This phone interview with Kristian Niemann of the Swedish death metal band Demonoid was done by Cseke Róbert in September 2004.

Guitarist Kristian Niemann has been a member of the prominent Swedish metal band Therion for five years now. During these years he has been writing some music of his own which has been too brutal to include on any Therion album. The result eventually became Demonoid, a band where he is joined by the rest of the then Therion line-up. Kristian spent some time discussing his new project with us. [The Editor]

First question I'd like to ask you, I bet the entire World is wondering about, what the hell is Demonoid? Where did the idea for the project come from, and most importantly, why?
I guess, Christofer, I think, kinda got it into flirtation, but we decided to start in 2001 after the tour we did with Therion. Our drummer quit the band, Sami, but we got a new drummer - in the beginning of 2002 came Richard and then he was really, you know, great in that style of playing, he played in a couple of bands, I don't know if you know'em, but Ebony Tears and Dog Faced Gods that's like really, you know, aggressive metal, you know. Yes, and, ok, he really added that element. We were jamming and stuff in the studio or rehearsal room, it's like "oh, we should really do something... really heavy stuff..." and it doesn't really fit into Therion, you know, with all the choirs and stuff, I mean, so we definitely wanted growling vocals and, you know, Christofer to do it - he wanted to do that, and so we just suggested like, you know, we should do the album and the idea was to not reveal any names or anything, just do the album, get a label, and get it out, not like, ok, "this is Therion.. blah blah.. a side project" and now it took a while to get the album released and in the meantime it sort of leaked out, you know, "it's these guys, and they came from Therion and whatever..."

When you went with the demo or album or whatever to Nuclear Blast did they know that this is a project of guys from Therion or did they just listen and liked the cool music?
No, they knew it was us, but they weren't like really impressed with it right from the beginning. We searched for a label quite a bit, I think, the record was finished before the Therion record, so it was finished in 2003 summer, no, no, march, 2003, I think. We looked for a label over a year, tried to get a label with a good deal... We didn't want just any deal... finally Blast said "ok, we want to put the album out" but they knew, and of course we have spoken to other labels in between, but of course we had to reveal the fact that, ok, it's us, but can we keep it quiet? It didn't really work out with any other label so we're with Blast... we're happy with it, yeah.

That's great! Now, "Riders Of The Apocalipse" is not really an inovation as far as the genre is concerned, it's kickass music but it's rather old school, would you say that had anything to do with the fact that members of the band that were actually writing the music had discovered this form of metal rather recently, or did you enjoy this kind of metal even in the beginning, before Therion even?
Uhh, Christofer of course didn't write the music, which is on the record, me and Johan discovered, you know, Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir but we have listened to Pantera and Metallica and that stuff, of course Testament, but the recent, the death metal stuff is there, those are the real influences, but also bands like Satyricon and that kind of stuff. So you can hear a little bit of death metal and a little bit of black metal but it's not like we would've been listening to pop music, but I know what you mean, I don't feel it is really old school sounding, maybe it is to people who, you know, really listen to the genre, but I really think it's more like, I dont know, just a different thing with different styles with black stuff and thrash stuff, you know, bay area, 80's stuff and some other influences as well, I think, it's a mix of influences and, you know, just stuff that we like, we didn't really set out to like innovate the style or do old school stuff or this kind of stuff or whatever we just wanted to write a bunch of songs, you know, the coolest riffs, the coolest anything else you could possibly think of, you know, that would kick as, so we said "yeah, let's do it!".

All of you play in other bands... How did you, and do you manage to make the time for this project, isn't it too brave, or do you think you can pull this off?
Yeah, I think so, Therion doesn't really do much, I mean, except for when we actually do stuff, it's not like we're busy all the time, not like we tour much or, I mean, the last tour was like two months and the recording of the album was really quick and we had lots of time to start working on the new record, but we were scheduled to start sometime around 2003, you know, mid 2003 or beginning... somewhere there... so we had the whole 2002 to like write songs, jam with a drummer and just really do whatever we wanted, which we did - we recorded in 2002, in the winter, mixed it mastered it , got it out really quickly, it was a quick recording as opposed to Therion, you know, right when the record was finished we tried to shop it, but at the same time we started recordning, but then we did that for like a long time, 9 months or something, 10 months, it was really long but then... and now of course we're touring with Therion and we'll be busy for at least... in Europe will play of course this year and then we're gonna tour in the States next year but, I think, after that we'll have time for this record, maybe tour in the summer with Demonoid and we'll definitely make another record, I mean, I definitely wanna tour with it, and everybody else wants to, so that will be great, you know.

