Haunting practitioners of metal-laden occult rock, Lucifer bring thick melodies, slick riffs and a groovy inject-this-into-my-veins-right-now 70s sensibility for their third studio album, the appropriately titled Lucifer III.
Self-isolating at their home just outside of Stockholm, founding member and vocalist Johanna Sadonis and drummer/right-hand-man Nicke Andersson (Entombed, The Hellacopters), caught up with Metal Injection to discuss releasing an album during these turbulent times, being influenced by the icons of a bygone era of rock and metal, and the unifying force of music.
On Releasing Lucifer III/Cancelled Tour Dates
Johanna: For a brief moment our agent said 'maybe you should postpone the release'. And then Nicke and I said, no, we won't do that, because people are looking forward to this, especially now when they're sitting at home. You can't take that away from them and not from us either. So we're just trying to make the best of it.
I mean, it sucks because our next few months of touring will have to be postponed. We had a European tour coming up in May that will have to happen next year. And it will suck financially for a lot of people, like our crew, but that's how it is. People have to sit home and stick it out and just hope that this thing would kind of pass and the numbers go down again.
You do get a great sense of community. Nicke doesn't use social media, but I do. I'm aware of all these fundraisers and people that seem very supportive of each other. And you kind of get that we stick in this together and that's a great thing.
On Current Lineup Chemistry
Nicke: I obviously wasn't involved with the first album. It was a different lineup and Lucifer II was done kind of just before we got this lineup by Johanna, me and Robin, who was the guitar player. So this is the first album with like a steady lineup. And we've been touring a year before recording, almost two years. It feels good and it takes a while before a band gels like that, and touring helps and now we've done that. So now it feels pretty good.
On Embracing the Golden Era of Rock and Metal (1970s)
Johanna: That's when rock and metal was at its best ever. It feels like that's the way music was made and how it sounded. And you can't reinvent the wheel, and obviously we're not trying to do that. We just do what we like about rock music. The thing is that, for us, that feeling about that music never went away. For us that type of music was very timeless. There were so many abominations of rock and metal later on, you know, I think starting with the 80s and then in the 90s and then later on. There was a lot of horrible stuff, you know? I guess we just stick to meat and potatoes.
I don't really like the word retro because it just sounds kind of like it has been laid off and then dug out of some costume closet or something. I think it never went away. And that's timeless. And that's my thing. That's why people love Sabbath and celebrate 50 years of Black Sabbath.
Nicke: It's like when you have a piece of toast with butter on it. That's not retro. I just feel like that it has always been good.
On Embracing Different Styles & Genres
Nicke: Well, I always thought if I like something, I want to play it. And I don't just like one thing.
Johanna: I don't think there's any shame in trying to do a catchy melody, you know? I mean, when I was a teenager I was strictly into black and death metal, and I thought everything else is not cool. That's a teenager approach. But when you get older and then it's like you don't feel the shame for anything. I think the word sellout, for example, is ridiculous. If a band is successful with something that they do, and I'm not talking about us because I think we're a pretty small band, but in general if a band is successful with their music and they sell the records, then that only speaks for the band. There must be some sort of reason for it. So I don't think there's any shame in extending and exploring.
On their Relationship in and out of Lucifer
Nicke: I mean, we don't really think about it that much. It just seems to work pretty good. I mean, we do it the same way as we did when Johanna lived in Berlin and I lived in Stockholm. Except that we do it in our house in two different rooms.
Johanna: Yes, it is funny. We do kind of write separately, even though we're very close.
Nicke: But it feels good. I mean, in my opinion, I regard this band as Johanna's band. But I'm her right hand man. I mean, a band has to have one leader. It doesn't work when a band has four or five leaders. That's never going to work. So Johanna has the final say. And I think that's just how it should be.
On Major Musical Influences
Nicke: Well, if we're talking about us together, one band would be Blue Öyster Cult. And I'm not saying that's our favourite band, but that's something we connected early on with that band.
Johanna: That's actually the first thing we talked about when we got together, Blue Öyster Cult. I mean, for me personally, it's always been The Rolling Stones because that's my earliest music imprint because of my mother. For Lucifer it's very obvious that it's Black Sabbath, but there are many more bands that kind of make up your whole kind of musical being.
On Future Plans
Johanna: I do feel things have now fallen into place. I am very satisfied with this album, and whether or not the album will be successful in the long run, we'll have to see. Of course, I am grateful for it because that would enable us to keep going on, to keep recording albums, because that's what we'll have to do. I want to keep doing that. Of course, I don't want to go back to a normal office job. I did that in my past life. Buying records helps the artists. I can only hope that I get to do what I do until I croke.
Nicke: I've done this too long to have any expectations. I mean, there's a lot of hard work involved, but there's also a lot of luck. And, you know, right time, right place and that stuff. I just hope we get lucky.
Johanna: On the upside, we do have more time to work on new music. And we're already talking about Lucifer IV. So we try to think on the positive side.