25 Juin 2022


Blaster Of Muppets

Interview Kristian Niemann & Richard Evensand

Hi sorcerers! Thanks for accepting a little chat on this day. This is festival season and you’ve participated in a few in Europe for the past weeks… how has it been so far?

Kristian : Yes, this is the fifth or sixth festival so far, it’s been great ! Good shows all over and this one today has been fantastic. It’s so cool to be here, it’s so huge!

What about this HellFest? This is your first time here if I’m not mistaken…

Kristian : I’ve been here with Therion before but this is the first one with Sorcerer, absolutely.

You’re currently touring for your latest album, “Lamenting Of The Innocent”, which was actually released two years ago but it happens now because of the pandemic… How is it to tour so long after finishing a record?

Kristian : It’s true, for one thing, the songs feel a bit old, we’ve been knowing them for so long… you want to play them while they’re really fresh but it’s cool to finally play them, we’re really happy to be out and to play again. Even though the songs feel a bit old now, it’s still fun because people haven’t seen us so it’s new for them.

Richard : Yes, we finally get out to play. I haven’t got tired of the songs yet… When I record an album, I usually don’t listen too much to it because we’ve heard the songs for quite a long time before. I’m just really happy the ball is rolling again, people go to shows, it’s great to get together and finally play these songs.

You’ve actually started as an epic traditional doom but “Lamenting of the Innocent” includes more variety, tempo changes and heavy metal elements than your previous albums… is this a formula you’d like to keep in the future or are you actually planning some other changes?

Kristian : Yes, we are, we really want to evolve every time. I think the next album will be a bit different. "Lamenting" is quite close to the album before… I think the next record will be a bit more aggressive and varied. We are categorized as “epic doom” but I guess we don’t really feel that way, we’re a metal band and we can do lots of different things, maybe not power metal songs you know but still there’s room in the metal genre to try and do different things.

Talking about the future… with the pandemic and the fact that it has been two years since your last record, is it safe to assume that some new material might arrive soon?

Kristian : Sure! We started writing last year. We maybe have something like fifteen or sixteen new songs so far, not all finished of course, we have stuff to choose from and we’ll keep working to see what direction it takes. So yes, I hope there will be a new album next year. We should record before the end of the year, sometime in the fall so we’ll be able to release our new album in 2023.

I really enjoyed the covers you digitally released last year… is there a chance that this EP will have a physical release one day?

Kristian : Well, there is a physical release of it but you can only buy if when we tour, you can’t buy it from our website our anywhere else… I don’t know how many we have left but there’s an EP out there.

I love what you did with “Gates of Babylon”… and I also really like “Waiting For Darkness” probably because it is more unexpected…

Kristian : Well, “Gates Of Babylon” is a really famous song, everybody’s done it… I didn’t pick the song but I really felt a connection to it, I really wanted to make it different, I wanted to make it sound like “how would it sound if Tony Iommi wrote it?”, really heavy… and yeah, it turned out great. We didn’t really change “Waiting For Darkness”, we kept that one pretty much intact… But for this song and the others, we wanted to pick songs that weren’t “standards”. You know, “When Death Calls” for example, when did Black Sabbath play that? I mean they played it on the tour when “Headless Cross” was released but that’s pretty much it.

The first time I heard your music, I could not help but feel that there might be a sort of Black Sabbath influence, but more of a Tony Martin era, maybe because of the melodies and the way Anders sings them… And then when you decided to cover a Black Sabbath song last year, it happened to be “When Death Comes”! Coincidence?

Kristian : Well, yes, of course not… we definitely love it. It’s funny, when we asked fans what songs they thought we could cover, a lot of people mentioned Black Sabbath, Headless Cross era… and some of them specifically mentioned “When Death Calls”, I don’t know who in the band picked it actually, I’m not sure, I know it wasn’t me…

Richard : I know what song I picked : Crusader by Saxon, my childhood heroes. But I think that on that EP, “When Death Calls” is the song that came out the best, it’s really beautiful.

I’ve always thought that this particular era of Black Sabbath was a bit underestimated. Your thoughts?

Kristian : Totally underrated ! I love the Tony Martin era… “Headless Cross” and “Tyr” in particular, I really love these two albums. Of course, there’s no denying that there are these classic songs with Ozzy you just can’t ignore but if I had to choose, I’d rather listen to the Dio or Tony Martin years.

Talking about influences, I remember reading a few years ago that Kristian loved pop music. I’d be curious to know what your favorites bands in this genre are…

Kristian : Well, I like many. Right now, I really like Coldplay. I love Dua Lipa, I think she’s awesome… Old stuff too, Michael Jackson, Madonna… Sometimes, I’m not really into full albums but just songs here and there… A good pop song is just awesome and there are so many of them so it’s not like I love everything by Pink, I don’t but I love certain songs. It’s funny because when we discussed the EP, we could bring five ideas each and I actually brought pop songs… I thought this would be a great idea but nobody else in the band thought so! (laughs)

A question about how the band with this line-up came to be now… I remember seeing Kristian and Anders together with Therion twenty years ago I think… is this how you met or did you already know each other before that?

