Hello Magnus ‘Zel’ how are you doing?

Hello Heiko ! All well here thanks, I am in Norway again, came back from Greece last week. I have been living in Norway again, with my wife, since November 2018, though we still go on trips to Greece and Italy quite often as I still feel a strong connection to these places, and in many ways they feel just as much as home, as Norway.

Please tell us something about Greece, probably warm, a lot of history there, good food…?

I always felt that Greece is a very special country and has a unique atmosphere and feeling, all the time since we played there, in Athens, in 1999. It does indeed have a lot of history and is among the oldest societies in Europe. It does in many ways feel, to me, as a place between Europe and the East, even though it is a part of Europe. It is today a somewhat poor country compared to the nations in North Europe, but I do think there is a good future for Greece, things are just developing very slowly. For me, to go there as a tourist, with money from Norway, it is just very easy to fall in love with the place you could say, but we see that Greece is experiencing a great increase in tourism each year now as more and more people are drawn to explore the country, after the internet came and sites like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram etc help to promote the beauty of this country, you know.
It is indeed a beautiful picturesque country, and they do have good food, wine etc. and the people there are really nice for the most part. It is just a shame there are so many problems with the government, lots of corruption has hurt the society in many ways, but we do hope these things can change and in the future it can actually be one of the best places in Europe to live, hoping that temperatures rising won’t be too extreme. It is in many ways quite the “opposite” of Norway, I mean, they do have very warm weather, and lots of sun, beautiful islands etc, but on the downside, the government is not working very well and most people who work there are seriously underpaid. So for me, spending time between Norway and Greece, was quite a comfortable thing, and I do believe I will settle down there again in the future, even though possibly just with a summer house or so, time will tell.

Why you left in the mid-90’s Norway to move to the USA? And later on, Italy and then Greece ?

It was basically 2 things that inspired me to move. I was somewhat bored with the life in Norway and really felt I needed to go somewhere else and explore the world a bit, and when Grimm, the drummer/ singer, decided to leave the band in 1995, I quickly decided that I wanted Lord Kaiaphas ( from the bands Grand Belial’s Key and Thokk ) to take over the role as vocalist in Ancient, and we established a new line- up in North Virginia as well as doing tours in the US and Europe in 1997 and 1998.
However, in 1998, after the European tour ended, I decided I didn’t want to go back to the USA. I did not have any green card to live there, and I was having a very different idea about the musical direction for Ancient for the next album. I basically wanted to keep most of the old sound of the band, while Kaiaphas had drastically different ideas, and so we decided to part ways, and I established a new line- up in Italy, where I had a lot of friends and my girlfriend at the time, Deadly Kristin, joined the band as female singer, this was in the end of 1998.
In 2005, we experienced a sort of “ dead season “ with Ancient. Our contract with Metal Blade Records ended and we had very few concert offers coming in, so the drummer left the band, and things basically just got completely quiet and we didn’t feel much inspiration to work on new music etc, We actually never made any official statement saying that the band had quit, though it’s practically what happened. I moved to Greece as it was a tempting choice at the time. I was working in Norway some parts of the year and spent my free time ( more than half the year ) in Greece. Until 2009, when our friend in London got us in touch with Nick Barker, and we were quite stoked that he was interested to play with Ancient. We did a few small tours and some years later, released the Back To The Land Of The Dead album.

In about 2 weeks you guys will come to visit The Netherlands. On Friday 13 October you play at Harnbarg Metalfest 2023, Hardenberg The Netherlands. How the preperations go and when you played the last time in The Netherlands?

Yes, we do look forward to these gigs a lot. They will probably be the last 2 gigs of the “ Svartalvheim & Trolltaar Anniversary Tour” ( will explain more later ) so we already know the set very well and haven’t needed much extra practice, though it is a special point to notice, that we will have a session drummer from the Netherlands this time ! Our regular drummer was unavailable for this weekend, but I believe it will work out well.

We did actually play in Eindhoven last year at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, but every gig is different and special to us.

You play another show in The Netherlands, Saterday 14 October, the famous club in Holland, called De Baroeg. That will be an interesting weekend for Ancient…?

Yes indeed. Holland has always been one of our favorite places to play, and we had a strong support from the fans there all the way since the band was formed in 1992. De Baroeg is special for us, and this will be the 7th time we play in this venue. It is a great and crazy place there, always something unexpected happening when we play at the Baroeg hehe.

Any news about a new studio album? The last full length album was released in 2016; Back to the land of the Dead. Please tell us about the writing process, time in the studio and how the press and fans received the album?

The last years, since moving back to Norway, I have actually had a lot less free time than earlier, working a full time job in Bergen, but we do have some ideas and if all goes as planned we should be able to record a new album in the end of 2024, meaning a new release could be out in 2025. I believe in many ways it will be a kind of “ back to the roots” album, but we will see how it goes.
The response from the last album both from fans and press was actually really great !

