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In Words: Astral Doors

- Nils Patrik Johansson - Dec. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Nils Patrik Johansson - Nov. 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Astral Doors
© Astral Doors

Nils Patrik Johansson - November 10th 2011 (by email)

Astral Doors have a new album, last time we talked it was about the best-of, so it's time to catch up. Nils Patrik was so nice to answer my questions. Enjoy reading!

Your new album is called Jerusalem and it's a concept album. Please tell us a bit about the concept!

The concept is that we wanted to deal with religion once and for all...and we sure did. After this we don't need to analyze religion no more. It is hereby done! On the next album we'll probably sing about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll!

Can you give us a brief track-by-track?

Well, not so easy. The album is an odyssey through heaven and hell and the best thing is to listen to it from start to finish, reading the lyrics and make your own opinion about the album. From the opener Seventh Crusade to the closer Jerusalem it brings the listener classic heavy metal in a way you haven't heard since the glory days.

How does Child Of Rock'n'Roll fit into the concept?

Listen to the lyrics. What can I's probably the ONE song that really deals with religion! I beg the fans: dig into the lyrics on this album.... It is so much more than just a heavy metal album.

Please tell us about the video you shot for that one! And about the reaction of people who were just passing by!

Haha, well, we had an off day in Germany between two concerts and we said: hey guys: lets get drunk and film some shit for a video. And so we did. The people on the streets were just happy and friendly. Germany Rocks!

Do you plan more video clips? Spontaneous or pro-shots?

Yeah, it would be fun to do another 'party video'. So called pro-videos are so God damn boring. It's much more fun when the bands make it by themselves. So.... count on a new video in connection to the US release of Jerusalem, January 30th 2012.

After this spontaneous video shot at the off-day, do you plan to start your own YouTube channel to share more stuff with your fans?

We already have one: It's called Benzon72!!

There is a limited white vinyl version... Happy to have it out on vinyl?

Yes, of course.... But I had to fight for it, that's for sure!! And probably the label hasn't pressed enough copies!

It looks like vinyl gets back - at least to a certain level -, are you into vinyl releases? A collector? If so, what piece is your favorite? And which are you most proud of having in your collection?

I'm not a collector.... But I was in the 80's. My favorite in my collection is a LP called Friends Of Hell with the band Witchfinder General. The cover and the fact that the vinyl is, as I recall it yellow, makes it very special. Music wise, the favorite in my collection is MSG Assault Attack.

How was the festival season 2011 for you? Did you shoot some footage for your fans?

The Bang Your Head gig was taped and filmed.... So we hope we can get our hands on the material as soon as possible.

Any news about a DVD?

We wanna release one as soon as possible.... Our fans demand a DVD. We have several festivals filmed and some underground tapes and also a lot of behind the scenes stuff.

After the festivals you should do a European tour in fall, but it's postponed. Are you looking for another club tour now? Or do you consider a bigger act, if you get the chance?

We will do a tour, the same tour actually..... in February. We are always ready to rock! A support tour is not really an option, but who knows? If Bruce Dickinson calls we would go for it, that's for sure!

And the obvious questions as the end of the year is getting closer... What are your plans for 2012?

To tour, drink and break stuff! To be serious, our intentions are to play much more live: that's what we love!

Claudia Ehrhardt


Astral Doors
© Astral Doors

Nils Patrik Johansson - December 1st 2010 (by email)

Astral Doors just released a best-of album called Testament Of Rock, to learn more I jotted down some questions and singer Nils Patrik Johansson was so nice to answer them.

Earlier this year you released the album Requiem Of Time and now the best-of Testament Of Rock. Most bands do a best-of when changing the label or for an anniversary. What made you do a best-of?

We felt that the time was right. It's a good way to find new fans. For anyone who hasn't heard us before, this is a perfect introduction.....and for old fans it's cool to have the goldies collected on one album.

You gave your fans the chance to choose their favorites. Why that?

We had a poll a couple of years ago and we kinda looked over the result from that poll while picking out the songs to the album, and to be quite honest; the fans had about the same opinion as ourselves.

