INTERVJU: Johanna Platow Andersson i Lucifer

Lucifer är aktuella med nya fullängdaren “Luciver V”, som kanske bjuder på deras finaste stund hittills i den ljuva “Slow dance in a crypt” Tillsammans med Johanna pratar vi om nämnda låt, men vi reder också ut hennes musikaliska resa, hur hon och Nicke Andersson mest håller sig för sig själva, hur mycket Madonna influerat henne och i förbifarten nämner hon dessutom att hon nyligen spelat in med självaste Bobby Liebling:

We´re writing messages and we might collaborate on one small thing, but I can´t say anything more right now. Actually, it´s recorded already hahaha! Now I gave you something that nobody else knows and I won´t tell anybody, because I don´t know what we´re going to do with it. 

What was your introduction to music? What got you hooked? 

The very first thing that got me hooked on music was my mom and her love for rock and roll stuff. We had just come from East Berlin to West Berlin and she bought me a cassette compilation which was three cassettes called “Rock around the clock 1, 2 and 3” and it had like Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, The Shangri-Las and that kind of stuff. I really loved that. My brother is eleven years older than me and he was a punk and he made me mixed tapes with Sex Pistols, The Cure, The Pogues, Violent Femmes and stuff like that. When I was in elemantary school I became a big Madonna fan. I was really impressed by the “Blonde ambition” tour. I loved the “whory” costumes and the cone bras and I put on the red lipstick and I had crosses. I think that´s where my love for crosses started. In the “Like a prayer” video she´s dancing in front of burning crosses in her underwear, in church… imagery that I love to this day and which I also found in metal. When I was 12-13 I got into GNR, The Doors and stuff like that and when I was 13 I saw GNR live at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and they were supported by Faith No More and Soundgarden. To see GNR play there made a big impression on me and the same year I saw Metallica at the Deutschlandhalle. At 14 I had my first boyfriend and he was 19. He was the biggest Metallica fan and he looked like Cliff Burton. He had bellbottoms, a Misfits shirt and he played bass in a Metallica cover band with the stupidest band name ever, they were called Destroyed Construction, hahaha! We went to see Metallica in 93 and then we saw Danzig. That had, and to this day, such an impact visually on Lucifer.They all had the black leather jackets and the black hair. It was rock and roll, but it was Satanic with inverted crosses, which I then started to wear. Soon enough I dyed my hair black and was sold to the Devil. My room had black carpet, I painted the door and it was black velvet… everything was black. Then I got really into black metal and death metal and extreme metal so all the stuff I had listened to before was too soft. I was singing in the local metal bands and I was the chick singer, one of the very few girls in the underground black metal scene. As I got older I opened up again to all the stuff that I listened to before and that my parents listened to, like the Stones, ZZ Top, Deep Purple. It was boring when I was a teenager and it took until I was in my early 20´s to get into hardrock rock and roll and the earlier heavy metal and then I started to go back to where it all started.  

That´s a good foundation. 

Yeah, my mother´s rock and roll and my brother´s punk music and then finding my own way some how.  

I got to say that the documentary “In bed with Madonna” is still one of the best music documentaries ever made.  

I think it´s amazing and beautiful and the cinematography is great. She´s very smart and I know that people have been talking so much shit about her and also now because of the plastic surgery and it´s a little bit of demonizing women. People look at you a different way and judge you a lot harder when you´re a woman. I think she paved the way for a lot of things and she was very ahead of her time. I have great respect for her and she also comes from an underground scene in New York in the 80´s. She played in bands and she played drums and stuff. I still love her and whenever she plays “Like a prayer” live, no matter what tour it is, I love whatever is done visually. Either she´s on a cross or they build this giant chapel on stage… If I had money and Lucifer was big, I would love that. It´s no coincident I´m wearing a priest robe on the new album cover, to come full circle. I´m very influenced by her I have to confess.  

It´s 2024, but do you still feel that people view you differently or approach you in a different way, just because you´re a woman? 

Oh, absolutely! Not by everyone, absolutely not, but maybe every fifth journalist will make remarks or write something they wouldn´t write if I was a dude. It´s just like that. Even if they don´t realize it themselves. I try to point it out without coming across like a bitch and I try to educate in a friendly way, but sometimes it gets annoying. Out of everywhere I´ve lived and I´ve lived in the States for three years, I´m from Germany, I lived in London for a little bit… Sweden is the most progressive of the countries. It´s the most equal and it´s very cool. I feel very relieved, to live here, of the sexism I grew up with as a teenager. It´s funny because I´m still friends with a lot of these underground metal bands from Berlin and some of them have been very active in the underground scene up till today and none of them would have thought that I would be the one that is maybe leading in terms of success or whatever it is. Success is relative and Lucifer is still not a big band, but compared to the Berlin underground… When I was a teenager, people would view you… you would have to have a little bit of a thick skin. People would make fun of you all the time for being a girl or if people didn´t know you and you weren´t friends, people would think you were a groupie because you were hanging out with the band. Later in my 20´s, I was a local promotor and put on small shows. I put on Ghost before the first album came out and The Devil´s Blood and Blood Ceremony when they weren´t big yet. I had a heavy metal club night and people who would come to the venue, sometimes they wouldn´t think that I was the promotor who paid people and organized it, because I was some blonde who puts on makeup and also wants to look pretty. You can´t have everything. You´re not allowed to fix yourself up because you want to be a nice looking woman and also be that and that. With my previous band The Oath, we came off stage, Linnea (Olsson) and I, and there would be a promotor or someone, asking “So, who´s writing this stuff? Give it up!” and I said “Fuck you!” It´s so horrible. With Nicke being in the band and him being the famous rockstar, for a lot of people I´m a nobody and that´s totally ok, but when my credit is completely taken away from me, when it´s just like “Yeah, that singer…, but since Nicke started writing and producing the band, the band has become successful.”, that hurts me a little bit. We write together, 50/50, and it´s not made up and it´s actually my band and I´m the boss hahaha! It´s not a competition between me and Nice, because I´m very proud of him, but when you´re regardes as you have nothing to do with it and you´re just a decoration, that hurts.  

