The Gauntlet recently caught up with Grand Magus vocalist/guitarist JB for a quick twelve questions on the band's latest offering, The Hunt.
When Sebastian informed the band of his decision to leave, were there any doubts about the band's future?
JB: Yes. It stopped us in our tracks a bit. When you're a three piece, every member is such an important part and really hard to replace. It's not only the playing skills etc. but also the personality, experience, musical background, outlook on life and so on. This is the glue that keeps a band together. I've never really liked the kind of mercenary approach with bands these days, when everyone is replaceable. A band is a band you know? Anyway, we thought about it for a while and both Fox and myself felt that we had more to give.
Was Ludwig the only replacement the band had in mind?
JB: Yes. The only problem was that he had other commitments to fulfill at the time we knew that Sebastian would leave. This made things look really bleak at one point. Then things happened that just made everything fall into place. We marched on!
The new drummer isn't the only change for the band. There is also the new label. At what point in recording 'The Hunt' did the deal get finalized with Nuclear Blast Records?
JB: Ah, the deal was done before recording. In the fall of last year.
Did the band agree with Roadrunner Records decision to delay and then only release "Hammer of the North" digitally in the U.S.?
JB: Yes, we thought it was a fantastic idea and strategy.. NOT!
How was playing the new material live at Metalfest?
JB: It was great. Valhalla Rising is the new live favourite for me.
With the band gaining ground in the U.S. with The Hunt having the band's best 1st week in sales, are plans being made for a U.S. tour?
JB: Yes. We hope to finally get over to the US in the near future!
If money wasn't an issue, would you prefer recording in analog?
JB: Yes, of course. Time and money are however the biggest issues in music, haha!
How long was the writing and recording process?
JB: I'd say about 3 months
The Hunt has the sound of something recorded in the late seventies, was this hard to capture?
JB: Not really, we just avoided all triggers and sound replacements. All you hear on THE HUNT is microphones on front of drums and cabs and me screaming into a microphone. Nothing else.
Was the album built up around those amazing riffs?
JB: Yes. Our songs usually start with a riff. It's the seed so to speak.
Which album from the Grand Magus back catalog would you recommend for new fans?
JB: Hmmm. Difficult question. I guess all our albums have different feels. As I'm not very objective about our music, it's probably better to ask someone else. I kind of feel that IRON WILL; HAMMER OF THE NORTH and THE HUNT are more connected to each other than the others. Maybe you should start with WOLF'S RETURN then ;-)
What is next for the band?
JB: Touring touring touring!
Grand Magus released The Hunt earlier this month via Nuclear Blast Records. The album's first week sales were the best the band has seen.