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Johan Reinholdz - Non Exist

Interview with Johan Reinholdz from Non Exist
by Justin Wittenmeier at 07 August 2020, 4:32 AM

NON EXIST recently released their latest album, "Like the Fearless Hunter." Metal Temple writer Justin Wittenmeier recently caught up with Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Johan Reinholdz to talk about the latest album, and some other things. Check it out here!

This is the band's first full length without Liiva on vocals, although you did them on an EP. Was there ever any consideration on another singer? Or was it just easier or more natural for you to handle the vocal duties? Do vocals come naturally for you?

I never considered another singer as I had already begun doing a bit of vocals, both clean and growled, on the previous albums. I also wrote and recorded demo-vocals for a lot of songs that Liiva then sang. So it was in the works so to speak. I was surprised when he quit though. I never intended to take over as the vocalist before then. But when he did the decision to take over the mic came naturally.

How was it doing a full length essentially by yourself? Did you find it easier or was being a duo or having a few more band members better?

It’s fine. I’m pretty used to it now. With the exception of a the first album - Deus Deceptor, I’ve produced and mixed the other albums myself. The charm for me with Nonexist has always been, even more now of course, that it’s more of individual thing rather than the collective process of Andromeda and nowadays Dark Tranquillity. That band-collective type of creative situation is very rewarding but also has its frustration. So Nonexist is a nice variation from that.

With Liiva gone, has that affected the direction of the band's music? I know you write all of it but I assume you would bounce ideas here and there off Liva?

The music has become a bit more straight forward. I think I had played enough with that type of progressive/technical stuff that could be found on the previous two albums. And ironically I think Liiva would have preferred a more straight ahead style, like on this new album. Liiva wrote mainly lyrics, except some riffs and even a song here and there. But for example ”The New Flesh” is one of the best Nonsexist-songs in my opinion and that was a collaboration with my music and Liiva doing the lyrics and the vocal-arrangements, which turned out great! So that type of synergy that sometimes happens when two or more people write together is of course missing now that I write everything myself. So that’s a pity. But then again I’m very pleased with this new album, so it’s all good.

Did you write these songs just for this album or were any from past writing sessions perhaps?

I’d say the songs were written between 2015-2018.

How do you go about formulating songs? Do you need to be a quiet space or do ideas just pop into your head? I know you've been touring with Dark Tranquillity for years now, do you find it easy to write on the road?

I’m regularly recording riffs, chord progressions, licks etc. on my phone or my computer. And that could happen at any time and place, more or less. So then I have a lot of stuff collected and when I have the time - at home - I sit down and connect some of these ideas that then grow into songs. Sometimes I already have a couple of riffs or progressions put together as the skeleton of a song, so then it’s just a matter of expanding upon that and come up with the correct form, length and arrangements.

Like the Fearless Hunter balances thrash with melodic death…what were some of your influences or inspirations that helped with the album's writing process?

I don’t really listen to a lot of new metal. Or metal at all in general, anymore. Sometimes though, when I need the extra energy - when working out sometimes. But even though I mainly listen to other types of music I still love metal. It’s in my spine, it’s in my blood. It’s my first love when it comes to music. So there are some bands that are always with me as inspiration and influence for Nonexist: Morbid Angel, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Death, Grave, Merciless, Kreator, Sepultura, Dissection, Dimmu Borgir, iron Maiden, Pantera, Exhorder, Mercyful Fate, Malevolent Creation, Entombed, Dismember and more.

All the bands you are involved with it sound rather different from each other but Nonexist is definitely the most direct of them.  Is cathartic to get out some of this more aggressive, speedy sound?

Yeah, it’s a good outlet for aggression, frustration and other tensions that builds up inside. A catharsis for sure, like you mentioned. Also, it’s just fun music to write and play. There is so much energy in it.

Like the Fearless Hunter has the longest runtime of all the releases but it doesn't feel overly long. Is that why there are several shorter tracks, to cut down on any potential listener fatigue?

Oh, that’s good then! In 2018 we put out an ep called In Praise of Death EP which featured the songs ”A Meditationupon Death”, ”Cancerous Disembodiment”, ”Bloody Carnal Sorcery”, ”Reduced to Ash” and ”Dead Black Embrace”. Then I wrote seven more songs to make a full-length album. But those five ep-tracks are a bit better mixed now on this new album, to match the new seven songs. And yes - some of these ep-tracks are a bit shorter, mostly because it fits that old school-deathmetal-style. The vinyl version of the album only has ten songs though, with ”Reduced..” And ”Cancerous…” dropped. I think on the next album there will possibly be less songs. Really make each one count.

What's next for the band's future? Since 2012, Nonexist has been rather consistent with releases so are you planning on keeping the momentum going? When touring becomes a possibility I imagine DT will be keeping you very busy.

I don’t know. Make a couple of videos for the single-tracks. I don’t really plan anything touring-wise. Not saying that more gigs won’t happen though. Another album is probably coming within a few years. First I’m gonna finish my first solo-album though. And yes DT will keep me busy. I also would like the sixth Andromeda-album to be completed. And we want to do a second ep with Murdered Beats as well.

Speaking of touring, or the lack of right now, how scary is the uncertainty you and other musicians are facing right now? From the outside looking in, the last year has painted a very bleak picture for musicians and the future still seems uncertain, depending on the part of the world. Again, thanks Johan for your time.

This too shall pass.

Thank you Justin for the interview!


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