Write, Record, Repeat

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There is prolific and then there is Swedish musician ‘Revolting’ Rogga Johansson, who makes a mockery of the word. Currently listed in 13 active bands and has guested or appeared on numerous others over the years, the man is synonymous with old school Swedish death metal. Originally starting out with Paganizer, the guy has his finger in so many band’s it insame to think about. His most recent projects and releases includes Down Among the Dead Men, a project with former Benediction front man Dave Ingram and his fourth full length Ribspreader album, Meathymns.

Both being meaty simple, meaty, old school death metal. There’s no denying Rogga has a certain style and sound and throughout his career he has certainly defined and influenced a large number of bands, excluding the ones he is actually in. So I got Down Among the Dead Men and spoke with one of metal’s most active dudes, ‘Revolting’ Rogga Johansson….

Right let start with a big one. Metal Archives has you listed as active in Dead Sun, Demigurg, Down Among the Dead Men, Fondlecorpse, Humanity Delete, Megascavenger, Eaten, Speckman & Johansson, Paganizer, Putrevore, Ribspreader, The Grotesquery and Those Who Bring the Torture. Then you have been a guest or guest or session member with Edge of Sanity, Entrails, Affliction Gate, Chalice of Doom, Just Before Dawn, Zombified, Putreaon and Nasum. THEN, your past bands are listed as The 11th hour , Banished From Inferno, Carve, Bloodgut, Deranged, Foreboding, Sinners Burn, Soulburn and Terminal Grip. PHEW! So, what have we missed?

I don’t think you missed anything… I don’t know but I don’t think so at least… Its been a few too many things though the years indeed.

How do you do it? How do you stay active in so many bands? How do you find the time?

Well I like to write music, and do it rather fast it seems. Also I only play live with Paganizer, so there’s no time spent on the road really that takes away from writing music.

So which bands are considered YOUR bands, versus bands you simply help out other guys?

I guess if it’s an album where I just do vocals, it’s probably not my band. But anything else is mine, as I usually write much of the music as well as play guitar in them.

Does any band hold priority over others?

Paganizer, as we started in ’94 and also because it’s the band I play live shows with. Everything else is just projects where I do albums from time to time.

How do you prioritize all the bands?

Well its not too hard, I write stuff and if there’s a label wanting to release it I finish the album, and if not, I just maybe write half an album and let it sit until time comes when it might be released. Then, I finish it up rather fast usually.

When writing songs , do you write for a specific band or project or just write a riff and then decide “Oh, this will fit this band”? Especially with similar sound bands like Revolting, Ribspreader and Megascavenger?

It’s a bit different from time to time, but often I sit down and write for a specific project. Other times though I might just have a riff or two, and then I record it and keep for use later in whatever project it might fit.

If you had to pick just one band to focus on, which one would it be?

I think it would be Paganizer, as we rehearse every week and do shows and try to do an album every year or so and other cool stuff.

So far in 2014 (that i know of) you’ve had three releases. A new Ribspreader album, Meathymns, a project with Dave Ingram formerly of Benediction and a Megascavenger abum. How different was the creative process for those three projects and collaborations?

The Megascavenger album was laying around finished for ages, but was waiting for the different vocalists to finish up, so that album I finished long ago. The album with Dave Ingram came about fast too, me and Dennis (Blomberg — also of Paganizer) and Dave wrote music all of us, so that was a band effort. The Ribspreader album I just felt like doing, and wrote and recorded it in a couple of weeks.

How did the project with Dave Ingram come about?

He did a track on the Megascavenger album, and he thought it came out so cool that we should do more music together, and I agreed of course. So then we started writing the album, and it didnt take more than a month or so before it was pretty much written.

Was this a one time deal or are you and Dave continuing with Down Among the Dead Men?

We are talking about the next album and other stuff too, like EP releases. So it will be more stuff done next year, or even this year perhaps.

I only recently got Paganizer’s early albums, your longest running project, and man those sound different to anything you are doing now with them or other projects. Explain how Paganizer’s sound started and then evolved.

We started as industrial death metal, then named Terminal Grip, then we dropped the industrial stuff and did the first EP as Paganizer. When time came for the first album we changed stuff up and recorded a pure thrash black album, but we changed back to more basic death/thrash metal right after, as it didn’t really fit us too well.

You have worked with so many great musicians. Who was your favorite?

That’s a hard question! The ones I’ve worked with are all good friends, or many of them, and it’s hard to single out people. But, someone I have become very good friends with is Kam Lee, who is a very cool guy and good friend. I must also mention Dan Swanö, as the man is simply awesome.

Is there anyone you had not yet worked with but would like to? I’m thinking you would have been great in a super group like Bloodbath.

Not really, or wait… I would love to do an album with Blaze Bayley on vocals. That would be awesome. I was never asked to join Bloodbath, but if they had asked I would have said no. I’m not very interested really when it’s not my own music I guess.

You seem to have really hit your stride with last year’s Revolting albums and the new Ribspreader album. How are you able to be so profilic within the same style and do it in different bands?

I dont know… That’s another question I can’t answer very well. I just sit down with the guitar, and often it ends up in a song or two, and if you do that now and then, there’s soon many albums worth of material…

That being said, some critics say all of your projects sound the same. How do you respond to that?

Well I can agree, but I don’t write music to please others. Of course I find it cool when people like what I do. But yes, I understand that most albums I’ve done could have been released under the same name [laughs] But that would have been an awful a lot of albums by one band [laughs]

What do you think of this Swedish death metal resurgence? It’s crazy how many bands, not just yours, are now doing it and doing it well. Any of them stand out to you?

It’s many many bands yes… I think most of them sound really good, but I cant say I listen to more than a song here and there. But from the ones I’ve checked out I really like Puteraeon, that’s really cool stuff I think.

Do you feel like you are locked into one style? Do you wish you could dabble in other styles or are you happy with the death metal thing?

Yes I can feel like that, but often when I try to write something else, it ends up sounding like my usual stuff anyways. I guess if I could sing and not just growl that I would have tried harder to do more different music. Maybe I’ll try and get it released, and then people can laugh at me [laughs]

What do you have on the docket for the rest of 2014? Vocals on Just Before Dawns new album?

Actually, I didn’t do any vocals on the new Just before Dawn album. New stuff this year will be The Grotesquery, Revolting and a 20th year anniversary release with Paganizer.



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