Interview Avatar – “I just kept the word DANCE in the back of my head for everything.”

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For the past couple of decades, the Swedish metal institution that Avatar has become, has been spreading its gospel around the world to great success. After ‘Hunter Gatherer’ having been released right at the beginning of the pandemic, 2022 seemed to be somewhat of an increasingly better year for the band, being able to wrap up that cycle somewhat satisfyingly. But now they’re already back with full-length album number 9 ‘Dance Devil Dance’ and another set of highly engaging metal tracks with the signature Avatar quirkiness to them. About time that we sat down with frontman Johannes Eckerström to have a chat about how things are and of course the album…

We had a quick talk about how 2022 was actually a pretty good year for Avatar even though everything was only just getting somewhat back to normal after the pandemic, giving them the opportunity to wrap up the ‘Hunter Gatherer‘ cycle in a good way. Just in time for the release of their new album ‘Dance Devil Dance‘. About that new album we touched on how Johannes sees this album as part of saving the state of heavy metal because he sees some flaws in how contemporary metal often seems like. Either the music doesn’t make people move anymore and instead calls for you to sit in a chair to fully digest the intricate music, or it’s too sterile where the use of the latest innovations in technology takes away some of the edge (or “Devil”) that heavy metal used to have. On this album they also have a very diverse sound again, as has become a signature thing for Avatar, which is something that Johannes feels used to be a normal thing on metal albums, referring to for instance Black Sabbath back in the day.

Johannes also brings up a couple of things that they approached differently this time around, like recording the whole thing in a summer cottage in Sweden that was stacked with rented equipment. During the recording of the album, they also constantly tried to keep the word “dance” in the back of their heads, where they for instance tried to think how blast beats could be danceable. He also brings up the track ‘The Dirt I’m Buried In‘ as a song that took a long time to get right, but also where he found a sense of comfort singing in his normal voice that usually is reserved for karaoke nights and not go to the crazy highs or lows that he normally gets to in Avatar songs. Lastly, we also chat about why now the time was right for them to self-release ‘Dance Devil Dance’ on their own created label Black Waltz Records, go fully independent to have more control over their creative path.

To wrap things up completely, we have a short discussion on how Avatar seems to select a quite eclectic mix of band to support them on tour (like The Callous Daoboys last year and for instance Orbit Culture this year) and how they approach this. Johannes also expressed his gratitude towards everyone who supports them and shows interest in the band and that even though every band says this with a new release, he truly believes that ‘Dance Devil Dance‘ is the best Avatar album to date.

For all of that and more go see the full interview on our Youtube channel or right here:
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