What about the lyrics of the band. Is there something you want to share with your listeners or with the rest of the world? Somehing that’s on your heart, or important for you  to inform us about the “happenings” in the world right now…?

The lyrics of Ancient was most of the time some kind of dark fantasy lyrics, of varying kinds. I think some people might feel a bit unclear about the “concept” of Ancient, we actually never had any real concept, rather than just being a band that developed a kind of musical fantasy landscape, I think. There has been topics like old folklore, satanism, vampirism, necrophilia and just a huge list of “dark shit” lol , topics that have been on the mind of the humans since the Ancient days, you could say.
The world today is going through many difficulties, climate change, war, but this is life. For some things to grow, some things must die. It’s just part of evolution.
The media has become more powerful, and today, if there is an earthquake in Peru or Indonesia or wherever, it is quickly spread in the news via the internet. Back in the ‘80s when I grew up, a thing like that would just never reach me at all. Lately, I keep discovering scary news from the ‘80s and ‘90s that never reached me at the time. I would just say, try to not get too depressed about scary news. The world has gone through a lot during the years, today, everything is just being shown to us a lot more than in the past, cause of the internet.

Do you remember something from the history, something important, or special that happened with the band that you can think of and want to share with the readers?
Hmm, there is so much, but ok now we are in October 2023 and we are getting ready to perform probably the last 2 concerts celebrating the Anniversary of our debut album, Svartalvheim from 1994, and I must say it is a very special feeling to recognize that the band has been going on for about 30 years and the interest from the fans is actually bigger than ever ! We keep meeting many old fans who have been following us since the beginning of the band, and even though we’re not a band that is making big money or so, it is a great feeling to recognize that we actually have thousands of loyal followers all over the world, and it seems we can keep doing this thing for still many years, so cheers to everybody who has supported us over the years !!

What are some of your favorite bands back in the day, 1990-1993 and nowadays Anno 2023?

In the years 1990 to 1993 I was very much listening to bands like Bathory, Immortal, Darkthrone, and also older bands like Mercyful Fate, Venom, Slayer etc. I still listen to all of these today, but I have a wider range of music I listen to you could say, even classical music and some gothic stuff, but I actually grew bored or tired of the bands I discovered when I was like 10 years old and got into heavy metal seriously.

Please tell us something about your background. How/ When you started to play the guitar and how did you get involved in the Metal scene?

I think the first time I picked up a guitar must have been around 1983, I was 11 years old, and just found an old acoustic guitar in the house of my grandmother. I just picked it up and played around some times with it, and about a year later I bought an electric guitar and started playing more seriously.
I had started discovering heavy metal around 1980 – 81 when I was 8 years old, and I already felt much inspiration from bands like Kiss, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden etc. but didn’t pick up the guitar until around 83.
In the area where I lived outside Bergen, there were only few other kids who were interested in metal music, but the ones I became friends with, were also interested in starting a band and we discovered much music from some older brothers here and there and tape trading was a way to get our hands on new music. I even remember back in 1983 when I first heard about a band called Metallica, and a lot of the metallers in town were waiting for the 12 “ of “ Jump In The Fire” to arrive at the local record store. And the first time in 1982, when listening to the “ Welcome to hell” album of Venom. The fact that everything was so “difficult” and time consuming, finding new music, digging though magazines like Kerrang from the UK etc, just made it all so much more exciting. The kids of today can’t even understand how that felt I think, today we’re all really spoiled, and all new music is so easy to find, on the internet, you know.

I had some kind of small bands with my friends in Bergen, but we were quite young and just played for fun, though over the years, 1987- 88 and so forth, I was getting better, and started to compose some music of my own, around 1988, and in my first “serious” band, Putrefaction ( we actually had the old demo, released as a 7 “ last year ) I was doing some songwriting together with the other guitarist. The band split up though, around 1992, the other members lost interest and went their own ways, and I quickly started up my own band, which eventually became Ancient. Grimm, the drummer from Putrefaction, and old friend of mine, became the drummer and singer for the first Ancient albums. He left the band in 1995, but we are very glad to have him on stage as special guest now, after all these years, as we are now doing what will probably be the last of the “ Svartalvheim & Trolltaar Anniversary Tour “. Covid indeed screwed our plans a lot, and this long “ tour” has actually been going on from 2019 until now, but it’s all good. There are talks already about a possible live album release from this tour, which will be the first live album from Ancient !

Do you have a last word, or something that’s on your heart you want to share with the readers of Bonavox?

I want to thank all our fans in the Netherlands for the great support and we look forward a lot to be on stage again there !!

THANKS…have a  save trip to the Netherlands

Thank you !!