February 14, 2012 will see the release of Black Waltz, the first American release for Swedish metal band, Avatar. Already having toured extensively in Europe with fellow artists In Flames, Impaled Nazarene, Helloween, Dark Tranuility and others, they are finally breaking ground in the US.
Formed in 2001 by drummer John Alfredsson and vocalist Christian Rimmi, the band’s present lineup consists of vocalist Johannes Eckerström, drummer John Alfredsson, Jonas Jarlsby and Simon Andersson on guitars, plus Henrik Sandelin on bass.
Recently Flocked had a chance to ask the band a few questions via email, this is what Johannes Eckerström had to say to us:
Who are some of your favorite visual, literary or performance artists?
That is a huge question with way to many names to put in. It spans from 19th century poets to American pro wrestlers and everything you can put in between. I like Black Sabbath.
Do you have any technical/formal training to do what you do?
Yes. I’ve had teachers and coaches through the years for singing and playing trombone, piano and guitar. The stuff I do in Avatar, tough, is mostly things we’ve developed on our own. Nobody taught me to kick ass. I had to figure that one out the hard way.
When was the day you realized that this was what you needed to be doing with your life?
I always did this. I’ve had dreams as a kid of what I wanted to be, but music is something I’ve always done, since I was five years old. I never chose it. It’s second nature and it will continue to be so with or without a successful band.
What projects are you currently working on?
Answering interviews and finishing the beers I’ve bought, so the usual promo-stuff.
If you didn’t have the music, what would you be doing?
I would keep a very boring diary or be the Japanese pro wrestling champion.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? Post-show?
There are no rituals that we keep for every show. Since the settings are so different from place to place it’s hard to find time every night to sacrifice that chicken to Cthulu’s minions, you know? So pre show is basically beer and make-up, and post show is beer and make-up removal.
What is your best memory prior to being on the national circuit/signed? How have things changed for you?
The biggest change is that it demands more and more hours, from being a boy room-project in my teens to becoming this all consuming juggernaut of life. The best thing, and thus the best gathered memories, is the fact that we’ve such a blast through all of this, and still have.
How has the digital age affected you band? Do you still see much with physical album sales?
We’re too young to really have experienced anything but the digital era of music, so I don’t know. Nowadays we can at least find out how many people are in to us, even if they get our stuff for free.
Is there something you have wanted to do on a tour but have not yet had the chance to?
What do you do to pass the time on tour? Is there anything you would like to see or do while in a certain city?
If it’s a cool place that I haven’t been to before I tend to get lost in what I believe to be the center of the city and let the local police force drive me back to the venue. At this point I’m probably hammered and refueled on adventure stories to share.
If you could only have one video game and/or DVD [set] to play on your tour bus/van while on the road, what game/DVD would it be? Why?
Lolo 3 for the NES. I would keep the volume really loud to share that awesome eternal music loop with all my friends on board.
If you could be on the cover of any magazine, which one would it be? Why?
Time Magazine’s ‘the 100 most influential people in the world’. I would raise a gun in victory after finishing off the last ice bear living in the wild.
What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
Actually, it was ‘Avatar’. It’s nice how they had Sigourney Weaver to play me. I loved her in the Alien series.
What now deceased celebrity or other person of note do you miss the most? Why?
Michael Jackson and Eddie Guerro. In both cases it’s just two examples, among many, of waste of great talent in entertainers.
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? Why?
An otter, ‘cause otters are awesome.
If you were a cocktail, what kind of cocktail would you be? Why?
Vargtass. Google it.
Is there a question you have been waiting to be asked, that you feel is always forgotten and needs to be addressed?
Yes. “Will you marry me?”
For more on Avatar, visit them at www.myspace.com/avataronline