Ring of Gyges – interview

PROGRESSIVE ICELANDERS

Straight from the land of fire and ice, beyond the night sky, independent power shaping own second creation from infinite puzzle box.

Five true Vikings play metal in the middle of the storm. They don’t have any ring of gyges but they are the one and only Ring of Gyges.

Welcome to the world of thriving Icelandic progressive rock/metal band.

source: Ring of Gyges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qLgQVBTsgQ

We’ve met with Ring of Gyges in person directly after their show in Dillon at the main Icelandic street Laugavegur (it was off venue part of popular Iceland Airwaves Festival). This concert was OK but such ambitious band needs much more space for performance.

I guess that it’s a matter of time when they will become famous among progressive metal fans although everybody with open mind is able to appreciate and have fun listening to their music.

Indeed, have fun – these artists turn out to be cool, relaxed and friendly, with awesome sense of humor and right understanding that music is an entertainment.

from left to right: Helgi Jónsson (guitars and lead vocals), Guðjón Sveinsson (guitars and vocals), Þorsteinn Ýmir Ásgeirsson (bass), Einar Merlin Cortes (drums), Gísli Þór Ingólfsson (keyboards)

CONCERTS

How are you after your show at Iceland Airwaves? What do you think about this festival?

Ring of Gyges: Very good. We play at unofficial part of Iceland Airwaves so we didn’t have the wristband to watch all of these bands.

I barely was able to hear the lyrics of your songs during your performance here in Dillon. Too small venue for such a progressive music?

Ring of Gyges: Yeah, one of the smallest place to play in Iceland.

Was it your first concert (November, 10th, 2019) this year at all?

Ring of Gyges: No. We made a small Scandinavian trip in January 2019: Sweden, Oslo (Norway) and Copenhagen (Denmark). It was pretty nice.

Ring of Gyges: Today we wanted to play in Iceland because we didn’t perform here for a long time. We had only one rehearsal this morning cause Helgi (vocalist) lives in Norway so it’s hard to meet together. We spent few hours playing two new songs before the show.

Ring of Gyges: During last two years or so we usually meet together couple of times before the show and practice. We don’t have much time for preparation together but of course me make it independently.

Ring of Gyges: We are not at the point yet to make music professionally – it’s not our main source of income, but when we get to this point, we will completely solve it.

What was the most spectacular show which you have ever played and why?

Ring of Gyges: Slottsskogen Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2019. We played pretty well for big audience. Seventh Wonder was the headline of this event – well known Swedish progressive metal band.

PHILOSOPHY

Ring of Gyges is an ancient mythological artefact which makes the owner invisible. How did it become the name of your band?

Helgi: I have a bachelor in philosophy; it was my favorite subject in high school so I wanted to spend few years with something interesting for me.

Helgi: I’ve founded Ring of Gyges when I was on the first year in the University (here in Iceland).

Helgi: Name Ring of Gyges is inspired by an ancient philosophy; there was a guy who gets invisible and he is corrupted by power of this ability. The same concept was depicted by J.R.R. Tolkien. I thought that it’s a cool concept for the name of metal band.

DEVELOPING IDENTITY

Ring of Gyges released two interesting studio albums:

EP “Ramblings of Madmen” (2015)

LP “Beyond the Night Sky” (2017).

What do you like mostly in this music? How would you recommend this albums to somebody who didn’t hear Ring of Gyges yet?

Ring of Gyges: We are still creating our own identity. We explore different styles of music. It’s not completely formed yet and I think we will continue development. We mix different things and I guess that it can be interesting for many people.

Ring of Gyges: We are open minded and create whatever we want. Hopefully other people will enjoy it as well. We are not businessmen to define specific target, so we play for everybody who enjoy that.

Ring of Gyges: Our next album will be different than debut. It’s a mix of more classical and more modern influences; older progressive staff and also newer sounds.

My very first impression about your music when I encountered Rings of Gyges in Internet was that you don’t play progressive metal but progressive rock. Do you consider your band as a metal act?

Þorsteinn: Let’s wait for our next album, it will be more directed towards metal!

