AC DC, California Son, Century Media, Danzig, Deep Purple, Dreamer, Guns N' Roses, huck Berry, Johanna Sadonis, Little Richard, Lucifer, Metallica, Nicke Andersson, Ramones, Roxy Music, Run DMC, Scorpions, Screamin J Hawkins, The Oath, The Runaways, The Velvet Underground, ZZ Top
When a certain female-only duo stepped onto the rock-infused limelight, I was very unimpressed. Specially with the vocals of one Johanna Sadonis. Not even their stage attire in all its resemlence to The Runaways caught my attention in a good way. Fast forward to the present and the new incarnation of Lucifer, I am proud to call myself a fan of this female musician, who clearly is so much more than “just a singer”. Still patiently waiting for a full-length European headline tour and my chance to finally see her live on stage, this has been a most pleasuerable interview in the making. Enjoy – I do!
How and when have you been first introduced into the world of Rockmusic? (I know you gave a very nice insight in a previous interview with Rock Hard, but since that one is currently unavailable, I’d be happy to learn about this as well)
Music has always been around me when I was a child. My mother was a classical trained piano player and listened a lot to classical music and rock. I was raised on the Stones. My parents also loved bands like Deep Purple, ZZ Top, AC DC, Roxy Music, The Velvet Underground and a lot of 50s rock and roll like Chuck Berry, Screamin J Hawkins, Little Richard etc. My older brother, who I am very close with, was a punk. It was the 80s. He made me mixtapes with all kinds of stuff spanning from Ramones to Run DMC. When I was coming of age my natural rebellion was lying in Heavy Metal which soon turned towards extreme metal.
Speaking of which: Who inspired you the most to start making music yourself??
Hard to say. In elementery school I started in to sing along to everything and was in my first band at the age of 13. First guitar, then vocals, which I stuck to. Around that time Danzig had a huge influence on me. The first three albums. But also early Metallica and Guns N Roses.
Most people know you from your former band The Oath, but you have quite the history of work to your name – is there any band/collaboration or project that you regret or might even be ashamed of?
No, everything lead up to who I am today.
dances with the devil
Have you ever felt less of a musician, being „just“ a singer on stage?
I am a singer but also a songwriter and write 50% of the songs and all lyrics in Lucifer, not even mentioning all other creative and managing processes concerning Lucifer that spring from my head. Lucifer is my creation, vision and concept. However, there are many “just” singers, as you put it, out there that get a complete song with lyrics thrown at them and I don’t think there is any shame in that either. One wouldn’t ask a guitarist how it feels to be “just” a guitar player.
Being in a band is much like a relationship and in fact your husband is also part of the second coming of Lucifer – what are the advantages and disadvantages of making music with someone your that close to?
I feel extremely lucky. To love each other, be best friends and play music together is the ultimate goal for us. We are both sort of introverts and have a very special and sacred relationship, nothing I have ever experienced before. We do everything together, so it’s a blessing for us that we get to go on the road together too and share this journey as well. Living out in the Swedish countryside away from people with our own studio, we get to completely immerse ourselves into what we love doing the most – music. Discussing ideas and music is never ego driven for us, it’s rather an excitement towards the greater good – to make the best song possible. That is our goal and ideology. We have a lot of fun with it all because this is what we both want out of life. It’s a satisfying thing!
On that note „Lucifer II“ sees a whole new lineup, apart from yourself of course – if you (would ever) compare it with the debut, how do you feel about the development, of you as a musician, the band and the music itself?
With every album there is a growth as a musician and human being. I am very proud of “Lucifer I” but “Lucifer II” is certainly a notch up. The sound is more organic and diverse with catchier crafted songs. I feel I have grown quite a bit as a musician but also us, as a band, especially live. Lucifer is a very energetic live band now, which has a lot to do with the great chemistry within the band. We are a very passionate group of friends, minus the toxic ego bullshit that can haunt a band. We all just wanna play and enjoy the ride. Being in the middle of the writing and recording process of “Lucifer III” and can already say, that we will continue the spirit of “Lucifer II”, possibly a notch up once again. Watch out!
top notch on stage and off
Do you think that your moving to Sweden will have an influence on the future sound of Lucifer?
Music springs from within one but yes, it’s a blessing to have left city life behind. I lived in huge cities most of my life. Berlin, LA, London. I can tell you that I am relieved to be away from crowded places. Now I have the luxuary of not working a regular job and being able to focus solely on being creative and letting my mind roam free as an artist. And to write for Lucifer together with Nicke, who absolutely shares my musical vision, has already had a big influence on Lucifer’s sound with the second album.
How much of your actual persona can we find in your music? – or to put is this way: are Lucifer & Johanna the same person?
Yes, Lucifer is one very big part of me. Of course there is a whole personal universe outside of the band but I pour my very heart into Lucifer. The lyrics are all very personal, even if metaphoric at times.
Have you ever felt or might even been told that there are certain things you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do because you are a woman?
Never felt but have been told many times. Of course, I never listened!
What are your thoughts on feminism and do you consider yourself a feminist?
It’s a sad thing this even needs to be talked about but it is very important. I am certainly with feminism. I am woman and have faced sexism in various forms since I walk the earth, like all of us. I take every opportunity to speak up, when I detect the slightest form of patriarchry. May it be just underlying, hidden or being even catered to by other women. It is a very frustrating and unfair thing, so deeply rooted in our society and it is very important to sharpen one’s sensibilty and raise awareness. Take no shit, girls! I am allergic however to the misuse of this whole debacle towards men and to preachery. Speak when it’s necessary!
Aside from sharing the magic on stage, you are also a fan and a Djane – what do you enjoy the most when it comes to music worship?
Oh yes, I am a huge music fan, DJ, record collector and supporter. I love going to shows. I used to put on shows myself, run my own metal club night for nine years. and worked a variety of jobs in the music industry myself. Almost all my friends play music. Music is all I want to be surrounded by ever since. The best is when you put on a record and hear a song that touches you so profoundly or pierces your heart in a way you have to listen to it over again. Or being at a show and it get’s to you so hard, you can’t help but actually shed some tears, yes!
music worship pro level
So much about Lucifer has a great vintage vibe, but your also very active on facebook, instagram etc. what is your personal take on social media?
Actually I recently deactivated my Facebook because it just became too much. I do see social media as a practical tool to get the word out, get to know what’s fresh but mostly to stay in touch with my friends, family and peers all over the world. The down side is being so approachable. I just don’t have time for it, so Facebook had to go!
And finally: Is there anything you’d like to tell the world, specially all the girls out there who are into the dark side of music, like an advice or maybe even „warning“ before they start dancing with the devil?
I encourage you to dance with the devil! It’s been the dance of my life!