This interview was awhile in the making but somehow it never came to be. One of the reasons was my lack of time. But now finally it happened. Rogga Johansson is one of my favorite musicians and I tried to cover in this interview not just one project or band but also different background and some rumors. Please read for yourself.
Styx: Hi Rogga how are the things going on your end? I guess you are already working on your next album what will come up soon.
Johansson: It’s rolling onwards here as usual! Well I have a few things as I mostly do I guess, some finished stuff thats bascially just wait for being released, or stuff halfway done. I could mention House By The Cemetary, a project me and Fiebig from Paganizer have with Eric Cutler from Autopsy, and album is in the works right now. Me and Jens from the old Swedish heroes Megasalughter have also recorded a mini album together with Travis from Cropsy Maniac/Echelon. I’m also halfway into work for the first album of my old inustrial band Evangelicum, I did an unreleased EP back in 1995, which I’ve now dug up and I’m working on more songs too, for an album this year. Very dark heavy industrial music. I’m also working on a pure doom album together with a guy named Propraetor who does artworks for each of the songs we do. It’s very heavy stuff, in the vein of Hooded Menace and such bands.
Styx: In the last 2 years I saw a lot of projects got abandoned and resurrected by you. How does it come you put Megascavenger, Those Who Bring The Torture and Ribspreader aside and you resurrect them a few years later?
Johansson: Well I didn’t have any plans to do more recordings for those bands actually, but then as it happened music was written and recorded anyways haha... I don’t know, stuff just came along and I mean why not use it? Ribspreader is again very active with a couple of new things being worked on this year too, as for TWBTT and Megascavenger though i dont know, the last albums might be the last ones, or maybe not. Time will tell I guess.
Styx: With the comeback of Those Who Bring The Torture this year you already brought a strong album in 2017 which for sure will be in my personal fave list of this year. What else is planned for this year? So far I count your first solo album, Ribspreader and a new Revolting?
Johansson: Thanx, Im happy you like it! This year there will be new albums by Paganizer and Revolting, even though the Revolting album was recorded quite some time ago already. My first solo album is out too in april and there is an split album being worked on with Ribspreader aswell. The industrial project will be released too, and I hope the projects with Eric Cutler and also Jens Johansson will also be for this year as both of them are just about finished by now.
Styx: You said once in an older interview that I read that you aren't related to Skeletal Spectre but there is still this rumor you are a member of this band with the name "Behold the Pentagram". Is this rumor true?
Johansson: That was just because of the alias stuff, to not have the members named, which in a way was rather menaingless as Vanessa joined and used her real name. Yes indeed this is my band, I wrote all the music and played guitars, and also did the vocals on the first album aswell.
Styx: How did Vanessa Nocera came into this band was? Had it to do with the fact that Razorback Records Owner Billy is married with her?
Johansson: I guess so yes, they thought it was a good idea to have her join the band on vocals. Back then I guess she didn’t have as many projects as she has now.
Styx: Out of all 3 albums that have been made with Skeletal Sprecte I liked the first one most. Vanessa's vocals didn't suited quite well to the music. So more I'm suprised to see that there appeared a new song on youtube.
Johansson: I agree with you there, I also like the first album best, both musically and vocally actually. I think the band got a bit different in a not so good way after the first album. Yes a new album is actually recorded, but I don’t know what will happen with it really. There is a new song on youtube indeed, and I think it is how the band should sound, it’s follow up to the first album actually if you ask me.
Styx: You also were part of the band "The Skeletal" and you had the name Kjell. Why did you choose this name?
Johansson: Oh it was just because I didn’t feel like it being mentioned as another millionth Rogga project, so I used Kjell which is actually my middle name. So it’s not an artist name or anything, I just used my middle name haha. And the band pictures in the booklet are cartoons too, so it was just a little fun thing.
Styx: The last album of Bone Gnawer was recorded without you. Interesting is here that people don't even realize it. Did you listen this album and why you left the band?
Johansson: I actually wrote some riffs on it, but I wasn’t part of the recording the album. Yeah people don’t seem to know that sometimes indeed. I listened to it once actually, sounded killer, really awesome album. But I think the band is split up now, so it seems to have been the last album.
Styx: In the last years you worked together with a lot of Death Metal Legends like Kam Lee, Dave Ingram, Bob Bagchus and Paul Speckmann. How does it feel for you to write music together with people you look up to since you started to listen Death Metal?
Johansson: It feels really fucken cool actually haha. I’ve worked with so many of the legends, and have had them singing on my songs or play on my albums, Im very very happy about it and feel very pleased that they are having fun working with me too.
Styx: The Grotesquery made 3 albums and after this trilogy the project was done. Luckily for me this project is continuing and a fourth album is in the making. How is the stuff coming along?
