I had a chance to do a Q&A with Johana Sadonis (ex-The Oath), vocalist of freshman German doom band Lucifer. They recently released their debut record and are about to hit the road on a North American tour with High on Fire, Pallbearer, and Venomous Maximus. Though I have mixed feelings on their LP (review here), I liked a few tracks and see potential in them.
Spencer: There have been a number of other bands named Lucifer over the years. What compelled you to use the name despite potential confusion?
Johanna: Lucifer is a very beautiful and powerful figure that stands for the misfit spirit I believe in and identify with. It is also a very catchy name. There was no other way for me.
Spencer: Johanna, how have you approached Lucifer’s music differently from your previous band, The Oath?
Johanna: Both bands have a similar core in their influences. The Oath however was also leaning strongly into early Heavy Metal, NWOBHM in particular. With Lucifer I wanted to put the focus strongly on our 70s Heavy Rock influences and loads of Doom. I wanted Lucifer to be less raw, deeper and more eclectic. The writing process was a different one as well, as Gaz and I had to send files back and forth demoing songs opposed to meeting in a rehearsal studio.
Spencer: What was it like having doom metal veteran Gaz Jennings added to the group?
Johanna: It’s fantastic! He is one of the greatest players of this genre, if not the best. Because of him Lucifer turned into the best thing I have done musically yet. We turned out to be great writing partners and friends.
Spencer: Gaz, how has your experience been going from a huge band in the scene like Cathedral to a new, underground band like Lucifer?
Gaz: To be honest it’s all the same really. I’m still playing and writing music regardless if it’s for Cathedral or Lucifer. To me I still put 100% commitment into anything I’m involved in. I still write exactly how I would for Cathedral albeit a little more hard rock than maybe metal for Lucifer. As for the people in both bands, in Cathedral everybody got on really well with no egos and the same can be said for Lucifer, everybody is very laid back and relaxed which makes for a pleasant working environment. It doesn’t matter how big a band that maybe people perceived Cathedral to be, I’m still the same guy that I was when I was in that band. Very easy going, laid back and happy to be involved. Of course, after being in Cathedral for all those years then the band finishing, if you’re gonna carry on playing and get involved in something new then you have to start from the bottom again and I have no problem with that. I don’t think and I don’t ask any favours just because I was in a band that was quite highly thought of by a lot of people.
Spencer: Is there any reason you did not include “Anubis,” your debut single on your first record, Lucifer I?
Johanna: “Anubis” is very close to our heart but we had to move on to our new material. However, we re-recorded “Morning Star” for the album, closer to the original demo Gaz and I made of the song.
Spencer: Where did inspiration come from for both the songwriting and lyrics for Lucifer I?
Johanna: The main inspiration for the music comes from all the great ones of the 70s like Sabbath, Purple, Heep, Blue Öyster Cult, old Scorpions, Pentagram, etc. but of course you pick up inspiration from an endless pool of directions. Gaz is a huge Trouble fan for example. I can say I wouldn’t do what I do had I not listened to Danzig since the early 90s. I am also a huge 70s Heart and Fleetwood Mac fan. Lyrically, I draw from within myself. The lyrics are very personal, though I try to shroud them into metaphors and symbols. Certain images and figures stand for certain people and episodes in my life.
Spencer: I really enjoyed your song “Sabbath”. Any particular story behind that track?
Johanna: “Sabbath” is about one of the most important people in my life. It is a song about love, so profound, it is a holy temple to me. It is also a tribute to Black Sabbath, Lucifer’s fathers, if you will.
Spencer: You are about to embark on a North American tour with High on Fire, Pallbearer, and Venomous Maximus, how does that feel?
Johanna: We are excited to take this album on tour. It is a very gratifying experience to play your songs live. You start living in your music. It’s magical. Of course we also look forward to the roadtrip together. We will play some great venues with killer bands and a killer crew. Can’t wait to pack my bags!
Spencer: How is work coming along for Lucifer II?
Johanna: I constantly jot down ideas. We also have some material left over from our writing sessions for Lucifer I. We plan to write some material while on the road together.
Johanna Sadonis – Vocals
Gaz Jennings – Guitar
Dino Gollnick – Bass
Andrew Prestridge – Drums