Inteview taken from http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/
text by Eddy
Photos from Bassday are in Gallery
Hi Magnus, it was great to meet you on the European Bass Day in Germany. Of course for me as editor of Lords Of Metal the opportunity to ask you for this interview. First of all, your name was not on the official schedule of the Bass Day, who did invite you to come here and was this a last second decision?
They ask me to come, but I already had a bass show in Sweden. After few weeks they change the date in Sweden, so I was free after all. When I told the people in Germany I could come after all everything was already done and printed!
You already play bass for so long, please tell us how you started to get interest in this instrument, from who you learned the playing and who did influence you to play?
I was fifteen years old when I got my bass number two! I sold my small motorbike that way I had money for the new bass! In this time Kiss was very popular, and I thought that Gene Simmons had a cool look. When my friends and I decided to start a band, I liked to play bass like Gene. The first year I asked few bass-players in my town if they could teach me some bass-techniques. I have never had a real bass idol but I think there are many bass-players that are pretty good! But I have always liked to go my own way. I tried different music styles but hard rock and heavy metal were the styles I never stopped to like. After 27 years playing, I still love to play the bass!
Did you ever have an occasion to see Gene Simmons play live and did you ever meet him in person?
I was able to see Gene when KISS played in Gothenburg in the late 1976.I did not like his style on the stage. He tried to hard to look like a sex symbol for the girls, but he really could play that bass. The show was nice though. Yes, I met him once in a rehearsal studio in Los Angeles. That was all, I did not get a chance to talk to him.
If you get a chance to create a band around you with other famous musicians, who will be in that band?
If that would not be Hammerfall I would say; Anders Johansson on the drums-drums, Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar, Viggo from Pagans Mind also on guitar, Jens Johansson on keyboard and Jorn Lande on vocals!
It would be great if you give our readers a bit of a history in bands you played in before you joined Hammerfall! Which bands did you played in before and did you ever do albums with them?
On my websites: www.thrill.to/magnusrosen www.magnusrosen.cjb.net and www.magnus.age.jp you can see my complete story but to give you an idea I played in many different bands. When I use to live in Los Angeles I played in the Billionaires Boys Club with Jorge Fischer (Accept), Anders Johansson and Mark Boals on vocals. That was a great band. I also with an very old band called Spotnics. The guitar-player Bosse Winberg was Gary Moore's idol when he was young. We played music from the 50's like Elvis´ with Kung Sune and Badrock in the beginning of the eighties! My first recording was a single for the Shame-label in 1980 or somewhere around that time. It was hard rock. Then I had a band called Von Rosen and we did two singles! That was more a kind of pop rock! I played with musician who played with Frank Marino, Yngwie, Uli Jon Roth, J. Turner, The Sweet and many more. In the period 1994-95 I played in four bands in France! We did lots of touring and stuff. I played with those bands for nearly every week. I can go on and on here but the list will be to long when I have to mention all the bands I worked with, hahaha!
I saw your performance on the Bass Day, I enjoyed your playing and the stories you told about the songs you played. Each song you performed was somehow about a memory you had and turned that into music. I like to know how a song gets born, do you first have a memory and turn it into music or do you compose a piece and then get a story of your live along with it?
Well, I first I write the piece and then the music-parts will inspired my mind to text. It often comes from a memory, a vision or a dream. The music will come from my inside, then the title will be born inside me too. It is like I compose from a feeling I have, then I try to give the feeling a name. When the title has been created everything is complete.
One piece, which touched everyone, was the song you played for your father in the hospital. Can you please tell this story to our readers who did not hear it on the Bass Day?
The name of this piece is 'The Gate To Heaven', I played this one for my father in the Church when he was on his way to the gate of heaven. When he was in the hospital and he was in a coma I asked the Doctors if it was possible for me to bring my bass to his bed and play for him. They thought it was strange but it was ok! My father liked when I played the bass music, so my idea was to play for him in the hospital when he was close to dying. It was very nice and peaceful. So I always try to bring this piece with me for my father's memory!
Another song you played is always remembering you about a travel you did in The States with a friend. What are your feelings about this country for holiday purposes?
Hmm, It is a big country with many faces! This time my friend and I booked a flight to Florida in 1987 I think. We bought a Van and drove to California. It was very interesting and fun to do. After a few months my friend went home to Sweden. I decided to stay in Los Angeles for a few months more. There are so many things to see over there, so I think if you feel for it, go and check it out! Anyway after four months in the States it was time to go. I booked a flight to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zeeland, Australia and Thailand. But that is another story!
When I bought your 'Imagine A Place' bass CD I was impressed about the artwork for the cover. You told me that it was done by your mother. The image on the cover is a painting of you playing bass. Does your mother somewhere exhibit with her paintings?
Yes! Ullabritt Rosén, my mother, has exhibitions in Sweden! She paints in oil. It is very nice and interesting to talk about art and the way we work on it. She paints with oil and I paint with tones.
Next to your band-colleague from Hammerfall Anders Johansson there is a musician on this album called Biggi Vinkeloe. What can you tell us about her?
She is a freeform jazz-player! You can read about her in the Jazz lexicon. She lives in Sweden and plays in Europe and North America. She is a very good musician with strong feelings I think. She tours a few times a year in Europe and the States. We have played together on the albums 'Imagine a Place' and 'Reminiscence' and did some small tours in America, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
Then there is Anders who plays on this album. There were some rumours that he was going to play in Stratovarius. What is true about this story and how did it came into this world?
I don't know! For me it looks like a joke! If you like to know the trued, please ask Anders.
When I watch Hammerfall DVD's I laugh a lot about all those crazy things Anders does. Would be wrong to call him the clown of the band and please tell us a funny story you experience with him and you still remember?
