Interview by Miriam Cadoni and Arianna Govoni

Photo by Alex Hinchcliff

Sweden’s Avatarium is one of those rare beast in the metal musical panorama that’s not scared to constantly face new challenges and apply to the rule Darwin‘s main dogma: “This…I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest”. Due to the recent COVID 19 pandemic, as it happened to several bands, they weren’t able to successfully promote “The Fire I Long For” as deserved.

So, the band in recent times has announced the official download of the only show, played in Stockholm, in occasion of the promotion of “The Fire I Long For”. Please, if you wish to support the band just learn more at this link. The proceedings of this video will support the recording of the next full-length. Well, if you are curious to learn more about their fourth album before watching this amazing video, we recommend to check out our interview. Enjoy!

Hi Jennie-Ann, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, it’s a real honor to having you here and how life is treating you nowadays?

Well, it’s a great period in my life, especially now, that are a lot of great vibes. At the moment, There is a lot of expectation and anticipation. Yes, it’s really good. 

I would like to start our chat by talking about the forthcoming album “The Fire I Long For” which was released on 2nd November 2019. What can you share about its overall production?

Well, we started a year ago and it’s been a great creative process, Of course, it demanded a lot in terms of hard work and involvement as such every record production does. So, it has been a great fun and once again, a lot of work [laughs].

If I’m not mistaken, I just read that Markus took care of the production as well…

Yes, he’s the producer of “The Fire I Long For” tho’ we worked closely together. During this album, that specifically has happened is that, we took a step forward when it comes to songwriting. So, me and Marcus have written 6 tracks together on this album while he has further composed 3 more songs. It’s great that he has been working with us but for me, it has been necessary to additionally improve my skills. I guess I’m that kind of person that need to feel it because it would be impossible to create the same album over and over again.

And all this, it represents a great step forward for Avatarium both from a personal and lyrical point of view. I’m very happy and excited about it. Of course, this is a band effort because each of the members have contributed when it comes to arrangements and sounds. You know, I’m very fortunate to be able to work with some Swedish’s best musicians. I feel really privileged. 

If compared to the previous album’s cover, I was positively overwhelmed by the simplicity of “The Fire I Long For”‘s artwork. In this case, we have just the band’s name with a logo in a grey background and a black shade. So, what’s the meaning behind it?

Well, we have the great pleasure to work with an amazing art-director Erik Dagnell which he is the owner of a studio here in Stockholm. So, this the outcome of a long collaboration because I think our first contact with him dates back more that a year ago. During our first meeting, we talked about the next steps we wanted to take when it came to visuals paired to the music. Naturally, it has been a process and I’m very happy about it.

I love the simplicity, I love the clear technique and I think it’s quite a high-profiled one. It’s just very Avatarium. Lately, if I would able to choose myself, I would have chosen this since the beginning because it’s completely my cup of tea. Also, these graphics are open for a subtle interpretation. There might be a body or something intriguing that keep on moving.

Photo by Phil Jamieson

In order to offer us more appetizers for the new album, you have released the new single “Rubicon”. So, which insight can you share about this single?

It’s heavy. It has a great riff and a strong powerful chorus. In truth, the lyric is a bit obnoxious because its subject is quite common when you reach and experience a road ending in a relationship. Of course, it doesn’t have to be necessarily a romantic relationship. I’m mostly referring to a relationship that comes to a point of no return. Thus, “Rubicon” is really symbolic for that. If you remember what historically has happened when when Cesar crossed it with his troops. I’ve tried to express how is it to move forward in life without the necessity of forgiveness.

It’s quite liberating to be capable to realize that there are unforgivable things. You don’t have to weigh yourself down with the forcing need to forgive with the sole purpose to make amends. You can drown a line in the sad for yourself and of course, forgive yourself for the wrong choices and then move on. I gave a lot of thought about it and the outcome results in “Rubicon”. I simply like it.

I recall that your self-titled album “Avatarium” released back in 2013, and since then a lot of water has flown under the bridge, so to say. However, after such a long time, I was wondering if you would be able to draw a parallel between Hurricanes and Halos” and “The Fire I Long For”. Since then, how your approach changed?

