Charles Rytk?nen, vocalist for Lefay (formerly known as Morgana Lefay)

August 24th, 2005
by EvilG

Charles Rytk?nen, vocalist for Lefay (formerly known as Morgana Lefay)
Interviewed in July 1999 by EvilG

Lefay - Tony, Robin, CHARLES, Micke, Peter


Charles:
Hello this is Charles Rytk?nen.

Metal Rules!!
Right on, how are ya doing?

Charles:
I’m fine!

MR!!
Great! I’ll get some common questions out of the way first. I’m sure you’re sick of being asked a couple of these questions.

Charles:
Awww..it’s ok.

 

Metal Rules!!
What happened to the past members of Morgana Lefay, where are they now and why did they move away from where the rest of the band was located?

Charles:
The thing is that, the three former members of Morgana Lefay they wanted to move to Stockholm to get jobs, to earn some money haha…and what could we do about that? They had to decide for themselves what to do. We told them that if they wanted to continue with Morgana Lefay, they had to come to Bolnas (ed note: sorry,I’m not sure of the spelling here) which is the name of our hometown. They had to come here for the rehearsals but they couldn’t do that. We said, well you have to leave the band and we’ll take three new members. So we took three friends of ours, which we have known for many years, and that’s the way it is.

 

Metal Rules!!
Do you know what they are doing now, if they are just working or are they in another band?

Charles:
Yeah, the former drummer and former guitarist they have another band now. The former bass player, I don’t know what he is up to actually but I have good contact with the drummer.

 

Metal Rules!!
When this all happened and the guys moved away this was probably a dark and depressing time for you…did you ever become disillusioned or consider packing it in and quitting the band?

Charles:
No, never…Never quit the band….we were a little bit pissed off of course because of the legal problem we had when we changed the label. There was a struggle there with lawyers for nine months and I don’t know what happened but in the end we had to change the name from Morgana Lefay to another name. We took away only ‘Morganna’.

 

Metal Rules!!
Is there any reason why you decided to just keep ‘Lefay’ as opposed to a brand new name?

Charles:
We thought about getting a brand new name but those names were really…haha…stupid names like “No Name” and “Fuck Black Mark” hahaha….No but seriously, we thought about some names but it didn’t fit us. We wanted to have the name Morgana Lefay. I mean, that’s my invention! It’s my name god damn it!! haha…We are Morgana Lefay under disguise.

 

Metal Rules!!
So for all intents and purposes, would you say that “The Seventh Seal” is the new Morgana Lefay record?

Charles:
Yes, although some people think perhaps that it is totally different from the other albums. We don’t have that opinion actually. We think it is pretty much Morgana Lefayish.

 

Metal Rules!!
How would you explain the differences between the current line-up and the old line-up?

Charles:
The difference is that the new line-up is more…I don’t know, I think we have more power, there is new life. It feels like we have some new blood.

 

Metal Rules!!
What strengths have the new members brought into the band and the writing?

Charles:
Ummm….just fresh blood. When it comes to song writing, Tony and I have done the songs here. Hopefully they will be a part of the song writing for the next album. They also play in another band besides this band so…

Metal Rules!!
What band is that?

Charles:
That’s a band called Phantasmogoria (sp?).

 

Metal Rules!!
So was the writing for “The Seventh Seal” done just by you and Tony or were any songs left over form the previous line-up?

Charles:
Well some riffs, some ideas, were from the old line-up. But I mean, Tony did most of the material at that time as well. It’s always been like he’s doing the instrumental parts and I’m doing the lyrics. I have had help of course from the former members of Morgana Lefay with some lines here and there and we have helped Tony. Sometimes its good to be there and tell him that perhaps you should change this or that. Everybody needs another person’s opinion sometime.

 

Metal Rules!!
Perhaps you can tell me what is the seventh seal and do you believe in the prophecy kind of stuff that you are writing about here?

Charles:
The Seventh Seal is based on a story from the bible. I don’t know if I believe it that much…I mean I believe in good, I believe in evil, I believe in lots of different things. But I have a distance from it, I’m no fanatic person haha…in any way. Because I believe in a lot of things I write about a lot of things. All the things I write about is something that I believe in or something that I am very interested in or something that I wish could happen. 

 

Metal Rules!!
What in general inspired most of the lyrics for this album, maybe you can give me an example by telling me what some of the songs are about like “Shadow Empire” or “The Boon He Gives.”

Charles:
Ohhh….the Shadow Empire that’s a very old lyric actually from my old band called Sepher Jezirah  in 1986 or something. The song is about the bad guys taking over the good guys throne and they want to rule from there. And “The Boon He Gives” is about a man who believes in certain things…he believes in god, or whatever. He thinks that what he believes in is really good. Then he dies and he comes to this promised paradise and it’s more like a hell. It’s like a psychedelic prison.