So do you expect a lot of promotion behind this? Do you think Nuclear Blast is goint to put in a lot of money into this project?
No, I don't really expect much from it, I mean, it's a new band, I don't know if you've seen the record but there's a sticker on it that says "members from Therion and Chimaira and blah blah" but I dont think they'll push this one as much as Therion or any of the big priority bands from the label but, I mean, we did a lot of interviews and then seen the record in the stores and in some magazines, you know, so I guess, they're pushing it just as much as they do the small bands that they have, so I think it's on that level, it's not bigger than that. We can't really demand much more, it's not like this is Therion, it doesn't sound like Therion, so we can't sell this stuff to Therion fans "yeah, this sounds like Therion" cos it's a little bit different.

So things like a tour might be in the future but any such things as a video, should we expect that?
Nah, I don't think so, I mean, especially in Sweden, I don't know what it's like in those parts of Europe but nobody fucking plays metal videos anymore, I heard in germany they play that stuff sometimes but we don't have the budget to afford this thing and I don't think it would make a difference in record sales, maybe 50 people more would buy it, I dont know, I'd rather go out touring and that would be much better...

I know, the idea for this record, such a record, was around for quite some time, how come Richard ended up on drums, cos he had left the band since then, he has left Soilwork since then...
And Chimaira since then...

Oh yeah, right.
He left Therion, he was a friend of Sami, the've known each other for a long time, they're good friends and he recomended him to Therion and then we did one show in 2002, but we saw that he could play not only more layd back, in the Therion style, but more aggressivly as well and it was a really natural thing, you know, this guy's a great guy, we love him, you know, he's a cool person, no problems there, and a kick ass drummer so we might as well start a band within a band, so to speak, it's a weird thing, I mean, not many bands have done that, you know, and it really works personality-wise, everybody likes eachother... and then we did this record, then he got an offer to join Soilwork and that was his absolute favourite band, he had all the records and everything, so it was a really hard decision for him to leave Therion since we're friends and everything but it was like he had to do it and I understand it, then things didn't work out, he joined Chimaira, he joined them and you know, I think, the reason for his leaving them was that he is from this side of the Atlantic and them on the other, so it was a lot of problems with visa's and stuff. It's really a bitch to be European, and going to the United States to work... it's a bitch, after September 11 and stuff.

The recording of this album, of this project... was it less stressfull knowing that there wasn't a red light blinking in Modern Art studios?
Yeah, I was really relaxed, you know, it was the same thing with the Therion CD's, in a way, cos the last two were recorded in Modern Art studios but with this one I was there all the time recording, producing and recording the other guys as well, and we could just take our time, you know, go there anytime we want and sit there, fuck around, experiment with sounds and parts and whatever, you know, that's really the plus of having your own studio where you can work, it's not like super fancy or anything, you know, compared to big studios it's like nothing, but it allows us to work there, I mean, the downside is that we don't have a really experienced engineer who knows how to get really great sounds and Sami does know how to get really great drum sounds and, you know, vocal sounds but we're actually inexperienced in recording with really great guitar tones and aslo, you know, mixing, which kinda makes the studio kind of underground but we can put the time in performances and arrangements and ideas instead of having like two weeks of expensive studio hours. It sounds better but the playing is not where you want it, you know, but I think it's ok.

You described Demonoid as a band within a band... Do you expect this to become a habit from now on, I mean, you said you wanted to make a second album, but do you expect this to carry on not only in the near future but, I dont know, 5-10 years from now?
Who knows, who knows about the future? No one. I really don't mind at all. I think it's a really great idea. I like this style of music. The guys in the band, we all work well together, no big problems, like ego and other shit, and now, I think, everybody is excited in doing a second record... what comes later we really dont know. Maybe we'll get really busy with Therion or Christofer decides to not do music anymore or some of us decide not to do music anymore but who knows, you know, but I wouldn't mind doing this for a long time, no.

That's really cool to hear. What's your favourite songs from this record and how would you compare these songs to, I dont know... you think they'd sound better live or would Therion songs work better with the public?
Compare Demonoid to Therion, you mean?