Helgi: What was your impression when you heard us live, metal?

Definitely you play metal, and you enjoy headbanging!

Ring of Gyges: (haha) yeah of course.

Ring of Gyges: We started out as a progressive metal group, playing not covers but our own songs from the beginning. Well, we tried to jamming some fragments of songs of other bands but we have never went through all song of another band.

Ring of Gyges: Then we mixed some non-metal elements into it.

Ring of Gyges: Our second full length longplay will sound definitely like progressive metal. Not extreme progressive metal, but more old school progressive heavy, with more beat, more prog, kind of more everything (haha).

Ambitious approach!

source: Ring of Gyges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgS9cW2TU64

There are many impressive instrumental parts on “Beyond the Night Sky”. I appreciate especially “(Instru)mentality” because it’s a true artistic achievement to create interesting and original instrumental piece. Very good technique and excellent ideas! Could you reveal the secret to achieve that please?

Ring of Gyges: (haha) Well, we work hard to develop whatever we really want. It’s important to don’t be afraid to try different things. But that’s probably not a secret. I don’t know what would be our edge over other bands… We always watch and listen how other bands play and try to learn from them. Well, we make things complicated for ourselves, we challenge ourselves, we also try to maintain good level of songwriting, create memorable melodies. We take care about good balance between catchiness and inventiveness.

Ring of Gyges: If we can give one tip for others bands: let’s copy other bands but in such a way that nobody will notice (haha)

BEYOND THE NIGHT SKY

It makes sense to listen to “Beyond the Night Sky” from the beginning to the end – then it sounds like a concept album.

Helgi: It doesn’t have a story but there is one common theme in each song: ways how people can escape from reality. Our listeners can feel better when they listen to our music, what is also a result of some positive sounds.

Guðjón: It depends of what is your definition of concept album. You don’t have to escape from your problems, but maybe you can feel better when you take them on from another perspective, another point of view, another angle.

I need to ask yet about the idea behind the cover of “Beyond the Night Sky”.

Ring of Gyges: The author was an Indian guy? Not Indian… Anyway, we were searching for an artist who could make it for us. We explained him our ideas but I think that he didn’t completety understand it. Albeit the effect is very good.

Ring of Gyges: There are two sides of the world: light and dark; and the human who take a challenge to escape from real to magical world. By the way, many progressive bands shows a guy on cover, aren’t they? This hero from our cover, he is brave enough to reach out to his dreams.

Ring of Gyges: But it can also depends on how you think about this. It’s open for your interpretation. It can be as well a symbol of different points of view to look at our reality.

Icelandic reality or…?

Ring of Gyges: (haha) I think that during the winter Iceland has darkness all day but during the summer – sunlight all day. That’s why we can see a track on our cover because we can escape to warmer countries to catch some light!

source: Iceland Close-Up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-wCrrsq9Lw

NEW ALBUM

However it can be quite difficult to comprehend entire musical complexity of “Beyond the Night Sky” in era of Spotify and short attention span.

Guðjón: This is not a big deal. Our next longplay will be even longer! Anyway, we hope that people who don’t listen everyday to progressive rock/metal will also like Ring of Giges.

Ring of Gyges: Next week will be more challenging for us – we will record drums for upcoming album.

Einar: I was born in challenge (haha)

Helgi: We needed to record drums for “Beyond the Night Sky” in one night, 17h long session.

Guðjón: Now we have whole week to make just drums. Seven days, probably seventeen hours each day.

Will you start working on the second album from drums?

Ring of Gyges: Yes, typically this is the process. We need to start with drums. Bass will come after that and then we will build everything based on drums and bass. However, drums doesn’t need to stay the same as recorded on the beginning, we will be able to change drums until the end of all recordings. Vocals will be made pretty late. Everything will be evolving constantly during entire recordings, you know it’s like: “o, maybe we need to add this harmony over there; but maybe better not!”. When we suddenly get any new idea, we can come back to the previous part.

