Meshuggah will be bracing our UK shores once again with a special one off co – headline show on Friday May 3rd 2013, at London’s 02 Brixton Academy with The Devin Townsend Project and support from Periphery. WithGuitars jumped at the chance to chew on all things recent and the event which is the Brixton O2 Academy one-off UK show. Steve Janes had a enough to talk about with the talented Meshuggah guitarist Mårten Hagström.
Although fellow Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal plays nearly most of Meshuggah’s guitar solos, the two of them share songwriting duties more or less equally, with Hagström notably contributing “Nebulous” from ‘Nothing’, ‘Acrid Placidity’ from ‘Destroy Erase Improve’, and ‘Neurotica’ from the fantastic ‘Chaosphee’ album. Hagström has also stepped out of his role of playing rhythm guitar with the release of Meshuggah’s ‘obZen’ album by playing the slower, melodic leads on the songs that he wrote, such as ‘Electric Red’ and ‘Pravus’. In addition to this, he has contributed lyrics to some of the band’s later releases, co-writing ‘Catch 33’ with Meshuggah drummer Tomas Haake and penning the entirety of the words for their abstract EP ‘I’. Hagström and Haake have been playing music together since they were nine years old.
Meshuggah formed in the late 1980’s in Umea in Sweden. After releasing their debut EP in 1989 the band signed to Nuclear Blast and released their full length debut album, “Contradictions Collapse”, in 1991. The new studio album will be the bands seventh, previous releases including the 1998’s legendary “Chaosphere”. The band are an established live draw, having played numerous festival worldwide (including main stage at Ozzfest) and toured the USA with Tool on two separate occasions.
The current hailed album ‘Koloss’ is yet another noteworthy album, with added potent, seemingly endless energy add bubbling creativity to the mix of time-served musicians, I would like to say it’s hardly surprising, true maybe when we are talking about Meshuggah and maybe a handful of other bands, that are constantly up there, no need for any emperor’s cloths or psychofantery, Meshuggah constantly impress.
So to the co-headline show at Brixton Academy with Devin Townsend Project and support from Periphery.
“Three very good bands…
“The line-up, we tried to make something happen, something out of the ordinary, for us to come back to London to a bigger venue, with a different kind of album (‘Koloss’) with a new different sound. Three strong bands its going to be a cool thing to do, just to droop in and do one show and then leave it. WE really try to make something happen.”
It’s sounds like a fantastic event, making a splash. Are Meshuggah still basking in the warm glow of the impressive ‘Koloss’?
“I wouldn’t put it just like that. we got a great response from all the people we work with, also with all the reviews and interviews, but it’s not until we hit the road, and play the songs live, that we know how the album translates to a live situation. Coming out and touring ‘Koloss’ its been the best response from the crowd ever, it’s been amazing one of the best reactions to this album…”
Would you say the last couple of albums are more pumped affairs?
“We try not to think about the album beforehand, we try to write what we feel is the right music for the moment and make the best of it. Bur going into the studio for for hours, is not how we record. So this time around this album had like a Thousand Thoughts, it has a more of an organic and groovy type of movement than the past, so we had a span of that, that road, to make it really hit home. We knew that ‘On The Bandstand’ was going to be be ‘Nest The River’ and in the end, it was.
On this album it make sense to actually push it a little bit, and tweak it a little bit, it’s the best of the weird and twisted you know?”
It’s like power driven Doom, these days the scene is so fractured and wide open,there are so may styles which is a good thing and slightly worrying at the same time….
“People are being creative – which I think that is that is bad. Worse is what’s happening now people are commercialising the progressive thing, people that didn’t give a fuck about the rest of the world, that was considered at times offensive, but it was always from the heart. There;s a lot of shit out there and good.”
I’m losing it! It’s an old man’s kind of moan isn’t it?
“Yeah, at the end of the day all you can do is compare it with what you do.”
I know you could write a book on this, but on the road with Tool – did Tool give Meshuggah an early ‘heads up; in terms of creating an event, I remember Tool being quite good at that?
“They did a lot by leading by example, we don’t have the music what Tool have. Being on the road with them, they’re just huge, but some of what they did was just good ideas, not even high budget. That ‘s what Tool had to do, just awesome is what Tool had to do, it wouldn’t work that well for other bands. I spoke quite a lot to Adam, ‘you guys have such an expression in your music, how do you extend that expression into what you do live’, you don’t have to go crazy. I mean the production we are doing now is not super expensive, but we have the right guys with the right heart that understand what we’re about. That goes a long way.”
I guess Nuclear Blast are a good part of that?
“There has been a lot of press, how we used to fight with our label and since then, how our relationship has been. We are very stubborn Scandinavian guys, we had to do it our way, and that was that. They were five very focused German guys, so we kind of grew up together, you gotta release that we were just starting out, signed to Nuclear Blast, that had only been going just a few years. We had a rough part at the beginning, then we grew to understand each other, why they say certain things and what they mean. It’s a difference of culture, a difference in maturity.”
Not trying to get ahead of the London show, but can we expect anything new, like maybe a new EP?
“We have just collaborated with Sodom in New York, Nuclear Blast asked do we have anything cool that you don’t need for anything, I think they we’re after live stuff, but we just remembered that actually we have a track lying around, that was used in Underworld film, at that point we thought it would be a good thing to dish out for the fans. It’s a cool track, not going to be on a album. It’s going to be on there, it will be good for fans to have, but the track is like from 2003, so we don’t want to put too much emphasis on it.”
Do you realise that multiple 20 something’s are going to have control there drinking habits to catch all three bands?
(General Laughter) “If you need an excuse, that’s not bad.”
Final sound bite for the Brixton O2 Academy one-off show…
“Hope people are going come down and see us. I think us and the other bands are going to ‘bring the goods’, it’s a special occasion, it’s not an everyday thing. Between us we have a lot of crossover fans, so I hope that everyone that is able, come on down, you should not be disappointed.”
For what it’s worth, WithGuitars second that, it will be some show to witness.
Meshuggah + Devin Townsend Project + Periphery
May 3rd FRIDAY 2013 – O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON, LONDON
‘Koloss’ is out now through Nuclear Blast
Praise for ‘Koloss’
“If Meshuggah get any heavier, then our planet is going to create a black hole that will suck your soul out through your nose” – Kerrang!
“Koloss is truly phenomenal” – Metal Hammer
“Meshuggah have created a monster” – Rhythm
“Only Meshuggah could re write the mathematical mosh play-book” – Rocksound
“Koloss might be a career best” – Total Guitar