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The Crown    
The Crown
With the success of their new album 'Crowned in Terror', Sweden's The Crown stand poised and ready to enter the upper echelon of contemporary metal bands. There are many people who might say that they were there already. If so, the release of 'Crowned in Terror', along with their awe-inspiring, first-ever, headlining US tour only serve to solidify that position. The Metal Update was able to chat with The Crown's bassist Magnus Olsfelt at the Palladium in Worcester, MA to get the scoop on their tour, the new album, Sweden, Satan and lots of other good stuff.

METAL UPDATE: So how are you doing?

MAGNUS OLSFELT: Fine. It's the second to last show of the tour. We've been here for a month almost.

MU: How's the tour been going?

MO: It's been going good. It's been good with the bands - Darkest Hour's been really cool and helpful. We didn't think we were big enough to make a headline show. It came as a bit of a surprise for us because we thought we were going to open up for a bigger band, but it's worked out pretty good actually.

MU: How's this tour going compared to your last US tour?

MO: It's much more work for us being a headliner. We have no crew at all. We have just a driver, so it's been a lot of work. No sound checks or anything like that, so it's been a step down in that kind of professionalism because when we tour with the big tours we kind of get the same crew. But this way we get to play the full show, and sell more shirts and stuff. So, it's been good and bad being a headliner.

MU: Do you have any good tour stories?

MO: Oh yah, there's been a lot of stuff. (laughs) We had this really wild party in Richmond. There was this after show party with the guys from this band called Municipal Waste. We had this party and just wrecked the whole apartment - set the couch on fire and threw it out the window. It was crazy.

MU: Awesome. How was the New Jersey Fest?

The Crown

MO: It was a bit chaotic. There's like too many bands at the same time. We just flew in there and our equipment was lost at the airport, so we just got our equipment 10 minutes before we hit the stage. It was a good show. I think there was like 1,500 people watching us.

MU: Where do you get your best receptions around the country?

MO: I don't know. I kind of like the coasts best I think. But I think the people who come to our shows are really passionate wherever you go. It's not like very many people come to shows, but the people who show up are really dedicated. It's the same all over the place. We haven't toured the States that many times, so I don't really know where we get the best reception.

MU: How old are you by the way?

MO: 25.

MU: Are you from Gothenburg?

MO: Yeah! I live in Gothenburg. I've lived there like five years, but the band is from a city like an hour away.

MU: Does everyone else live there too?

MO: We live in both Trollhättan, where we started, and Gothenburg. Three people in Gothenburg and two in Trollhättan.

MU: Gothenburg has a lot of good metal bands. Are there a lot of good shows there all the time?

MO: No, not very many shows, like metal shows. There's no good place to play actually, but there are some good bands. Once in a while bands play there.

MU: That's funny because I imagine Gothenburg to be this metal heaven where there's amazing metal shows every weekend.

MO: But it's not. (laughs)

MU: Why do you think so many good bands come out of that area?

MO: It's just like everything. When one band becomes successful it just pulls other people into doing the same thing. It's like if a country or an area has a successful football team, like Brazil is good at football, it becomes like a tradition there and everyone starts to play. It's like success brings success.

MU: Is there a lot of band competition?

MO: No, not really. People who play in bands are pretty diplomatic. Everybody knows each other. Still, it's like competition, but it's not like a rivalry or anything, you know, everybody watches the other bands.

MU: So could you tell me a little bit about the re-releases of your first two albums?

MO: Century Media re-released the first two albums 'The Burning' and 'Eternal Death'. They released on Black Sun Records originally, which is a Gothenburg based record label. Those re-releases, it's the same album, but it has liner notes and a video.

MU: Had they been out of print for a while?

MO: Yeah, I guess they've been hard to get like here in the States and abroad because it's a small label. Also, they were released under the name Crown of Thorns which is illegal to sell now, so they're re-released under The Crown.

MU: So you couldn't even re-release the albums as Crown of Thorns then?

MO: No.

MU: If you could have the name Crown of Thorns back, would you take it back?

MO: No, I'm kind of satisfied. I think it's a better name, The Crown. It's more easy to say and it's more open. It's like a classic name. It can last forever. We could play 'til we're like 50 or so and play blues and have that same name.

The Crown

MU: Do you find it kind of funny that the other Crown of Thorns was a Christian band?

MO: Yeah, it's kind of funny.

MU: Was the name change a big hassle?

MO: No, not really. We got a fax from them that said we were using the name illegally. It was signed with the signatures of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss. So, it was just a funny thing for us. But we had been calling ourselves The Crown for a while anyway like a nickname, so it was not a big deal really. Our friends and stuff, they called us The Crown anyway. We still use the same logo and stuff.

MU: Is that other band still together?

MO: No, I don't think so. They split up I guess.

MU: Could you compare the music of the two Crown of Thorns albums with what you're doing now?

MO: It definitely shows our roots. The first album 'The Burning' has our best songs from our starting days, our demo days. The second album 'Eternal Death' to me it's a really important album for us. It's like, you have to hear those albums to know what we are coming from. They meant a whole lot to us when we did them, and I still love 'em.

MU: People seem to have a hard time classifying your music. I just call you metal, but do you guys ever think about that?

MO: We try really hard to not do like, "we have to do this kind of stuff because we are called a death metal band." We just try to write music that we like. We don't care about labels and stuff. But labeling our music, we come from a death metal background, but we try to do our own stuff. I think that all good bands should have their own style. I'm not saying that we're like the most original band in the world, because we're not, but at least we 're trying to do our on thing, you know?

