On Friday night; I had the opportunity to sit down with Johanna Sadonis, the lead singer of the doom-inspired “magic rock” group, Lucifer. Their first tour through the United States with High on Fire, Pallbearer, and Venomous Maximus was winding down and I was hoping to reflect on the tour (among other things) with Ms. Sadonis. We did the interview between sets backstage, the quietest place to be found was behind some stacked cases of Bud Light so we talk over the sounds of High on Fire warming up for their set.
CFD: I’ve read and watched numerous interviews with you, and it seems like you get asked a lot of the same questions. There’s a lot about the demise of The Oath and who your influences are, etc. I was hoping I could switch it up a little bit and ask you some different kinds of questions, maybe some lighter ones.
Lucifer is on a meteoric rise. In roughly a year, you’ve made the cover of Decibel, Lucifer I is a huge success, and you’ve been touring other continents. Were you overwhelmed at all by how quickly this came about, or has your past experiences in other bands kind of tempered the madness if you will?
JS: “Well, I had big things planned for The Oath as it’s known and I toured with The Oath in Europe. What was very exciting was the response we got for Lucifer. That’s what was overwhelming. Our fans are buying tickets to our shows and buying our records, it’s exactly what I wanted for Lucifer. I started Lucifer not to be an occult rock group. That term gets used a lot and I didn’t want to use that for the band.”
CFD: I love the term “magic rock” to describe your music.
JS: “Yeah (laughs) I made that up.”
CFD: I know that term originates from your passion for magic and mysticism that started when you were younger. How did that passion for magic come about?
JS: “When I was younger, 16 years old, I worked in an occult book store. I was always drawn to it. I read classic occult novels. It’s always something I have been interested in. There’s also the spirituality too. That’s a part of it.”
CFD: This is the first time you’ve toured the United States and you’ve been to some big cities and played some pretty big venues. What has been your favorite stop on this current tour?
JS: “There are so many places we have stopped on this tour. There are so many different styles too. This tour has been so diverse. We were in San Diego in a smaller venue and the place was packed. We have also played in Los Angeles where we performed in huge ballrooms. It is very different in the United States. The fans are much different than in Europe. Fans in the United States are up and moving around, while in Europe fans are much more reserved. Their arms are crossed, leaning against the wall and you’re the monkey up on the stage.”
CFD: What are your favorite songs to perform live?
JS: “I really like “Anubis”. It was our first single, our first music as Lucifer. I also really like to play “Sabbath”. It’s written for a very special person to me, it’s actually my boyfriend. So I like that one a lot.
CFD: If you could create a dream tour for Lucifer, who else would be on the tour?
JS: A dream tour?!”
CFD: Yeah! If Lucifer could tour with anyone current or former, who would it be?
JS: “Black Sabbath definitely! Ummm… Mercyful Fate, well a reunion tour for Mercyful Fate, and Danzig. That’s for me personally. I know the other members of the band would disagree with those except for Black Sabbath. We would all agree with Black Sabbath.”
CFD: So the tour is winding down now, you’ve been out promoting Lucifer I for a while now. I guess the next logical step is to visit family and friends for a while then enter the studio again for Lucifer II, right?
JS: “Well I have just confirmed an upcoming tour with Paradise Lost throughout Europe. We will be going out for 6 months across Europe doing shows all over the place. Our guitarist is also getting married as well, so I will be helping with that. Then the plan is, once the touring is done, in 2016 to make a 7” with new material and then Lucifer II.”
CFD: Can I pitch an idea to you and Lucifer? You should think of doing a cover album. Covering some of the classic songs from some of your inspirations would be a really cool idea. With your voice and Gaz on guitar. It could be great, a cool twist on some of these timeless songs.
JS: “A covers album? Interesting. There are so many songs we could cover. We have so many inspirations. Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Lucifer’s Friend. There’s a lot we could do.”
CFD: I think you’d definitely be able to pull off some Sabbath songs.
JS: “Which ones?”
CFD: I know Matt (Pike) covered it with Sleep, but “Snowblind” would be a great one I think.
JS: “It’s funny, we were actually accused of copying or stealing “Snowblind” on Anubis by some. That wasn’t the intention at all. Anubis is more of a nod to Black Sabbath because they are such an inspiration to our music. I didn’t mean for it to come off as though we were copying the song.”
CFD: You’re a part of something I think most people don’t know about, and I think it’s one of the coolest things ever. Can you shed some light your “Kill ‘em All Club”?
JS: “Yeah when I was in LA; the clubs had parties that played all of this metal. I thought that this would be a cool thing to do in my hometown of Berlin. So we play a lot of classic metal in a lot of different genres. I also DJ in other clubs as well in Berlin.
CFD: Outside of Lucifer and the Kill ‘Em All Club, what are some of your other hobbies? How do you spend your free time away from music?
JS: “There isn’t a whole lot for me outside of music actually (laughs). Music is my life. Especially now being out on my biggest tour. Also with everything in Kill ‘Em All Club and DJing. I guess I’m kind of boring then (laughs) but music is everything to me and that is what I love to do.”
CFD: You’re off to Atlanta tomorrow for the next show. If I can suggest somewhere to eat, you all definitely need to find Vortex Bar & Grill. They have this giant burger there… wait you aren’t vegetarian or anything, right?
JS: “Yes! The whole band is actually vegetarian (laughs). I used to eat meat but no we’re all vegetarians now.”
CFD: No! Ahhh okay well it’s this restaurant that’s been featured on tv shows here in the US and they’re known for their delicious burgers. It’s an awesome restaurant.
JS: “We’ll still have to check it out. Do they have veggie burgers? I would eat those!”
CFD: I imagine they would have to there. I think I remember seeing that on the menu. Well I’ll leave you to it! Thank you very much for taking the time to talk, I greatly appreciate it.
JS: “You’re welcome and thank you!”
Thank you to Johanna Sadonis. I had a great time getting to know more about you and Lucifer and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the band!