Interview with Swedish Barons of High Energy Rock — MÄRVEL

There were many curious sights at HRH AOR this year but none more freakishly extrovert than MÄRVEL.

They are a Swedish band formed in 2002 when John Steen (The King) with Ulrik Bostedt (Speedo) and Tony Samuelsson (The Vicar) spent their high school exchange year in Colorado, USA wisely — i.e. dodging classes, swigging beer and playing rock n roll in a garage with friends.

The band have a ‘revolving’ bassist — hence Ulrik Bostedt (Speedo) — who isn’t allowed to cross Swedish borders — is replaced by another character “The Aviator” (he tours abroad) and also recently a third bassist “The Burgher” who joins the band for some missions.

It would be difficult to describe the band without using adjectives that might be unfamilar to you…  but here goes:

MÄRVEL are three very tall Edwardian hipster/Goth sadomasochists who wear 1940s steampunkist uniforms — adorned with shiny metal things — and they cover their faces with bondage masks. When questioned, they speak almost nothing… Yet they play high-decibel rock ‘n’ metal glam-fantasy numbers with lots of catchy riffs and some lead-breaks that make metal-fans cry in adoration. And their intoxicating vocals seem created in Electric Heaven.


“We're music lovers. First and foremost. It's all about the melodies..”
“We’re music lovers. First and foremost. It’s all about the melodies..”

Tell us what is happening in the Märvel world.

We are working on a mini-album, just six songs, because we felt we didn’t want it to take too long between releases. We have had Hadal Zone Express, our most recent album [2014] out for a while and we wanted to keep people excited [with the mini-album] and we will get back into the studio in the fall.

Will you be playing some of the songs from that EP on stage today at the HRH AOR festival?

No, it will be all new stuff...”

Tell us about the new stuff then…

Well, it hasn’t been written yet! It’s in the process of being written. But I guess it will be more of the same. If you like Märvel stuff then you will probably like the new ones.”

So, when you are actually writing, what do you do, test it out on an audience? Is that part of the process?

Yes, that happens. But we haven’t really decided the direction of it yet, so… We get songs written in multiple styles… Then we  choose a path for it.

What style do you think they will like here at AOR? Have you done any research to discover what the crowds wants to hear at the festival?

We are here to play rock ‘n’ roll. It will be high-energy. For sure.

Imagine you had travelled in your time-machine and whizzed back to 1980s Sunset Strip… Who would you want to meet down the L.A. Boulevard for a drink and a smoke?

It’s hard to meet Lemmy now…so yes him. And also Mötley Crüe — that would be nice. Well, maybe not nice… but it would be fun, probably. As you might haver noticed we are not answering quickly. We are not the usual rock ‘n’ roll guys. We are not rowdy party dudes. We are more into the music than the err…. [life style] …  we let the other bands do the partying.

So would you say you’re a technical band then?

No, not at all. We feel it here [they slap their chests] heart and mind. We listen to such different music. From Northern Soul to West Coast sounds and heavy metal and rock. Motown, folk music, anything… We’re music lovers. First and foremost. It’s all about the melodies..”



In Sweden we like real rock. What we call barbecue rock…

“ We're music lovers... We listen to anything... from Northern Soul to West Coast sounds and heavy metal & rock”
“We’re music lovers… We listen to anything… from Northern Soul to West Coast sounds and heavy metal & rock”

So is the W.A.S.P “Love Machine” cover real rock then? [It was played at HRH AOR] Why did you choose to cover that number?

Well, we grew up listening to W.A.S.P. We had it close to our heart. It was always there, you know.

Did you de-construct that and then re-create it again?

Yeah! That’s what we try to do. If we do a cover, we wanna make it our own, of course. So we don’t want it to be note-for-note. We tried [the song] out for maybe a year in a live environmnet to see how it worked and we really liked it and we have a fantastic video for it…

So you are glam rockers dressed as Marvel heroes / anti heroes… How come Marvel Comics Group haven’t sued you yet?

Well, we have the dots over the A Actually, we got an email from a guy who wanted to make a comic strip of the band. [Which is fun] We did that early on with our first singles. In the beginning we didn’t use the umlaut over the A. A lot of Swedes pronounce the band-name “MELDVEL” and in Germany they say it it like “SCHMAEGEL” but for us just “Marvel” is best…

Have you played the UK before?

No… Actually this is our first show in Britain.

What do you expect the audience reaction will be?

Well we have heard all about it. Men with clubs and axes. Swords and armour. And it’s gonna be really exciting because this is the first time that this line-up has played together: The “Charlatan” Tony Thornensson our drummer… It’s exciting having a new drummer aboard. We still have the old drummer “The Vicar” we never swap-out musicians we just add more. And it’s like Hell’s Angels, you cannot leave Märvel. The band just grows-and-grows. We have got three bassists now… and two drummers. And only one singer. That’s unfortunate. We need to get another one…

Congratulations on your successes so far and welcome to Hard Rock Hell and good luck with the new album.

Märvel were talking to @neilmach 2016 © at HRH United on the AOR stage
Images by Neil Mach

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