I guess the songs which got most votes are the ones you expected to be chosen, right? Or have there been some surprises?

As I said, we had about the same opinion as our fans. It's the songs we have played live that got most votes. We actually have a new poll on our website, and so far the songs on the 'Best Of-album' are at the top.

Why no special versions? Or other surprises for your fans?

There are some surprises, like re-mixed and re-mastered versions of Black Rain and London Caves and also a two page feature on the history of Astral Doors in the booklet, written by Sweden Rock Magazines number one writer Erik Thompson. Exclusive stuff!

With Victory you have a previously unreleased track on Testament Of Rock. Have the song been written for Requiem Of Time and is a left over? Or have it been written afterwards?

Victory is written as a battle hymn for our favorite hockey team, Leksands IF. We recorded it for them in Swedish. So on Testament Of Rock we give it to you for the first time in English. Powerful song!

Do you plan to do a video for Victory?

Good idea, thanks. :) I'll put our video maker on the case, and we'll see what happens!!

You did a release show in Borlänge on November 19th... I heard it was a blast... What do you think?

Yeah, it was cool: A crowded house with Astral Friends, what can I say? A great night for us!

In September you played at Rockboat cruise... I guess it's a totally different experience. Do you hope for more unusual experiences like that? Or do you prefer the 'typical' touring situation?

Actually 'rockboats' are very popular in Sweden; imagine party boats with 2000 headbangers. Really cool. I think I have played on 4 party boats only this year! All kinds of touring is fun and we must play more often live, that's for sure.

Are you already working on new songs? Any idea about when a new studio album will be released?

We have many ideas and emryo's for songs ready. We could release a new album within 3 months. However, we feel that we are in no hurry. Perhaps next studio album will be out 2012, we'll see. A live DVD is more important for us right now.

And will you hit the road for a short tour in 2011? Or only do one-off shows til the next studio album is in stores?

Hopefully we can hit the road 2011 for a LOOOONG tour. :) We can tour for Requiem and Testament for at least two more years!

Let me get off topic a bit... Your music shows references to Dio, so this questions isn't that much off topic.... Do you have some special memories related to Ronnie James Dio? Anything you want to share?

I remember when I went down to the record store and saw the vinyl Holy Diver on its very release date. It was breathtaking. At first I just stared at the outstanding cover for a few minutes, then I listened to the album in the store. I bought it, went home to play it. A new revelation for me. It's still my favorite metal album of all times.

These days the debut of Tuck From Hell is released on Metalville, a band you are related with. What do you think about their debut?

Hell yeah. My very own son plays the drums with the band. Kind of amazing; the guys in the band have been jamming together since they were 13 years old and actually, the original line-up all lived on the same street. Sometimes they rehearsed in our living room, hahaha. Ok, about three years ago, they decided to play more seriously and they really improved. I have seen them at least 20 times in concert and the kick a lot of ass with their thrash'n'roll.
The debut album based around the first stuff they wrote together and I really like it. The difference between the kind of thrash they play compared to many of the other modern thrash bands of today, is that Tuck actually have catchy choruses that you actually can sing along with and remember after the first listening.

Tuck From Hell also opened for you, do you consider to take them with you on a headliner tour?

I'm not sure. I think it would be good for Astral Doors to hit the roads opening for a mega band. I think we would need that to reach new fans. But of course, if we make some headline appearances, Tuck will always be welcome as support.

Latest news is that you will play Headbangers Open-Air 2011. Are you looking forward to share the stage with some legendary bands? Which band you are most curious to see at HOA?

Well, I haven't really checked out the line up I'm afraid and to be honest I don't see a lot of other bands when I'm doing a job of my own. I'm too focused on my own performance.

What's planned for 2011?

We wanna release a live DVD, we wanna do a cool tour and we wanna play some big metal fests. That's what we want, and that's what we'll try to achieve. Let's hope that 2011 will be our best year so far! Cheers and thanks!

Sounds like Astral Doors' fans will get the full package in 2011 - a tour - or more then one - and a live DVD, that should cut time short til they present their next studio album!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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