Avatar’s Johannes Eckerström – Interview

Hi Johanssen, first off how have you and the rest of the guys in Avatar coping in this hellscape of a year.

We are coping in our own little bubbles, we live privileged lives so to speak. We’re just living our lives all in all. People are healthy and safe and our families are also safe. Those friend have gotten sick didn’t get so hard. We’ve been able to keep some kind of work going, in the business of putting out the album going throughout all this. With the release of course I’m starting to get that touring itch, more and more. But at the same time I can’t say that I’ve hated being home, being home and being able to see the arrival of spring and smell those roses. And you know, not always have to countdown the days I have with my wife, I don’t hate that part of it. I don’t like the reasons for it, I’m not blind to the problems it’s causing for the world, the people and economies and all that. But in terms of our little bubble. I’ve been working hard on the band and all that, and it’s allowed me to be pretty creative and create some quality time here at home so that has been a good thing coming out of this.

Usually bands would promote the new album with touring and such. What’s it like trying to promote an album in a time like now, instead of promoting it in the traditional way like touring?

As far as touring the albums only just come we’ve really not had the chance for us to really miss touring. But one good thing is that I would be flying around doing interviews as much which is another thing, I don’t hate it. I don’t hate sitting at home doing interviews like this, and I don’t hate not polluting our air with planes. So there’s an upside to it for sure. Because of this we’ve had discussions on what we can do instead. How do we build up to the release and what we can do after the release instead and that has-we are not social media savvy people all in all, so we had to be creative on what we wanted to do. What does fit this band on who we are as a band and such. Thus those instructional videos and content creation for and the Q&A’s and stuff, all of that came together and I don’t think it would have happened otherwise so we’ve been more creative with our promoting to the album up to release then we would have otherwise.

The album is a sort of return to your heavier albums. Was that to match the dark themes and aesthetic of the album?

Well it started with the aesthetic choice of doing heavier music this time. That decision came very quickly. I was saying superficially just like “we like this stuff, let’s do this now”. It was as simple as that, but that then proved to be connected with what was going on beneath the surface. Because then the whole trip of expressing the means of something darker and heavier. It all came very naturally and organically. And I think part of it is because we did Avatar Country, we didn’t get to do that. Instead we did something else we’re passionate about and loved instead. We like to take the idea as far as possible and in order to do that you need to dedicate yourself to that idea at that specific time. And what we did with Avatar Country other things had to fall to the wayside for the time being. Same with this album, this is an album without the humour and without the playfulness, there’s a musical playfulness of course but there is less fucking around and it needed to be more razor sharp.

Speaking of the themes of the album. Was there any direct inspiration for the themes. Examples being OK Computer, Metropolis or books by Harlan Ellison?

Metropolis is definitely a film that keeps coming up over the years, so yeah that’s probably in there somewhere. That’s a good mention actually. It’s always hard to pin point a direct inspiration because there are so many different things that inspires me to do that thing. There so many, there’s always been a collage on whatever has been going on. That can be, ya know. You could watch a mediocre horror movie one night, but there’s something in the soundtrack that can inspire that. One big inspiration was the book Sapiens by Yuval Harari. Who’s themes seem to be very accurate for todays climate.

For the full interview click the link below.

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