Ok, since Therion has quite a large fanbase, sold a lot of records, of course, Therion songs are easier to get into, they're more melodic, "sing along"-able, so to speak, but I think the Demonoid stuff will work really well cos, I think, it's made for... it's that kind of music... death metal, black metal, thrashy style... it's really made for playing on stage, you know, and about my favourite songs, I think, its the two first songs "Wargods" and "Firestorms"... Wargods, because it has a lot of lift in it and its got great vocals and it sort of shifts on time but the fightsong? it's like headon fucking kick-ass, you know, some parts with only vocals and everything and the last part with the flange thing, I think, to me, it sounds really evil, so I like those two songs a lot right now...

Yeah, Wargods is a brilliant first track, I think, how well do you expect this album to sell, I mean, do you expect to make some actual money out of this and who do you think are going to be the people buying it? Fans of Therion, Messiah, Chimaira, whatever...
To be honest, I don't really have any expectations. If it sells, that's fantastic, since it took so long to get the record out, like I said, over a year, I'm just really happy that it's out and people can hear it. If it sells, that's actually a big bonus, of course, I would love it to sell 10 million and get really rich but it's not gonna happen so lets say, if it sells enough that the record label thinks we should do a small tour, you know, go on tour and make another record, that's fine. Then I'm really happy. And for the people buying it, I hope people who like Therion will check it out... kinda feels like the old style Therion, if you like the first 3-4 records, then definitely this would be something for you. Also, it's not like super original or anything so if you like the new heavy bands like, I dont know, maybe melodic sort of deathy, thrashy metal stuff then I'm sure, you'll find something on this album that you like. That's what I think...

It's definitely a good album, I liked it, I'll tell you that, are you happy with the way things turned out with this project? Any needs that weren't satisfied maybe, weren't completely satisfied...
For the record... you're never satisfied, you know, at least I'm not satisfied, I mean, we did the best we could. Let's put it this way: we couldn't have done it any better than it is with the money we had, which was like nothing, and with the equipment we had... we did the best we could, uhh, if I would improve something, I would definitely improve the sound, or maybe, you know, better guitar sounds, uhh, bigger, fatter, heavier, it's a bit small, the base register is a bit fuzzy, it's not totally kicking ass, at least not on my stereo... maybe on someone else's, but I would improve the sound and, of course, we could always improve the playing and the songwriting which, hopefully, we'll do the next time, so we got some idea already, not much, not complete songs, just a couple of riffs, and, you know, we will be better musicians then we'll play better and do more inspired stuff and make even more heavier music, so I'm looking forward in recordning the next one. Totally. A lot.

Do you know anything about the distribution of this album? I dont know, can i ask such things as where people might stumble upon this album in the shops, do you posess any such information?
No, that's nothing I know of. The only two release dates I got was that here in Europe was supposed to be released in July, which, I guess, it is... 25th of july or 26th or whatever, and then in the States on september 21st, I think, and that's maybe it for South America too, maybe, but that's the only thing, I know, I dont know about teritories, countries where it can be found, but if you can't find it anywhere, you should definitely talk to Nuclear Blast, you could order online, just send them an e-mail like "Hey! The record! Where the fuck is it?", you know, "We wanna buy it so, get it here!".

Yeah, I would recommend it to everybody. It is a kick-ass album.
Thank you!

You're welcome. So, I'm sure, many are eager to buy the latest album, first album by Demonoid, a fresh name in the world of metal... I'd like to thank you for making time to do this interview ... we'll just en it in the traditional way, with your last words... anything you'd like to say to everyone out there, you can do so right about now...
Ok, I mean, thank you very much, no problem at all! I would say first, I mean, check out the album, if you like it, great, if you don't like it, send it to me, and I'll repay you - that was a joke (laugh), I won't - but I hope we could get on tour.... in Romania too... with any band, Therion or Demonoid, that would be fun, would be awesome, never been there so I would really like to go there. My best friend is from Romania, so I'd definitely like to go there.

Very cool, you have a lot of fans around here, with Therion, I mean. Not many have heard of Demonoid yet, but I'll make sure they will.
Yeah, cool man. I have a question for you: do you get a lot of bands in Romania? Do you get a lot of bands play there?

Not really, I don't know, they don't come here very often, some do sometimes, but the media doesn't really play these kinds of songs, these styles, but there are many people listening to these songs, so I really don't understand.
Oh, thats too bad! What are the bands that you've had, the latest band? Who played there last?

We haven't had bands like Cradle Of Filth or anything like that, I think, the latest show (in this stlye) was Kreator... We're expecting Nightwish in September sometime...
Oh, Nightwish? Cool.

I wish you all the best with both Therion and Demonoid.... especially Demonoid.
Thank, you. Thank you very much. Good night to you.

Yeah, good night.... Bye.

Links of interest:

Nuclear Blast