So honored to have a moment with you. How are you doing?
Kristian Niemann: The pleasure is all mine. I’m doing great thank you, just practicing and preparing for our first Sorcerer rehearsals in a long time. We haven’t played together since August last year when we did the Sabaton Open Air festival and this line-up with Richard on drums and Justin filling in on bass, we have never played together. Looking forward to it immensely.
As always I´m curious (and I just love some history)… Would you tell us the story of Sorcerer ?
Johnny Hagel: Sorcerer was founded in 1988 or 1987 I can’t really remember exactly the year.
I meet the drummer at that time, Tommy Karlsson when we went to school together. we spent a lot of time in his car at school listening to music, a lot of King Diamond, Chastain and the first Candlemass. He then had a friend, Peter Furulid and we got together and formed Sorcerer. We rehearsed and wrote songs that became the first demo that was released in 1989.
Since we all know Doom isn’t exactly the most popular and biggest selling genre (sadly in my opinion since a lot of great music just gets ignored)… How was the start of your journey and what kind of comments did you get after your first live shows and releasing your first demo ?
Johnny Hagel: Back then we only did two shows but we sent our demo around to everyone and got really good reviews. We also sold 2-3000 copies of the first demo which today seems unreal.
Sorcerer disbanded shortly after the second demo in 1992… What happened ?
Johnny Hagel: I felt that we had come to an end so I quit. Not long after that I think they disbanded so that is it.
Your debut album “In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross”, a masterpiece if you ask me, was released in 2015… What the hell ??? May I ask why it took 26 years?
KN: Thanks! Well, like you said the band disbanded in 1992 and didn’t reform until 18 years later in 2010 so if we count ”effective time” the first album only took 8 years to make which isn’t that bad.
In your music, you create a very dark, heavy and gloomy atmosphere filled with despair, but sure sounds like there’s still hope for everyone… Is that how you would describe your music yourself ?
KN: I’m not big on labels personally, I just call it ’metal’, and if anybody wants specifics I’d say it’s a bit slower and heavier than most but there’s always melodies and hooks in there somewhere. For us it’s all about the riff, the groove, the melodies and the vocals – all those 4 elements make up every Sorcerer song and if you are lucky you can get them all to gel perfectly and then you might have a great song.
How do you relax and just take it easy, or is “metal” with you 24/7?
KN: I’m a huge guitar nerd so I spend a lot of time practicing as well as fiddling with guitar gear. I just love it! Apart from that I’m a huge movie fan. Recently in the last year or so I’ve been on a horror binge so I’ve bought probably over a hundred DVDs and now I’m slowly making my way through them. Most of them suck though so you have to wade through a lot of shit to get to the gems. James Wan is a new favorite director but I dig the old stuff as well. Carpenter, Craven, Hooper etc
Your second full-length “The Crowning of the Fire King” was just released, October 20th… How was the reception by your fans, media and those who seem to know everything, the critics ?
KN: Incredible. We’re blown away by much people seems to enjoy it. The last album received a lot of praise so this time, since we changed a few things (the sound, the songwriting process and parting ways with our drummer being the 3 main changes), we were not sure it would be as well-received as Inverted Cross but it has exceeded our expectations and then some. We just hope that this surge of interest in the band can manifest itself in some good festival dates. We’re not gonna go out on a long tour unless we get an offer we can’t refuse but I don’t see that happening anytime soon so we aim for the festivals.
Tell us a little about your songwriting process, what inspires you and how hard is it to tie all the different elements to a tight little package?
KN: These days it’s me, Johnny and Peter writing the riffs/music and Anders and his co-producer Conny Welén are doing lyrics and vocal melodies and we arrange everything as a band. We each write on our own and then we put the demos up on Dropbox so everybody can listen. From there Anders and Conny picks the songs they like the most and start doing their thing. Its a process that works very well so far, mostly because there are no egos involved, we just want the best music to go the album no matter who wrote it.
Me personally I’m inspired by my old favorite bands in the genre (Candlemass, Krux, Sabbath etc) as well as stuff outside of the doom scene. Stuff like Tool, Meshuggah, old Metallica etc. Maybe that’s not evident in the music but I really try to go outside of doom to bring some new blood into it. You can’t just keep ripping off your old heroes, you need to bring something to the table as well and for me that comes from other music.
What have been the most memorable, positive, rewarding moments during your journey so far?
KN: Both times when we played the Hammer Of Doom festival were absolutely nuts. The first time was the band’s first show since the early 90’s and the overwhelmingly positive audience reaction was completely unexpected. They were singing along to every song! We were just floored by it and I’d wager to say that that show is the main reason Sorcerer is here today with two full-length album releases under our belt. Had the reception been lukewarm we probably wouldn’t exist today. The second time in 2015 was sort of a homecoming for us and it felt incredible to be asked back to be on that stage again, and the crowd was even bigger and louder! We might be a swedish band but I count the HOD festival in Germany as our ’home’. Another great highlight for us is signing with Metal Blade Records. Is there a more iconic, legendary record label for metal? Hell no, and we have a really great relationship with them. Love ’em.
Coming to your show(s)… What can we expect, prepare ourselves for?
KN: A solid ass-kicking experience 😉
Great songs, great playing, great singing and (hopefully) a great sound. We’ll probably play one or two old songs but the focus will be on the two full-length albums. We’ll probably do a song from the Black EP as well.
Of course I have to ask… Where do you find the most loyal Sorcerer fans?
KN: We have fans all over the world and they are all enthusiastic and flies the flag of the Sorcerer!
How does the future look like for Sorcerer and do you have any secrets to share, just between you and me… And maybe some thousands of others reading this?
KN: Haha, if I shared them they wouldn’t be secrets anymore would they? I can tell you we already have plans and ideas and a bunch of songs for the next album. The Sorcerer never rests……
Any last words (not literally) to the Family of MHF, your fans and your soon to be fans?
KN: Thank you all for the incredible support we’ve been getting since we restarted this journey in 2010. If you’re dying to see our little orchestra in your neck of the woods make sure you pay a visit to your local promoter and tell ’em. Bring your friends 🙂
MHF Magazine/Santtu Kaskela