Johannson & Speckmann: Edge of the Abyss

By on 25 October 2016

Johansson & Speckmann 600

The new Johansson & Speckmann collaboration ‘Edge of the Abyss’ was released on Soulseller Records last month. We spoke with the prolific pair about their prodigious output, the closer involvement of guitarist Kjetil Lynghaug and their perspective on the music industry…

What brought you together to make ‘Edge of the Abyss’? What made you decide to bring in Kjetil Lynghaug on guitar? 

Rogga: We simply thought that it was time for a new album, but that it had to be really the best stuff we’ve done so far with this band. We do what we do, and this time we tried to do it better than before, and I think we did. The reason that we invited Kjetil to join us is that I am really a shitty guitarist to be honest. And we felt these songs needed something extra in that department, and Kjetil is a killer lead guitarist. His additions with solos and melodies really bring a new level to the songs indeed.

The artwork (by Roberto Toderico) is really superb and fits the album perfectly, how did you come to use this art?

johansson-speckmann-420x470Rogga: Yes its awesome, and we are very happy to have it on the album. Actually its an older artwork that Roberto made quite some time ago, but as soon as we saw it we felt that fit the album perfectly, and we had to have it. its almost like it was made for the album with its title and lyrics, but it wasn’t. Which really makes it so much cooler.

With both of you and Brynjar Helgetun having now made three albums together, do you think this project has permanence? Where do you see this project going in the future?

Paul: Well, it all began with Rogga approaching me about signing on a compilation record of his. Of course as I heard the song it had a Master feel to it, and Rogga even said he wrote the song basically with me in mind to sing it. So when the opportunity came along to do a complete album, of course I was interested. So after three albums I am pleased to say that each and every album has some killer tracks that I am certainly proud to have been a part of. As for the future I think it ends with a trilogy unless Rogga has something else in the mind for the future. Maybe we can play some live gigs in the future, I would be down for this for sure, so we will see where the future takes us!

(Rogga): your output has been prolific to say the least. Where do you get your inspiration from? What keeps you focused on making music? How do you find the energy to contribute to so many recordings?

Rogga: I have no idea at all where the inspiration comes from, I just write stuff, no real thought behind it most of the time really. Its always been like that, just some need that must be satisfied. I know many people think I do too much stuff, but I don’t really understand how I could do too much. I mean I don’t to it for anyone else, I just write music because I like to. I can understand maybe that people who like my music maybe think that I would be able to make something really astonishing if I put a year on just one album, but I don’t think it would make a difference really. I do what I do, no more no less. I think the collaborations, like with Paul, is what makes some of my music stand out more than other things I do. And as for energy I get it from music I guess, so its no work for me to make music, more like a vacation haha.

Although you yourselves (on your Facebook page) describe your sound as ‘old school death metal’, there are enough modern flourishes and a catchiness that sets your sound apart, you sound like a band having a really good time; is this a fair observation?

Rogga: I dont really know who wrote the oldschool death metal thing on there, but for us there’s nothing old school about it. We just take our individual ideas and our own sound with us, and make music. And yeah, I agree totally that there is more modern things going on in there indeed. I never tell Brynjar or Kjetil what to play at all, I let them write their own parts and none of those guy are what I would call an oldschool death metal dude really. We do have a killer time writing this stuff, so thats a very on point observation indeed haha.

Although the three of you are in different countries which of course presents logistical problems with rehearsal etc, do you have any ambition to tour and play this music to your audience live?

Rogga: yes we have. if it will happen, that’s a different thing though. There’s some stuff to be sorted, but if we can get it all to fit we would love to play festivals at least in the future.

You have both been in the business for over thirty years and have seen an incredible amount of change both in the evolution of heavy metal and the music business itself. Where do you see extreme metal going in the next 30 years?

Paul: This is a tough question for me as I will most likely be dead in 30 years, but I think there were always be underground Metal-heads like ourselves carrying on the torch! This is a genre that will never go away in my opinion! Metal is a hobby for some, but for me and others across the globe, it’s a way of life my friends!

Do you think it will still exist in the form it is now?

Paul: Sure why change a great thing, I cannot believe the technical idiots will ever win! Where do you see the music business going? We have to keep fighting to make the business work. I realize that many people are not making a living from the business, but there are several who can! Hard work and perseverance always pay off, believe me!

You can buy ‘Edge of the Abyss’ here.

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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