Interview: Lucifer

We put the same passion and energy into every release. We would never put any filler on any album, and we are really proud of all the albums we've made.

Lucifer have just released their brilliant new album Lucifer V and it sees the hard rocking five piece enchant and terrify in equal measure over the records eleven macabre songs. Gavin Brown caught up with Lucifer vocalist Johanna Platow Andersson to hear all about Lucifer V and its creation and influences as well as discussing their current tour with Angel Witch, their recent tour with Coven, memorable gigs and love of the occult.     

E&D: The new Lucifer album, Lucifer V is out now. Was the making of the album a smooth experience?       

Johanna: Oh, yes, absolutely. It’s always smooth with us because do everything ourselves.

E&D: With huge sounding songs like ‘At The Mortary’, ‘A Coffin Has No Silver Lining’ and ‘Maculate Heart’ on the album, do you feel that this is the most vibrant, sonically,  album that Lucifer have done to date?

Johanna: I mean, I totally take that, if you put it like that! Of course, we put the same passion and energy into every release. We would never put any filler on any album, and we are really proud of all the albums we’ve made, but it seems like people are saying this about the new album.

E&D: What were the biggest influences on the sound of this album?

Johanna: The biggest influences of Lucifer will always be Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult, a variety of other things we listen to, but for the most of it, those two bands.

E&D: How much fun was it making the brilliant video for ‘Slow Dance In A Crypt’?

Johanna: It was a lot of fun. I got to run  around a lot and got Erik from Nifelheim to be the zombie, and we had a lot of fun. I love being in cemeteries to begin with, but  even more so when it’s with friends. I got to be creative and to be chased by a zombie was brilliant.

E&D: Do you still love having the visual experience of Lucifer in videos like that, and the rest of the videos you’ve made?

Johanna: Oh, yes, very much. I mean, we have very low budgets, when it comes to videos, so we have to make a little money go a long way somehow, you know, so that was just difficult. If there was a huge budget, I could actually go as nuts as my head wants to. I do as much as possible, and I enjoy this very much. I think I enjoy all the other creative work around making music just as much as making music. I love the visual aspects, coming up with merch ideas with Nicke and ideas for posters and stuff. We do a lot of the stuff together. I think it’s very important for those.

 

E&D: Is Lucifer’s visual representation an important part of your live show?

Johanna: We don’t really have one! I would love to have a giant stage filled up and pyro and whatnot. I could probably do the whole cemetery arena if I could but we don’t have the money so we just try to deliver the most energetic and heartfelt show that we can.

E&D: You are hitting the road on the Satanic Panic tour with Angel Witch. Are you looking forward to going out and playing the new songs live?

Johanna: Yes, very much. Yeah, absolutely. It’s always fun to play new material live. Just to entertain ourselves, you know, and I’m looking forward to seeing Angel Witch many nights in a row. They’re one of my favourite heavy metal bands, so yeah, very excited about that.

E&D: Do you know what new material you will be playing?

Johanna: We’ll be playing the five singles from the album for sure.

E&D: Will you be making it over to the UK for live dates this year?

Johanna: Yes, I have my sleeves rolled up and I’m actually on it right now. I’m in contact with my agent. We are aware it’s time to come back, and we’re looking forward to it. I’m hoping it’s gonna happen this year. I’m pretty certain it’s gonna happen this year.

E&D: How did your US and Canada tour with Coven go at the end of last year and what were some of the highlights?

Johanna: It was a lot of fun. It’s been some years since we’ve toured North America, we had a month and it was a great lineup, we were co-headlining with Coven, which was awesome for us. We had a great opening band called Early Moods from Los Angeles.A group of very hungry, heavy rockin’ dudes that we really loved to be part of the tour. You could tell by their demeanour and how enthusiastic they were every night. Great band, please check out Early Moods. The tour was a bit weird at first, Nicke and I live like hermits in the forest, so when we started touring the States, and I came out on stage the first few nights, and I saw all these faces in the first few rows, smiling at me as if they all knew me personally, and you see the words coming out of their mouths that I just kept in my dingy, dark little room writing, it’s like wow, that really sends shivers down my spine. It lets you know that at the other end of it, there’s people that listen to that. Another highlight was Bobby Leibling playing with us twice. He drove all the way to Omaha with a friend, and he joined us, we were covering Pentagrams ‘Forever My Queen’ and I got to sing that with him twice, we did it in Philadelphia as well. That was a lot of fun, I introduced him to Jinx Dawson, which is very weird because they both started their bands in the 70s but they had never met each other, which is so strange, so I can take credit for that! It was super cool to be on tour together with Coven because me and Jinx became friends over the years.

