For the release of the new album “Feathers & Flesh”, available 13th May 2016, we’ve met John Alfredsson, Avatar’s drummer, in Paris.
Hi John, how are you?
John Alfredssonn (drums): Very very good, a little bit asleep and tired to be honest but it’s very good to be in Paris. Wish I had a little bit more time. We come this morning and leave tomorrow morning again. The last week, we’ve been pretty busy. We’ve been recording a new video so we’ve been working a lot, 20 hours a days. So I’m a little bit tired, but it’s getting better.
We gonna speak about your new album “Feathers & Flesh” available 13th May. It will be released in one month, how do you feel?
John: Right now, I’m little bit nervous as we should be, so yes of course we’re nervous: when we work hard on something and it comes to surface, to see people’s reactions, it’s like, you don’t know if they gonna like it or gonna freak out or whatever. Anything can happens cause every album we do, we try to not play the same thing, so we try to do it unsafe as possible and that make it a little bit unpredictable, but it’s also pretty exciting. Actually, probably more excited than I’m nervous, but if I was not nervous, we’ve probably done something wrong cause it‘s never good to do a safe album.
Cause it’s boring?
John: Yeah it’s boring! It easily get boring, so many other bands play the same music so.
What’s the story behind the title “Feathers & Flesh”?
John: It’s a concept album, we found that having a title track was appropiated because it’s an entire story so we felt on a title that was conclusive. The album was about feather & flesh, it’s a song and this title is a fable: the album is a fable, story about how the protagonist finding the antagonist wich is, in this case the eagle, I mean all the others animals in this way. It’s a pretty rough and violent story, so we can stay as basically it’s a story about all these feathers and flesh so that’s where the title comes from.
The first song introduce the album like a very sad one but it’s more positive and groovy.
John: Yes, but the end of the album is pretty sad and dark too. Not really positive, so basically it’s a wave story. if you think like a movie, “Regret” (intro) would be like the establishement of the movie, when you establish the picture when the title coming. The intro of the movie, we say the mood. And then, it’s a journey, so we start sad and then we go there (on the top) and then its goes stop: everybody’s dead and you didn’t learn a shit so it’s not a positive album in that sens.
Actually in lyrics it’s not a positive album, but the riff are really groovy and make it positive.
John: Yeah but groove have always be a very bigger part for us a good song requires for us a good riff, a good groove: if you have the good riff and the good groove you have a good song. So we have always put a lot of energy into finding a good groove because it’s our opinion in what makes metal, this is the kind of metal we grow with so that maybe the spirit we try to put into.
Your album should start with the song “The Eagle Has Landed”. It defines well your style and the atmosphere.
John: Yeah, it might be the more typical Avatar’s song so that I can agree with. It is one of the safer song on this album. But definitely, it shoudn’t be opening the album cause it fucked up the entire story line and everything, and I see no reason to play safe song to start that way but thanks you for liking this song! And I agree, it’s a very good song but in my opnion all the songs are equality good because if it were not, it couldn’t be on the album.
Our favorite songs are the most groovy ones: “Tooth, Beak & Claw” and “For The Swarm”. What’s yours?
John: To play on the album no. Some of them are a little bit challenge to play, that’s obviously fun as a drummer.
Which one was a challenge for you?
John: It would be “Night Never Ending” and “One More Hill”. Technically, it’s very very challenging song to play on drum. It’s inspiration of fun drumming. The guitar players have different songs like a challenge but I like to play all of the songs. If I had a very clear favorite song on the album that what it means the rest of the album not been as good, there 14 tracks on the album, so I can’t keep just one.
What’s your favorite subject of inspiration?
John: I’m not writting the lyrics but I know Johannes is inspiring by all the fucking things in his life. But as a musician, as a drummer, the inspiration is to try to challenge ourselves to be uncomfortable, like to do staff not totally confortable or make us feel confortable. That where we find our big inspiration. And do staff different, try to see as far we can push it and where is allowed or not allowed to do in metal. Metal is a little bit conservative so it’s pretty fun to play a little bit with it. This is where the band find the inspiration. For the lyrics, it’s in Jon’s mind, what he eats for breakfast. (laughs)
Did you meet some problems during the recording of this album?
John: Yeah of course, always. But I can’t really tell it right now. There’re always technical problems, we use very high technology, our environment for 4 weeks. It was very intense cause too short. So at the end of the session, we basically work for 24h a day, the guitars players came on the night, so everybody was working on the night so it was very very exhausting. So there’re always problems.
In each song you never have the same voice, not speaking about voice effet, but in term of vocal technic. Is it important for the singer to improve and show several faces?
John: Not anymore cause we grown up now. (laughs) Obviously, it’s important for everybody to involve, singer is like an actor or performer. But yeah, his voice has definitely come to the year, this is hard work for severals years because he was not as good 5 years ago like he’s right now. He’s learning and getting better.
Are you influenced by music from other band right now?
John: Of course, actually it’s not metal music, it’s more soft staff. To be too much in metal scene, I use to hear it. Right now, I don’t really have a big inspiration. I discover a band from italy that really blew my mind, I think a lot of band are really boring to be honest. Unfortunetly, back in days obviously, bands like Metallica, AC/DC, I really don’t find that. It looks like a lot of new bands today, for me, look and sound the same. It’s like everybody are in the same bowl. For me, it’s a lack of inspiration, lack of spirit. But there’re bands like Fleshgod apocalypse, an italian band, they do something very different now, that is for me inspiration because it’s different. But metal scene, in general, could be better but we will help it.
What differentiate you from other bands?
John: We do an entire concept, we are a theater band, we put the same energy in every aspect of the band like art, photos, the music and the lyrics. Everything is art for us and now in metal is unfortunetly something that is lacking. Too many band use to satisfy with cool music and cool lyrics and that’s yet. It’s sad for me.
When will you come for a French show?
John: In June in Download Festival in Paris. And we will be back in Automn.
What is your plan now? Are you still working on a new album?
John: Yeah we never take a break, we’re working on music video right now and promotion. We start touring too for a year I think and then we might star working on new music.
To finish, as our website is called “RockUrLife”, what rocks your life?
John: Avatar, that is my life.
John: Thanks you very much!