Do Meshuggah really hate djent? That’s been the assumption of some fans over the years, but in an exclusive interview with Meshuggah’s Mårten Hagström, the guitarist clears the air on the band’s view of the genre they created.
Meshuggah’s newest album, Immutable, comes out April 1 following a six-year wait. The band’s longest album to date expands once again on their signature sound, which was famously dubbed “djent” by Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor. But Meshuggah do not hate the genre they brought to life. In fact, Hagström told Loudwire that he’s stoked on how many up-and-coming acts have been influenced by Meshuggah.
“Some bands have popped up that are getting bigger, that are into us. That’s really cool and that’s really gratifying. We really love the fact that people cite us as inspiration. I know I’ve gotten the question, ‘You guys hate the djent movement and you guys hate this and that.’ It’s like, ‘No, dude. That’s not true at all. The simple fact is that we’re old, lazy Swedish dudes who’ve been doing this stuff for a very long time. So when we do a new album, I don’t listen to new music at all.”
He continues, “Whoever you are and whatever you want to do that has any creative nerve or any creative side to it… don’t you want to be a person who inspires others the way you were inspired by something? That’s the greatest compliment, regardless of what they sound like.”
Hagström also revealed that although guitarist Fredrik Thordendal’s playing does appear on Immutable, the guitarist did not take part in the writing process for the record.
“[Fredrik’s writing credits on Immutable are] pretty much the same as for The Violent Sleep of Reason… so nothing,” Hagström says. “For Koloss, he said, ‘Guys, I’m not gonna write as much for this album… and he didn’t. He basically wrote one song and then collaborated with the rest of us on other bits and pieces here and there. For Violent Sleep of Reason, he said outright, ‘I’m not going to write a single note for this one.’”
“The deal [with Fredrik] was that he’d have three-and-a-half years run with [his solo work] and see how far that got him. We had this meeting and we’re like, ‘Okay, the three-and-a-half years are up. How do we feel.’ He was like, ‘If I’d be able to come back, I’d love to. That’s my place, that’s what I feel. I’ve been doing this now for three-and-a-half years and I’m still not done. I’m cool with coming back if you guys are.’ We were like, ‘F—k yeah, let’s bring the band back together, go out and tour.”
When it came down to whether or not Thordendal would physically play on the album, Meshuggah’s longtime lead guitarist offered his services, which the band heartily accepted. “We were like, ‘Man, we have a bunch of tracks that need Fredrik Thordendal leads,” Hagström recalls. “His lead sound would be amiss. It wouldn’t be a true Meshuggah album if he didn’t play leads on it. For the four tracks that Fredrik played leads for, we sent the stems to him at Studio 33 and he recorded it there.”
Although Hagström hasn’t listened to Immutable since he finished recording the 68-minute beast, he’s looking forward to revisiting the album once it’s been released.
“I try to not listen to [a new album] for a year or two, just to have a shot of listening to it with as open ears as possible. Granted, it’s never going to happen. You’re never going to blow yourself away or anything like that. I try to not put as much focus on what you feel when you’re actually releasing the album, because it’s the tail end of a long process.”
Thanks again to Mårten Hagström for talking with us. Click here to grab a copy of Meshuggah’s Immutable, coming out April 1.