MESHUGGAH Interview with Marten Hagstrom Page 4
By Greg Nalbandian
SW: When you were composing the music, were you having any disagreements? Were there any arguments amongst the band members as far as deciding what to do?
MH: No! I don't think we've had any arguments, as far as the music is concerned, in years. I actually can't remember we ever having an argument. We have been together as a band for many years. We are originally from the same part of Sweden. Me and Tomas, the drummer, grew up in a little small industrial town way up North. And an hour North of that is where Fredrik and Jens are from. So, you know, we're from the same background. We've got the same view. The vision of how we want ourselves to sound is pretty similar. And everybody's contributing with a little piece so it just turns out that every song is a little piece of everyone in a way, even though one may have written it.
SW: So we should see you guys around when you're in your fifties?
MH: [Laughs] I don't know about that man! But you never know. Music is a strange thing. Being in a band is a strange thing, especially when you're in the same band for so long. I've been playing with Tomas as a drummer since... I think we started playing in the first shitty band we had together when we were like 12. You know, we could barely play; he was smashing his things and I would try to figure out the guitar. But, I mean, we've been playing for ages. So, you kind of grow together as a unit. And you get to be more of a creature of four people than just four individuals. When you get to that point, you never know when it's going to stop. I try to look at the band like Rush. They never quit, you know? And they still keep going. And I don't really care if people think they're good or not anymore. I'm just inspired and impressed by the fact that people can work on a musical vision together for so many years and spanning so many years. And if it's possible, I'd love to do that with this band. At least if we're still moderately successful and people still want to listen to our shit.
SW: Meshuggah is pretty much regarded as a technical band...
SW: Do you think that hurts you in terms of your accessibility to the metal listeners?
MH: Yes. It does, of course it does. It's like, I don't know this is kinda weird analogy but, in a way it's like a painting and art. Sometimes you want a picture you can understand right away but sometimes you look at something you really didn't understand at first and then it dawns on you what the general idea was and then you're like, "Ah, cool!" You know, you get the master plan, and I think that music is the same way. There is the McDonald's of music and then there is stuff that ain't. It doesn't make any of the music necessarily bad, just different. We are four guys who never listened to what was on the hit charts. So we've always been about delivering to ourselves the music that excites us and hoping that other people are turned on to it as well. The thing about Meshuggah, it's not about getting on top of the charts. It's not about getting massive rotation on MTV, even though it would be nice. We want to put out music we're proud of and if it takes us anywhere, that's great. And we're very thankful for that. But I think that the technical aspect of Meshuggah, yes, it has hurt us, 'cause we're not as direct as many other bands. But on the same hand, I would say that it has helped us. One thing with this band is that either you hate us or you love us. I don't care which. Many people that heard us will at least remember. They will remember hearing Meshuggah and thinking, "Ah, that was killer" or "That was weird," or "I couldn't even listen to it." But it's effective. You know what I'm saying? 'Cause we want to do something that affects people in one way or another and everything else just comes natural.
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