Anders is a very smart guy, but he loves to joke around. My best memories of him are when we are alone and talking about life and visions. He is also very serious guy, not only a clown like you said.
There are so many fun stories. One time in Italy he played naked with out any clothes on. It was very funny I think. I can tell you stories forever about him, hahaha.
It was great to learn more about you, the man behind the wild heavy metal image. I was really touched about your feelings for charity and the way you turn your luck of being a well-known musician into a positive return to do something for the people with lesser luck in live. What started your awareness for those problems you did your charity-tour for in South America?
It comes natural to me to think about the things around me. When we did one of the Hammerfall tours in South America I did help a woman with her payment for her school. I took all the money I made on the tour in South America and paid for her school! It was nice to help her. I knew her for a few years and thought that she needed this help. It gave me such a good feeling to do this so I decided to make my third South American bass tour for the poor and homeless people. It was very interesting to do this. I visited the favella's (the poor parts of the city) and met the people who live there. They were very nice and friendly. It gives me so much in life to see what is going on in the world. It gave me a real picture of life and the world. So it was my pleasure to do this.
You did a tour in South America with your bass and the profits all went to the homeless children there, you even paid all expensive out of your own pocket for that tour. I read somewhere you tried to get companies interested to sponsor you on this tour but you could not find one to support you. What were your thoughts when you could not find one single company who cares?
There was a small company in Sweden called Colour Partner who helped me with a piece of the air-ticket but I paid the most of this travel out of my own pocket. I thought it was not difficult to get some company endorsements but I was wrong in this. So I decided to pay and do this anyway. I had the time and I thought it was a pleasure to do this!
On your website I see a great piece of film of you handing out those red bags to the children in those South American villages out of the back of your car. Can you tell me what was in the bags?
It was only food like rise and some other things.
I can imagine that you saw a lot of sad scenes when you were out there. Do you already compose a song based on your experiences over there?
Yes I am working on one! It will be a fast piece with a lot of energy.
It would be great if you take the chance at this spot to tell whatever more you like to add about this charity tour and make our readers aware of the problems you witness…
The world is like a paradise and a hell at the same time. So it is up to you to decide what you like to see or do. I think it was very interesting to do my share of what I could and it gives me so much fulfilment in my mind and my heart. I think people do not need to do only big things. It is very good to show respect to other people even to people who have a hard life. Why should we push down people even more who are already under carpet??? It shows more who we are and maybe that it is us who are pushing down and not show respect for this people are responsible for a part of the problem. It is important to think about this. Helping others gives you a great feeling inside, try and you will see!
Okay Magnus, for now something completely different. Of course the main audience knows you from Hammerfall. I learned from you that the new album is almost done. When can we expect the new album and what can you already tell us about it?
It is the best album we ever did I think. More rough and more heavy but it still Hammerfall! The single will be out in February and the album will be released the seventh of March.
Where did the recording take place and for how long you were in the studio to record it?
We started recordings in August this year in the south of Denmark. Hammerfall worked on the album for six or seven weeks I think but I was only in the studio for few days's to record the bass.
Is there already a tour being planned to promote the new album and will this be a world tour?
The world-tour will start in the end of March I think. This time we will try to create a bigger show, bigger places to play in and new stage clothes. 2005 will be a very good heavy metal year.
I think it must be an awesome feeling to be in a band that is so well known and do all those shows in front of so many people who love your music. Are you still nervous when you get out on stage and what goes through your head when you see all those fans scream for you and sing a long your music?
Yes, it is a great feeling and no, I am not nervous at all. Without the fans we are nothing! So we try to play the shows with the biggest respect for our fans.
What are you three favourite Hammerfall tracks of the albums from the past?
I like them all! I do not think we have any bad songs, hahaha.
Do you still go to see concerts of other bands yourself nowadays and if you do which bands did you see recently?
When I played a bass show in England a few weeks ago, Deep Purple played round the corner! So that was the last show I was at.
And which bands did you listen to recently?
Deep Purple! In my home I mostly listen to the radio. I play so much so I need something else in my era to be inspired. Not always same and the same!
Hammerfall did many tours as support and as headliner. Which tour and band when Hammerfall was the opener-band did impress you the most and do you have the best memories of?
I like all the bands we toured with. It is always good in different ways. We always try to have a nice time on the tour with the band we touring with.
When I watch one of the Hammerfall DVD's I see you giving the viewer a little inside look in the tour-bus of the band. Do you never get tired of being so close to everyone each and every day on a tour (I can imagine that you do not have to much privacy under those conditions) and do you never get homesick when you are touring for so long?
We all try to mentally prepare before a tour! It is important to try to enjoy the time together. Yes, we are very close but it is only for a period of time! I think we have a nice time together. We show respect and we know that all people are different, so it is very important to NOT try to tell others what they shall think or do! Do your own thing and let the others do their thing.
I recently did a special about what musicians feel about the illegal copying and downloading of their music. Can you share your thoughts about this issue with our readers?
I think it is ok to download if you are young, poor or a student. But if everyone would do this, no band will exist forever. No bands can do albums and big tours anymore. So I think people need to take the responsibility for what they do.
Okay Magnus, we are reaching the end of this interesting interview, I would like to end with some words that come to your mind when I mention the following names and words…
Joacim Cans: He is a good showman.
Oskar Dronjak: He loves Heavy Metal.
Stefan Elmgren: He is a pilot now! I think of him flying around in the blue sky.
Anders Johansson: A smart and funny man.
Bass-guitar: My life!
Love: The biggest thing in the world.
Money: You need it.
Fame: If it not gives you a big head, it is nice!
Other hobbies: Drink coffee with my friends.
Magnus Rosén: (laughing) A guy who is interested in life.