INTERVIEW WITH JOHANNA AND NICKE ANDERSSON FROM
Lucifer made a huge impact on the doom metal fans with the debut album simply named LUCIFER I. When the first line-up of Lucifer dissolved and Nicke Andersson stepped into the picture, the second album once again simply named LUCIFER II saw the light of day. Lucifer has been touring and gigging a tremendous lot during the past few years. They have gained more attention and reached another level of the success with the hard and dedicated work. Metal-Rules.Com caught up with Johanna Andersson (Sadonis) and Nicke Andersson to talk about the album, music and of course cemeteries.
I have seen Nicke with his bands Entombed and Hellacopters several times, but I saw you first time with Lucifer…
Johanna : Today?
No. It was at the Rockburn Festival.
Johanna : That was one of the first shows with Lucifer.
Johanna : Yes.
At that time Lucifer sounded really heavy compared to nowadays.You had Gaz from Cathedral playing with you and the sound was really heavy and you didn’t get the room with your voice.
Johanna : No, because Gaz is very used to writing to people that raughgh. He doesn’t think of like vocal melody. He plays like a lot of crazy riffs and somebody just goes, wa, wa over the riff. But because I’m more of a melodic singer, I guess it was more difficult to work. It worked out.We made an album and I’m very fond of the album. I really love it. When I started working with Nicke, that was all of a sudden so easy to sing over music that Nicke gave to me.
Nicke : It’s because I’m such a pop wuss.
Johanna : No. It’s also because Nicke is a singer himself. He leaves room for that. It’s more catchy, but I wouldn’t say it’s not heavy. It’s heavy in a different way, maybe more in a ’70s kind of way. Gaz had this ’90s doom thing, which is really cool. I think this is also heavy and it’s also dark. I know what you mean, but I also wanted to open up Lucifer a little bit thematically. Because before there was only like kind happening on a cemetery. There is many spectrums to life and…
Nicke : You still do in the cemetery.
Johanna : I still have one foot in the grave. I will always. There is songs like “California Son” and it’s about the son and God, because all things belong to life at the best.
When the first lineup of Lucifer split up – Did you have the same kind of feeling when The Oath broke up “oh, not again” ? Or did you have a different kind of mood?
Johanna : No, it was different. Because with The Oath, that was really stupid. I’m sorry to say, because we had a lot of things going for us. There was a lot of things planned and I wanted to keep going with that band. Sometimes egos and people go like a little bit weird. It was not necessary to break up the band and it was a shame, because we had to cancel a lot of things. Anyways, I didn’t want that, but that happened. Then I thought, “Okay. I’m just going to continue. I have a lot of stuff to give and I want to play the music.” When that happened with Lucifer that was not on bad terms.There was nothing that happened or anything. There was not a personal problem or anything. At first I was a bit surprised, because I didn’t expect that. I was like, “How this will go now.” Nicke and I we had already met and we talked about it pretty immediately.Now in the end there turned out to be like the best thing that could have happened to me, because now Lucifer sounds actually how I wanted Lucifer to sound from the beginning.
Lucifer has been compared to stoner rock, but you hate that term, as it doesn’t describe your music.
Johanna : No, it doesn’t.
It has more 70’s vibe in your music.
Johanna : Yeah. I think this whole Stoner thing – First of all I think that started with bands like Kyuss.
Nicke : I know that you never thought themselves as stoner.
Johanna : We always have been with genres, the band songs. I think a lot of people from nowadays they don’t know the difference between what’s doom and what is maybe stoner? What is just like the heavy or hard rock or whatever? It gets all thrown into one box. I think we’re pretty far away from stoner bands. I think we’re a hard rock band, with like the doom element and the 70’s elements.
Nicke : There is a heavy Black Sabbath influence, hence the tuning down to C sharp.
Johanna : Yes. Black Sabbath is not a stoner band and there is so many facets to Black Sabbath. They have so much diverse material and I think that so called stoner scene, those kind of bands. There is like kind of neanderthalic (makes guitar noises) That’s like a little repetitive in my eyes. You don’t have so much like catchy song, songs. It’s much based on a certain sound and that’s maybe sounds, and maybe that is a sound that is derived from Black Sabbath, but that was just one of the many faces of Black Sabbath.
Nicke : I like the poppier stuff of Black Sabbath. I really do. If you take a song like “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, which I think is one of the best songs they ever did. I like many of them, but that’s one of the best. It’s actually the first song I’ve heard with Black Sabbath. If you look at the…I don’t know what it’s called. When they go down to the pre-chorus and whatever it is. It’s pop and that’s what makes everything metal heavy. The contrast and they have the contrast. If you don’t have the contrast, how can it be heavy? That’s how I believe.
