Guitarist and bandleader Johan Reinholdz
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Inner Wound Records for providing
the promotional pictures of the band
The Swedish progressive metal act Andromeda, released their brand new album MANIFEST OF TYRANNY at the end of last year and I got a hold of guitarist and bandleader Johan Reinholdz in order to talk about the bands new fifth album. I thought it would be the perfect time to get an update on what’s been going on in the Andromeda camp since the last time I interviewed them.
Hi Johan, I hope you are fine today and ready to answer some questions :)?
Hell yes! Let's go!
Let's start with talking about the brand new album MANIFEST TYRANNY released by your band Andromeda. For how long have you worked with the album?
Shit I hardly remember anymore. I think the songwriting began in 2009.
Who in the band writes the material? What are the lyrics about?
Me and Martin wrote most of the new album. Some of the stuff was put together in the rehearsal room though, some of the arrangements.
The lyrics are more political than before. More or less all the lyrics are political.
Does the band rehearse a lot together?
So so. Mainly when we have a recording or gigs coming up.
What have the members been up to in between the previous album THE IMMUNITY ZONE that came 2008 and the new album?
Everyday life I guess.
Do you think that Andromeda have developed when it comes to the music? If so in what way?
Yes I think we've developed a lot. I mean if you compare “Extension.. “, “II=I” and “Manifest Tyranny” - they are very different albums all three. It hardly sounds like the same band, but you can still find elements of the Andromeda-identity.
What do you think of the older albums with Andromeda today?
I like all the albums. They all have their strong points. The only album I'm not that fond of the live-album “Playing off the Board”. It sounds pretty stale and dead. But then again the audience was more or less dead so no wonder.
What is the main difference between MANIFEST TYRANNY and the previous Andromeda albums?
I think it's pretty similar to “The Immunity Zone” but it's darker and heavier – but also softer. Also - on “Manifest..” we use a lot of speech-samples and such which we've only done once or twice before.
I've read somewhere that the band is called Swedish progressive masters what do you think of that?
Sounds correct. Hehe. No, I don't know really. Are we progressive? Don't know what the word means anymore.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Andromeda plays?
I used to say “progressive metal” in all the interviews more or less to please the interviewer, because it was the easiest thing to do. But I'm so fed up with labels on music. I couldn't fucking care less about those labels.
Just call it Andromeda. That's about it.
Did you have any releaseparty for the album when it was released in Europe? If so when and where took the party place?
No we didn't throw a party.
Why took it so long for you to follow up THE IMMUNITY ZONE?
Laziness and trouble with record-companies.
MANIFEST TYRANNY is also available in an exclusive wooden box edition what can you tell us about that edition of the album. Does it contain anything special like extra songs or other items?
No. Well, a sticker I believe.
What does the title MANIFEST TYRANNY stands for?
It's a secret.
Who has done the cover art-work and what do you think of it?
My girlfriend Sofia Bennrup did all the artwork except for the cover. Some guy at Inner Wound did it. Can't remember his name.
I know that you shot a video to the song “Preemptive Strike” what can you tell us about the video?
It's mainly us bashing it out in our rehearsal room. Check it out here! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiSaakTpZ-o
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs?
There were plans for a video for “Lies R Us”.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
Have you ready any reviews in the media? Do you and the band care about what critics say about your work?
I've read some of the reviews and most of them were positive – so that's cool! I used to care a lot more when I was younger. I remember responding very emotionally and angrily to a terrible review we got for “Extension...”, or “II=I” can't remember which. That's ridiculous I think – to respond to a review, you should never do that, it´s just bullshit. Just stand above that shit and don't let the idiots drag you down to their level.
Nowadays I don´t care very much for reviews. To each his own so to speak.
How have the fans responded on the new album?
Where was the album recorded and who has produced it?
The drums were recorded at the Music Academy here in Malmö, the vocals David did in the Roasting House-studio where he works as a songwriter. The guitars I recorded at home plus Fabian cut his tracks here too. Martin recorded his stuff at home. He also produced it, but I was present at the mixing to irritate him and get some of my ideas across.
Did the entire band gather in the studio at the same time to record the disc or did you recorded the parts separately?
Who did the mixing and mastering? Where was that work done?
It was mixed by Martin and a guy called Marcus Nilsson with me and David and also Thomas participating some days to give our opinions. It was mixed and mastered at Sunnanå Studios outside Malmö.
THE IMMUNITY ZONE was released by Nightmare Records and MANIFEST TYRANNY is released by Inner Wound Records in Europe.
Why did you leave Nightmare Records in Europe?
We wanted a label with better distribution in Europe.
Which label releases your albums outside Europe and the US?
Inner Wound I think.
Are you happy with the work your new European label have put into the band and the album so far?
Yes, very much so. They care about the band.
What's the biggest difference between working with Nightmare Records and Inner Wound Records?
Not very much. But Inner Wound is a Swedish label so it's a bit smoother plus they seem more dedicated to Andromeda.
The band have been signed to a few labels through out the years, what do you think of labels over all?
They mainly suck.
Is it possible to legally download your albums somewhere?
iTunes possibly. Most of our albums are also available on Spotify now.
Are you currently working with any booking agency or management?
Yes – Intromental from Denmark.
Who own the legal rights to your older albums today?
I have a hard time to find you albums out in the records stores and it is hard even on the bigger online stores here. What do you think of that?
That's not good.
Are there any plans on re-releasing the older items?
Yes, there is! Inner Wound is in the making of re-releasing the old stuff electronically and also making vinyls of the back-catalogue which is very very cool! We've been dying to make vinyls forever.
