Hello Leif! First of all, let you know it’s a pleasure to interview one of my favourite bands! Let’s start with the, repetitive perhaps, but also obligatory question; how did the «return» of Johan Längquist arise? During the «Epicus Doomicus Metallicus» era was he just a session singer or did you have the intention that he continued in the band beyond that recording?
Back in the day we loved Johans voice, and persuaded him to sing on EPICUS. Of course we wanted him to be a part of the band after that but he declined. Instead we found a mad monk by the name of Messiah and the rest is history as they say 😊

-Honestly he is in a perfect shape. Did he keep singing throughout all these years before joining the band again?
Yeah, he’s been keeping himself in good shape, with his own songs. He’s got a small studio in his house so he has been busy there working working away with his own stuff. When he tried out after Mats Levén we couldn’t believe how great he still sounded.

-Delving a little bit into this «The Pendulum» mini-LP, it sees the light of day a year after «The Door to Doom» was released. I read the new EP is comprised of leftovers from that LP. How was this initiative born? Why didn’t these songs make it into the album?
When you have lots of stuff you have to chose between your babies. Most of the time it is obvious which tracks are going to be on the album. Mayyybe in this case too, but we felt like these EP songs were good enough to release. They are demos but good ones. The title track itself, THE PENDULUM could easily have ended up on “Door to Doom” I think. But it was the last song I wrote for DTD and we didn’t have the time to fnish it. Until now.

For what I see there are several instrumental tracks on the EP. Were they supposed to be interludes between songs from «The Door to Doom»?
Yeah. Had a couple of more too that never even made it into demos. For about 5 minutes “Door to Doom” was going to be a double album, but luckily enough we changed our minds and started to trim it down into a single. Records are absolutely best in this format!

-This about «The Pendulum» being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Raw, electric, immidiate

-Going back to «The Door to Doom», I must admit to me it is one of your best albums released in this new century. How was the songwriting process like? Had the tunes been written for years or did Johan get back and the inspiration sprouted?
Everything was written in 2018. And I spent almost the entire year in the studio working. First on “House of Doom” then on the album. Many many hours. But eventually I found the inspiration and the songs took shape one by one. As you know, Mats Levén sang on the record first, but we didn’t feel it was the right thing so Johan got the call and here we are. One of the best years in our career (2019) when we’re back with loads of gigs, great reviews and lots of people coming to the shows. To top things off we even got nominated for a US Grammy (didn’t win) + the swedish equivalent (won!)

-It also features the participation of Tommy Iommi on «Astorolus – The Great Octopus». How did this come to happen?
I had an idea about approahcing him and ask. So our manager contacted his manager. After a couple of weeks we had a “Yes” back. Unbeliavable! And the solo was good! No halflame wanky work. Mr Iommi had listened and felt it! Sent pure magic back! Hats off to him for helping out a smaller band, and in such a great way. Kudos!

-And talking about the history of the band, CANDLEMASS split up in 1994. What were the reasons behind this decision? Why didn’t all the guys join you when you brought the band back a few years later?
At the time everybody felt that the reunion should be with Messiah. It was actually him that took the first step in making this happen right after the new millenium. I know, we’ve had a few singers, but also a long career, but we feel strongly now that we will work with Johan until the day when we quit this race. He’s the man and the perfect singer for Candlemass. The first and last😊

-I must say I’ve watched you twice: Rock Fest 2016 (under the scorching sun) and Rock Fest 2019. Both shows where excellent, specially the later. Will we have the chance of seeing you playing a venue anytime soon in Spain?
With the Corona thingin full flight there are no gigs being booked right now. The brutal truth. We have moved 2 dates in Stockholm in april + shows in the states april/may. Probably have to move things in june too. Bizarre but reality! Just hope things are back to normal after the summer.

-Without any doubt your country is one of the best when it comes to Metal music. Do you feel valued over there? What could you tell us about the current Swedish Metal scene compared to how it was back in the day?
I have absolutely no idea about the metal scene today here in Sweden. I have been longtime sick (burned out) and not been to a show in years. Several venues have closed in Stockholm also so I don’t know if there are something called metal scene anymore. Hope so, but I can’t really say. Too bad they close good venues in central Stockholm and try to move the culture outside the city. Weird but typically swedish.

-That was all from our side, it’s been an honour to interview you, and if you want to add any final words; feel free to do it.
Hope the Corona shit is over soon and we can come back to Spain!

Philip Graves

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