King of Asgard – Jonas Albrektsson – Interview

King of Asgard

I caught up with King of Asgard bassist Jonas Albrektsson recently, to find out how life is in the KOA camp, following the release of the groups second full-length ‘…to North’

Gerry:
How has the new record been received?

Jonas:
“…to North” has, up until now, been very well received I believe. The response has been really good so no-one is happier than us, thinking of all the efforts we put into it. And, even better is that people seem to perceive our intentions and what the album is all about, giving it time and stand till its full potential, which to us is very relevant. According to the reviews we’ve seen so far and such it has also had many good words written about it and there are a lot interesting thoughts upon said ”…to North”. So the King is really proud now and it strengthens us to go further of course.

Gerry:
The latest album (digipak version) includes a cover of Vinterskugge originally by Isengard, how much of an influence are they? What other bands do you admire?

Jonas:
Isengards ’Vinterskugge’ is a great album for the most of it and the actual song Vinterskugge is a true classic of which I never get tired. It enlivens the deadest of parties! It’s been present since I first heard it and still stand strong and has for sure set some marks in creations of King of Asgard as well.
Well I could mention hundreds of bands and still make no sense, like Mayhem, Bathory, Satyricon, Entombed… but I guess black and death metal, early nineties style is where I somewhat got stuck and that’s basically where my heart still beats. It’s hard to pick out just a couple of acts but Bathory is definitely one that both I and the other King of Asgard members stand behind and that still inspire. Our musical taste within the band spread very spread very far and broad though I’m a bit narrow-minded and simplistic haha.

Gerry:
Do you like being described as Viking metal?

Jonas:
To be honest we never really paid much attention to this sort of categorizing our music neither that much of it in general either. We feel much more secure in relating to the mid nineties scene and simply to black or death metal. Of course we listen and follow new stuff too that’s for sure but don’t really bother whether it’s, Viking, pagan and/or whatever its name is. Guess this was the case back in the days as well, we did our thing and people gave it this and that name, and all of that is fine with us. As long as people get the picture of our music and concept they’re free to call it whatever they want and getting described as Viking metal is fine too but really don’t tell much about us or our music. Early/mid nineties black death metal is where our hearts feel safe but sure it doesn’t tell it all either. Genres and categorization is always difficult, necessary though, but is fine as long as it doesn’t get people to turn their backs and ignore bands due to that.

Gerry:
Did you enjoy filming the video for The Nine Worlds Burn? Would you prefer not to have to make promotional videos ?

Jonas:
We sure did, it’s made on our own initiative so we prefer to do it! The video this time is for the “The Nine Worlds Burn”, again the album opener. We yet again teamed up with the “Einhärjar” video creators as you presume, Rickard Monéus and the 1897 crew including Andreas Edelönn. It sure was an easy task thinking of the successful result we achieved last time. They are both close friends to us so we kind of help each other out and we can work close together as we’re in the same city. The actual production set up took place in the depths of a forest close to our rehearsal place, a late night in May in dusk and burdened raindrops. Perfect conditions for creating works of ruin. Searching to reflect the mythological end-of-this-world theme of “The Nine Worlds Burn”, Rickard and Andreas produced a video full of ritualistic and apocalyptic visuals in their characteristic way as you mention and perfectly enhanced the song’s sense of dread and destruction. We enjoyed every second of the shooting. It’s of course extremely hard work, effort and some money put into it though as we arrange and create this ourselves without back up from Metal Blade but with such a great result achieved this time as well it’s absolutely worth the struggle. Just hope people absorb it and enjoy as well, because this is a gift from us, the King, to our fans.
A result we are all proud to present. Go see for yourselves on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONcF4GDiSUI

Gerry:
…To North features two guest appearances (Jimmy Hedlund & Heléne Blad), is there anyone else that you would like to collaborate with on future recordings?

Jonas:
Yeah true but it was actually or rather the songs that demanded something more. Thus we came up with the idea of bringing others along whom possess skills/talents we do not have in King of Asgard so they’re not featured for the sake of having guests on the album. Anyway both of them are very talented,  close friends and were perfect for the job. We somehow always end up using close friends to work with, be it art, music, words etc. We’re surrounded by great people/artists, no doubt about that, and thankfully they want to be part of this.
For future collaborations I have no idea but if dreaming we would absolutely like to collaborate with Swedish jazz pianist; Jan Johansson! But since he passed away in 1968 it is for certain natural reasons not possible. His record ’Jazz på Svenska’ which captures the essence and the soul of Swedish folk music has been and still is a great inspirational source for King of Asgard

Gerry:
Do you enjoy touring as opposed to recording?

Jonas:
We enjoy both very much but have difficulties getting the first one mentioned to function with reality. Recording is also very satisfying and especially me and Karl relish being cooped up and let our creativity flow in the studio. On the live situation we try to do as many shows as possible. It’s just that we have fully booked private lives, families, self employment etc. to say it in short. We’ll try our very best to come out as much as possible as the music of King of Asgard is one that really is powerful with a live setting. Easiest for us is one off shows like festivals and such but we sure want it to happen as often as possible!

Gerry:
What was your most memorable touring incident?

Jonas:
With King of Asgard we’ve so far only done one off shows and festivals which of course is great too and result in many good and bad memorable incidents. Guess it’s kind of the same shit that goes around and happen to all bands. With strange things happening during travel, drunkenness and who knows what. There are incidents happening all the time but unfortunately not that interesting for others really. Ragnarök Festival was great indeed where we stayed for three days and played early on Friday. There were for sure some collectible memories for us going on with too many tasty German beers which may be seen as responsible for such.

Gerry:
What is next for King of Asgard?

Jonas:
We’ve had a very short break now since Karl recently had another child but we are now as we speak starting the works on new material. We’ll hopefully be able to do some gigs further on as well when things calm down which would be cool. So, we’ll see what happens further on but we will surely not remain idle. The King is restless!

Gerry:
What interests do you have outside of music?

Jonas:
Well, unfortunately there’s not very much time left for more interests really. Music and the King of Asgard duties takes about all of my time beside regular daytime work, family and such. But sure I’ve got other interests like art, history, film and extremities of all sorts, serial killers and things that happen outside of society’s rules and regulations.

Gerry:
Can you recommend any new and upcoming bands from Sweden that we may not have heard of yet?

Jonas:
There are many good bands out there for sure. Can’t come up with many new though but Megatomb definitely spread some good violence. Two more established Swedish acts, not very new though, I’d recommend highly is Erab Altor and Skogen. Absolutely awesome stuff that well deserve more attention! Both with fresh albums out and coming, ‘Gastrike‘ and ‘Eld‘. Make sure to check them out!!! Also our death metal brothers in Vanhelgd and Maim is worth checking out.

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