The line-up have been solid for quite a while but now have bass player Gustavsson chosen to leave the band why?
His playing wasn't up to the standard we wanted. He's a great bass player, but the songs we write demands a lot of the musicians and he didn't cut it.
Was the departure expected?
Yes, pretty. It just came natural.
Was it hard to find a new bass player?
No, we'd had Linus in mind for a long time.
Was Abrahamsson the obvious choice for the band?
Yes it was. We´ve known him for a while. Well, at least I and Martin a bit. I hung out with him every now and then and when the situation became impossible with Fabian and he was let go we contacted Linus.
What did your fans thinks of Gustasvsson departure and Abrahamsson as the new bass player?
They seem really happy with him.
How come Abrahamsson goes under the nickname Mr. Gul?
He loves yellow! It's just his thing. You have to ask him about it. Hehe! He ALWAYS wears something yellow. He has yellow guitars and stuff. The man loves yellow beyond love!
Is he know a solid member in the line-up?
Definitely, we couldn't have gotten anyone better for the job.
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
I think the Netherlands, France and USA.
The music genre your in are a bit narrow but do you think that you're gaining more fans for every record you release?
I hope so. It seems that way. Lot of mails and messages from all over the globe.
The band have got a really great website who runs it and do you think it's important to be a part of the various social forums that are available today?
That's really important yes. We run it together with the great Serbian web-designer Zoran Perin. A big thanx to him!
Do you get a lot of mail from fans and what's the most common question they ask the band?
Yes we do. One of the most common questions is - “When will you come to X to play?”.
Andromeda is featured in a computer game can you tell us about that?
We are collaborating with American label Rhythm Authors releasing our songs for download to the game Rock Band. Really cool! And a good source of income instead of album-sales.
What's the status with your other band Skyfire?
New album coming up. Great shit.
What's the status with your band Nonexist? Any album release soon?
I'm currently finish the new Nonexist-album “From My Cold Dead Hands” which is gonna be released by Pivotal Rockordings. I've written most of it and am also producing it. Great to have Johan Liiva on board again for the vocals!
You're a real guitar-virtuoso how does it feel to be admired by so many?
That´s really cool and inspiring! I bow down and thank my fans big-time!
What do you do when you don't create music?
Work out – running and lifting weights. Playing video-games, hang out at the beach in the summertime. Hang out with my girlfriend and my friends, drink beer and get wasted, watch movies and read books. I also work as a guitar teacher.
What do you like the most to write, compose, play live or record?
All of it for different reasons.
Do you have any thoughts on releasing a solo album?
Yes, except for the new Nonexist-album I'm planning a non-metal, non-rock in fact album. No deadline yet.
You have been in the business for a while now and do you think the music industry have changed since your first started out? Is it for good or for worse?
Mostly for the worse. Less money for touring.
How many bands/projects are you currently involved in?
Andromeda, Nonexist, Skyfire and some solo-shit.
I read that Andromeda only played live three times last year and the year before that only six, is that true and why so few live shows?
We've had some really good tour-offers these last couple of years, but we've been forced to turn them down because it would have ruined us. Sad but true. Most people don't realize this – if you're not a big band with a large following – touring is gonna cost you a hell of a lot of money. Nowadays when nobody buys albums there are no money to pay for the bus, the petrol, the food, the hotel-rooms etc. Also – as an opening band you have to pay to the main band. How fucked up is that?!
Would you like to do more live performances or?
Has Andromeda done any international touring so far?
We've played Russia, USA, Netherlands, France, UK, Denmark, Germany, Turkey and Poland so far. Israel will be dealt with this autumn...
Was it the first time Andromeda performed in Belgium this year? How did the show went?
Yes, that was our first show in Belgium. It went great! Really fun. Well organized festival and a generous bar after the gig... hehe! Accept was the perfect band to get drunk to.
What did the fans thought of the new songs?
They loved the new stuff!
How come you're going to Israel and play later this year? Is it a festival show?
They invited us and it seems like a cool festival plus we get to see Israel, a country we've never been to.
Do you think that you're going to do more live shows this year?
Yep I do.
How come that you play so few shows during the years here in Scandinavia?
Good question. Unluck?
Are there any plans on try to conquer the North American/Asian market soon?
Which one of the Andromeda albums have sold most copies?
I think the two first albums “Extension of the Wish” and “II=I”. That was back in the days when people still bought albums...
When can we expect the next album from Andromeda to be in stores? Does the fans have to wait another 4 years?
Don't know at all actually.
Are you happy with what Andromeda has achieved so far?
Both happy and also a bit unhappy. Very happy with all the great times with my buddies in the band and all the high-quality albums we have put out. Unhappy with the length of the tours...
We have played a lot of cool shows though, memories I will never forget.
What do you have to say to the ones who haven't discovered Andromeda yet?
Well – what are you waiting for guys?! Get our stuff now!
What are the plans for the band and for you personally during the rest of 2012?
Get more shows, finish the Nonexist. Try to unwind somehow,
I've had a way too hectic schedule for a long time now...
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy MANIFEST TYRANNY?
1. Long playing time, hehe...
2.Good variation between aggression, melody, good songwriting and more complex passages.
3.Interesting, thought-worthy lyrics and...
4.Very cool artwork both on the front and back plus inside the booklet!
Well, that was all for me for this time. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
Hmmm... Check out our albums and our gigs if you get the chance!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview and I wish you and the band all the best in the future.
Thank you for your support! Take care, bye!