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Rogga Johansson (Demiurg)

Interview with Rogga Johansson from Demiurg
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 24 May 2008, 7:19 PM

What happens when you have the chance to interview a person you respect for what he has offered to the Metal scene after reviewing his band's latest album? You take a deep breath and take notes about everything that you want to ask him. You don't even let him take a single breath! DEMIURG's Rogga Johansson was kind enough to take some time to answer some of my questions and the outcome of this conversation can be read below…

Hello Rogga! Congratulations on DEMIURG's new album! I didn't even know about this band and this release hit me like a thunder! Tell us a few things about how this while thing started.

Well basically Guido from Mascot approached me for the idea of a new band, and I agreed as long as Dan would be up for it as well. After that we pretty much did what all bands do, wrote and recorded and during the process Johan was added as well on the bass as we felt the need of a killer musician on this instrument to make the sound a bit more diverse than usual. So you could say DEMIURG from the beginning was just a project started by a guy in need of a band to sign haha. But then it grew to something much bigger of course which we all are very pleased about.

Despite the fact that you are a pretty fresh band in the scene, you have already managed to release two full-length albums. Did you have some material of your own ready before the formation of DEMIURG and you just wanted some musicians to assist you with your musical dream?

That's pretty much what happened actually. For the debut there was lots of material already done which we could use for the album. For this new album though most stuff have been written in the time between the albums, but this time old material has been used as well.

As I said before you are a new band and from what I saw you had no other releases before your debut album. How did you manage to sign a contract with Mascot Records? Are you satisfied with them until now?

As in the first question we were really assembled by Guido from the label. And that's the way it all went from there. Mascot is a good label indeed, and has done all the work we could want from them I guess. I mean we don't tour or do gigs so pushing the band to huge altitudes might be hard for a label.

Why did you choose The Hate Chamber as the title for your new album?

It was the title of a song I wrote like 10 or 15 years ago, and I had forgotten the music of course but the title stuck with me. So I thought since I like the title I should use it, and it fits with the concept well. Being a rather gloomy album with not much in common with more brutal or gory Death Metal I think the title is really good.

By the way, The Hate Chamber features a simple, yet kind of freaky cover. Who created it?

The cover was done by Heiko Wagner and we like it very much. He also did the debut album's cover and we wanted to stick with the same guy to make it fit together better, as DEMIURG is a little bit of a concept band.

How did the collaboration with Dan Swano came up? I suppose your collaboration in the last EDGE OF SANITY album was not enough for you. You made a good team back then…

I've known Dan for about 7 years now and we work together from time to time, so asking him to join DEMIURG was very easy. Without him the band wouldn't have become what it is at all, as he's both a band member as well as the producer. It was very cool to be on the EDGE OF SANITY album, but we knew each other from before that. Cool you think we made a good team, otherwise I think the general opinion is that this is not a real EOS album as I do most growls instead of Dan. And we all know that Dan's growls and songwriting is the stuff you want haha. But I did my best to fill the void on the album and he also did many parts himself which was something he didn't want at first, but then I forced some beers into him and it all worked killer haha.

Dan Swano was responsible for the whole mixing/mastering work. Since DEMIURG is your creation, I suppose it was your decision to assign him with this job. Are you satisfied with the album's sound?

Yes Dan does that entire thing, and we are very happy with the result. This album became much heavier than the debut, both thanx to the production as well as Ed Warby's drumming. So the sound is as good as we could expect, no less at all. It's really crushing and that was something we wanted, both brutal but well produced and not noisy or harsh.

Do you have any live plans for DEMIURG? Will we have the chance to see you performing live here in Greece anytime soon?

No plans for that at all really. We don't have the budget to be able to get together to rehearse or make gigs. Shitty but that's how it is.

Let's talk about your other activities a bit now. Why did CARVE split up?

Well CARVE was actually PAGANIZER, but briefly we changed name. After this all happened the CARVE albums were released and they are basically just demos and promos remastered. So CARVE didn't really do much, I think we played one drunken gig and did a couple of promos and that was all we did. PAGANIZER is still around these days but CARVE is not.

2008 seems a pretty busy year for you, since DEMIURG have a new album out, BERENICE BLEEDING released a new EP and PAGANIZER released a split CD with DEPRESSION. Don't you want some time to rest? I mean, you are always on the run!

BERENICE BLEEDING is the spawn of Rober Machetazo and I just do the vocals there, and the PAGANIZER split with DEPRESSION was done years ago but delayed so I am not doing very much really haha. I have more recent stuff going too like REVOLTING and THOSE WHO BRING THE TORTURE, but it's all just for fun.

Now that I mentioned BERENICE BLEEDING. Even if this band/project was formed back in 2003, its first release came 5 years later! Why is that?

Rober and I have been friends a while and then when PAGANIZER went to Spain to play with Machetazo we finally got to discuss about this band we had been planning all this time. Rober had songs done which he gave me and then we finally started to get it all finished. BERENICE BLEEDING will most likely be very much more playing and recording later this year and next now as we have signed to Ibex Moon Records.

Since you are involved in so many bands/projects, which one do you consider to be your main activity? Which one takes most of your time?

None takes much time haha, as we don't really rehearse much or play live. But I would say PAGANIZER and RIBSPREADER are my main bands.

Really, have you managed to make a living by music or do you have a 'normal' job?

I used to have a normal job but now I'm unemployed since a rather long while. I think to be able to make a living from Death Metal you need to be playing gigs a big part of the year and if I wanted to do that I would for sure have to kill most my bands and just keep one or two.

Thank you for your time and for giving me the chance to talk to a really talented and hard working metalhead. The scene needs people like you. The last words are yours…

Thanx a lot for the interview! Always killer when someone appreciates what you do.


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