Originally written for Backstage Music Forum
On the 3rd edition of Vagos Open Air we had the chance to see how much the national metal community likes Tiamat. With the release of their excellent 10th studio album, “The Scarred People”, we believe that admiration has grown. Johan Edlund, singer and guitarist of the band, chatted a litlle with Backstage.
Backstage Music Forum: Greetings! Thank you so much for talking to us. I’d first like to ask about the title of the latest album. Why name it after that particular song?
Johan Edlund: The whole album is an homage to outsiders. That’s what we are. Outsiders, and peoplel who cherish outsiders. That’s become a full time job. To cherish outsiders!
BMF: The cover artwork is full of symbols. Can you enlighten us a little about it?
Johan: Symbolism is for each individual to find out. Every word I say to explain it would be like rendering the person I pin-point completely stupid. I’m smarter than that and keep my big mouth shut.
BMF: You’ve played at the Close Up Båten fest last month and then… nothing more! Is there any talking of an upcoming Scarred People tour?
Johan: We’ll see.. Festival in Belgium, and Summer Breeze booked. We’re on it, but we obey the laws of market economy, so if no one wants us we stay out.
BMF: Still regarding live gigs… last year you’ve played in Portugal after many (too many) years. Do you still feel anxious when you climb on stage in a place you haven’t been in a long time, or even never before? Do you still worry if the crowd will be responsive?
Johan: I greet all land with the same respect. I think I could enter a stage on Saturn and feel the same. I live for equality, and think everything in life, and matter, is of equal importance.
BMF: Which song or songs from “The Scarred People” do you think are a “must” in a live setlist?
Johan: No idea. I wish people would like to hear “Messinian Letter”. It would be fun to play. But I guess our fans are too clever for that
BMF: “Winter Dawn” has these Arabic sounds at one point, and you named one of the instrumental tracks “Tiznit”… Do you have any special interest in the present Arabian Peninsula or is it “just” the Sumerian legacy whose mythology you took the band’s name from?
Johan: Good question. I don’t know where it comes from, just like it. Somehow I guess I relate to these countries. They are sending us mails and we relate. I just love when you sit in your small little world and think that all Muslims are evil and then you get a long letter from a penpal in Iran. I just really live for the equality of things.
BMF: I feel like “The Scarred People” sound stands somewhere in-between “Prey” and “Amanethes”, with a hint of “Wildhoney” as well. When you start writing new material do you already have a concept of how it should sound like or you simply let your creativity flow?
Johan: No, but it is very true that we use ourselves as a source of inspiration. Our albums are the biggest influences for everything we do. My journey to become a musician is built on my great friends… Thomas, Anders, Lars, Magnus, Jocke, Rogga… & thousand more. Niemann, Gustaf… Äh fan, listan kan bli hur lång som helst… (oh damn, the list could be endless…)
BMF: And the poetry in your lyrics? Do you seek inspiration in a particular place/person?
Johan: I think it’s easy. Just write what you think and what you have to say. No more, no less.
BMF: Whose idea was of covering Lana del Rey’s “Born To Die”? Do you know if she’s heard your version of it?
Johan: We played a thousand songs in the kitchen recording “The Scarred People”, so this was just one of them. I would love to hear her opinion about it.
BMF: ChurchOfTiamat.com has been down for quite a while. Do you know if it will ever be back or do social networks like Facebook play a much more important role in media matters given the direct interaction with people? Does any member of Tiamat check the feedback of the fans in these places or you just get word from whoever runs them?
Johan: We’re punk. This is of no importance to us.
BMF: Once again thank you for your time and all the best for your future.
Johan: I thank you very much Renata! And wish you all the very best!