Narnia is about to
release a third album called Desert Land. How do you feel about it right now?
It's really good because we're very
satisfied with the production and the songwriting for this new album. We have developed as
musicians both production-wise and song-wise. So, we're really looking forward to the
release. It's a heavier album and it's a strong unit. It's explosive with lots of energy
in it. We think that we have found more of our identity on this album.
From what I've heard the band experienced
many troubles recording this album. In what circumstances could you record the album?
The problems were not music-wise. They
were problems with the recording equipment. There were some computer problems. But then
everything was sold because there was new stuff. There were problems with the computer
they had never seen before. So that was the reason for the delay of the album.
Desert Land is the follow up release to
Long Live The King. This second album wasn't as successful as Narnia's debut. In how much
influenced that the writing process of Desert Land?
No. Actually not. We just continued the
way we felt from our hearts and we will always do that. We try not to be influenced by
what people say. We try to do music from our hearts. Of course it influences you in some
way. But we are not a trend-band that has to do the things the press wants us to do. We do
what we feel from our hearts and I'm very proud of the Long Live The King album also. So,
this was natural move to the next one.
Personally I feel the rhythm guitars
sound heavier in the mix. Is that what you set out to do for this album?
Yeah, less keyboard and more guitars. We
tried to get more of our live sound into the record. But it is always hard to find that
energy and explosive sound that you have live and get it on the record. But we tried to do
our best with this one.
How is your current deal with Nuclear
Blast? How many albums did you sign for with them?
We have signed for five. So, we have two
more to do and I hope that we will release two more albums. Of course it depends on the
sales of the new album.
Narnia is not only a metalband but also a
band with a clear Christian message. Do you feel you're taken serious being a band with
such a message?
For us, it's like this: We are a melodic
metal band. Everybody has a belief and that's an important thing in our lives. But I don't
like the way people try to put us in boxes. Because I want people to compare us with other
bands. Because everybody has a belief in something and we have found something in this.
For me, the one who writes the lyrics, the stuff for the new album Desert Land is: People
may come and people may go but for me the only thing that keeps me alive and gives me
strength to carry on is my faith. So that's important of course when I'm writing the
lyrics. That's also the reason for the title Desert Land.
Sometimes everybody has tough periods
when you feel like you're in the desert. And I've been going through some tough changes in
my personal life since the Long Live The King album. So, the title and also the lyrics of
the new album explain a little bit about some things that I have been going through.
Is that something non-Christians also can
relate to, or is it only meant for Christians?
No, our main thing is to reach our music
to everyone. We have never tried to write music only for the Christians. Of course, if
Christians like it, then it's good but it doesn't matter for us. We want to spread our
music to everyone.
I can imagine that a record company like
Nuclear Blast might prefer watered down lyrics as to be more of a commercial success. Do
you feel this sort of pressure?
Yeah, yeah. It doesn't matter when we're
talking about music. When we're talking in this business, this music-business, it's only
talking about money. Even when making the music. The record company wants to earn money.
We told them, we will never comprise for this. Otherwise they can drop us because I want
to be honest to myself. About what I'm doing. For me it's important that you have your own
identity and that you stand for what you are. That's the main thing. So far they like what
we're doing. I hope we will continue that way.
And do you think you could have the same
successes as bands like Hammerfall and Stratovarius if you had watered down lyrics?
I don't think that way. We try to do our
best. I think for Hammerfall, they came at the right time and there are many bands playing
that kind of music now. They were the lucky ones with the perfect timing in many ways. I
think, to me, it's the right people, the right timing and promotion. It's many different
parts that make a really great success. I believe that if you have the music abilities and
talent you could reach very high. If you play this kind of music you can have a very great
So, if there's the sufficient promotion
you could have success with Narnia too?
Of course, it's the promotion and the
marketing. If you have lots of money into that and got TV time and radio promotion, all
that kind of stuff, that's very important. I know Nuclear Blast is trying to do the best
for Narnia. Of course they have different budgets for different bands. So far they have
been trying to do the best they can for our band. But I think both band and record label
never get satisfied. You always want better things.
With the new release about to come out, I
wonder about the touring plans of the band. I didn't see many on the Narnia page but could
you give a sneak peak into the future?
We've already booked some gigs. We
haven't put them on the internet yet. We play some concerts in Finland and Sweden. Nuclear
Blast and our management MCM Music are working really hard to put us on as many concerts
as possible. Because we will reach as many people as possible and see new places. So far
we have done at least between twenty and forty concerts each year. Something like that.