I totally understand that. I have two daughters, 18 and 21, and I hate men when they tell me stories of 40 year old slimey guys hitting on them.  

Despite all the horrible experiences I have had with men, I´m still very close friends with a lot of men and I have a big brother, I have a son and I´m actually even a grandmother to a boy. But it´s true and it sometimes baffles me how many pigs there are. It´s weird. It´s almost like there´s more horrible people than good people and if you would let people loose or there wasn´t a society, they would completely… It´s scary and I know this from growing up in Berlin. I´ve seen so many people wank in front of me in the subway or in the park or people groping one at a subway stop. I´ve had all these experiences and fuck it´s horrible! I´m glad I don´t have a daughter. 

A bit about the new album then. A song that stands out for me is “Slow dance in a crypt” 

I love that you say that because in every interview I´ve done today, every journalist singled out that song. It´s really funny, because when I told Nicke about the title of the song, he was like “Ooookey…” He looked insecure about my choice for the title and I said to him “I swear Nicke, that title is daring for fans of this genre, but I tell you it will stick out and it´s cool.” Lucifer hasa big infleunce from Sabbath and stuff, but it´s ok to show more vulnerability because we dont have to prove anything with the heaviness and stuff because people know that we have that. It could be a Lana Del Rey songtitle or something like that. Because I love so many different things in music, I think it´s good to develop and be open minded and show all the different faces and expand them also.  

It´s hard for artitst because you can never please the fans. With a new record fans say it sounds exactly like the old one or if you change the sound in anyway, the fans get pissed off because it doesn´t sound like the old one.  

I know. I think the key is to not think about that. I can honestly say that Nicke and I are not people pleasers. We live out in the sticks and when you work like that you easily forget about the outside world. We are kind of secure in what we think is right and what sounds good. If he comes up with a riff, I´m like “Yes, that´s it!” and then I sit down and try out vocal melodies and then all of a sudden you just feel when it´s right. Then I record it and give it to him. The two of us together work really well and we kind of know what´s good for us and what feels good. Usually that´s ok. Of course you can´t please everyone. There are always people who have a completely different opinion and sometimes I get bothered when I read that and he says “You shouldn´t read that!” and he´s right, I shouldn´t, because it pisses me off hahaha!  

Nicke´s very private and he doesn´t do social media and stuff like that. Was there an attraction in that? Are you the same kind of person or are you more outgoing than Nicke? 

Maybe a tiny little bit, but I enjoy, as much as him, being hermits together and the pandemic made us even more hermits. I grew up in a big city, but that´s not my natural habitat. I´m used to be amongst a lot of people, but when the pandemic made us full time hermits, after it, it was really difficult to face people and when we´re on tour I absolutely have moments when I don´t want to see anyone and I´m the only one alone backstage. The boys want to go out and mingle and do stuff, but I like being by myself. I remove myself and I just want to be a weirdo and listen to music.  

Bobby Liebling joined you for two shows in the US. What was that like? 

Bobby and I are friends since Lucifer supported Pentagram in Berlin and he´s a crazy old motherfucker. We really like each other and he´s always been respectful to me. I know there are stories about Bobby and drugs will do fucked up things to people. I know that he likes Lucifer and I´m obviously a huge Pentagram fan, so he drove out to Omaha which is like in the middle of nowhere. I couldn´t believe it. I sent him a text on whatsapp and said “Hey, would you like to come join us and do Forever my queen?” and he said “Yes, I´m coming to Omaha and Philadelphia!” Nobody belived it until he actually arrived. He came, we played and it was great fun. Right now we´re kind of writing because… there´s actually some… no, I can´t talk about that hahaha! 

Of course you can! Come on! Ok, so you´re writing with Bobby Liebling? 

No, no, no we´re writing messages and we might collaborate on one small thing, but I can´t say anything more right now. Actually, it´s recorded already hahaha! Now I gave you something that nobody else knows and I won´t tell anybody, because I don´t know what we´re going to do with it. 

Isn´t that a weird feeling, to become friends with someone you idolize and someone you look up to? 

It´s weird and it´s great. To sing “Forever my queen” with Bobby Liebling with my band, it´s fucked up in a good way hahaha! It´s awesome of course. Pinch me! But at the same time, why not? You just have to go for things.

Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen

Foto: Björn Olsson