Guitarist/bandleader Johan Reinholdz – NonExist
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Mighty Music for the promo pictures of the band.
LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER is the name of the latest studio album from NonExist which follows 2018’s EP, IN PRAISE OF DEATH. I’ve always been a fan of the band, and guitarist Johan Reinholdz in particular, so I thought it was time to once again hook up and find out what’s happened in the NonExist camp since we last spoke. I of course asked Reinholdz what he’s been up to, including NonExist and his permanent membership in legendary Gothenburg-based melodic thrash/death metal act Dark Tranquility. If you want to read more about guitar wizard Johan Reinholdz and his endeavours, then check out the past interviews with him in the archives of Metal-Rules.com.
Hi Johan, it’s really nice to talk to you again. I hope you’re healthy and feeling fine.
Hi, yes I’m all good.
The last time we spoke was back in 2018 and a lot has happened since then. It was around that time you released your second EP IN PRAISE OF DEATH; what did press and media think of the EP?
Since it was only a digital release there wasn’t much press for it.
New album LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER
When did you start writing the material to the new album?
The five songs that were on IN PRAISE OF DEATH were written in 2015-2016. Then I wrote and recorded the rest of the songs in 2018-2019.
Is it correct that the IN PRAISE OF DEATH songs are featured on the new album?
A Meditation Upon Death (Official Lyric Video)
Beside those songs, are the rest of the songs on the album new ones?
Yes, seven completely new songs.
IN PRAISE OF DEATH was only released as a download. Do you think fans will be happy to be able to get them on a physical release as well as download?
Streaming and download, yes. Yeah, I hope they are glad. I’m certainly happy to finally have Nonexist on vinyl.
Did you record any bonus stuff for the Asian market?
The Japanese bonus-track is an extended version of ”Strictly Sadistic Intent” with a looooooong guitar solo added.
The vinyl version of LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER includes fewer songs compared to the CD version and the order of the songs also varies, why?
To fit a single vinyl. Otherwise it would have to be a double vinyl.
Have you done any additional work on the songs from the EP that you featured on the album or are they kept intact as on the EP?
I just updated the mixes a bit.
Considering that you usually write a lot together with Johan Liiva, what’s it like to create material on your own now? What are the pros and cons with working alone?
I never wrote a lot together with him. I wrote almost all the music and he wrote some lyrics. But sure, some collaborations we made together turned out really cool and special – like the song ”The New Flesh” for example.
The album is pretty long and clocks in around 50 minutes. Was the length of the album anything you had in mind when you recorded it?
Not really. I just wanted there to be at least five new songs in addition to the EP-tracks. So seven new songs seemed about right for the album.
Together We Shall Burn (official video)
What are the shortest songs, “Strictly Sadistic Intent” (2.48) and “Reduced To Ash” (2.59) about?
”Stricly…” is told from the perspective of a psychopath who preys on his victims’ suffering. ”Reduced…” is about nuclear warfare – a classic metal-lyric-subject!
Do you think you have developed musically if you compare this album with the EP? If so in what way? I think I can sense a little melodic thrash, symphonic metal, and a hint of black metal on this album. Do you agree or am I totally wrong?
I think these new seven songs are not that strictly death metal in style like the EP was. So no – you are not totally wrong. The new songs are a bit more varied in style. Slower, heavier, some prog, some punk/hardcore, some thrash – a little bit of everything – in addition to a lot of death metal, of course.
Just as on the EP, the album includes guest appearances by Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquility), Chris Amott (ex- Arch Enemy) and Kalle Nimhagen (Deathening) but also Rogga Peterson (Merciless) who wasn’t a part of the EP. Which songs does Rogga appear on?
Rogga sings on ”Dark Satanic Mills”. Really grateful to have him on the album. Merciless are gods to me.
How come you chose to name the album LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER?
It sounds good! That’s about it.
Who did the cover art-work this time?
An artist called Dustin Ray.
If you read Encyclopaedia Metallum online, it says that you play melodic thrash/death metal. Do you agree? If not, how would you describe your music?
Well, I guess that is fairly correct. There are elements of death and thrash metal as well as melodic and some more atonal/evil-sounding-passages. Plus of course, some more heavy riffs plus a touch of progressive metal.
Have you read any reviews in the media regarding LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER yet?
Yes, quite a few and most of them have been very positive, so that’s nice!
What is the response from the fans on the new album?
Many artists/bands think their latest album is their best one so far. Do you share that feeling towards LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER?
Yes. I do think this is the best Nonexist album so far. It’s gonna be a challenge for me to top this one. But that’s a good thing!
Do you think that Nonexist have gained more fans now that you’re a part of Dark Tranquility?
Maybe a few.
How was it to work on your own with the album? Did you miss having anyone to share ideas with and come with input if you got stuck somewhere along the way?
I was fine! It’s nothing new really.
I think LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER is another strong, brilliant album by Nonexist and I really like your lead vocals as well as your excellent guitar work. You sure are one of best guitar players around! Are you satisfied with your effort and the album as a whole?
Thanks a lot! I appreciate it. I’m really satisfied with it.
