Exclusive Interview with with MAGNUS KARLSSON (Primal Fear, Allen/Lande)

I chose my favorite singers and was very influenced by them during my writing. Style, range and key - I really did my best to make the singers shine...

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Interviewed by Thomas Schwarzkopf (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine

If you like Melodic Metal, I’m very sure you are familiar with this guy: the Swedish Axeman of the Power Metal band Primal Fear has been involved in so many projects like Allen/Lande, Last Tribe, Starbreaker, The Codex, Kiske/Somerville (by the way: it’s official – a second part is coming!), …. and I’m willing to bank that one of those albums definitely found its way into your CD collection!

Finally, Magnus produced his first solo album “Free Fall”, which will be released in June via Frontiers Records.



Hello Magnus! You are about to release your first solo album „Free Fall“ in June. How did that happen?

Magnus: I didn’t had a plan at all. It just happened to record a part of a new song that I thought sounded pretty cool. I sent it to Frontiers and asked if they wanted to do an album with me and they did. Then, full of inspiration, I wrote the album in a very short time.

What is the meaning behind the album title; “Free Fall“?

Magnus: It’s about taking that step into the unknown. Trying something new that can feel like a free fall. Many of the lyrics on this album have this theme.

You’ve done lots of projects like Allen/Lande, The Codex or the solo album from Bob Catley, where you also wrote every song on your own. So it’s not far away from a solo work. What is the difference in “Free Fall“?

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Magnus: On “Free Fall” no artists or record company asked about a certain style. On this one I just wrote what I wanted, totally free.

When I take a look on the huge guest list of “Free Fall“ I see lots of vocalists you worked with on other projects. “Free Fall“ feels like “Magnus & friends“. Is that intentional? Why you choose this path? I mean you are able to sing each song on your own.

Magnus: At first I planned to have just a couple of guests, but the guest list just got longer and longer and with such great singers I wanted to have them all on the album.

I’ve to say: your voice sounds pretty cool on this record, so why don’t you sing more often?

Magnus: Thank you very much, well maybe I will do that in the future. (laughs)

How did you chose the guest vocalists for each song and how much influenced this your songwriting?

Magnus: I chose my favorite singers and was very influenced by them during my writing. Style, range and key – I really did my best to make the singers shine as much as possible.

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Let’s talk about some of your guests. Are there any stories? Just tell me spontaneously what comes to your mind, when it comes to: Russel Allen.

Magnus: I did 3 Allen/Lande albums with Russell and I love his stuff with Symphony X. He often ads his bluesy vibe into the song – no big changes, but small stuff that makes it so great. A weird thing is that we never met!

… Ralf Scheepers.

Magnus: My band mate in Primal Fear and my favorite power metal singer! “Higher” is just perfect for Ralf and he made a killer job. When I was a teenager I was totally blown away by the stuff he did with Gamma Ray and now he’s on my album. That’s just awesome.

… David Readman

Magnus: I never worked with him before, but I love the albums he’s done. Now I wanna do more stuff with him, he’s an amazing singer!

… Mark Boals.

Magnus: Since The Codex album we have talked about doing something more, but we both have been too busy so this was a great opportunity. I wanted to do something not so typical Yngwie Malmsteen, but still something where Mark can show his extreme vocal range. He was the first to record his vocals – what a great start. I don’t think I ever heard him sing this good!!

By the way: where is Jorn Lande? Somehow I expected him to appear on your new record, after you’ve worked with him on so many albums.

Magnus: I must save something for the next one. (laughs)

Are there any other singers you’d like to work with?

Magnus: Joe Lynn Turner and Tony Martin would be really cool!

You seem to be the Frontiers Records, purpose weapon“ – you are involved in so much projects from these guys. If there is a melodic metal release from Frontiers, you can count on the fact, that you are involved, so which relationship do you have to this label?

Magnus: I’m lucky that they like my music and offers me really cool projects, but they have many good writers in their roster.

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Let’s talk about some future projects: I liked the Allen/Lande records and especially The Codex very, very much. Can we expect some follow-ups? Or will there be completely new stuff in the future?

Magnus: Me and my band mate Mat Sinner gonna do another Kiske/Somerville and me and Tony Harnell are also discussing about another Starbreaker.

You have your own songwriting style, but what do you do to keep things fresh so that each project sounds different?

Magnus: I don’t think about it. I just write what I wanna hear and sometimes I have requests from the guys I’m working with how they want it to sound.

What about your main band Primal Fear? What is going on there, any new updates?

Magnus: We are in the middle of the production of a new album. We will do a couple of festivals and probably some touring later this year.

You’ve played in so many bands: Last Tribe, Starbreaker, Primal Fear. Why do you switch so often?

Magnus: Last Tribe and Starbreaker are more like projects to me than a band and I don’t feel it’s like switching. I do them all at the same time.

When did you decide to become a guitar player? Was there a special moment in your life?

Magnus: I wanted to play organ in the music school when I was a kid, but they didn’t had teachers for that so I took the guitar instead. (laughs)

What would you NEVER do in music business?

Magnus: Something I don’t like. I say “no” to a lot of stuff.

What is the most fun part of being a musician?

Magnus: To create something new, something that can give you goosebumps.

Magnus, thank you for taking the time!

Magnus: Thank you very much!

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