Well, I bring the way I sound and the way I think and work in music. I think, it’s something great for Avatarium to be able to just be yourself. Also, it is what made the band great. All of us as individuals, we have our strong personalities and we are not shaped in a form to be directed or to be reshaped by a producer which tell you who to be and how to sound. Personally, it’s a red thread with the whole process in Avatarium. Fortunately, I’ve been able to cultivate that. I think the whole band, especially me and Marcus, learned so much.

It has such a great and learning process. Of course, writing, producing, making records and touring help in this and what hear on “The Fire I Long For” is the outcome of what we have learned in terms of collaboration with different musicians and with who we are dependent from. For example, who aids us in mastering the record, and who creates the artwork. You know, to make an album and for reach audiences, it takes a lot of human power and a lot of people to achieve that.

Besides to being good at what you are doing, you have to be able to collaborate. So far, it has been a great journey and this it the best album we’ve done. I’m immensely proud of what we have accomplished. Naturally, some part of us are still the same of when we have published “Hurricanes…” but we have discovered and experienced a lot. Lately, we are more able to express ourselves more now than in the past.

Avatarium essentially plays doom metal but digging around, I have discovered that since you were a kid you have been singing jazz. Naturally, my question is how your past background blends with a peculiar context such as metal?

Yes, I think it’s what sort of made Avatarium different. It was a happy incident, so to say. At the time, I was asked to play some vocals and when me, Leif and Marcus listened to the outcome, I completely surprised by it. I felt that I did and happened something unique too.

Just being myself and bring my natural musical ability allows me to feel and think. At the end, it happened and as I said before I bring my sound to the table. Well, then magic happens. Simply, Avatarium is the outcome of that.

Besides being a fantastic jazz singer, I’ve recently to out that you a psycho social consultant in one of the major hospital in Stockholm. Since it’s a delicate matter, I won’t ask any details about it but mostly, I would like to focus how on the peculiarities of your daily job. How these can reflect some band’s aspect (such as for the example the lyrics)?

Of course, it does. You know, I still work a couple of days per week and I’m almost finished with my university. I’ve been studying for many many years but I’m almost finished [laughs]. Actually, I miss just one exam and I’ll officially will be a psychotherapist. Both my education and my experience inspires me a lot when I compose lyrics because I treat people with very serious illnesses.

In the latest full-length there are many topics concerning life, death, life after death, light and shadow. I would say it is quite dark. So, those big existential questions are really normal due to the fact that I come in contact with them often. Of course, I’m fascinated by the human psyche, psychology and philosophic.

Additionally, it’s an enormous privilege to have music as a personal outlet of reflection where I can ponder over everything. Before I mentioned about those big existential questions and I think all the living humans engage with those questions Each of us deals with that in own way and most probably, they don’t do it explicitly has I do.

“The Fire I Long For” marks your comeback to your epic doom roots while paying the respects to rock legends like Rainbow, Led Zeppelin and The Doors. How much complicated might be and obtain the right equilibrium between these two elements?

You know, I understand that people need to have labels but I don’t reasonate like that. Honestly, for me, I create music and actually, I don’t care how people call it. What’s is really important for me is music and that I can like it myself too. Anyway, I’m so really happy that many listeners like it. The simple recipe for that is being plainly honest and be yourself. In the end, people will recorgnise that because most of the audience don’t really care about nomenclatures whether if you call it musical opera or heavy metal.

For me, it’s not so important to think about the roots, what really matters is being focused on the now and on Avatarium. I want to sound contemporary, I want to be energetic and I want to be emotional. I just want to be exactly that: present, contemporary, energetic and powerful.

It’s something great and we feel privileged to have a record label that enables us to have a complete artistic freedom without dealing with any kind of pressure. It has been inspiring to have support from the listeners, read how much they appreciate our music and discover how much impatient they are to learn more about it.

Well, Jennie-Ann I would like to thank you for giving us this interview…

Thank you very much and I must say that you recognized the importance on emphasizing on female artists, musicians and singers. What you are doing is great and when it comes to women’s cause, we need to support eachother. That needs to be lifted and have more visibility in the whole musical business. So, thank you for doing that.

Thanks a lot. We are just doing our best…

That’s so great. It’s so great.

As per our tradition, we always ask to the interviewee to share the final thoughts with her fans and our readers. So, now that’s your space…

Thank you for your interest in music and us.

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