantly. Me and Markus (Albertson - J.K.) will gather after the summer and brainstorm some cool riffs that we both have been working on and glue them together to some awesome new tracks.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Is this the way you usually compose new songs? Do you jam together or rest of the band work's on their parts separately?

STEFAN JONSSON: Earlier I wrote most of the music and Tony (Sunnhag - J.K.) all the lyrics, but as I said, Markus has some really cool riffs that we're going to add to our semi-written new songs. And that’s gonna be awesome. Maybe a little more thrash metal-ish (laughs)

HARD ROCK SERVICE: After two albums your position on the metal scene is getting stronger and stronger. You became well-known now. Tell me please, is it still possible to meet you after the concert and to chat a bit?

STEFAN JONSSON: The contact with our fans is very important and we really try to meet as many fans as we can after a gig. It’s really cool to have a beer and a small chat with some metalheads!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Tell me, which bands inspired you before you decided to become a professional musician? What kind of music did you like to listen to when you were a teenager? Was it always metal?

STEFAN JONSSON: My first "WOW-album" was definitely Deep Purple's Made In Japan. Yeah, I know it was a looong time ago... (laughs) But it was when I heard it, that I decided that I wanted to play the guitar too... I just love Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar playing! But I have many influences in music. Bands like Accept, Metallica, Lamb Of God, Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth and In Flames made a huge impact on me and my music writing.

Gormathon HARD ROCK SERVICE: Did the experience you gained in Morgana Lefay exert any influence over Gormathon?

STEFAN JONSSON: Yes, maybe a bit. But it’s been a few years since I played with them though... We're still good friends and we have our rehearsal studios in the same house.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: When can we expect you in Poland? It's not a long way from Sweden...

STEFAN JONSSON: We have nothing planned for now but we’d love to come to Poland for some shows! We’ve never been there before but I hope there will be an opportunity for that really soon!

Interviewer: Jakub Kozłowski

(All pictures are taken from the artist's official website and are used with their permission.)

Autor: Rockhard

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