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Starblind's Johan J.J Jonasson: "That´s kind of sad cause growing up I remember how huge it was to bring a new album home and it felt so “real”, you could really feel the music"

Interview with Johan J.J Jonasson from Starblind
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 July 2020, 10:59 PM

True one's self, looking sideways, yet always learning, finding the right angle, the right sound, and there you go, magic happens. Nothing forced, all in a natural. Being highly close in proximity to Iron Maiden never really bothered the Swedish folks of Starblind. Expressing their Metal image in their own way, while taking examples, has been making their work to sound divine over the years. With their gaze upon their new album, " Black Bubbling Ooze", it appears that the Swedes are in the next level. Steinmetal had a go talking to Johan J.J Jonasson of the band regarding what is that black oozing thing all about.

Greetings J.J, it has been a while. It is with pleasure that I am having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir? What is shaking on your end?

Thank you. Things are great here. Lots of stuff are happening right now.

There are a lot of uncertainties nowadays, mainly due to the pandemic and the fear of the public from a second wave, which might be incoming. How has the Swedish public, in your view, has been coping with the situation? Would you say that life is coming back to normal in Sweden, while sort of adjusting to the pandemic?

Well, there was some kind of mass hysteria in the beginning with people hoarding like crazy and avoiding public places. But lately it looks like everyone has forgotten about it and just carry on with business as usual. It looks like most people are sick of staying at home.

Without the inability to perform live, have you guys in Starblind been doing anything to maintain relevance? Perhaps considering live stream shows along with going forward with a possible virtual tour idea, a factor that has been coming into recognition nowadays?

Lucky for us - we had already a scheduled release of a new album, so we kept busy with all the promotion work e.g making videos and stuff like that. We had planned to make a tour this year but it has been put on hold until further notice.

Truth be told, I have been waiting for the follow up album for “Never Seen Again”, and once I first listened to the opening tunes of “Black Bubbling Ooze”, I was dazed, yet not confused. I have to ask you, what is with that chosen title for the release? Certainly one of the most enigmatic I faced in a while. Please shed a little light on it will you

The title is simply a quote from the lyrics of “at the mountain of madness” It´s based on the story by H.P Lovecraft and we thought it would make a cool but different title for the album.

The artwork of the release, which at first glance appeared to me quite simplistic, had me feel as if it bestows buried secrets. Similar to the title, nothing is as it seems. Have I gone too far with this or it is a simple art that you guys liked and wanted it to serve as the album’s cover?
We´re not going to reveal too much. There are hints and secrets hidden every here and there. One has to get the album and look closely to unlock the great mystery. Timo Wuerz did a great job on this one.

 “Black Bubbling Ooze”, when it comes to its lyricism, appeared to me to be quite varied. The lyrics maintain a measure of drama, and some of the songs really nailed it when it comes to their influential magnitude. In your opinion, what element leads the album in terms of lyrics? What kind of philosophy served as a source for the album’s lyrics?

It is quite varied. We didn´t think of a certain theme. Lyrics are generally about telling stories, so that´s what we want to do. But we don´t make love songs or sing about flowers (unless it´s poisonous flowers).

It is without a doubt that “Black Bubbling Ooze” made Starblind one step closer, heck even right in the face, as a version of Iron Maiden, especially the cross of “Somewhere In Time” and “Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son”. Though I am positive that other being fans it is the feel of the music that made you guys create the musical output, yet I have to know, weren’t you simply amazed, dazzled and even surprised by what came out of your vision for the album’s musical direction?

I wouldn´t say we were amazed or surprised really. We settled from day one that we are going to play the kind of music we love - and that´s what we do. When someone brings a new song to the band we can all hear if it´s Starblind-material or not on the spot. We´re very comfortable in our sound and we all put our little magic in everything, and that´s what makes the Starblind-sound.

Playing in the style of Maiden, which were able to take NWOBHM and perfect it in their own special way, takes a lot of ability, in particular those melodies. With that said, how do you find Starblind’s musical progress on “Black Bubbling Ooze”?

I think the one thing that sticks out the most, is that we are ten times better as a unit now. When we write, record or rehearse you can hear how we have evolved both as individual musicians but also as one big blob of sound.

Other than your vocalist, that is a somewhat of a miniature Ralf Scheepers, in your viewpoint, what do you think that Starblind brings to the table musically, other than the influence and the ever burning fire of old school Metal?
We are an honest band. We record everything at once, and we don't do much editing in the mix and no overdubs. What you hear on our albums is the real deal, that´s how we sound. If you don´t believe us - come to one of our shows.

Talking about your vocalist, Marcus Olkerud, he simply owned the songs, going up the ladder in terms of his performance ability. What is your appreciation of his style and performance on “Black Bubbling Ooze”?

I agree, He owned the songs from start to finish. On this album he was involved from the beginning. On “Never Seen Again” he came in when most of the material was already written, but he wrote a lot of lyrics and melodies on that one as well.

Once “Room 101” boomed in my stereo, I had to hold tight. That mid-tempo was a mere trick right before I was emblazoned by such an amazing drive. European Power Metal was evident, alive and well. What can you tell about this fabulous tune? Is it one of your favorites by any chance?

"Room 101" is definitely a favorite. It´s so full of energy and the melodies are just on the spot. It shows what heavy metal is all about. Great vocals and melody and thundering rhythms and guitars. I´m sure it´s going to be a live favorite in the future.

Serving as the dramatic main course of the release, “The Reckoning”, which its intro can be an addictive ringtone, has an inside look into Starblind’s meaning to semi-complexing a little, heading towards being a little epic. That buildup on the song is a powerhouse and the emotive chorus is beyond. What can you tell about the creation of this track? How do you find yourself within the tune?

It was one of those songs that was brought before the band and where we all put our minds to it and made it to what it is today. The recorded versions are totally different from the one I originally wrote. It´s a great example how we Starblindify songs for example removing or adding verses and extending parts back and forth. It´s almost like group therapy, but it never turns into fist fights.

Listening to “Black Bubbling Ooze” made me think that such Metal music that is focused both on melodic lines and the heart of the song may not be that rare, yet on various occasions it is doesn’t receive the right focus in comparison to vast majority of contemporary Metal that produces mostly technical showmanship. Do you think that the soul of the song nowadays is lost? Is there any hope for preserving the old fire in the coming years?
Yes, modern metal is definitely lacking soul and heart. It´s too perfected and sterile. That´s kind of sad cause growing up I remember how huge it was to bring a new album home and it felt so “real”, you could really feel the music. That´s not the case today with all the digital editing and over-use of compressors.

Going back a little bit to the album, after listening to the album so many times, which I am positive that you did, what is your no.1 song? Please elaborate on your pick

I have to get to you back on that. Right now they´re all our babies and we can´t pick one. Ask me again in a few months.

With the time that the band has on its hands, will you also be focusing on new material which is post “Black Bubbling Ooze”?

We always write and we always try to have a plan for the future. There are so many good songwriters in this band so whenever someone has something new, we try it out and see what we can do with it. So having material for future albums will never be an issue

J.J, it was a pleasure to have you, thank you for your time for these questions. I wish you all the best and health. Cheers mate.

Thanks, it was a pleasure



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