INTERVIEW: Fox Skinner – Grand Magus

Photo Credit: James Weaver

Carrying the roots of traditional heavy metal, GRAND MAGUS are all about championing what makes heavy metal so intoxicating. Ahead of a co-headline performance with ENSLAVED, we spoke to bassist Fox Skinner about the tour, why GRAND MAGUS opt for heavy metal’s traditional sound and future plans.

You are coming to the end of your UK tour with ENSLAVED. How has the tour been for you?

Fox: Really good! Both musically and I think the turn out for each show has been alright as well. The reaction from the audience has been great so we are really happy

Has there been any shows in particular that have been a highlight for you?

Fox: Maybe the one in Wolverhampton actually, we had a really good audience!

You’ve not really played many of the big cities in the UK, a lot of small and intimate gigs, so has the turn out been consistently good throughout the tour?

Fox: Yeah I think so. We have played here for many years now so even in the smaller cities people know about us or they have travelled a lot haha!

This tour has very much been a co-headline tour with ENSLAVED. By having more time on stage do you feel that you have been able to deliver some of your best performances?

Fox: Yeah, it’s actually a really good thing that you can play for like five or six more songs than you do when you are a support band so we have between 75-90 minutes every night to play.

So it enables you to really cover everything from your back catalogue?

Fox: We actually haven’t played anything from the first two albums. We have a couple of tracks from the third and then really just a nice mix of the rest.

You are still very much in support of last year’s Triumph and Power, how have fans taken to the new material live?

Fox: We are doing On Hooves of Gold and the title track, Triumph and Power, they have been well received! I think there are always some people who think we should only play tracks from the first album and nothing else, you can’t please them all. But I think the new stuff has gone down well.

And with it being album number seven, is it a challenge to construct setlists for tours?

Fox: Yes it is, but it is easier when we can play for 75-90 minutes instead of 35 minutes!

The sound of GRAND MAGUS is very much typical heavy metal. What inspiration do you take when you go into writing?

Fox: I would say nature actually, we don’t really listen to much new stuff that comes out. We listen to the old bands, we’ve always been listening to BATHORY and JUDAS PRIEST, so we try to be out in nature as much as possible. Unfortunately Ludwig [Witt, drums] lives in another town so it’s hard to meet up every week.

So by having that typical heavy metal sound, do you feel that your band is carrying forward the traditional roots of metal?

Fox: Yeah I think we are one of the carriers, but we try to inject our own traditional Swedish sounds to it as well. So we hope that it is a good mix.

With metal now, there are so many varying styles and sub-genres, do you feel that is now overly-complicated to get into metal as a whole?

Fox: Yeah, I think it is too complicated. There are so many different genres going on now, I think it is perfect with this package with ENSLAVED because they are not like us. They play a different style of music. If you had a package of four black metal bands playing the same night you would get tired of it.

So you feel this tour carries a lot of diversity?

Fox: Yes but it is not too diverse, I think some of their fans like us and vice-versa.

So what else can fans expect from GRAND MAGUS for the rest of 2015?

Fox: Actually we are going to record the eighth album when we get home in October. It is going to be released in May, so for this year we haven’t done that many gigs and that is because we wanted some time off to write the new material. So hopefully we are going to be on the road a lot more next year!

Triumph and Power is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.