Band Interview: Avatar

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging life had the pleasure of chatting with Avatar frontman and vocalist, Johannes Eckerström ahead of their new album release. Hunter Gatherer is out now and you can read our review here as well as watch our video review below.

What follows is a transcript of some of the talking points from the interview. The whole thing can be listened to on YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Considering the success and impact of the previous album ‘Avatar Country’, did Avatar have any trepidation or doubts when it came to writing this follow up?

No. We knew when we started with Avatar Country that it was a comedy. It started with this stupid inside joke that also made it funny.

Long story short, Jonas changed his middle name on Facebook, way back when, to Konung, meaning the king. To annoy his friends and it annoyed me! Fast forward a bit and it had become his nickname. That nickname became time-killing inside humour on the road. He would gift us signed pictures of himself (framed), all these things and that in combination with a period where we would listen to a lot of Manowar before shows, Hail and Kill before every show for a year, we needed to get the dragon slaying heavy metal out. We needed to get this funny shit out.

A couple of other things came together for this vision and we realised we kind of wanted do something funny. But we knew if it’s funny at all, it’s only going to be funny once.

We knew always that (afterwards) we would be going back to something more serious and of course that grew into a whole beast of its own.

Avatar Country was like two years of not seeing your therapist so the darkness that came out was way more compact then even I thought it would be. So the drive was there and we’ve always, for the longest time, thought we wanted to change things up.

You just do these different things each time and trust that it will sound like Avatar one way or another.

Do Avatar feel as though they’re about to smash through the ‘glass ceiling; in rock and metal?

There are certain tiny things that happen. You see it now in the promotional stuff. Different types of opportunities to promote your album show up. In this day and age, that shows that the business looks at you legitimately. There’s a difference there on this album that we’ve been working towards all this time.

(Live) Seeing a room full of people and realising this matters to someone outside of our rehearsal room. That number of people that it matters too is an ever expanding thing. We feel that. We see that. At the same time though, it’s a tricky thing to wrap your head around.

How do Avatar handle the disappointment of having such an expansive tour postponed?

Yeah (that tour is going to come). So, people just remember to wash their hands, wear their mask, don’t visit grandma for a while but call her. Think like the next big pandemic is around the corner if we don’t learn from this one.

Just give it some thought about how we want to deal with things in the future. Everything sucks about this but it can at least be a learning experience.

Eight albums in and it seems as though Avatar aren’t slowing down. Is that the case?

Yes, that’s how I feel as well. Obviously (with no touring), we’ve had some time to already write some stuff. There’s no direction, no release plan, there’s nothing, it’s just writing but I still get the sensation that I’ve not done this yet! Or I hear something in this jazz song or whatever. I’m not writing jazz songs, but at the end of the day it’s all about the music. Everything else is sprinkled on top, the face paint etc.

Of course that it huge in the world of Avatar when we’re on stage but none of that matters without the music. So when it comes to that, they’re still so much to do!

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