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Interviews   

Persson to person


You wouldn’t suspect it, but Cult Of Luna singer/guitarist Johannes Persson doesn’t get worked up that easily. Instead, his answers are short and spontaneous. Last year the band released a musical book, finalising the Eternal Kingdom album concept. We interacted with Johannes about the ways in which the literary/musical piece is meant to be understood.

We also took the opportunity to ask him about what the band are up to at the moment, with special mention to his original point of view regarding record companies’ commercial approaches.

Overall, a clear cut and straight edge interview.

 » It all comes down with those downloading problems you have in the music industry. Small labels are really bleeding because of that. So they have to find those kind of solutions. […] the record companies don’t earn money, they have to spend money to make DVDs so that’s the reason why they have to do things like that. […] They feel they have to do it. I do understand them. I think we should blame more the people that are illegally downloading than the record companies. »

Radio Metal : It has been one year and a half that you came in France for the second part of the Eternal Tour, you visited more towns than ever, does it mean that the band is getting bigger?

Johannes Persson (guitare/voix) : I guess so, the last tour in France was amazing and actually this is one of our favourite countries. You really know how to appreciate the kind of music that we play. We were privileged to be able to play there and the show in Paris especially was a memorable moment in our career. It was a great show!

2009 fut une bonne année pour le groupe notamment avec la tournée Eternal Tour mais vous avez également sorti le DVD Fire Was Born, comment ce projet est il arrivé ?

I don’t remember actually, we got a suggestion by some guys who wanted to issue it in HD, it is something worth doing when you really know what you are doing. We decided to do this DVD with all the members and with all the live engineers. So, we gave it all during that night and it turned out pretty well. We were lucky to have a good night because sometimes we suck and we did not suck that night.

Are you satisfied with the decision to sell the DVD with the re-released of the album Eternal Kingdom?

No, but there was nothing we could do about it. When we talked about it with our label they said that people are just downloading DVDs, the labels had to pay for it but they don’t sell any. It all comes down with those downloading problems you have in the music industry. Small labels are really bleeding because of that. So they have to find those kind of solutions. I am not at all complaining on that. However the record companies don’t earn money, they have to spend money to make DVDs so that’s the reason why they have to do things like that. They feel they have to do it. I do understand them. I think we should blame more the people that are illegally downloading than the record companies.

After that, you released rare materials on your website. Is it a way to give more music to your fans or is it a way for the band to sell more music?

No. (laughs) It was just a way to get the tracks out and nothing more than that. They are all about different topics. We try to write all our albums around different themes. All the albums are about different concepts. In general we have gone from a perspective from the outside world it is like an analytic way of seeing the world.
The last album is more about a third person perspective, from another person point of view.

« It is an audio book, it is a story told in English and in Swedish and the musics are incorporated in the story so there will not be an album with just the music. The music is what it is in the story, it is not an album, it is a book. »

The book “Eviga Riket” is based on the notes left by Holger Nilsson who inspired you for the concept of Eternal Kingdom. Are the two stories the same or does one follow the other?

It is the same story but the story we told on the album was portions of it, it was not the full story from the beginning to the end. We chose different parts but the full story is in the book.

How the music is incorporated to the story?

The music is in the story so in that way it is incorporated. It is about different themes and different atmospheres that we found necessary to convey on. It is something special because we tried to interpret the emotions and the feelings in a musical way.

Is the music on Eviga Riket only sold with the book or will we be able to find the CD in a simple box?

No. It is an audio book, it is a story told in English and in Swedish and the musics are incorporated in the story so there will not be an album with just the music. The music is what it is in the story, it is not an album, it is a book.

As a concept album Eternal Kingdom was brilliant in my opinion. It mixed a strong story with great music, really heavy, with a lot of atmosphere. Here, with the book, the written part is more important than the music. Do you think that the story becomes more important than the listening?

Yes, I think you can say that. The music is a way to underline the story in all different ways than the album was.

When you read the book, the music helps to create an atmosphere?

Yes, it is more of that kind.

Cult of Luna is unique, the band creates his own musical vision and you have an original way to present it.
Are you interesting in publishing your music through others media such as in movies?

Not for the moment but maybe, you never know what will happen in the future. We are always keen on trying to find new ways of experimentation…It could be something of that kind but we don’t have any plans for the moment.

You don’t have any surprising plans for the future or perhaps it is too much confidential…

No, I have only a very boring answer to that: We are just working on a new album, an old planed album nothing more, nothing less, just an album. However I think a lot of people will be happy to know that.

Interview conducted in September, 2010 by phone.
Transcription by Isabelle
MySpace CULT OF LUNA : www.myspace.com/cultofluna



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