Kristian : I met Anders in Therion. He was friend with Sami Karppinen, the drummer in Therion… they knew each other from way back. Anders had already been in Sorcerer at the beginning with Richard, and they were friends with Sami, but I wasn’t part of that at all… But, when Anders and Johnny were asked if they’d like to reform Sorcerer for one show at the Hammer Of Doom festival, they asked me if I could play guitar with them because for some reason, they weren’t in contact with their old guitar players and that’s how it started.

What memories do you keep from your time together in Therion?

Kristian : I think we were a really good live band, we put really good live shows. The lineup we had with Anders sure, but especially the lineup we had later with Mats Levén, the tours we did for “Sirius B/Lemuria” and then “Gothic Kabbalah”… That period was really cool. My favorite album from those days was actually “Gothic Kabbalah” because we had more input on that one. My best memories are the live shows though.

About your discography, there seems to be only three official records recently released on Metal Blade but as I was looking for information on my Spotify account, I could find much older releases entitled “The Sorcerer” (dating back to 1992) and Anno 1503 (1989)… Are these demos or albums released independently at the time?

Richard : Anno 1503 was a demo… The first drummer told me they had actually sold 3000 copies of this one, like underground, it was probably on cassette. Then, I joined the band to record the next album… I don’t remember how it was called, maybe “The Inquisition” or something, “The Sorcerer” was on it and it probably gave its name to the record on streaming platforms… We recorded that album and we never released it. Then, everyone went their separate ways, Johnny went with Tiamat, Anders went with Lionshare… And a couple of years later, I was in the North of Scotland, I went into a record a store and suddenly I saw this Sorcerer album!

Kristian : (laughs) What? Really?

Richard : Yes! I found out that John Perez, you know, the guitar player in Solitude Aeturnus who founded Brainticket Records, had contacted Johnny or Anders and got permission to release those two demos on CD.

If you could choose three songs to make people discover your band, what would these songs be?

Richard : Well, first, “The Sorcerer” obviously. Apart from that, songs like “Sirens”, “Institoris” give a good idea of what the band is about… and also one of the slower huge epic songs like “Lamenting Of The Innocent”.

Kristian : I wouldn’t choose “The Sorcerer” because it’s an older song and I wasn’t part of that but I’d definitely choose “Lamenting Of The Innocent”, “Abandoned By The Gods”… it’s one of my favourite songs to play, it’s so heavy and maybe “Sirens” or “Hammer Of Witches” that have a more heavy metal approach.

What’s next for you in the weeks or months to come?

Kristian : We still have a couple of shows, we’re doing Bloodstock Festival in August, then we’re gonna spend all our time writing for the new album and recording.

You’re part of quite an incredible bill… are there some bands that you’re burning to see while you’re here?

Kristian : For me, just two bands from the top of my head, I would say Mercyful Fate and Triptykon, those two, but they play tomorrow and I won’t be here (laughs), it sucks! It’s a shame.

Richard : I would have liked to see Metallica actually… cause I’ve never seen them.

Kristian : What? You’ve never seen Metallica?

Richard : No, never. I went to see AC/DC instead… five times. I actually would like to see Airbourne too…

Oh, sorry, they’re playing right now. (laughs)

Richard : Are they? Really? They’re playing now?

Yes, you’re missing them because of me… if you want to go, I’ll totally understand.

Richard : No, no… I’m too tired anyway. But yeah, I’d really like to see them because I’m a big fan of AC/DC and they sound like AC/DC… and I know they put on a crazy live show. Good fun.

What’s the last music you’ve purchased?

Kristian : I don’t know what’s the last thing I purchased, I’m actually quite bad at purchasing new music lately, I listen to a lot of things using streaming platforms, I know I shouldn’t but that’s the way it is… But I know what I would buy though : the latest Vola album, I love it.

Richard : I think I bought an album from the band Oceansize and another one from Fair To Midland, a great band, they don’t exist anymore, they had a very unique style.

Complete this sentence: if you (don’t) like… then Sorcerer is (not) for you!

Kristian : I guess the obvious answer is Candlemass. I mean, we don’t exactly sound like Candlemass but if you like Candlemass, I think there’s really a chance you might like us, I think so… What do you say, Richard?

Richard : Yeah… and Black Sabbath, Tony Martin era.

Kristian : Yes, exactly. And then, if you don’t… Well, I would say if you don’t like great songwriting then you won’t like Sorcerer (laughs)! No I don’t know, difficult question… If you’re not a fan of heavy music, epic singing, pounding drums, you won’t like Sorcerer.

The last word is yours:

Kristian : I would really like to say “Thank you” to Hellfest, France and French fans for having us. It’s our first time here and it’s just amazing to be part of this, I hope this will be the first of many times. Because we don’t take it lightly, we’re a small band on this bill and just doing this, you know, giving interviews, hanging around, playing here with all these great bands, it’s a big thing for us.

Richard : I couldn’t say it better. Just a big salute to everyone involved… I’m really happy to see so many people getting together and having a great time. Hopefully, we’ll see you again soon.

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