MU: Have your influences changed since your early days? Or is this just a natural progression?

MO: The influences we had when we started are still there, but you hear a lot of new music, and old stuff. I really try to bring all my influences into the music I write, but the longer you play the more you can allow yourself to do more personal stuff. We start to think, I want to sound like this or that. We play longer and gain more confidence to do something that hasn't been done before. But I think it's a natural progression with us having played together for such a long time.

MU: People seem to be more critical of 'Hell is Here' than your other albums. I personally like it a lot, but what do you think happened with that one? I've heard people complain about the production. What do you think?

MO: It's a pretty experimental album for us. After the 'Eternal Death' album, we felt like, well at least I felt like I couldn't push that style any further. I felt I wanted to do something new and we tried a lot of different stuff and some stuff worked out better than others, and the production was a bit strange too, but I think it's cool. I am really proud of that album because it sounds like nothing else.

MU: Did it have anything to do with you changing your name?

MO: No, it was just a coincidence, us changing the name and changing the label and changing the sound at the same time. I guess that album is kind of a love / hate album. A lot of people hate it, still there are people who think it's the best one.

MU: How come Johan, your last singer, quit? Especially at a time when it seemed you were on the rise?

MO: Yeah, it was totally a bad move of him to step out of the band now. We did a lot of tours before that we didn't get any money from, but now we've started getting money so it was a bad move on him. But he was really tired of all the touring because we didn't get paid and he had a lot of expenses and bills to pay. He always got sick on tour too. And being a singer he has a really high expectation of himself to perform the best he can every night, so he was depressed during the tour. But touring is really important to us, so instead of being a hindrance to the band he walked out of it.

MU: When bands bring in new singers it's usually pretty awkward, but Tomas seems to fit in really well. How did you decide on him? Was it his resume, or was it other things?

MO: We knew him since his days with At the Gates, and we also went on tour with him in another band. So we knew him from before, and right before Johan was leaving Tomas asked me if I wanted to join him in a death metal band. He wanted to start playing death metal again. I knew that Johan was going to leave, so I asked him if he wanted to join The Crown instead of us forming a new band and he was into it.

MU: What does Tomas bring to the band that you didn't have before?

MO: He's a really crazy guy. He's wild. Johan wasn't really a social guy - he didn't talk to people and kept to himself. Musically, Tomas has really good musical vision. Usually when we do lyrics and vocal patterns we have stuff on top of each other, but he does it in an easier way. It's really come out good.

MU: Do you feel fortunate to have maintained as much of your core lineup as you have for the past ten years or so?

MO: It's twelve actually! It's totally great to play in the same band that you started when you were like thirteen. Even if you get, like, better guitar players or whatever, you can't replace that kind of feel, that magic you have, whatever you want to say about it. I think it's great. It also makes us not want to quit the band that easy, so if any problems come up we try to deal with them instead of like, "Ok, let's start another band." It's hard to bring a band down after twelve years. So, we just want to go ahead and play and try to take it as far as we can.

The Crown

MU: The Crown's lyrics, especially your lyrics, deal with Satan and Satanic themes, but at the same time I don't think of you as "evil" in the same way I think of other recent Satanic bands. What's The Crown's relationship with Satan, what's The Crown's philosophy?

MO: We have never had a Satanic image. We have never had an image at all. We have just tried to be ourselves, but the lyrics are really serious. The bottom line of the lyrics is freedom. For us that's what it's all about, because we don't think it's evil. We think Satan is super. We're doing it in a positive way. For me Satanic things are great, it's a positive thing. I love it! It's cool. It's, like, perfect. We had days where we were more evil, about ten years ago, but I think that's a transition period when you have this Christian stuff in your head, but you have to take it away. It gets self destructive. Once you get past that you can feel good about yourself being in a death metal band. It's a good thing.

MU: The Crown, while serious, seems to be fun at the same time. Like the inside of the album has that fake-out Venom logo. While serious, you're also about fun and rock n' roll.

MO: Yeah, I think it's important to have fun. That's the good thing about life, you know? That's serious to us, to have fun. The Venom thing, too, that's exactly what we're trying to do. It's still with respect to the old metal stuff, same thing with the 'Hell is Here' cover, but it's down with like the punk attitude. That's what we try to do with the music too. We love old metal, but we don't play old metal. We try to do it with our own attitude. We're doing it our own way.

MU: You guys have a song about the Lord of the Rings. What do you think of the movie?

MO: I think it's great. I'm really looking forward to seeing the next film. I was brought up on those books. My dad read them to me when I was like 6 years old. I've seen them like three or four times.

MU: What does the future hold for The Crown?

MO: Probably a new album and more touring. This is the first tour for the new album, so there's Europe and hopefully get back to the states.

MU: Have you played in Japan?

MO: Nope, not with The Crown, but I've played there with Witchery as a stand in bass player. It was great. I love Asia. I love Japan. I love Thailand. I'm dying to get there with The Crown. It's the best place ever. Japan rules.


review of The Crown 'Crowned In Terror'

review of The Crown 'Deathrace King'

*BUY* The Crown 'Crowned In Terror'

"Under The Whip" from 'Crowned In Terror'





Interview: Jeffrey Schaefer
Photography: Ylana Glickman [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]

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