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!