Johanna That’s not how it started for me actually, because I think when I was a teenager I grew up like “What?”. When I was consciously going to shows was like the mid ’90s.At that time the Krautrock scene had been largely forgotten among teenagers like I was at that time. I didn’t really know much about that. I thought Scorpions is like “Wind of Change” and the stuff and I felt it’s kind of like….
Johanna : Yes, but I didn’t know this. I found that out later. Then I started listening to the 70’s stuff and I was like, “Oh my God. I had no idea how awesome this band was.” Then I started digging into that same type of stuff.
TAKEN BY FORCE and the stuff like that.
Johanna : Yeah. IN TRANCE is my favorite Scorpions album. There is a lot of American and English metal, that’s what I grew up on.
You used to work on your own basically, when writing the songs. You didn’t have an outsider input that much. When you started working with Johanna, you had to change your style.
Nicke Yeah. I was welcoming it, but I had never done it before. I was really curious to see if it would work. I had a feeling it would, but of course I didn’t know. It was interesting. When Johanna and me started talking about writing for Lucifer, how she wrote with Gaz and we talked about that. It was like, “Cool.” Then the only Lucifer show I saw… I’ve known Gaz…
Johanna : That was actually in Finland.
Nicke : Yes, it was in Finland.
Johanna : We ignited the Blow Up Festival, when Nicke saw Lucifer. That was the Blow Up That Gramophone Festival. When we played some years ago.
Nicke : We had talked about the song writing and then I talked to Gaz, because I’ve known him since early ’90s. I haven’t seen him for decades. I talked to him too about it. I don’t know. Subconsciously I was really interested in how you write with someone else, because I always write with myself. I don’t know how that happened, but I had talked to you and I even talked to Gaz. Then Johanna said, “Gaz just quit.” The first thing I thought about wasn’t that that was a bad thing. The first thing I thought was, aha. That was call it egoistic, whatever, but that was our thought. Maybe we can write something together.
Nicke : I don’t know. I actually don’t remember it.
And The Oath.
Nicke : I knew The Oath and I heard the Oath I liked it and I was a fan of the Oath. My memory is not the best. It’s never been the best. I had heard it and I liked it. I remember this one. When I heard it, what I thought the first time. I thought, “This sounds like Cathedral with a good singer.”
To be honest, when I saw Lucifer the first time at Roadburn, I had the same kind of feeling.
Johanna : I have to say though that Roadburn show, I think, was the fourth show for Lucifer. I was very nervous and it’s a far cry from what the band is in life now. Were you at the show today?
Johanna : It’s very different now.
Nicke : Don’t get me wrong. I am a Cathedral fan.
Johanna Yeah. I was too.
Nicke : I have albums still and everything. I thought that was funny, because when I thought it. It was like, “It sounds like Cathedral with a good singer.” I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t be thinking this.” I don’t know. Now I got sidetracked or the question. Even in The Oath and I really liked Johanna’s voice and I think I was intrigued by your voice and you.
“Dreamer” was the first song that you wrote together as far as I know.You brought some parts and Nicke collaborated with you, right?
Johanna : We talked about like, if we started writing together what sort of sound likes. We talked about what we like and turns out that we were into the same kind of music, but yet we showed each other from the genre, new bands. Then we approached songs. We said, “We should have song that sounds a little bit maybe like this and that and not like this and that.”
Nicke : Which it never turns out to be like that, but that’s the start.
Johanna : But it’s a good starting point. He sent the Dreamer song as an instrumental and then I sat down and I wrote the lyrics and the vocals.
That was the first video of the song anyway?
Johanna : No. Actually the first video we made was “California Son”, but it was the first song that we ever changed.
Nicke Then it’s like when Johanna sent the finished “Dreamer” demo. When I heard that I was like, “Okay. This is going to work.” Then we just get going.
Johanna : Yeah.
Nicke Then “California Son”. I don’t know when that was, number five or number… Then it just felt like when we get the first one down and then I immediately felt, “This is working exactly like I wanted it to work.”
Nicke No. We actually had one input and I turned it down. It was for “California Son”. Instead of going to an F sharp. He said, “How about doing it F? It would sound dark.” I was like, “No.”
What about now? Lucifer is completely five-piece band nowadays.
Johanna : The song writing is going to be Nicke and me.
Nicke It’s going to be the same.
Johanna : We will record the album with the guys together. Right now we’re in the process of working on this album. We have our own studio. We do demos like we did it on this album. Then Nicke goes into the studio, records drums and the basic guitar like the guy with us and they record it in their style.
Nicke That’s how we have to do it, because everyone is busy . We’re not 22 anymore. We have to do it like this.
