Sunday, June 28, 2015

Darkness and Light | An interview with Johanna Sadonis of LUCIFER

Photo © Chiara Mazzocchi

A lot of people are most familiar with you from your previous band The Oath which ended quite suddenly in 2014. But out of the ashes rose LUCIFER. Can you tell us about the evolution of LUCIFER and what old and new fans can expect from the new band and the new music (which is badass by the way!!)? 

There is certainly a similar core of influences in both bands The Oath and Lucifer. The Oath however was leaning stronger towards Heavy Metal, in particular NWOBHM and was a lot rawer riffing wise. With Lucifer I wanted to put the weight on the 70s Heavy Rock influences entwined heavily with Doom. Gaz' guitar playing is much more eclectic and sophisticated which gives Lucifer a lot more depth musically and in its atmosphere.

 Your music has been described as heavy blues rock and Magick rock. How would you best describe the vibe of LUCIFER?

I actually came up with calling Lucifer 'Heavy Magic Rock' because I think it describes Lucifer best musically and content wise. I got really tired of the term Occult Rock, which has been some sort of insult lately.

Photo © Anastasia Coyto

 You've previously cited some of your influences as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult... etc. What is it about that era of music you love so much? And are there any new bands you're currently getting into? 

These bands have been the fathers of everything that would follow in Metal and Hard Rock and there is a reason why these bands are considered a monument and the root of it all. Because they just are this good! I rather listen to, and get influenced, by the originals than by copies of the copies. Of course there are contemporary bands I dig like Goat, Black Mountain, Uncle Acid etc but in general I think nothing really reaches those heights of the old gods of Rock and Heavy Metal. It has been done!

It's impossible of course to talk about LUCIFER without of course addressing the band name. What role does dark magic, occultism and the devil play in the aesthetics and ethos of the band and it's energy? 

I am a very spiritual person, so I naturally transport this into the lyrics and everything else that is Lucifer. The devil and darkness is only one side of the coin though. The light is equally as important. For me music is magic and anything visual catering to it serves as a ritual tool to draw you into this universe.

Where do you draw the most influence from when writing music and lyrics? What are you most proud of when it comes to the upcoming LUCIFER debut LP? 

I am very proud of our album in general. It's close to my heart and for me personally the best thing I've done musically so far. Regarding influences, I think whatever you put out as a sincere artist is a milestone of who you are at this point in your life. Everything you've been through and soaked up led up to this moment. Influences are of course loads of music, magic, life, death and everything within and beyond. My lyrics are very personal. I shroud certain figures or episodes of my life into symbols and metaphors and entwine the here and the beyond with another to make sense of it all.

Photo © Starspawn Phty
Photo © Burning Moon

You've recently finished up a tour. How was that experience and whats next in your tour schedule? 

So far we only played a small run of shows in Germany, Roadburn Festival and one gig with Pentagram. It's been amazing. You get to play your new material and start living in the music. Like I said it's like a ritual, it takes you into a different sphere within yourself. Up next is a month long US tour supporting High On Fire and Pallbearer starting end of July. We also have a show scheduled in London early September. The rest of Europe is on the table afterwards.

 I think its super awesome seeing badass strong women in heavier rock bands who are not afraid to just rock out. How did you first get involved in music and what remains the driving force for you when it comes to music?

It's the music itself. I couldn't do anything else. I'd wither away. I have been in bands since I was 13 years old. My whole life evolves around music. My jobs are related to it as well. I DJ a lot, book events etc. All I can think is music.

Photo © Jens Wassmuth

 I love the retro + minimalist art we've seen so far on the singles and band art. Is that something you work on together as a band and what was the idea behind it?

I am blessed to have a band that trusts me making all artistic decisions as I have a very clear vision for Lucifer. I wanted the record cover to look timeless and went for minimal design to put the focus on the music.

How would you describe the band dynamic? And how different is it in comparison to your former band The Oath? 

We have a very professional atmosphere in Lucifer. All of us have been playing in bands forever and we are all extremely passionate about what we do because we are music fanatics. When we play in a room together, there is no bullshit, we just enjoy creating together and talking music. There is nothing better!

Photo © Starspawn Phty

When it comes to writing lyrics and the band ethos, what themes do you address and whats most important to the band? 

Anything goes, as long as it is sincere and from the heart!

Whats next for LUCIFER in 2015?

With the recent release of our debut, it's mostly about taking this baby on the road. Though I am constantly jotting down more ideas. We also plan to write some more material when we are on tour together.