Ring of Gyges: Nevertheless, the foundation for all second album is ready. Main structure is pretty much done. We made a lot of demos somewhere in the isolation of Eastern Iceland between the period of debut and May 2019. Actually we met all together in May 2019 here in a house in Eastern Iceland where we are able to make complete focus and finish everything. This session gave us a lot of energy!

We are looking forward for the new album!

I listen, I wait, I scream

No reply

Palms trembling

Into the night

I seek the life I conceived

Ring of Gyges “Dusk”

INSPIRATIONS

What are your biggest music inspirations?

Helgi: Haken. This is the one band which inspire us most. Absolutely phenomenal English band.

Ring of Gyges: Beside that, we are quite diverse.

Ring of Gyges: Some inspirations are obvious: Dream Theater, Pink Floyd, Rush, some old good staff.

Ring of Gyges: Actually all members of Ring of Gyges are exposed to different stuff: prog, metal, hard rock, funk, blues (all the way back to Robert Leroy Johnson), even punk. Our keyboardist is focused more on old school prog. Our drummer listens a lot of the heaviest and darkest metal.

Þorsteinn: I always want to convince others to listen more bluegrass.

Ring of Gyges: You would need to look into our Spotify playlists: very long and there is everything!

Don’t you argue about this? Somebody wants to play this, somebody else prefer something very different?

Guðjón: Yes, we do. All the time. And it’s healty. It’s really good to make a brainstorm and choose the best solution. Usually when we argue about different visions, something interesting comes out of that.

ICELAND AND SCANDINAVIA

Helgi, I’ve read that you live in Sweden, although recently band told me that you live in Norway. How is it? How would you compare living in the land of fire and ice with living in Scandinavia?

Helgi: I’ve had been living in Sweden two years and I just moved to Norway around six months ago. These countries are definitely very welcoming especially that I can speak Swedish fluently and Norwegian is similar to Icelandic. But I didn’t have the opportunity to speak Swedish while I’d been living in Iceland so it took me few months to switch from English to Swedish after moving to Sweden (I needed to gain confidence). I’m learning Norwegian yet. Norwegian is much simpler to learn than Icelandic.

Helgi: Metal scene in Sweden and Norway is a bit different than in Iceland. There are largest “scenes”. I would say that metal in Iceland belongs to mainstreem much more than in Scandinavia.

Þorsteinn: Especially when it comes to black metal. We have a lot of black / death metal bands in Iceland. Icelandic metal festivals are focused on these genres.

FUTURE

What are your plans for the future?

Ring of Gyges: We are making new album, we are arranging new tournee (summer 2020), we want to promote the new album everywhere in Europe. It depends how much time we will be able to spend on this tour. We want to play in Scandinavia, Germany, perhaps in Eastern Europe and in other countries as well.

Thank you very much for the interview 🙂

Ring of Gyges: Thank you, bless bless!

from left to right: Sam O’Black (eyeglasses and pen), Helgi Jónsson (guitars and lead vocals), Guðjón Sveinsson (guitars and vocals), Þorsteinn Ýmir Ásgeirsson (bass), Einar Merlin Cortes (drums), Gísli Þór Ingólfsson (keyboards)

written by: Sam O’Black

talked: Þorsteinn Ýmir Ásgeirsson (bass), Einar Merlin Cortes (drums), Guðjón Sveinsson (guitars and vocals), Helgi Jónsson (guitars and lead vocals), Sam O’Black (Musictivity), Jonathan Romulo Ompad (from Philippines)

photo: Jonathan Romulo Ompad (from Philippines)

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Cauldron – interview

Chat with Jason Decay – bassist and vocalist of cool and young (founded in XXI century) heavy metal band from Canada. CHECK IT OUT !!!

source: CauldronVEVO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM2pDrtces4

WHAT’S UP

Your band had more and less fortunate events in its long history but can we start with a positive statement that today Cauldron is a strong and powerful heavy metal group?

We’ve been highly inactive as a band since April as we all live far apart now but otherwise as individuals I think we are all doing good! Ian (guitarist Ian Chains) has been busy with his another band Chainbreaker.

Oops, why Cauldron is inactive?

Basically because I have a kid and moved a few hours north. I contributed a good 20 years to music and now my priority is my job and my family.