E&D: What Lucifer live shows have been the most memorable for you?

Johanna: I think a funny one was when we played the Kiss cruise some years ago and it was very hot. We played three shows on that boat and we played on deck and it was like two in the afternoon, we were in the Bahamas. The sun was beating down mercilessly and I was wearing my stupid velvet onesie, dying, with leather boots and gear while everybody else hung out in Jacuzzis with flip flops on! We were trying to play full on rock n roll without a roof on stage to protect us, so it was like direct sunlight. We almost all died of a stroke. That was a good one! Another very similar experience we had when we played Psycho Las Vegas on the pool stage, that was great. We were able to jump into the pool after the show, and watch COC play together with the guys from Graveyard who were also hanging out. It’s fun, these cool experiences to have together as a band. The other extreme would be where we had a Finnish tour where it was minus 28 Celsius outside! We’ve been thrown into all kinds of situations but it’s all fun and great life experiences, you know,

E&D: Lucifer are also celebrating your ten year anniversary as a band. How does it feel to still be releasing such vital music after all that time?

Johanna: I haven’t really had time to reflect.We are very busy all the time. So it actually didn’t hit me until recently that it’s gonna be ten years and it’s cool. I’m glad that it went this far. I have a very nice, stable lineup with Lucifer. I just hope that the next decade follows and hope we can keep going as long.

E&D: What have been some of the highlights for the band over the last ten years?

Johanna: I think, kind of all of it. What I what I’m really happy about is that we’re not a huge band, we’re a very slow grower, we never had a quick hype, but I think it’s a good thing because the band has been steadily growing slowly, we have a good fanbase that’s very loyal to us. I see that when we tour, every time we come back, its more people, and every time we release an album, we sell a little bit more. I think highlights are when you get recognition or when you play cool festivals or like last May, we did an arena tour supporting Ghost, That was cool. We had two Grammy nominations in Sweden, for two albums in a row. We didn’t win anything but the nomination is already pretty cool for me because I come from the metal underground. I’ve been in metal bands, since I was like 13 but I didn’t really professionally pursue music until I was in my mid 30s, so you could get I’m a professional late bloomer, but it seems to work pretty well. I’m very happy about the overall thing.

E&D: Your music is very occult influenced, how did it start to influence you?

Johanna: That started very early, when I was a teenager.I started working in a bookshop in the 90s when I was 16, and that’s when I started reading occult literature and stuff. Now it’s just a general interest in all the different religious or philosophical ways to try to understand life and death and all the great questions, because in the forefront of my brain, my thought is always that life is really short, I might die tomorrow in a stupid accident because I’m really clumsy, and then I’m gonna be cremated or put in the ground and eaten by maggots, and that’s it. You have to make most of that in a short time, because, you never know when it’s over, but I have a longing that there’s more than that. It’s just that I haven’t found a religion and I’m trying to make some sense of everything.

E&D: Have you had any negative backlash at all to your music because of the band’s music, image or your name?

Johanna: No, not really, usually people don’t really ask me so much about the lyrics. I never thought anybody’s really interested in them. I haven’t heard anything negative about it. Maybe about the name of the band, but that seems to be an American problem. I think in Europe, we are a lot more comfortable with the concept of the devil or Lucifer or whatever, I think in America, there’s so many different types of Christianity, and all these little churches and sects that sprouted out of the ground there, that take it a little bit too literal with the hellfire and so on.

E&D: Thank you very much, Johanna. It’s been brilliant  talking to you and hopefully I’ll catch you live when you come over to the UK.

Johanna: We’re coming to the UK and Ireland. That’s what we’re working on right now. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you and thanks for the great questions.

Photo by Chris Shonting

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