Kyle McGinn of Dead Rhetoric recently conducted an interview with frontwoman Johanna Sadonis and multi-instrumentalist Nicke Andersson (also of ENTOMBED and THE HELLACOPTERS fame) of heavy rockers LUCIFER. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the reworking of members after "I", did you view this as a chance to reimagine the band?
Johanna: "Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. That was originally the idea for this band — to be a '70s heavy rock band. It turned into a much heavier record when Gaz [Jennings, guitar] came into the band and we wrote the first album together. But when Gaz left, just like you said, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get back to that original sound. Since Nicke is such a huge fan of '70s heavy rock, just like me, it was a lucky twist of fate."
Dead Rhetoric: What was the writing like between the two of you, as compared to how you approached it for the first album?
Nicke: "I remember asking Johanna how she and Gaz wrote the first album because I was interested in how people write together, since I've never done that. I always write alone. We had talked about that, and when Gaz left I thought it was sad, but after 30 seconds, I was like, 'Hmmm, maybe you and I can write together?' So I said that, and then I had to say it a couple more times."
Johanna: "I was playing hard to get."
Nicke: "So we started trying things out, sending stuff back and forth through email. It worked much better than I thought it would work to write music with someone else. I usually have such a strong vision from the get-go of how I wanted it to be. But this worked!"
Dead Rhetoric: So did you find it refreshing to write with someone else, as opposed to ENTOMBED or THE HELLACOPTERS?
Nicke: "Totally! I mean, I like writing on my own too. But this is more of a jigsaw puzzle kind of thing because we send music back and forth to each other and we don't know how it's going to turn out. That's really rewarding I think. You can also let go a little bit, personally. For example, Johanna might come back with a verse, but not where I thought the verse was going to be. I'm, like, 'Oh, okay, you can do it like this and it's awesome!' So, of course, it's good to write with four ears instead of two. You hear things slightly different and it opens up a lot of possibilities. I loved doing it like this."
Dead Rhetoric: You've made it to the second album, do you see LUCIFER being more stable than that of THE OATH?
Johanna: "Totally. THE OATH had one album. It was an unstable constellation, people-wise. I think LUCIFER found its place and sound with this second album. I don't think I've done anything as good as this new album, and I'm really proud of it. We are already starting to talk about recording 'Lucifer III', which we would like to put out in September of next year. So we have plans for band, totally."
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned that this album was more of a reimagining of the band. Do you think the current sound has more of a broad appeal, so to speak?
Johanna: "Maybe. I still think it's heavy, just maybe in a different way. I think it opens LUCIFER up to more people. Of course, there will be some people who are not happy with the changes, but that's the metal scene. You can't make everyone happy. There's always people who will be upset that it's not as much doom anymore, but it already feels like, with the three songs that are out, that there's a lot more people discovering LUCIFER. That makes us happy, because the more people that listen, the more music we get to make."
Nicke: "Also, that's something that is totally out of your control anyway. As long as we are happy. I love the first album, so why make that again? You have it already."
Johanna: "There's a different chemistry, with two different people writing."
Nicke: "Two different people writing, and other people playing. There's going to be differences. Sometimes I think I can see the differences between the two albums, but it's not that different."
Johanna: "The production sounds different. But when the songs have played live, because we've tested them now with our last run of shows with old and new material, it totally blends together. The first and second album songs sound like the same band. There's still doom elements in it. The melodies may be more upfront, and catchy, if I can say without sounding too full of myself. I think the new songs are a little catchier and more cut loose from the rest of the doom metal underground, which I think is awesome. I'm a sucker for catchy songs."
Nicke: "If we get shit for it, people will just think I'm to blame! [Laughs]"
Dead Rhetoric: Playing this type of music, with the '70s vibe, do you think that the aesthetic about everything related to the music: the cover art, clothing, and things like that, does that need to be cohesive?
Johanna: "Absolutely. Nobody wants to see BLACK SABBATH in jogging pants and sneakers. We are both on the same page here that we are suckers for visual things — graphics, the artwork, how a band dresses. My favorite bands also have to look cool. We are trying…I don't know if it works. [Laughs]"
Nicke: "I would probably still like THE RAMONES music if they looked totally different, but I think I like it more as they were. It's a uniform thing. I happen to like that. I grew up with KISS, so there you go. Like you said, does it have to be? No, but we want it to be."
Johanna: "Right. After all, music is made by musicians to disappear in it, and people go to shows to listen to albums because they want to disappear. Anything that helps in creating some sort of magic is important."
Nicke: "Everything is connected. And it makes us feel good about it."
Read the entire interview at Dead Rhetoric.
"Lucifer II" was released on July 6 via Century Media Records.