Did you sell instruments?

I still have all my guitars, amps and drums!

ALBUMS

Cauldron have released five good and creative full length studio albums:

“Chained To The Nite” (2009),

“Burning Fortune” (2011),

“Tomorrow’s Lost” (2012),

“In Ruin” (2016)

“New Gods” (2018).

Did you imagine in 2006 such big achievements?

Did you start playing music with high ambitions to conquer the metal world?

I figured we’d create and play music for a long time but never really knew where it would take us. We are happy with the outcome though; we’ve been to a lot of cool places and made a lot of friends from our endeavours.

What is your opinion about “Burning Fortune” 8 years after release? This one is my favorite!

I love the songs on that record! I think they are very strong but I wish it had the production of the following 3 records…

I would like to ask you few questions about your newest album “New Gods”. Can you talk about this music with distance or is it still too emotional related to one bad event which happened recently?

What would you like to know?! Those songs were conceived during a low point in my life and also during a recovery period for the band. We had some huge setbacks as a band after the In Ruin record came out, most notable our accident in Texas that put Ian in the hospital for a while. There seemed to be a series of negative events that followed. It was a bit of a struggle and a dark period but I think that made for some very strong music.

NEW GODS

Album “New Gods” is consistent. I couldn’t chose which songs I like most but I can tell you that I enjoy to make focus on whole “New Gods” from the beginning to the end.

Thank you. I suppose we are more of an album band than a “hits” band.

Do you get sometimes requests from fans that they want to hear this or another song from “New Gods”?

Obviously I like when people enjoy our music but more importantly is how we feel about it and I am quite satisfied with New Gods. We usually try to balance what people want to hear with what we want to play.

I’m curious if anybody already noticed the bass line in song “Save the Truth – Syracuse”? When I make focus solely on the bass which appears in the second plan directly before guitar solo (but not only there), it seems to be familiar for me… Little bit resembles Rush… I have an impression that I’ve already heard it!

As for the bass part, I assume you mean the bass rumble that follows Save the Truth… I originally thought the song that follows (Never Be Found) started too abruptly so I wanted to have some ambient bass noise to fade in ahead of the tune. I was thinking more about Black Sabbath but I suppose it could subconsciously be Rush too. Either way, I think we got a little carried away with the length of it.

VALUE

What’s interesting, sometimes you don’t even need to have any original notes to sound outstandingly. Whatever you play, I can recognize immediately that this is Cauldron and nobody else. Fantastic!

Is it a matter of feelings which you put into playing? Your total engagement and love to music?

I think you can tell that because we have very distinct characteristics in our playing. I don’t think anybody really sounds like me when they sing. Maybe Brian from Halloween (haha) but my bass playing is pretty nondescript I think. Nobody really plays guitar like Ian either; he is extremely talented and can probably play anything on guitar but really he has his own twist and filter that he is able to drive any style through.

The most happy event in the history of Cauldron?

We had so many happy events! It would be hard to pinpoint one. Anytime we complete an album it is a great sense of accomplishment, especially with New Gods. It is a very satisfying and uplifting feeling.

Also any time we gain the attention or respect from other bands that we look up to that have inspired us like getting to tour or play with Diamond Head, Satan, Metallica, Mantas etc…

What is cool in Diamond Head which Metallica doesn’t have?

All the Diamond Head songs Metallica didn’t cover. Metallica had it all.

CULTURE ART TRAVELING

What makes your Canadian city captivating for visitors?

Toronto? I live out in the bush now but Toronto is a good place to waste your time in traffic and line ups (haha) but there’re also a thousand things to do there, lots of gigs, all the kinds of food and people and concerts etc… I think that people involved in the metal scene like to visit Toronto because there are a lot of bands which they can get to see at once. We’ve had fans visiting from all over the world who wanted just to hit us up and ask if they could come by our jam space and hang out.

source: Michael V. Nguyen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMrY-Ge3ktw

Are you inspired by Canadian bands?

