Rogga Johansson Discusses New Paganizer Album And The Secret Behind His Prolific Output
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jools green
Jools Green
15th August 2017

rogga johansson

Swedish Death Metal maniac Rogga Johansson has produced in excess of one hundred albums in his career across a myriad of projects including Paganizer, Ribspreader, Megascavenger and Echelon to name a few, just a fraction of his fifteen or so current and twenty-plus former projects, and there's no sign of this music machine's punishing pace slowing any time soon, thankfully.

So MetalTalk tracked him down to try and find out just how... and why...?

Thank you for taking the time out to speak to MetalTalk.

"Well thank you for taking the time to talk to me!"

The latest Paganizer album, 'Land Of Weeping Souls', has been a resounding critical success and I know you are very happy with the results. What factors are behind this being such an outstanding album?

"Yes it's really weird so far actually; it seems almost everyone who listens to it really likes it and we didn't expect that at all really. We are very happy with it indeed, but we didn't anticipate such high acclaim from so many people.

"If you ask about factors that might have something to do with this, I think the only thing we did different this time, which we haven't been doing the last decade, is that we actually spent some time on making the album, ha ha.

"We have been rather lazy the past years, and mostly just thrown songs together, mostly for splits and EP releases and haven't really thought about doing a really worked through album. So eventually we thought about it, it seems.

"And we decided to write a bunch of good songs, and spend a bit more time recording them than usual. When I think about it I don't think we spent any more time than usual on it anyways, but I guess the mindset that we wanted to do something solid that seeped through and infested the song writing and recording in some way."

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Will Paganizer be touring 'Land Of Weeping Souls'?

"Since we stopped rehearsing and doing shows, like three years ago, we have been telling ourselves that we maybe should get into gear again. Stop being lazy, ha ha. And I don't think we have any better excuse than this album really, as it turned out very good. It indeed deserves to be played live.

"I think next year we will try to start again doing festivals, if anyone will have us."

Over your career you've been involved in over twenty past and about fifteen active and projects and bands, producing an excess of one hundred studio albums and those don't even include your demos, guest appearances, re-issues or collections. Since Paganizer's 1999 debut full length, 'Deadbanger', that's one hell of an output, even for a full-time musician. How do you manage such a high level of creativity?

"When you say it, it sounds quite a bit excessive, ha ha. I don't know really why it's so much stuff coming out; I just happen to like making music really.

"Since the early 90s and up to the debut album there were loads of demos done, most of them forgotten in time and stashed away in some box somewhere, some songs used on later recordings, if they were good enough to use. But to answer your question I don't know really. I just like to have a few beers and write some music, and maybe it's that I'm a one trick pony and does very simple very straightforward music, so it doesn't take much time to write a song for me. I like what I do though, so I think its fun enough to keep doing what I do."

And on the subject of your vast number of projects, I can understand how no one set of musicians could possibly keep up with your punishing personal work pace, but what drives you to have so many?

"Again I don't know, ha ha. I meanm, I write a lot of music, and to put it into just one or two or even three bands, it wouldn't be interesting for any label to release like four albums a year with a band. They wouldn't make a dime back and they'd just lose money pressing my music, and to be honest when I write music I often think to myself 'wow, this sounds fresh and not like this or that of my projects, I'll let it be a new project'.

"But then when it's all done people say it sounds exactly like everything else I do. So yeah, maybe I could have been doing at least only half of all the projects I've done, ha ha."

You do have a signature sound but I can certainly differentiate between the various projects so anyone who says it sounds the same isn't listening properly. So where do you find all your seemingly never-ending inspiration?

"What's with the questions I can't answer, ha ha? I don't know, often it's just weird, I sit down and think that I need a couple of riffs for a song I'm working on, but I don't know where to start at all. Then I play something, and it's a full finished riff that fits right in there, not like even trying out a few ways of playing it or different notes, just two seconds and it's done.

"So I don't know if I can say that I write these songs, they just come out. Of course there are times too when I try to write a riff from an idea in my head, then it might take a minute instead or so. And I'm never picky either, I mean I know my very limited skills won't allow me to write anything awesome, so what comes out I take, ha ha."

Oh, you underestimate your ability Rogga. A couple of the projects you've been involved in have encompassed a little more than just Death Metal, the Doom encrusted self titled 'Minotaur Head' and the most recent 'Megascavenger' album, 'As Dystopia Beckons' with its heavy Industrial edge, both of which I thought were superb listens. Are there any other Metal subgenres you are interested in exploring?

"It seems I am indeed a one trick pony, but sometimes I try to do something slightly different anyways and incorporate stuff that I love myself besides Death Metal. I've always been into Industrial music, and Paganizer was an Industrial Death Metal band in the early 90s when we were named Terminal Grip. Same goes for Doom, I've always enjoyed it, and this time it presented itself that Bob really wanted us to try something out in that way.

"I've been playing Extreme Industrial music too since I was a teenager, but never released anything. And I don't think it would fit into Metal either any further than the ways I used it in Megascavenger. Someday I might also try finally to do another thing I've wanted to do for years and years, to write a pure raw Heavy Metal album, with hints of Doom and Thrash. Something like Exciter goes Doom, ha ha. But then I'd have to learn how to sing, and that might take a few decades though, ha ha."

Do you have a favourite project/band or is it just whichever you are working on at the time?

"Paganizer is somehow always dearest to me I think, maybe as it's the only real band. But I also have a couple of other favourites, like Revolting. Revolting is just an awesome playground for me where I can do Death Metal but throw in all the melody I want and get it almost silly catchy, yet keeping it really raw and heavy.

"Besides that I don't think I have any favourites, more like that I have favourite albums from different of the projects."

You've always got several projects on the go and there's always something about to be released. What tasty offerings are currently looming on the horizon, for our ears to enjoy?

"There are new albums being recorded with Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery, as well as Johansson & Speckmann.

"Already finished albums that are being released very soon are the new Revolting album, which I fucken' love, and a new Skeletal Spectre album. Also the Lobotomy Dept mini CD is out soon which is me and Lasse from Hooded Menace doing our best to do something like a hybrid of Ministry and Godflesh, and if you ask me it sounds rather awesome actually."

Thank-you for your time Rogga, any final comment?

"Thank you! Well what can I say? Thanx for a great interview, and to anyone reading, check out the new Paganizer album if you like your Death Metal ugly yet catchy!"

The latest Paganizer release, 'Land Of Weeping Souls', is available from Transcending Obscurity Records. Check out MetalTalk's 10/10 review right here.



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