Metal Rules!!
Is that kinda of like the lyric – “It’s burning in heaven, the trinity lies.”?

Charles:
Yeah, exactly. In death he learns that the god he believes in wasn’t that good after all.

 

Metal Rules!!
Do you have any songs from the new CD that you are exceptionally proud of?

Charles:
Yeah, a couple of them but that changes day to day. But I really like “Moonlit Night”, “The Boon He Gives”, “The Seventh Seal.” Perhaps next week I’ll like another more haha…

 

Metal Rules!!
I recently only got my copy of “The Seventh Seal” a few weeks back because the release date for North America was so much after the European date. Can you explain why that happened?

Charles:
Well, you should ask Noise about that haha…because I was asking them as well “Hey why don’t you release the album in the States?” I didn’t get a straight answer on that so…

 

Metal Rules!!
Have you done much touring for the new CD and will anywhere in North America be a stop on this tour?

Charles:
We did a tour, we did a European tour together with Nevermore in March and April. There are no plans for a tour in America. 

 

Metal Rules!!
Have you ever toured North America?

Charles:
Never, but that’s a wish. We’d really like to go over there and play but there’s no plans for a tour. We will talk with Noise about it to see if we could do something there. I think they want us to wait a while, I’m not sure.

 

Metal Rules!!
That seems to be the situation with a lot of band from Europe. Not many bands make it over…

Charles:
First of all I think it is very expensive to bring five people and the equipment overseas and I think it’s a question of money in the end, it’s an economical thing. That’s the most boring part of this playing music thing because it should be just that easy, that you could just go out there and play wherever you wanted but there’s always the money problem.

 

Metal Rules!!
Perhaps you can give me an overview of the current setlist that was played on the European tour. I’m kinda interested in finding out how much of the older material you still play live.

Charles:
I don’t have the entire setlist in my head actually but we play a lot of old material and 3 or 4 songs from the new album only – because of this change of the name and everything. We wanted to show the audience that we are still Morgana Lefay so we wanted to play a lot of older material. We have to keep on doing that for this and the next year I guess just to smash it into their brains that we are still alive.

 

Metal Rules!!
Who have you toured with, besides Nevermore, for this tour?

Charles:
Well on the tour with Nevermore there was also Nocturnal Rites and Sacred Steel. Then we played some festivals and we’re gonna play at the Waken Open Air in August. We said no to a tour with Riot. It was a two week tour in Germany.

 

Metal Rules!!
Why did you say no, was it just not a good time?

Charles:
It was definitely bad timing yeah. I got a (newborn) son at the same time.

 

Metal Rules!!
Back to the live stuff, for people like myself, who won’t have a chance to see you any time soon, has the band ever considered a live home video or a live CD?

Charles:
We had the chance to record a live CD when we supported Gamma Ray on the European tour in ’95 but Black Mark said no to that. I don’t know why. There are definitely no plans for a video. Perhaps we should make a home video like for ourselves with like stupid things but we would never pay a lot of money to record a video because nobody would watch it anyway. I think it’s better to put the money into a tour instead.

 

Metal Rules!!
So why did you leave Black Mark and how did the deal with Noise Records come about?

Charles:
Noise came to us in ’95 on the tour and asked us if we wanted to end up on their label. We weren’t satisfied with Black Mark we couldn’t develop anymore there. They couldn’t do what we wanted them to do. We had never seen any money out of it, nothing. So…yeah, that’s why we changed.

 

Metal Rules!!
By leaving Black Mark did you maintain the rites to your older material?

Charles:
They have the rites to that for sometime, I guess…

 

Metal Rules!!
I’ve read that the compilation CD “Fata Morgana” was released by Black Mark without the bands knowledge or approval. That must of really pissed you off?

Charles:
Yeah that really pissed us off because we’re not dead yet so why should there be a best of album. I mean we’re pretty young as a band haha…so they could of waited for like 20 years or something!

 

Metal Rules!!
So you don’t plan on re-releasing and of your old material any time soon? I know you’re doing the “Symphony of the Damned” which is a re-recording.

Charles:
Yeah, that’s a re-recording of our very first album which was never under a label – it was self-financed. It will be released the 23rd of August.

Metal Rules!!
Is the 23rd the release date for Europe or the world?

Charles:
Yeah that’s for Europe. I don’t even know if it’s going to be released in the States. We did this album for the die-hard fans because they have forced us to do this almost haha.

 

Metal Rules!!
Are you happy now with the current promotion and distribution of your CD?