Yes of course! Triumph, Sacrifice, Platinum Blonde, Gowan, Razor, Reckless, Lee Aaron, Slik Toxik, Witchkiller, Exciter, Killer Dwarfs, Thor, April Wine, Honeymoon Suite, Tchort, Rush, Stream, Fist, Voivod, SNFU.

Could you tell me please as regular international traveler, Which city (anywhere in the world) would you point out as underrated?

Sorry I can’t think of one In my opinion, most of them were rated pretty accordingly. I love experiencing foreign cultures when we travel. I really only travel with the band but I get pretty friggin excited anytime we go to new place; its very surreal for me. I’m pretty much a kid with ADD when we travel.

Yeah, it’s perfectly understandable. What are your specific cultural inspirations (movies, books, paintings, castles)?

The movie Halloween 3 which apparently took place in Santa Mira California; not that it seemed any different than anywhere else in North America but I just really liked the concept.

The Rosemary’s Baby book.

No paintings neither castles.

https://musictivity.org/2019/10/19/enjoy-your-favorite-music-in-unique-places/

FUTURE?

What are Cauldron’s plans for the future?

We have no plans at this time.

Would you like to perform in Iceland?

I would love to play in Iceland someday… you never know.

Have you already started composing fresh songs for the next album?

We have no new material at this time, at least I don’t!

Thank you very much for the interview.

Thanks for reaching out and shedding some light on Cauldron!

written by: Sam O’Black and Jason Decay

Picture – interview

THE BEST HEAVY METAL

The best heavy metal band from the most picturesque country released their best album three months ago – it sounds like a perfect subject for Musictivity!

Created in 1979, Picture plays traditional, energetic and powerful heavy metal.

Current line-up:

– Jan Bechtum (guitars),

– Appie de Gelder (guitars),

– Ronald van Prooijen (vocal),

– Rinus Vreugdenhill (bass),

– Laurens “Bakkie” Bakker (drums).

Honestly, I don’t know any other Dutch band which makes it on such high level, despite 274 other heavy metal kleine boefjes (according to MetalArchives).

We can admit that Picture have played and recorded European power metal before debuts of Helloween, Gamma Ray and Running Wild were released.

Picture draws local TV’s and radio stations’ attention since beginning. Their albums used to be properly published and available all around the world in the golden era of metal (198x-something) but they have never been as popular as some similar German, British or American bands.

This doze of indomitable energy straight from the metal heart deserves to be explored right now. Remember that here real people play real music. This is not a plastic mega production but true metal band which love to spend time with fans. Let’s start with an official video clip:

source: Pure Steel Records https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tso-972bwY

Discography:

– “Picture” (1980),

– “Heavy Metal Ears” (1981),

– “Diamond Dreamer” (1982),

– “Eternal Dark” (1983),

– “Traitor” (1985),

– “Every Story Needs Another Picture” (1986),

– “Marathon” (1987),

– “Old Dogs New Tricks” (2009),

– “Warhorse” (2012),

– “Wings” (2019).

EXTRA TOPICS

Founder, main guitarist and composer Jan Bechtum, shared with Musictivity not only his point of view about “Wings” and own music inspirations, but also gave us his individual insight into the Netherlands. I’ve added two side notes in the interview to let you understand better what Jan actually told me about Nederland. I can appreciate that, because I used to live two years in this stunning country, read more:

https://musictivity.org/2019/07/24/jethrotullinnetherlands/

Jan Bechtum is a huge fan of Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) so I took the opportunity to ask him about his personal experience with Ritchie. Jan describes (read below) how it was to interview Ritchie Blackmore for radio (Picture’s guitarist as an interviewer) and explain why Steve Morse isn’t a perfect successor of Ritchie 😉 Here is my personal opinion about performance of current Deep Purple’s line-up in the European Capital of Culture 2019 (written by generation 1990 which didn’t grow up with Ritchie Blackmore, sorry but that’s a fact, show must go on)

https://musictivity.org/2019/09/08/deep-purple-sofia-07-12-2019/

INTERVIEW

Sam O’Black: Hello Jan. I’m very happy to make this interview with you because you are a main guitarist and composer in probably the best heavy metal band ever from my beloved Nederland. I will ask you later about your country but first: congratulations for the excellent album “Wings” (2019)! How do you feel about this longplay?

