TIAMAT Frontman: 'We're All Stars And We're All Geniuses'

NocturnalEuphony.com recently conducted an interview with TIAMAT frontman Johan Edlund. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

NocturnalEuphony.com: What is it about "Wildhoney" that has made it so big, and stay popular all this time?

Johan Edlund: It was released at the perfect time. It was groundbreaking in many ways, also with its visuals. We did something that had previously not been allowed in metal, and it helped creating a new genre. I'm not saying it's the perfect album but it was the first of its kind. I mean, how many orange record covers with suns where not released after that? Orange was a big no no in the metal scene before "Wildhoney". I think the colour orange has paid a lot of my bills the last ten years.

NocturnalEuphony.com: By 1997's release "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" we see a couple of new members in the Tiamat lineup. Tell us about this album.

Johan Edlund: I guess we got a bit full of ourselves. It turned out a bit overambitious? You know, all of a sudden we had the money and the power to do anything and I guess for a moment we thought that everything we do is gonna turn into gold so we might as well just freak out, take some drugs and go mental. It's our sgt. Pepper or something. At its best it's pretty cool? Like phantasma? is a good song, I think. But there are also moments when you can hear that I truthfully believe that I'd get away with farting my way through a record.

NocturnalEuphony.com: TIAMAT's sound has been in a constant growth, and development since the beginning, then in 2003 the absolute masterpiece "Prey" is released. Tell us about the writing of this album, what did you want from it?

Johan Edlund: Well, for one there's a hidden story behind it. It is actually conceptual in a new kind of way. A bit as a riddle or something. Dan Brown could write a book about it, "The Prey Code". I have never been working so carefully with music, lyrics and visuals and concept before, and as I did most of the work myself, it was quite a thrill and something I enjoyed doing very much, but it probably also made the concept a bit harder to understand. But we're not really here to make it easy for anybody. There are other bands doing that.

NocturnalEuphony.com: On more than one occasion you have been called a musical genius, what are your feelings on such titles.

Johan Edlund: There's a lot of abuse of words and expressions in the press nowadays. My way of seeing it is: we're all stars and we're all geniuses. I certainly consider myself as much of a musical genius as Mozart as well as my neighbours are as much geniuses as me. It's music, that's all there is, if I could persiflage Clement Greenberg's quote paint is paint, that's all there is. It's just nothing more to it. Everything is of equal value and no one has more of a right to judge and put up rules. Please don't take any of this out of its context, I might sound like a complete megalomaniac.

NocturnalEuphony.com: Your music includes a great deal of passion and intelligence, what influences this writing.

Johan Edlund: The most clever way of showing some kind of intelligence is to stop thinking. Influences are the bad part, they are like viruses and if you deliberately decide to stick to a certain scene or label, you're doomed. My biggest influence in songwriting is my hope for being able to look myself in the mirror every morning without looking into the eyes of a whore.

NocturnalEuphony.com: In recent years the world media has focused strongly on disasters, from 9/11 to the recent conflict in Israel. Do you think this focus in any way effects today's music?

Johan Edlund: Yeah, for sure, whether we want it or not. I mean, I don't write about it in an obvious way but I'm sure it affected my mood that will then be mirrored in my songs. I mean, why do I always come back to the flood in the old testament nowadays, some years after the tsunami. It was weird, but we started a tour on the exact day of the tsunami. And you know, we had chosen to open with "Vote Fore Love" and end the set with "Gaia", as they are the two most positive songs and we could add all the gloom and gore and death in between? It was a very strange feeling singing when nature calls we all shall drown as the last sentence of the evening in front of 1200 Belgian fans who had just learned about the tsunami from the news.

Read the entire interview at NocturnalEuphony.com.

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