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SNAKES AND LADDERS
Interview with Marten Hagstrom of MESHUGGAH

By Dominic Pierce-Toogood


Meshuggah are not playing games. With their latest album, "Nothing," climbing steadily up the billboard charts, the ever complex Swedish thrash merchants are off on tour once more, this time with good friends and self-professed fans 'Tool'. Leaving their pet snakes and beloved homeland of Sweden behind Meshuggah are all set to once again bring their very own brand of metal mayhem to adoring American metalheads nationwide. 
Before setting his pet snakes on the neighbors, we managed to grab a minute of lead axeman Marten Hagstrom's time for a quick chat about hockey, the new album and the respect that is being poured upon them by all 

Rough Edge: Having now been on the Ozzfest tour and, by the way, we saw you live in NJ and you were awesome, what do you feel about the whole Ozzfest experience (the tragedy aside) and did you enjoy yourselves?

Marten: Yeah, it was great. We made a lot of new friends and the crowd was awesome so it was killer. 

Rough Edge: How do you think appearing at Ozzfest helped with sales of your recently released album, "Nothing?" How psyched are you about its success already - it having just broke the Billboard top 200 in the USA? 

Marten: Naturally, we are psyched about the whole Billboard thing. We're an underground band on a small label so it was a great surprise. I don't really know how much Ozzfest helped but I am sure it was a lot.

Rough Edge: How much do you like playing live as opposed to sitting in the studio rehearsing/laying down tracks? How important is the live experience to Meshuggah?

Marten: It's important. It's the only real intimate contact you get with your fans so it is imperative.

Rough Edge: Presumably you like soccer? Do you think that the draw with Sweden was what held England back from winning the World Cup this year?

Marten: No, but I think that Sweden would have gone further if they'd lost that game. They were too content later in the tournament.

Rough Edge: I know you like ice hockey, any favorite NHL players/teams?

Marten: Favorite players would be Forsberg, Fedorov and Niklas Sundstrom. 

Rough Edge: Back to the music you have been quoted as being a "band's band." A huge influence to many household names... Do you feel this important or would you rather just be selling loads more records?

Marten: Well, selling a lot of records would be nice but its much more rewarding being respected by your peers so I like this better ...

Rough Edge: Do you watch "The Osbournes" and did you see the episode where Jack Osbourne plays your track "Future Breed Machine" to piss of the neighbors? Ever do the same yourselves?

Marten: No, I've never seen the Osbournes and my neighbors are too nice to have to terrorize them. I'd just let the snakes loose on 'em if I felt the urge to. Heh, heh.

Rough Edge: Who is looking after the snakes while you are away? Do you think they miss you while you are gone?

Marten: My wife looks after them so they definitely don't miss me ...

Rough Edge: So now Ozzfest is done, and the bonding with the snakes is complete, what do you guys have on the horizon? 

Marten: We're hitting the road opening up for Tool in the states for eight weeks. The tour starts Oct. 2nd in Seattle. That's about as far ahead as we want to plan right now.

Rough Edge: Thanks Marten and good luck.


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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:09 -0400
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