Johanna : The thing is also the other guys have like other jobs and projects and so on. He has other projects. But we don’t have normal jobs, so we can work on the stuff.
The first album came out on Rise Above, run by Lee Dorrian and the second one came out on Century Media.
Johanna : Yeah, with Century Media is bigger. They just have more pool. Rise Above was a great label and they’re very underground. It’s a cool label, but to a certain degree Century Media of course they’re bigger. They can do a lot more. They just got more press. I think we also got more press, because maybe more people know the band now, maybe the interest is more.Century Media is very professional, they’re very German and efficient. Their big crew of people are working around the clock and Rise Above is very underground. There is also a lot of chaos there sometimes. I guess this is like a step up to be with Century Media.
Johanna : I guess yeah. Then you have like kind of on the scene and integrity and so on.
How much did the TV show Rockpalast bring more attention for you in Germany?
Johanna : I don’t know. I have no idea. Maybe, I’m not sure. Rockpalast is the old TV show. We actually did it a second time now. I know that Rockpalast has like Rockpalast fans. Of course there is a lot of older people that used to watch that maybe in the ’70s, and they’re like in their ’60s now. I do see comments on the social media a lot people saying, “I just discovered your cool band, now I buy the album.” I’m sure everything happens.
“California Son” is interesting video, because it was like more of the cycle, stuff like that. I was thinking about it grand old movies, a feeling that…
Johanna : The idea was a little bit that how in the ’70s on these old TV shows. They have like the green screen performances. Deep Purple and Steppenwolf and Jefferson Airplane and so on. They had super cheap camera tricks with a green screen and that was a little bit the idea. To make kind of cheap video, with minimum technology and kind of collages that like…In “California Son” is like a lot of stuff that, because I love cemeteries, so we were in L.A. (Los Angeles) to visit family and I shot with my cell phone on cemetery, and in Stockholm in cemetery and we shot each other a little bit. We took out. It’s a little bit a collage and a little bit those old ’70s cheap TV videos.
You’re writing the next third album right now. When we can expect to see the lighter of day of the album?
Nicke : March. Next year.
You’re getting in studio during this year and?
Johanna : We’ve started.
Nicke Because we have to do it a little bit here, a little bit there.
Johanna : We have our own studio, so we don’t have to do everything at once. We can just go whenever we have time. The day after tomorrow we go to Japan and after that we go back to the studio.
Johanna : Yeah. We have the studio in the house.
Nicke The good thing is that Linus the guitar player, he hosts our studio. That’s the good thing.
Hellacopters is doing great, but do you have some kind of conflict with gig dates? If you’re playing Hellacopters, all over sudden Lucifer has the dates.
Nicke : That’s how you have to make it work.
Johanna : It always works. We’re all friends and we always go to Hellacopters shows. We are a big Rock N Roll family. We all like each other and we make it work.
Is it hard to play first drums with Lucifer and then Hellacopters?
Nicke : Let’s just say it’s not easy, but I chose to do it and it works. I’m very happy that the physical side of me is actually responding to it. It works. I’m just happy I can do it
The last time I saw you in Tampere and you played a cover song for Paul Stanley. How do you pick up cover songs, what you like to play in live set ?
Nicke :That one in particular it was, because I’m a kiss nerd. I grew up with that. When you and I got together, you heard the album, who doesn’t have Paul Stanley solo album. Then at one time I think we were listening to it and I said, “Fuck. This is such a good song.” Johanna said, “Yeah, it’s a fucking great song.” Then I think you said, “Maybe we should do it.” I was like, “Yeah. Let’s do it. It could totally be a Lucifer.”
Johanna : Then also we were invited for Kiss Kruise. We have to play this.
Nicke : Because it’s different to play than to play…
Johanna : They wrote to us.
Nicke : They asked us. Paul Stanley called me up and no…
Johanna : The booking agency that books Kiss. They wrote to me.
Nicke : We said “Yeah. Let’s do it.”
Before concluding the interview, please name five or three albums which has influenced you, that you have become a musician or metal fan. The same thing with Nicke, think.
Johanna : Metal fan – That would be in the very beginning. I would say Metallica’s MASTER OF PUPPETS. I’m sorry to say, but Guns N Roses’ APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION. Because I was 13 and that’s what got me into hard rock and metal. The third one… Black Sabbath’s BLACK SABBATH. That’s how I started.
Nicke : ROCK AND ROLL OVER by Kiss, NEVERMIND THE BOLLOCKS..
Nicke : Yeah. ROAD TO RUIN with Ramones. That’s my introduction to the rock and metal stuff. Then of course there is a million others, but that’s how I got from one place to the next.
Thank you for the interview.
Nicke : Keep up.
Johanna : Thank you so much.
The official LUCIFER Sites