Johansson: We actually have thrown away the songs for the fourth album and decided to put the band on ice. Maybe in the future we will do a final last fourth album, maybe not. It feels to us that the trilogy is the best stuff we could do really, so there’s no point in making more music if it doesnt feel as fun and interesting anymore.
Styx: Very soon you will release your first solo album on Chaos Records. It was meant to be another Demiurg album which never came to be. What are the reasons what keeps the band away from doing another album?
Johansson: In Demiurg you have Dan Swanö and Ed Warby among others, and these are very busy very talented people that dont have too much time to waste. So basically Demiurg takes too much time and too much money to get rolling again, especially these days with records selling less and less, and if theres no money to cover all recordings of the album and the mix and so on, there is no possible way to make it happen. It’s very sad but that’s how it is. If I had the money myself I would make a final Demiurg album happen, as it would be cool to tie the whole concept together, but that’s not reality unfortunately. I think also that the trilogy of the albums we did is the best possible way, just like with Grotesquery, to finish a band. The albums are very good, so there is no meaning in trying to make more if there’s no possibility to do it easy enough.
Styx: Did you ever thought about to play some gigs with all your projects collected under your name "Rogga Johansson"? It would be great to have some classics like "Creature with Wings" and "All hail the Goat" in a live set.
Johansson: I have gotten this question a lot of times, and yeah it’s a cool idea. The problem is that I don’t think of myself as a guy that people know too much. So trying to play with a Rogga Johansson band, I think people wouldn’t know what the hell it was haha. Or maybe they would think I’m just a retard thinking that I’m a rock star haha, using my own name. But yeah I know the idea is good basically, as I could play a lot of songs collected. On the other hand, many of my songs people like the most are song with people like Kam lee or David Ingram on vocals, and for me to play these songs live without them would just take away the feeling totally from the material I think. One thing I have been thinking more and more about though is that maybe Paganizer should not be the band I play live with, even though it always has been. It seems Revolting should be the band that most people would like to hear songs from actually. But then again, when I play live I mostly do it because it’s fun, not to please everyone else.
Styx: In the last years we saw you really less playing gigs is this related of you having a family or you simply prefer to write and record music?
Johansson: Everyone in Paganizer have families and some have very demanding work too, so the past couple years we have played less and less gigs, I guess its a thing that goes up and down. We have talked about trying to get out more next year to play again, so time will tell what happens as always I guess.
Styx: I know your main band is and always will be Paganizer, but which other project(s) you would favor aside of Paganizer and would love to bring it on the road?
Johansson: Revolting, that’s my fave band besides Paganizer. I just love the mix of old dirty death metal and really catchy melodies in the songs, in Revolting I can use all the melodies I have laying around, and not think really that it fits, it can become a really punky still heavy as hell song and it still works. Revolting is my personal fave band of my own stuff I think.
Styx: A lot of people call your music generic, boring and think you create the same over and over again. What do you think about these opinions?
Johansson: Do they think so? Thats terrible, I feel totally devastated now... Haha, not really. Well people can think what they want, I mean I think what I want about other people’s stuff. In one way I understand them too, my stuff is similar, if you would play three different albums to someone that doesn’t know my music, they could surely think that it was three albums by the same band. But then again I don’t care, I do the stuff as I like to do it, I don’t do it to please anyone else. And if people think its boring or generic, thats cool to me as they can listen to other stuff as there are so much killer music around for them to listen to instead of my stuff.
Styx: With the third Megascavenger album you slapped exactly those people in the face by just doing an industrial death metal bastard. How got this album received by fans and press?
Johansson: I’ve always been into that stuff, Paganizer started out as an industrial death metal band actually back in 1994. So I simply thought it was time to do something like that again, and Megascavenger was a great project to do it in, as I always try to have different guests, so i thought I could do something different with the music too. I mean it’s still very much basic death metal, it’s what I did on the previous albums, but I threw in a bit of industrial things too, samples and rhythms and some heavy electronic synth parts here and there. So far from what i have read about it no one has complained about the industrial stuff on the album, so I think people felt that it was a good thing to mix it up a bit on this thrid album. I don’t know if there will be a fourth album at all with this project, but if it’s done I will try to go the same way but even more.
Styx: What happened to Yamahate and Sleazy Ed? Please explain the people what is the background of those 2 guys.
Johansson: Haha, those are the drummachines through the years. Yamahate was in Terminal Grip, before we changed to Paganizer and had a real drummer. I have no idea where he is now, his real name was Yamaha RY10 I think, a very soild and nice guy haha. Sleazy Ed was just a one off thing, for a few Bone Gnawer songs, which we did as extra material and didn’t have time to record with a drummer. Sleazy Ed still lives in my computer here hahaha.
Styx: Thanks Rogga for taking your time and answering this questions. Any last words for the fans out there?
Johansson: Thanx man! Well I don’t know what to say really, if you like your music ugly, check my bands out! Haha!