Johannes Eckerström, front man and ring leader for Swedish legends Avatar took time out to talk with Metal Wani’s Carl O’Rourke about the King of Avatar Country, transforming venues into Throne Rooms as well where he drawn the line between having fun and being a joke.
Speaking about ‘Avatar Country’, Johannes said it is probably “the happiest you will ever hear Avatar.” When asked both about the record as a concept record and one of celebration as opposed to hardship, the singer shared some insight to the thinking behind the record.
“If we look back on why we even got interested on making a concept album to begin with, it was the simple fact that we didn’t know how to make one. And we are always looking for a new way to make sure that it will be hard for us to make an album. It’s based on the principle that diamonds are created under pressure.” He added “The intention to make another concept album was never, ever there,” Concluding, though, that “We were too inspired not to do it.”
Acknowledging the spectacle that comes with an Avatar show, when asked where the line is drawn between being fun or a joke, Johannes said:
“That’s a good question actually, and I don’t know if I have a clear cut, you know if there is a clear line drawn in sand, but I feel, I guess the most important thing that I believe makes what we do work for us is, again, that it comes from the heart. It’s very honest and when we wanna be deadly serious because if, we, if that is what we feel like doing, when it’s about having fun or you know doing something funny it’s because we are driven and compelled to do so. So I think the sincerity of it is the most important thing. I feel like a band being a joke are usually the ones, what sounds like a joke to me are those who you, well at least what I perceive to be songs written in order just to find success. And that usually ends up being kind of transparent. Or those, again who think that they can figure out the formula for what to do based on maybe what some other band in the past has done.”
Johannes continued, providing priceless insight.
“I find it very hard to take bands seriously who seem to be riding only from the perspective of success. But I dunno like, it’s a complex question.” “When it feels insincere it’s very hard to give in and go for a ride with those particular musicians that I don’t feel are sincere. And then there’s, suddenly all those big words that people use and all those strong emotions they think they are portraying means nothing and then it becomes pretty silly.”
On what fans can expect from their upcoming show, Johannes is committed to delivering a show that exceeds nobility into something far further up the hierarchy.
“You can expect royalty. As the King enters any venue in the world, as we are in the United States, it is a good comparison that how if the President of the United States, whoever that is, goes on an airplane, strategically in the eyes of the Secret Service and the army or everyone, that plane effectively becomes the so called Air Force One. We have a similar saying with our King of Avatar Country where, whatever venue he enters, for that day that is the Royal Castle, and we treat the venue as his Throne Room. And what we aim to achieve, and what we already have proven to achieve across all of Europe and North America this year, [or half of Europe to be honest, we still have a lot of East to do,] is that we turn the venue into his Throne Room and we transport people into Avatar Country with the performance, with the production with how the merch area looks, and all these things together makes it a quite, as I say, unique and intense and special experience.”