Rock Eyez Webzine
Rock Eyez
Rock Eyez Webzine


Interview with Christofer Johnsson
(Guitar - Therion)

Christofer Johnsson


Interviewed by Pedro Lopes
Date: March 12th, 2005


The new THERION release is just, well, wow. Two CD release, a lot of music, and a ton of work must have been placed into these albums. What can you say about “Lemuria and Sirius B,” the collaborations and the outcome?
They're two albums in a trilogy, I started to write songs for a new album after “Deggial,” but all of a sudden I had some other ideas and I interrupted what would later become “Sirius B / Lemuria” next album and did “Secret of the Runes” instead. When I got back on track, again I realized I had tons of material and that Johan and Kristian had written tons of stuff as well. We thought we had enough good songs for three albums and that's why we decided to record two of them at the same time (to catch up a bit). Musically we divided it to that “Sirius B” would be the more straight forward, heavy-metal-ish and more bombastic one, the next album the more progressive one and “Lemuria” the one collecting the remain songs we wanted to use (and therefore the most diverse one). After the recordings, we however swapped some songs between “Lemuria” and “Sirius B” and by that making “Sirius B” more varied but also making these albums a bit more tied to each other.

As we had such a great, variety to choose from we had songs both reminding about previous works as well as new stuff sounding like nothing we've done before (which is how me usually do it). So for the first time we released albums where you could feel "hey this song could have fitted well on this or that album.” For good and for bad, but we felt those songs simply where too good to throw away - being "original" and ever developing is great, but it has never been a rule for the band, it just happened that way. The only rule there ever was, has been to create good songs we like to play, and record, and make albums the way we would have wanted it our selves as record buyers.

What about the covers for the new albums, are there any meanings to the artwork?
It's just art inspired by the concept of the songs. Something that came out that feels like it's looking suitable somehow.

What's the musical drive behind THERION - where do you get your influences?
’80's heavy metal, music from the 70's (hard rock and symphonic/progressive rock) and Richard Wagner.

THERION did an excellent job in covering Manowar's "Thor" - will there be any other covers in the near future?
We always do some covers at the end of successful shows. As for recordings of such, I'm not too sure, but I bet there will sooner or later. It is great fun doing it and it seems to be appreciated among the fans.

What is your current stance on metal music in the present compared to say, the early 90s?
I don't really follow the music scene that much anymore. I sometimes get free promo CD's and compilations. And my idea of how the metal scene is today… is tons of bands with female singers; that most of them sound similar. 10,000 power metal bands that copy each other, and that everyone that can afford it all of a sudden must use an orchestra (even though they don't have much of a clue of classical music). But to be frank with you, besides the death metal (which began to take form in the late 80's anyway) I never liked the 90's too much either. My heart seems to belong to the 70's and 80's musically.

How has THERION progressed musically since "Of Darkness...”
I'd say we've been following the same path - to allow the band to just do what ever feels natural and don't get limited by labels or categorization. I've always listened to all sorts of music and that have made its fingerprints in my songwriting. So basically, you can hear how my musical taste have evolved in my songwriting. Changing members over the years have of course also contributed to variations, both as co-songwriters as well as musical performance.

So from young and aggressive death metal with (for THAT time) unorthodox influences… to a band mixing all sorts of styles (including heavy metal, opera and 70's stuff), feels like the most natural thing in the world to me. (And for those fans that has followed the band from the start and still remain a fan today); Even though it might puzzle someone that discovers the band and take a listen to the first album and more recent works.

Can you tell us anything about “Demonoid”? Is the band just a side project and how is the sound different from the music in THERION?
It's mainly Johan’s and Kristian’s project, I wouldn't really call it a band as we don't play live (not saying this might not be the case in the future though, we'd be delighted to make another album and then we'd see if we could do some shows as well). And due to that, it of course sounds quite different to THERION where I'm the biggest musical input. I wrote almost no music for Demonoid at all. Just some riffs in two songs. Musically it's much more brutal than THERION has been the last 12 years and it seeks to combine the "good old days" with more recent brutal musical influences.

The original idea was to not let anybody know that it was the THERION boys doing it and instead see what reactions we would get for it as a "new" band. That would have generated more honest reactions from the press and it would have been nice to see if we could have established a new band from scratch without the help of the "fame" we have from THERION. Unfortunately no label was willing to take that risk (except one, but they offered us so little money that it didn't cover our expenses).

I'm definitely going to see THERION in New York City. Are you guys excited about touring in the USA?
Are you kidding? The discussions have always been how to get there as a SUPPORT ACT, how much it would cost us, how we would finance it, what the results could be of it with what bands we'd support etc. Due to the lack of interesting (affordable) tours where we would support, I asked our booking agent to set up a hand full of shows on the east coast in US and Canada because I know that's our strongest territories over there and I thought we'd be well off at least doing shows there. All of a sudden, we have a full-blown USA/Canada tours with 5 weeks of shows! Man I'm telling you the truth - THERION will be the first fucking metal band from outside of North America to do their very first US/Canada tour without loosing money! And tickets seem to be selling well at this early stage, so this is indeed a pretty cool situation. And if people show up a lot to the concerts, then I can even promise here and now that there will be a proper US/Canada tour every time we make a new album.

Has any support bands been announced for the US tour?
Not yet, we're still open to suggestions.

Ole Markus With -- Enslaved by Metal -
Open Band Database Project -

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