Charles:
Definitely!! I compare this to Black Mark and I must say I am so happy now. Black Mark was good in one way, because of them we got out to play to some people but I don’t have that much more to say about them. It’s like comparing plus and minus.

 

Metal Rules!!
You’ve been pretty much banging away at it with Morgana Lefay for most of the 90′s yet pretty much in North America at least, a lot of people don’t know who you are. Are you bothered by this underdog status?

Charles:
No! I mean if that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is. We don’t have a problem with that. There are a lot of bands playing this kind of music and there’s a lot of bands in the States and I guess it’s easier for them to come up from the gutter haha.

 

Metal Rules!!
What bands on the scene today do you respect or listen to yourself?

Charles:
Right now I don’t listen to anything actually. I hardly listen to music anymore, well I listen to it but mostly at a party or something. I never sit down and put on a record but if I do I put on the old vinyl’s like Uriah Heap and Black Mark…no not Black Mark…hey!! Black Sabbath hahaha. definitely not Black Mark haha…and some Savatage perhaps, Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Gamma Ray, Nevermore, Sanctuary, a lot of bands but not that many bands from the 90′s. It’s mostly bands from the 70′s and 80′s for me.

 

Metal Rules!!
Most of those would of been your influences I assume?

Charles:
Yeah, some of them.

 

Metal Rules!!
Can you relate to a lot of the newer bands that are coming out of Sweden that many have labeled as the new wave of Swedish death metal?

Charles:
New wave of Swedish….???

Metal Rules!!
Death metal.

Charles:
To be honest with you I don’t know anything about those bands because death metal is definitely not my cup of tea. It’s a totally different kind of thing from what we’re doing. Then again yesterday we were driving to another town, we went to see The Matrix…

Metal Rules!!
Awesome! Did you like it?

Charles:
Yeah I really liked that one! That’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in months. But anyway I was listening to In Flames and I must say that I was surprised because I have never heard them before. It was death metal but I could stand their vocals a little bit more than I can do with the real death. I don’t like the dark growling singing. There is a death metal scene here in Sweden and in Norway.

Metal Rules!!
It seems as if a lot of Black Metal has come out of there.

Charles:
Yeah that black Metal crap is more in Norway. 

 

Metal Rules!!
So back to Morgana Lefay…or Lefay I should say haha…

Charles:
Whatever you want…

Metal Rules!!
Has any work or thought gone into the next studio album yet?

Charles:
That is our biggest problem for the moment because we have had great weather here for several weeks and we haven’t rehearsed for six weeks but I think Tony has some riffs and ideas. I haven’t got a clue what to write about….haha. That’s why I’m watching movies like The Matrix and reading books and stuff like that….trying to collect some information.

 

Metal Rules!!
So you don’t help as much with the music, you’re more the lyricist?

Charles:
Yeah, but of course I’m into the music but I put more energy into writing lyrics because Tony is making such good music himself without me. Sometime we have to sit down together because I have something that I want to sing. So I have to work very closely with him to make it fit with the music. Most times he makes the music and he comes to me and says -  hey here’s a song can you song on this one? And I want to kill him because it’s impossible to sing on it haha…but I manage somehow.

 

Metal Rules!!
Personally I am not a big fan of ballads but strangely enough all the ballads you have written are the most tolerable/likeable because they are not sappy, they are very deep, emotional and haunting thanks to the vocals. Do you like playing these forms of ballads?

Charles:
Yeah definitely. For me I really like it because it gives me the right emotion for those specific kinds of lyrics as well. I really like to write about strange stuff. I have them very close to my heart. I also like the aggressive songs and the heavy songs. 

 

Metal Rules!!
Yeah there’s a good mixture of styles and moods with the heavy/aggressive songs with the mid-paced and then slower songs.

Charles:
Yeah, that’s what we do haha…we create a song and if we think it’s good we record it and it doesn’t necessarily have to sound like Pantera all the time. They only play aggressive now these days but on the Cowboys From Hell album it was like totally amazing. They mixed the aggression with some ballads and they did it really good. But now they are too aggressive for me. You’re really sweaty when you listen to a whole record by Pantera haha.

 

Metal Rules!!
Well that’s about all the questions I had for you. Is there are any other news or developments that you can pass along?

Charles:
No I don’t think so. Ii think you have it all there haha. If there is anymore news I think Noise Records will have it. I think they have the news before me even!

Metal Rules!!
They tell you what you are going to record before you record it…

Charles:
Hahaha yeah definitely, that exactly how it is…haha……thank you for your time and have a nice day.

Metal Rules!!
You to!

Charles:
Ok, it’s night here so I’ll have a nice night.

Metal Rules!!
Well have a good sleep then…

Charles:
Ok then see ya later…..


Thanks to Steve at Noise Records for setting up the interview and making it happen!!

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