I think it’s really strange that Nonexist hasn’t become bigger and more famous than you already are, why is it so do you think?
Well, we had a ten-year hiatus, but most importantly we haven’t really played live much at all, which is where you gain fans mostly.
The bio writes that “The new album takes off in the dark and violent death metal vein of the last EP”. Do you agree with those words? Is LIKE THE FEARLESS HUNTER a continuation of the EP?
Yes, I agree.
Studio and production
I guess the album was recorded in your Multipass Studio?
Yes, that is correct.
Is it correct that you do the vocals, the guitar/bass and keyboard?
Have you used any programmed drums this time around?
Yes, and I did them myself too.
Where did the guests record their parts?
Mikael recorded at Rogue Music in Gothenburg – the studio of Dark Tranquillity keyboardist Martin Brändström. Chris recorded at home. Rogga – I don’t know where he did it. Alexander, Kalle and Markus came home to me and cut their parts.
You also produced and mixed the album, right?
Yes I did.
How long did it take all-together to record the album?
Four years, I think, on and off.
You’re still signed to the Danish label Mighty Music, are you happy with the co-operation between you two?
Yes I am.
Do you feel that Nonexist has been the label’s top priority with the release of the new album?
I don’t know.
The album is being released on both CD and vinyl, are you a fan of the vinyl format?
I am! I think it’s really cool. The cover art is way bigger for example.
Any plans on releasing the album on colored-vinyl and not only on black vinyl?
No. That would have been cool though!
Do you have any info about how many copies Nonexist’s last album THRONE OF SCARS sold?
Not at the moment no.
Are you satisfied with the co-operation between you and the Japanese label Trooper Entertainment?
In 2017 Nonexist’s debut album was re-released on Spotify. Last time I asked you if there were any plans on re-releasing it on CD or vinyl but there were no plans; has that changed?
No plans for that. I just noticed that it wasn’t available on Spotify etc., so I remastered it, added some bonus-tracks and put it out.
Back in 2017 you and Chris Amott joined Dark Tranquility as session members and then you went on to become solid members in 2020. How was it to join such a well known act?
Really cool! I’ve been a fan of the band since the first album came out in 1993, so it’s great.
What’s it like to play guitar together with Amott given that he, just like you, is an amazing guitarist. Do you think you complete and make each other better guitarists?
Yeah, I think so yes.
What’s it like being on tour with DT? Is it hectic and full speed all the time?
It’s a lot of fun! I love it.
What response did you and Amott get from the DT fans when the news got out that you two were solid members in the line-up?
It has been positive. All good.
In September the new DT single “Phantom Days” taken from the new album MOMENT was released, what did fans and media think of it?
The response has been very good.
DT is about to schedule shows for 2021, do you think it’s going to be possible to head out on the road next year with the thought of the covid19 pandemic across the world?
I don’t know.
Past present and future
Any plans on heading out and do some shows with Nonexist when the restrictions are lifted?
We’re definitely open to playing more shows.
What do you think of the Swedish governments way of handling the Covid-19 pandemic?
The live scene was shut down in March, in what way have the lock down affected you?
We had to cancel the whole summer festival season plus a North American-tour plus a few more shows. So it’s utterly depressing.
At the beginning of last year you landed a sponsor in Caparison Guitars, how was that? Could you tell us a little about the company?
It’s a Japanese company. They have been around since 1995. Focusing on hand-made guitars, mostly endorsing metal-guitarists.
“Dark Satanic Mills” (Official Lyric Video)
What’s the current status in the Andromeda camp? Any idea on when the sixth album is about to be released?
Nope. Unfortunately not.
Are there any labels interested in signing Andromeda?
I don’t know.
How involved are you today in Andromeda? I mean, you’re a pretty busy man.
Not very involved in Andromeda at the moment.
In 2016 Andromeda released a live DVD titled ANDROMEDA – LIVE IN VIETNAM. Today it’s also possible to watch it on Youtube, why is that? Do you have any fun memories from that event?
Because we thought it was time to show it to the rest of the world. That tour was so much fun and we’re super-proud of the concert video. It’s the peak of Andromeda, so far.
Now that you’re a solid member in DT are you going to have the time and energy to keep both Nonexist and Andromeda running?
I think so yes. But not tour with all three bands, that would be too much.
You turned 40 this summer, congrats, how did you celebrate your birthday?
Thanks! I had a party at home.
What about your other bands Skyfire and Murdered Beats, are they active and alive?
Yeah, slowly but steadily, hehe.
Your Facebook sitehas about 7,000 likes. Do you aim for more likes?
Well, yeah, but it’s not super-important.
What’s the most common question you get from fans on Facebook?
”When is the new Andromeda-album coming out?”
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Doing a live-stream with Dark Tranquillity in November, working on new material, plus doing some music videos for my upcoming solo album.
Well as usual we round it up with me asking what you would like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Nonexist yet?
Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for once again taking the time hooking up with me and metal-rules.com. I wish you and NonExist all the best in the future and I really long to see you live on stage with Dark Tranquility, stay healthy and safe.