Jan Bechtum: Thank you so much! We are all very excited about “Wings”. I think it is the best typical Picture album and also the best sounding album since “Diamond Dreamer” (1982).

It’s a phenomenon for me that band with 40 years experience still makes such energetic music. Other bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple or Accept are also full of energy but in the case of Picture, it’s totally different level. You sound like young, hungry and wild rock’n’roll metal; it is not a production A.D. 2019 but an old school feast straight for metal heads. How did you achieve that? How did these awesome songs came about?

Again, thanks! For us the main reason is that we are having so much FUN doing it and also crucial is that this is the original line-up from the beginning when we built the foundation of the real Picture sound (which I believe you can categorize as power metal and that says it all).

So when we got together again in this line-up almost 4 years ago, we played like we never stopped. The mutual feeling between us was still there. A lot of energy is important for the band’s sound.

Some songs were already written and performed by the band in the 80ies but never recorded so we had a go at them (i.e. “Little Annie” and “Blown Away”). Other songs are completely new but since I still write the most riffs and structure of the songs, they still sound like Picture should to sound. Old-school!

I like slower fragments of “Wings” as well, i.e. in “Stroke” and in title “Wings”. Gezellig!

By the way I think that this is a funny and quite original idea to show real airports in video clip. I love to watch your authentic shots at gym, on the scene, at airport because it all looks exactly how it is in real. Did the airport in Rotterdam have anything against?

To be honest: we just filmed there and didn’t ask for permission (haha). The video clip tells it like it was. Rinus (bassist) was there with his wife and daughter setting off for holiday when his stroke happened.

The slower parts are really straight from the heart and they work very well.

The second already mentioned song “Wings” is catchy! I’m not sure if it’s my favorite number on “Wings” but perhaps it could be the first song to show friends. How do you think? Well, maybe 30 years ago we would say: an exemplary single!

Yes, I agree. I let my friends who are not that much into metal to hear title song “Wings”. They love it.

Jan, you used to point Ritchie Blackmore as your biggest inspiration. What do you like mostly in his playing style? Have you ever met Ritchie? If yes, how is he as a person?

Yes, Ritchie is my main inspiration because of his rhythmic aggressive picking style and wonderful story-telling solo’s. Especially the Made in Japan album is what learnt me how to play both solo and rhythm. Never met him but did have a phone call with him during a radio session where he answered questions. He blew me off then by not answering seriously… oh well.

I’m interested also what is your opinion about Deep Purple’s present line-up with Steve Morse and Don Airey?

As much as I am impressed with the talent of Steve Morse I don’t really like the sound of his guitar. So for me guitars in Deep Purple should to be created by Blackmore all the way.

Don Airey is doing a great job mimicking Jon Lord and you just can’t tell the difference sometimes.

Is it true that you decided “to quit playing live performances in 1997 because of the growing violence in the Dutch nightlife”? What exactly was the issue?

Yes. There was a shooting incident at a venue (I wasn’t there fortunately) in Gorkum, I think. With wife and little kids at home, I felt, I wasn’t safe anymore and acted like the responsible dad and husband. Maybe I overreacted…

I used to think that although Dutchie are musical sensitive, Nederland is more visual oriented country when it comes to the art. Have you ever had something like “Dutch rock/metal scene”? What was captivating about this scene?

Please refine me if I’m wrong but I’ve read an opinion that Dutch metal is more about symphonic tune with pleasant female vocal?

Most bands in the Dutch metal scene were about combining hard rock and metal. I think that we did that too but with a true metal sound and energy. This is still the case on “Wings”.

The modern metal bands from Nederland are more “gothic” and symphonic and indeed they mostly use(d) (great) female voices (Floor Jansen, Anneke van Giersbergen). So that is correct.

Is Picture based in Hilversum, isn’t it?

No, Hilversum was the base of our record company Phonogram. We are from Rozenburg (near Rotterdam). We only played live in Hilversum once.

