By Derelikt Waugh

If you're even slightly interested in new Swedish death metal with that coveted "old school sound", Rogga Johansson  probably needs no introduction. Let's pretend you've never heard of him though, OK? This man is a death metal juggernaut. He has contributed to and fronted a massive amount of projects throughout the years, virtually all of them of a superior quality. More impressive than the quality and quantity of his music though, is the fact that he's still creating death metal that's relevant and FUN. He's in a boatload of killer bands (Paganizer, Ribspreader, Revolting, Humanity Delete, etc.), but rarely does his musical output sound derivative and untrue, nor boring and uninspired. He has consistently created an insanely catchy (but always punishing) brand of death metal that constantly reminds the listener of why the fuck we fell in love with this hectic, unholy, rotten music to begin with. does this maestro of monstrosities do what he does? What makes this maniac twitch? More importantly, what's his favorite brand of beer? If you're dying to know the answers, dear Wormwood fiends, I'd advise you to read on...    

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hey! Firstly it's a great honor for me to have this chance to talk with a living death metal hero of mine (and I'm sure to many of our readers as well). How are you doing and what have you been working on recently?
ROGGA JOHANSSON: Thanx man! You're too kind really, I don't think I'm anything close to a legend, just because I've released quite a bunch of albums. But I'm very happy many people seem to like the stuff I do. And to answer your question, I'm doing OK enough. It's xmas times here in Sweden and that means a lot of food and a lof of drinking, and both are hobbies of mine so I'm not gonna complain at all,  haha. And what have I been working on lately...? I wrote and finished the Humanity Delete album recently, and it's already out too. I'm working on some more melodic midpaced solo stuff as well as on an album together with the mighty and indeed legendary Paul Speckmann of Master and many more awesome bands.

WC: Since you're currently operating in countless metal bands and projects, how do you find the time, energy and inspiration to constantly come up with new stuff?

RJ: Well, to be honest , most are just projects, I'm currently only playing live and doing smaller tours with Paganizer, which is and has always been my main band. And I like, or rather love to, sit down and write some music and have some beers. And usually I write a song when I do that, and not just some riffs. Maybe that's what makes me different from other people, and also the fact that i usually make a song out of the stuff I write while others might throw the stuff away and only keep the stuff that's really good ,haha. I don't know really, it's just what I do and what I love, and I'm happy as long as I get to do it. It's a huge compliment when people also wanna listen to it, and labels wanna release it.

WC: Could you give us a list of some of your all time favorite musicians (death metal and otherwise)? Also, who would you consider to be the greatest influence on your own playing?

RJ: Actually that's a hard question, at least if you want to know what guitarist or drummer I admire as I really never think of music like that. I think of the whole band, and the whole sound and what songs they have. But I've always loved Iron Maiden, since I was a kid. Not that it has influenced me in any larger way ,though. I guess you could say that Dan Swanö is a big influence though, as he is such an awesome musician and songwriter. Also both Kam Lee and Rick Rozz impressed the hell out of me when it comes to growling and guitarplaying.

WC: Do you consider lyrical content to be important when it comes to death metal, or does that take a back seat to the music itself?

RJ: The lyrics are important, I think. Not that they need to be very deep or so, but I think they should fit the music and also have something to say. I've never been into gory lyrics so I've more written lyrics critical to organized religion and about all other shit that goes on in the world. Also there's the fun way to go about it, and just write about all the fun horror movies and stories that you love, or try to make your own stories that way. So yeah, I think the lyrics are important enough, even if its in let's say a grindcore band where there's some morbid humorous stuff. Bad lyrics can for sure fuck up a good song, at least to the extent that you wish you hadn't checked out the damn lyric and just been left unknowing , haha.

WC: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what are the biggest contributors to your own lyrical approach?

RJ: I'm not booksmart in any way, I grew up with Stephen King and Dean R Koontz as a kid and started to love to read horror that way. I also very early came across Swedish versions of Lovecraft and when I got into my later teens,  I started to read Lovecraft in English as it should be done, and since then he's been my all time fave. I re-read his stuff all the time and read stuff by all his friends from that time like August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith and others. I also hunt down and buy modern day writers that are inspired by the Lovecraftian mythos, and even though it's never close to the master himself , it's still often quite good stuff that expands that world I love so much.

WC: Out of your many bands and projects, does any one seem more important to you than the rest? Furthermore, what album that you've contributed to in any way (even as a guest appearance) makes you the most proud?

RJ: Paganizer came out of my first death metal band Terminal Grip, so it's basically been going since ´94. It's the band I play live with and the band I'll always make albums with, so I think it's the most important to me in that way. Then it's not the band I've done the best stuff with by far, but that's ok for me really. I think the first The Grotesquery or the third and last Demiurg album might be what I'm most proud of. And also to have been doing vocals for both Edge Of Sanity and Nasum, that's something I'm very very proud of.

WC: This is kind of unusual question for a death metal musician, but what are some of the things that make you happy?

RJ: My dog Vader makes me very very happy. Mostly, haha! Perhaps not when he's needing to go out to take a piss in the middle of the night. Me and Lisa will also become parents in a couple of months, and the thought of that makes me happy too, even if it scares me too as I' m sure I wont have as much time for beer and music then haha.

WC: Since I'm sure that horror movies are a major influence for you, what are some of your all time favorites? What do you think about this recent rash of horror re-makes? Finally, do any newer horror films stand out for you, or are you strictly an old school horror buff?

RJ: I grew up with the Friday the 13th and Elmstreet and Halloween movies, and stuff like "The Fog" and "The Thing". so thats the stuff I still today love. A bit later as a teen I came into the whole Fulci world too, and I love that stuff today also. As for newer stuff, I try to check out as much new stuff as possible but it often disappoints, but there's good stuff of course too , like the "28 Days Later" movie for instance. And as for remakes, I' m generally no fan but I liked the new "The Thing" movie, and I loved that it turned out to not be a remake but a prequeal. That made me happy and made me like it even more,  haha.

WC: What's your favorite brand of beer? Are you a "beer kind of dude" only, or do you indulge in hard alcohol as well? What's the drunkest occasion that you can recall? Do you ever get drunk before a gig?

RJ: I'm a beer guy indeed haha! I like lager, and have also in the last years been into pale ales as well, but I don' t particularly like dark beer and I don't like stout at all. As for favorites, I very much like Mariestad, both their regular lager and the Old Ox version. There's so much beer its impossible really to have just a few favourites, but generally I like lager beer with at least 6% as it makes the taste fuller, if you ask me.

WC: Well, Rogga, it's certainly been a pleasure to conduct this interview with you. I sincerely hope that it wasn't too much of a chore for ya. