Man the Machetes | Interview with Christopher Iversen

If you haven’t heard of Man the Machetes yet, you’re committing a big flaw. Not only they’re one of the most promising bands from Norway nowadays, but they’ve also released a smashing first album entitled “Idiokrati”.
We approached vocalist Christopher Iversen to find out more about the Man The Machetes and why they’re often tagged Kvelertak younger brothers.

A surprising concoction of early punk, rock ‘n’ roll, hardcore and metal, Man the Machetes’ debut full length album “Idiokrati” is loud and angry yet mesmerising and catchy. It seems that you guys come from different backgrounds or at least have some divergent tastes in music. How did you come around to bring all these influences into your music?

We thanketh thee for such generous words - much appreciated! You're spot on about us having some slightly different tastes in music. To be frank, you'll find fans of everything from Rihanna to Gorgoroth among the members in MTM - a feat we feel shines through in our music. However, I guess we were brought together by a common passion for the hard and aggressive, yet melodic soundscape. We basically write and play music which feels natural to us, both as individuals and as a band.

There has been a lot of positive feedback on this album, yet I noticed Man the Machetes often gets lumped in with Kvelertak, a band whose sound also encompasses a wide range of divergent styles. Does it bother you when people say you sound similar to them or do you find that flattering?

Haha, no, not at all! We saw it coming to be honest, you know, since we're playing aggressive tunes with Norwegian vocals and everything. Everyone in Man the Machetes likes Kvelertak's music, so we find it kind of flattering to be compared to them.

The album was record in Toronto, Canada during four weeks with producer Eric Ratz, who has previously worked with bands like Billy Talent, Cancer Bats and Comeback Kid. Was it easier for you guys to record way from home and the usual distractions from your everyday life?

Definitely! Tracking demos in your local studio is one thing, but being away from home for a long period of time for the sole purpose of recording an album is something completely different. You become part of a setting which gives you drive and focus when approaching your music, a setting where you are isolated together with your tunes and the occasional cup of coffee for weeks. And food of course. :) Physical and mental distractions disappear, and you're able to pour that extra amount energy into what's happening here and now.

There’s a lot of energy in your album and a lot of the songs have this live vibe with some engaging and catchy guitar riffs. Would you say that energy was there when you were writing the songs, or did that come in the studio?

Thanks - that's one of the things we're aiming for. The energy tends to build up gradually when we start writing a new song, and if it doesn't cumulate with us being stoked like crazed monkeys when the song is finished, we pick it apart and rewrite it. One of our goals is to write music which gives us goosebumps, regardless if it's the 1th or 1000th playthrough, and that requires some revisions from time to another. The energy was definitely maintained during our stay at Vespa Studios, with Ratz being charismatic and everything, and listening to the songs as they were put together gave us a boost we hadn't experienced before.

I’ve read in recent study that Norway is the happiest place to live in the whole world and that Norwegians are quite satisfied with their standards of living. So where exactly do you get the fuel to churn out such an angry and energetic sound?

In a society which has everything needed to maintain a good lifestyle for most of its citizens, you'll find many elements which tend to lean towards the superficial and the egocentric. I thinks it's safe to say that this isn't a problem for Norway only, but rather a global problem which evolves around industrialized and rich countries where people have all their basic needs fulfilled. This breeds, among other unwanted things, a "dumbing down" of people.

What is the meaning behind the title of the disc, “Idiokrati”? What inspires the lyrical themes the most?

We chose the title Idiokrati (Idiocracy) because we felt that it reflected or summed up the lyrical themes of the songs in a good way. The lyrics are inspired by topics like: anti-social behaviour, polarization of mass media, violence, religion, individualism etc.

What's next for Man the Machetes?

Gigs, gigs and...gigs. :) 

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