Avatar - 27/11/2007

Avatar, Sweden’s new metal export are now up to date with their second album ”Schlacht” that came out in Europe on October 24th. ”Schlacht” is recorded at Gain Studio, Gothenburg, Sweden and produced by Markus Tagaris. The debut album ”Thoughts of no tomorrow” was released in Europe 2006 and reached top 3 on the metal album charts in Sweden.

The band made two European tours in 2006 and supported bands like Stone Sour, Hardcore Superstar and Evergrey to name a few. The big break came when Avatar was picked by In Flames to support them on their sold out Scandinavian tour in 2007. Björn Gelotte (In Flames) is participating on one of the songs with a solo. Avatar will support Obituary on their Xecutioner`s Return Tour 2008 in January.



Recently I had the chance to ask Henrik Sandelin, bassguitarist of Avatar some questions, so here we go!!!

It took you guys less than a year to come up with a new album, so I presume it was an easy job to write new songs?

It’s never easy writing good songs! We have been working hard all the time, practicing individually when not rehearsing together, discussing and producing when not recording. It’s been a fulltime job! So with that in consideration, one year is quite a long time.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to write new songs. Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Schlacht’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

Our main goal was to have 12 kickass tracks on the album in the end.  No fillers! I think we recorded around 30 songs on pre-productions during the past year, and as you can tell a lot of them got thrown in the bin. Metallica’s ‘Master Of Puppets’ has played a major role in forming the ideals for this album.


Was it a conscious decision to do it this way and can you tell me more about the writing process? Who is responsible for each of the songs?

Simon, Jonas and Johannes write most of the stuff. So when they have a new song we try it out together and if it’s good enough we start “producing” it. In the end it can be a totally different song sometimes.


In song writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to Avatar?

Passion! A song should touch the listener in some way, that’s what it’s all about.

We got this email the other day from a fan saying he would never make it without our music and he thanked us for helping him through hard times. Those things make you proud!


Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on the new album?

Anyone who has a good idea is welcome to show it to the others.


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Schlacht’ , what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

‘SCHLACHT’ means ‘slaughter’, which is a political statement. The whole album is like going into battle. It’s 100% passion and aggression all the way through. The vocalist (Johannes) is half German and speaks German fluently so it came naturally in a way and “Hail Satan” was already taken… I guess hehe.


Who wrote the lyrics for this album and can you tell us something about them?

Johannes and Simon wrote the lyrics on this album. They are very personal so my tip is to buy our record, read them and make a guess ;)


How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
I would say it’s the music and lyrics together that matters. One thing is nothing without the other.


If any, what are the most important differences between the two albums according to you?

We did some experimenting on the new one and tried some new stuff like slap bass and acoustic parts with growl. I guess we developed our sound a bit too. We sound more like Avatar now than before, kind of.


You recorded this album in the Gain studio in Gothenburg, was this a conscious choice?

It’s a great studio so yes it was, it’s also very close to our rehearsal room which is good for lazy people tired of carrying the backline.


How did the recording process proceed, how does Avatar work in the studio and how much time did you spend in the studio?

We spent over a month in the studio with our best friends coffee, nicotine and Basse, our recording technician. We recorded one instrument at a time finishing with solo’s and stuff. Great success! (yes that’s a Borat quote)


Your new album was produced by Markus Tagaris. Are you satisfied with the result, can you tell me more about him?

He’s a great guy to work with and he came up with many good ideas during this whole process that we would never have thought of ourselves.


What made him the perfect producer for Avatar and In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

He’s honest and has no problems with telling us if something sucks. That of course forces us to do things better…if he’s right. You can find his ideas in more or less all the songs.


The song “Letters From Neverend” contains a solo from Björn Gelotte, guitarist in In Flames, how did this collaboration come about?

We have had good contact with In Flames since we toured with them in March so when we asked Björn if he was interested he answered “any day”. Great guys with a great attitude!


I keep hearing people compare your albums to bands like In Flames. How do you feel about that comparison, what do you think are the main differences?

In Flames is a great band and a source of inspiration among so many other bands but because we come from Gothenburg it’s so easy for people to judge us like rip off’s without even giving us a chance. Main differences… we don’t use clean vocals in the same way, that might be one.


Have you received any feedback on the new album yet? How do you feel about this album – are you satisfied with the outcome or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

The feedback has been good overall! We are really satisfied with this album ourselves, we think it kicks ass! I wouldn’t wanna change anything actually. I’m aiming for the new record now.



Do you have any favorites on ‘Schlacht’, songs that you think are somehow above the others? Those would be “The Queen” and “As It Is”.


How do you see the future for Avatar, do you think, for instance that the band will still exist ten years from now? I see world tours and lots of chicks. And we made it 4 so why not 10 more years…


What is your opinion on the melodic death metal scene these days, is there anything missing?  I miss “organic” productions. I’m kinda tired of all mechanical-sounding ones.


Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?

For me it was The Haunted’s – ‘Made Me Do It’


Okay, if you could choose three bands to get on stage with, who would they be?

Marionette – kickass band from Gothenburg. Only three bands?? Okey then: Iron Maiden and Metallica.


Is here anything you’d still like to share with us?

Hope to see you on the roads in January, peace out!



Thanks for your time!


Avatar is:
John Alfredsson – Drums
Johannes Eckerström – Vocals
Jonas Jarlsby – Guitar
Simon Andersson – Guitar
Henrik Sandelin – Bass



Thoughts Of No Tomorrow (2006)
Schlacht (2007)


Ep's & single's:

4 Reasons To Die (EP, 2004)
My Shining Star (single, 2005)
And I Bid You Farewell (single, 2005)