Interview with Magnus Karlsson, the guitarist/songwriter of Last Tribe!

1. Your last album "Witchdance" was a nice surprise and a big improvement from the first one (for my money anyway). Did you consciously concentrate on writing bigger hooks this time? There sure is some seriously catchy material on it!

Thank you very much. This time it is for real. “The Ritual” were leftovers that didn’t fit my other band Midnight Sun. The songs were written for Pete Sandberg's voice, this time I wrote the songs specially for Rickard Bengtsson's voice. Most of the melodies are made while I do the dishes. I know it’s not a “rock star way” to do it but it’s true.

2. What are your own favourite songs on "Witchdance" and why?

It’s very hard to pick a favorite song but I’m quite proud of the chorus in “Wake up the world” and the intro riff in “messenger” but it changes every time i listen to the album.

3. Let's go back to "the roots"? What kind of a background do you guys have?

I have been playing hard rock since I was ten but I have explored other styles such as Jazz, fusion and folk music. I toured with a band called Hot Pebble a couple of years. We were playing Irish Folk music.

About two years ago a got a call from Jonas Reingold and he asked if wanted to play guitar in Midnight Sun. We recorded “Nemesis” together with Pete Sandberg and Jaime Salazar. The Roasting house management asked me if I wanted to record my own songs and so I did.

In the beginning I did the singing on the demos but my voice is too soft for this kind of metal. I heard Rickard Bengtsson (Armageddon) on a demo and thought that he was perfect for Last Tribe. Dick Löwgren ( Armageddon, In flames, Arch Enemy) is the best bass player I ever heard so I’m really happy that he joined “the tribe”. Jaime Salazar (Flower kings, Bad habit and Midnight sun) and I have worked a lot together so I know what he can do behind the drums. He recorded the drums on the Witch Dance album in two days!!

4. Who do you consider as your main influences?

I love all the old “nwobhm bands” as Maiden, Judas and Dio. They are the reason that I started playing the guitar. I also play and listen to folk music, jazz and fusion. At the moment I listen a lot to Vanden Plas I just love their sound and melodies. My main influences as a guitarist are Steve Vai, Steve Morse and Allan Holdsworth.

5. There's a lot of bands working in the field of "melodic metal" these days. Which ones of your "rivals" do you consider as the cream of the crop?

I don’t know if you call Vanden Plas Melodic metal but they sure got great melodies. Angra and Symphony X are also good bands that I listen to a lot.

6. Do you have any touring plans?

There is nothing decided but I really hope it’s gonna be a lot of gigs. I think that Witch Dance is an album that is made to be played live and not just a studio album.

6. Who would be the ideal touring parner for you, if you had the chance to choose anyone?

It would be a dream come true if we did a tour with DIO!

8. Any idea where the next album will take you?

I’ve already started to write songs for the next album and my inspiration is bigger than ever so the story doesn’t end here.

9. You're on Frontiers/Now & Then label. Have you had a chance to listen to any of your labelmates?

I have not heard so many of them but I just listened to a couple of sound samples from the Cage. I’m a big fan of Tony Martin. His voice is absolutely great so I am bragging to all my friends that we release albums on the same label.

10. If there's anything you'd like to say to our readers, here's your fire away!

If you are into melodic metal you are a member of the Last Tribe!


Interview by Kimmo Toivonen,
Photos provided by Magnus Karlsson,