Before making the debut UK appearance of Swedish goth/doom metallers, eGigs is fortunate enough to grab ten minutes ahead of the show with guitarist Johan Ericson to talk about new vocalist Heike Langhans and why she isn't singing at the London show.
How are you?
How has your time in London been so far?
It's been great, bit tired – early flights.
Your singer Heike Langhans couldn't make it tot the show tonight. What happened?
She had some problems with her visa.
When did you find out about that?
Just some days ago then we found Lisa Cuthbert who is singing with Helevorn tonight. She is standing for Heike. We're a bit nervous but I think it'll be ok.
This is your first London show but earlier this year, you were supposed to play the Doom Over London festival but pulled out quite late. Why did you cancel that performance?
For the same issue. We're from Sweden and she's from South Africa.
I would have thought if she had residence in Sweden, she would be able to travel across the EU.
Yeah but it's not the same. She can stay in Sweden for two years.
Your new album 'Sovran' is coming out soon. How does it compare to previous Draconian albums?
We've gone back to earlier Draconian. The difference is today I don't write songs the same way I did 15 years ago; it's more structured.
This is your first recording with Heike. How was working with her?
I felt it was like an inspiration with a new singer and some new blood in the band. Her singing style is not like Lisa's [Johansson - former vocalist] at all. We had to rearrange her stuff, play more with her voice and get her to fit in with the music the way she is.
Did she write any of the new music herself?
She wrote some lyrics.
How did she find the process working with you?
She's been with us for two years already. The thing is, we had to sort her stay in Sweden as well. It took us almost two years. Then we began the album and got to know each other even more. We're like friends now, old friends.
You must have really wanted her to do all that rather than get a European singer.
Yeah, we had some auditions and she was the one. She was dead serious: “I'm coming to Sweden and I'm doing this.” She sold her car just to get the ticket to Sweden and she is really interested in the music and dead serious. Lisa was not so interested in the music as much as we were; she didn't come up with her own ideas. This is right.
Why did you choose the word 'sovran' as the title for the new album?
It's the same word as 'sovereign' but in older English or language or whatever. Basically, we found the word very fitting because this album is not all about here on planet Earth. It's about the universe. It's about our existence on Earth and stuff like that and you're part of the universe and other forces.
A bit different from the stuff you've been singing about before!
Yeah, we tried to change it up. You can't do the same lyrics as before. [Heike] is very into that sort of stuff.
How did you find her in South Africa?
We basically sent out some stuff we had previously without vocals and they had to record them and send them across. She was the one with the most interesting voice.
How many people applied?
About 10-15 serious ones then we also contacted some people we wanted in the band but they couldn't do it with work and stuff like that. Aleah Stanbridge is also from South Africa but she lives in Sweden. She's the singer of Trees of Eternity. She couldn't do it because of her work and we didn't feel she could commit full time to the band. We contacted a Norwegian singer of the band Skumring – a very strange band – and it was the same thing.
Draconian have been going for 20 years. Do you have any favourite personal career highlights?
I like the studio environments, I like playing festivals. There have been some great moments – Germany, Summer Breeze, stuff like that.
What are Draconian's future plans following the album's release?
We're planning on getting some dates together for a European tour. Also we've got some offers doing Indonesia but we have to really schedule this because our drummer is having a baby in December.
That's the end of my questions. What are you final words for the readers of eGigs?
No, I'm happy!
Thanks for the interview.