And what bands would you like to tour
If I had to choose, it would be great to
tour and be the support-act for Iron Maiden for example. Maybe Helloween. A good band like
Uriah Heep or older bands. That's one of my favorites.
Do you want to tour with them because
they are successful or because you have a personal interest into those bands music-wise?
I think it's important to have bands that
are not playing the exactly same style. It think it's good to attract nearly the same
audience. I think people who love Iron Maiden can also love Narnia. And people who love
Helloween and also Uriah Heep. If they like the melodic stuff they will like what we're
doing. That was the reaction we received when we we're touring with Ronnie James Dio two
years ago. He's my favorite singer. It was absolutely amazing to tour with him.
Besides Narnia you also have a solo band
called Wisdom Call and you have been working on the debut album for this band. Can you
tell how that is going?
It's going well. It will be released
through Massacre Records later this spring, April or May of this year. It's the drummer
also from Narnia, Andreas Johansson. Then it's two members from a band called Stormwind,
who are also on Massacre Records. It's a Swedish band. Bassplayer Andreas Ohlson is one of
them. Then I have two guitarplayers. It's a six piece band. And the album is called Power
From The Sky. It's more melodic powermetal.
So, it's a bit heavier than Narnia. You
have also started your own record company called CL Publishing. Can you give a short
profile for your label?
It's more a label on which I do my own
stuff. So, it's not a record label that I'm trying to release many releases through. It's
easy to handle the things if you have your own label and publishing. For example, I will
use that for Wisdom Call and maybe some friends that I have in the business. In that case
it's a small activity. It's a company more for my own music. And it will be melodic metal.
And what bands do you have right now?
Right now I have a band from the Northern
parts of Sweden called Laudamus. And also a band from Stockholm called Sons Of Thunder. We
will see what the future holds. Because right now I don't have the time to push other
bands. I will concentrate on Narnia and Wisdom Call.
There's also another band and I heard
they are on CL too. They're called Sanctifica.
That's my brother's band. I handled the
publishing for that album. It's released through a Finnish company called Little Rose
Productions. Do you like it?
Some songs. The last song for example
with the hardrock singer Per Hagström.
He's the singer in CarlJohan's side
project besides Narnia, called System Breakdown. He's the lead vocalist and he's also
doing some backing vocals on the new Narnia.
At the end of this interview I wonder if
we could go through all songs of the new Narnia album Desert Land. Maybe you can give some
sort of introduction to each song, maybe an anecdote or some sort of background. Inner
That song has a lot of seventies vibe
into it. If you like the old Rainbow stuff. Lyrically it's dealing about.....Everybody has
a secret room inside that only you have the key for to open up the door. It's a heavy rock
'n roll song in the seventies vibe.
The Witch And The Lion
That's dealing about the fairytale of
Narnia. It's a fast track. Typically neo-classical stuff.
Falling From The Throne
It's a heavier song. It's dealing about
the man trying to be God and Lucifer's fall from the sky. Musically it's more the older
style like Rainbow and Black Sabbath through the Ronnie James Dio period.
Revolution Of Mother Earth
It's a pompous ballad. It's dealing about
things in your life that need to die so you should be alive again. It's like we can see in
nature, that flowers die but new ones come. It's the same in our own lives. Some things
have to die in our hearts to be alive again.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
This is an instrumental song with
different passages. If you love guitar playing, guitar solos, and keyboards and stuff like
Angels Are Crying
It's a song that's really influenced by
the Dio style in the beginning of his solo band. It's also a very good live song that
people can bang their heads on (laughs).
Walking The Wire
This is the fast track on the album and
it's dealing about this computerized world. It's also neo-classical style. People will
love that fast guitar playing, double-kick drums and they will love it.
It's a calm instrumental piece. It's hard
to explain exactly. It's an instrumental thing that's very beautiful and melancholic.
Trapped In This Age
This is the longest song on this album.
It's a very epic one with different passages. I think that song really shows what I felt
the last couple of years. I feel trapped in this age. In many ways it's been very tough.
It will be the last song on the album and also the last song live. It's my favorite one on
the album. This is also the most challenging song for me to sing. Because when I recorded
the lyrics for this song I was crying. It has a very calm part with acoustic guitars and I
had to stop recording and I went into the control-room and I was crying. Because it was so
tough to record. There were so many things in my heart that went out.