Let’s say that a young heavy metal band is going for European tournee, will perform in Nederland but have one full day off before this gig. What would you recommend them to do with this one free day to catch some extra inspiration?

Recommendations? I am not a museum guy but I love nature. You might want to combine de “Hoge Veluwe” national Park with a visit of the Kröller-Müller Museum (that is inside the park). You can pick a (free) bike and have a great time there.

Marta Pan, Duck, Floating, Pond, Art, Water, Nature

https://www.hogeveluwe.nl/en

Side note 1: Park “Hoge Veluwe” is located next to Arnhem; Musictivity about Arnhem:

https://musictivity.org/2019/08/18/doro-in-the-netherlands/

Side note 2: Kröller-Müller Museum displays modern paintings: Van Gogh (second largest collection in the world), Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondriaan; there is also a garden with 160 sculptures by Aristide Maillol, Jean Dubuffet, Marta Pan, Pierre Huyghe.

Are you a fan of vinyls? Do you enjoy to spend hours in old school record shops? I know only Concerto in Amsterdam, are there other similar venues in Nederland?

I like vinyls very much but don’t have a player at the moment. When I am in cities all over the world, I always look for record stores to see if they have something special. In Nederland I go to Plato or Chez Elpee in Groningen (I work there and live nearby).

http://www.chezelpee.nl/

What are your plans regarding future of Picture? Are you planning a bigger tournee?

As long as everybody is healthy, Picture will go on. We will do some tours (like in South America and Mexico) in 2020 but mainly focus on a few great festivals in Europe.

I wish you all the best and thank you very much for the interview 🙂

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 71105386_473077343535915_8988224669047848960_n.jpg

Would you like to add something for Picture’s fans?

Thanks for the interview. Interesting questions!

I wish to thank all the fans who kept supporting us over all those years. Without them we could not have done it! And if you have a chance: come see a show and drink with us after the show. We love you!

written by: Sam O’Black and Jan Bechtum

Grand Magus

Wolf, Animal, Biology, Canine, Carnivore, Mammal

THE BAND

Grand Magus is a well established heavy / doom metal band from Stockholm (Sweden) with 9 cool albums:

– “Grand Magus” (2001),

– “Monument” (2003),

– “Wolf’s Return” (2005),

– “Iron Will” (2008),

– “Hammer of the North” (2010),

– “The Hunt” (2012),

– “Triumph and Power” (2014),

– “Sworn Songs” (2016),

– “Wolf God” (2019, already released).

I recommend their newest longplay in sake of memorable melodies and excellent, vibrant, true metal sound.

source: Nuclear Blast Records https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn0o8Ly95UE

LINE-UP

Current Grand Magus line-up features:

– JB Christoffersson (guitars, vocals); he had been singing in Spiritual Beggars from 2002 to 2010 (albums: “On Fire” (2002) and “Demons” (2005)),

– Fox Skinner (bass, additional vocals),

– Ludwig Witt (drums); he have been playing in Spiritual Beggars almost from the very beginning of this band and still makes it; in Grand Magus since “The Hunt” album.

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As we can see, Grand Magus is strongly related to Spiritual Beggars although Grand Magus play much more heavy while Spiritual Beggars stays under the influence of stoner hard rock. High quality music.

Rockstar Dancing GIF by PLAYMOBIL - Find & Share on GIPHY

UPCOMING CONCERTS

Upcoming Grand Magus concerts:

09.11.2019 Oldenburg in Holstein, Germany

05.03.2020 Bristol, England

06.03.2020 Manchester, England

07.03.2020 Dublin, Ireland

10.03.2020 Glasgow, Scotland

11.03.2020 Sheffield, England

13.03.2020 Birmingham, England

14.03.2020 Norwich, England

15.03.2020 London, England

17.03.2020 Paris, France

more about Paris: https://musictivity.org/2019/09/01/alter-bridge-paris-09-12-2019/

19.03.2020 Utrecht, Nederland

more about Utrecht: https://musictivity.org/2019/07/24/jethrotullinnetherlands/

20.03.2020 Cologne, Germany

more about Cologne: look below

21.03.2020 Aschaffenburg, Germany

22.03.2020 Munich, Germany

more about Munich: https://musictivity.org/2019/09/28/phil-campbell-and-the-bastard-sons/

