Interview With Magnus Winterwild (Vocals, Keys) of Axenstar by IcedMojo 2/20/04

On behalf of myself and Maximum Metal, I would like to thank Magnus Winterwild, of the up and coming group Axenstar for allowing me this time.

You guys recently finished an 18 date tour with Falconer and Doomsword. How did the tour go?

Great I think, it was the first time for us so we didn’t have that much expectations of how the tour was gonna be like. It was really a test of patience to be able to live together with 20 people on a bus for two weeks.

Your latest release is "Far from Heaven" and it's one of the greatest concepts I have heard in a metal album in a long time. How was the concept arrived at?

Actually it was not supposed to be a concept album, all the songs are written separately except “The Descending” which is written as an intro to “Infernal Angel”. But if anyone finds a story within the 10 songs, well maybe there is some truth in that…
"...the metal scene is filled to the brink with bands, and everybody is having the big rockstar dream..."

Who did most of the writing for this album or was it a joint process?

Our lead guitarist Thomas Eriksson has done almost all the song writing for this album.

Has there been any writing or plans for the next album since you guys have been on tour or is the main focus right now on doing the best damn shows possible?

Of course we have to focus on the tour but you must also always think ahead and plan for new songs and a new cover artwork and so on… So it’s a never ending process.

Is it just me, or is the writing style of "Perpetual Twilight" different than that of "Far from Heaven"?

Perhaps the songs are a little more thought through and focuses more on the melodies on this new album, I think we have taken a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see if the songs we write for the next album will continue in the same direction or if we will turn the ship in some other direction, you’ll never know!

What was working with Peter In de Betou, who is mainly known for work with death metal acts like Hypocrisy, like?

It was great, he really understood what we wanted and it was really easy to work with him, I definitely want him to do the mastering for our next album.

How did your relationship with him happen?

It was our record label that suggested that we would try him, it was a lot easier to go 100 kilometres to Stockholm than to travel to Finland and Finnvox where we mastered our first album.

Have you noticed any difference in how well the album has been received in Europe versus the reception it gets from the States?

I really haven’t got that much feedback of how the album has been received in the States, but I know that there is much difference just within Europe so I think it varies a lot depending on which magazine or radio station you talk to even if it is in the same country.

Thus far, there have only been tours on European soil. What would have to happen to have you guys play on US soil?

I think that we have to sell very many records in the States to be able to get over to do some touring.

Since the signing with Arise Records, there have been two album releases and a spot on the Helloween tribute album. How would you describe Arise Records and your relationship both personally and professionally with them?

I can say that both personally and professionally they have been great! Very easy to talk to and never any problems with the contract or royalty payment and so on. They always answer the mails very fast and they do a lot of things like promotions and stuff that actually isn’t their job, so I have only nice things to say about them.

Can we look for the band on more tribute albums in the future?

You’ll never know, I mean for the moment there isn’t anything planned but it’s always nice to be able to pay tribute to some band that has meant a lot for your own inspiration and development musically.


Band Website

Switching gears for a while, I hear a strong HammerFall influence in your records. What other bands would you credit to influencing the Axenstar sound?

Sonata Arctica is of course one of our favourite bands, and I think that you hear influences from them in our music. Then you have of course “the old ones” like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Metallica and so on.

What was your first metal album?

My first metal album I got on tape was “Metal Heart” by Accept, it really rocked my world! The first real album I bought was “Seventh son of a Seventh Son” by Iron Maiden one of the best albums ever!

When you think back to the younger years, what would have been on your play list? What about your play list of today?

When I first stared listening to heavy metal it was bands like Accept and Iron Maiden, but also Bonfire, Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe and so on, nowadays I listen to everything from Thin Lizzy and Toto to Morbid Angel and Deicide.

How would you describe the face of heavy metal today and what could be done differently to have it more accessible?

Today I think the metal scene is filled to the brink with bands, and everybody is having the big rockstar dream. It’s also very hard for new bands to get much attention because almost everybody can record an album at home with their own computer and that is maybe a negative thing and on the same time a very positive thing for bands that don’t have a lot of money to spend on a real recording studio.

Are there any young, up-and-coming metal acts that we should be on the lookout for? Maybe Arise will get the new talents' stuff out too!

I really don’t know, it’s hard to keep up with all new bands.

I am sure being on tour with Falconer was great, but tell me, if you could tour with 2 other bands, sort of a dream tour, who would you chose?

Iron Maiden and Judas Priest!!

In closing what is your opinion when it comes to file sharing? Actually, this should be a two part question: What is your opinion of file sharing when the person doing the downloads fully intends to buy the album if he/she finds it enjoyable? Now, what about the mooch out there that just downloads a lot of music and just burns the cd and says "to hell with buying it, it's free this way".

For new bands the internet is the best way to get recognized I think it will hurt the artists more and more the bigger they get. I can say that I haven’t bought any records in the last couple of months because it’s very expensive and I don’t want to spend a lot of cash on a band that I don’t know that much about. In that way the internet is great that you can sort of check out the album before you buy it.

I always like to have the booklet and the real cover on my cd’s so I don’t consider the ones that just download music for fun as real music lovers and he or she wouldn’t have bought our album anyways so to hell with them, you can just hope that someday they have done something that they are really proud about and that they don’t get anything back. What goes around comes around!

Any last words for our readers?

Be sure to check out the new Axenstar album “Far From Heaven” it’s a kickass album.

On behalf of Maximum Metal, I would like to thank Magnus Winterwild of Axenstar for taking time out of their busy schedule and giving metal fans a chance to hear from you. The newest CD is "Far from Heaven". This is the second release from this band and a worthy addition to your collection.


Magnus WinterwildAnthony Burke2/20/2004

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