Interview by Tony Cannella
Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, the heavy metal band Night Viper has recently released their devastatingly awesome self-titled debut (actually, it’s not that recent, it came out in 2015 but it is still awesome). The band line-up consists of Sofie-Lee Johansson (lead vocals), Emil Ridderstolpe (Guitars), Tom Sutton (Guitars), Ruben Åhlander Persson (Bass) and Jonna Karlsson (Drums). We recently caught up with the band’s powerhouse lead vocalist Sofie-Lee Johansson to talk about what is going on in the world of Night Viper. Sadly, after this interview was completed it was announced that Emil had left the band, so Night Viper is currently in the market for a new guitarist. He can be heard on their self-titled debut, which is awesome (did I already mention that?)
Welcome to Femme Metal Sofie-Lee. How are you doing?
I’m doing well, impatiently waiting for spring like every other Swede right now though, haha.
First off, I really love the record. Please give us some history on the band.
That makes me very happy, thank you! Me and Tom met a few years ago, he’d just moved here and I had a little seed of a band going with a friend of mine. So I asked Tom to join us. The other guy had other stuff going on and left pretty early on, but me and Tom had a really great chemistry, both as friends and musically. Jonna was the first to join us; we’d heard she was looking for a new challenge besides her band Mud Walk. Same here, we got along great from the start and then had Emil joining us. It was a struggle finding a bass player, and we were a bit surprised when Ruben came along because he was already in three other bands. We posted a 4-track demo on Soundcloud in 2014 and later on a single and the full-length on Svart Records in 2015. Last year we played at Muskelrock, Heavy Days in Doomtown and went on our first tour, together with our dear friends in Demon Head. We’ve been very lucky to have done so much fun stuff in such a short time!
You just released your debut album. What can you tell us about it?
We recorded it over a week in a studio here in Gothenburg. To nail the excitement we always feel when playing, the basic tracks were recorded live together. I think it channels our bands energy in a very honest way!
How have the fans and media received it?
I believe the overall reception has been great! It’s quite a wait to get a vinyl pressed, and it still feels surreal people actually having heard the album…!
How would you describe your music to those who haven’t heard it?
It is straightforward heavy metal with NWOBHM and thrash elements. I’d say it’s a “Kill ’em All”-fueled early Judas Priest with a pissed off Michael Jackson on vocals, haha.
What serves as inspiration when writing lyrics?
Most of the lyrics on the album are about everyday life frustration. They were mainly written when I was having a life crisis, which was a gold mine for that purpose… I’ve done a few ones that are a bit more abstract, but it doesn’t come really natural to me. I’m more of a whiner than a dreamer, I guess.
My favorite song on the record is “Curse of a Thousand Deaths”. I just love the overall vibe of that song. Lyrically, what is that song about?
Well, this is one of the abstract ones. Me and Tom did it together, we made our own story of a witch who gets killed during trial and casts a spell on the kings male blood line to all die. It’s supposed to end with the king’s heir having to kill the witch’s daughter to break the spell, but we never got that far. Maybe there will be a sequel for the second album?
Do you have a favorite song on the record?
“The Wolverine” is probably my favorite, the lyrics are the most personal on the album and it is a 100% freedom song. When we were doing our release shows, we finished the sets with this one, and a glitter confetti bomb at the end. That pretty much says it all.
Who are some of your biggest influences in music?
I love metal, hard rock and punk, but was brought up in a home of ABBA, Elton John, Bonnie Tyler and CCR. I am a complete sucker for melodies because of this. I think you can hear on my singing, I’m not really a friend of the straight line. The sound and attitude of bands like Venom, Motörhead and rock-era Entombed are what navigates me in Night Viper. But in my home and heart there is only one ruler, and that is Coven. I have one mission for the next album, and that is to make at least one song with Jinx-style vocals.
What can fans expect when they come see you live?
A lot of smiley faces, bangin heads, good times! Our spirit animal is probably a happy, old reunion band, excited to be back on the stage again… Haha!
What are your plans for the future?
We have started working on new material for a second album and we got a few gigs this summer, and then aiming for a longer tour this fall.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, Sofie. We really appreciate it and are happy to support Night Viper. In closing, do you have any final words for your fans?
Thanks for the interview and for reading! Night Viper in the niiiiiiight!