24.03.2020 Stuttgart, Germany

25.03.2020 Berlin, Germany

more about Berlin: https://musictivity.org/2019/08/22/mustasch-in-berlin/

26.03.2020 Hamburg, Germany

more about Hamburg: https://musictivity.org/2019/08/13/jessy-martens/

16.05.2020 Vienna, Austria

more about Vienna: https://musictivity.org/2019/08/17/rage-wings-of/

COLOGNE

We can see Grand Magus planned in Cologne on March 20th, 2020. It is a fourth largest city in Germany (population around one million people) after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. It belongs to North Rhine-Westphalia land/state (with capital in Dusseldorf). Cologne was found in 38 BC and is known as a major city of Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region (Cologne/Dusseldorf/Dortmund/Essen/Bochum etc., population around ten million people).

source: Travel Penguin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER2yy8gh1oE

The most famous touristic hot spots:

– Gothic St. Peter and Mary Cathedral designed by Friedrich von Schmidt (who also built beautiful City Hall in Vienna and restored St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna). Originally construction began in XIII century but project was suspended after 225 years of work. Finally Cathedral was completed in XIX century. I call it the most significant architecture masterpiece in Cologne because there is no higher church in northern Europe. Looks stunning indeed;

– Hohenzollern Bridge supplement Cologne Cathedral. The best pictures of Cologne show both together. This bridge is crossing by 1200 trains each day but there are also sideways for pedestrians who enjoy attaching love locks;

– Rheinauhafen District is a modern waterfront district with great restaurants and art galleries. Maybe not as impressive as granary in Hamburg, but note Siebengebirge – granary in the shape of seven steeply sloping gables. Boat cruise along the Rhine River allows you to explore Cologne from the water with live commentary in different languages.

– Old town was almost completely destroyed during World War II but you can find there traditional old houses, many interesting museums and City Hall. There are also 2 positive figures from Hanneschen Theater called Tünnes & Schäl.

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German people are famous with their sense of humor so let me cite one joke: “Schäl got a job as a tour guide. One day he is showing an American tourist the major sights of Cologne. All the big buildings they see, the tourist asks, “How long did it take to build that?” Each time Schäl answers honestly how many years it took. Each time the tourist says, “Oh, in America we could build that in half that time.” Finally they come to the Cologne cathedral. The tourist asks, “How long did it take to build that?” Schäl: Yesterday when I came past here, it wasn’t here yet”.

Ancient forces
Sleeping deep within my heart
Been searching
Through the ages in the dark

A secret
That will put me to the test
And guide me
So much stronger than the rest

Grand Magus “Brothers of the Storm”

FEEL INFORMED

“Get a welcome to Cologne from a friendly and passionate local and discover the city like a resident. Learn the secrets about where to buy groceries, how to get around and much more.”

https://www.getyourguide.com/cologne-l19/cologne-private-tour-with-a-local-t103874/?partner_id=QL9T477&utm_medium=online_publisher&utm_source=poblak%40europe.com&placement=content-middle

There are plenty of fantastic bakeries everywhere in Germany which offer nutritious sandwiches but Cologne has own traditional cuisine with few delicious regional dishes. Perhaps the most popular is Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth): black pudding, fried onions, mashed potato with apple sauce.

In case if you fly to Germany to see Grand Magus, I would add yet the list of international airports around Cologne:

– Cologne Bonn Airport CGN 18km from Cologne,

– Düsseldorf International Airport DUS 68km from Cologne,

– Maastricht Aachen Airport MST 105km from Cologne,

– Dortmund Airport DTM 108km from Cologne,

– Liège Airport LGG 130km from Cologne,

– Frankfurt – Hahn Airport HHN 185km from Cologne.

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Infrastructure in this area is so developed! It’s a pleasure to commute in western Germany.

Enjoy Grand Magus and don’t forget to make great use of your time whenever you travel to see the concert!

author: Sam O’Black