We caught up with Avatar frontman Johannes Eckerström at the Sonic Temple Festival in Ohio, where he talked about the band’s new concert album, The King Live in Paris, and what goes into the band’s theatrical stage show.
Regarding the live album, Eckerström was initially hesitant to put one out, citing Deep Purple’s Made in Japan as the gold standard for concert LPs. “The first [live album] I got as a kid was Made in Japan on vinyl, and I felt like, ‘So that’s how you do that, and the rest of the world can move on’,” he told us in the video interview above. But ultimately, Eckerström felt The King Live in Paris was a nice way to capture the touring cycle behind Avatar Country.
Eckerström also spoke on the Swedish metal scene, which has also produced such bands as Ghost, Opeth, Amon Amarth, and more, and has seen a number of acts really rise in the last few years. As far as that success for Swedish bands, the Avatar singer pointed to a support system that musicians in the Scandinavian nation get that may not be afforded to people in other countries.
“It has to do with a social safety net, in a way, that you can afford to fail,” explained Eckerström. “In Sweden, you have time to try some different things. … In some cultures, it’s, ‘You want to be a musician, hell no, not on my watch, you’re a doctor, son.’ … I think for Swedish parents, [they] usually see their kids like, “Yeah, you want to be a musician, cool, go for it, kid.’ It’s supportive on a state level and family level.”
With the news that there are going to be multiple sequels to the 2009 movie Avatar, we were wondering how Eckerström felt that would affect his band’s profile, but we ended up getting a critique of director James Cameron’s films. The singer told us, “I think Avatar is probably James Cameron’s worst movie,” but added that he is a fan of Terminator and Titanic.
If it ever turns into a legal struggle over the name, Eckerström has a funny idea of what to rename the band. Watch the video interview above to find that out and get his full thoughts on the aforementioned topics.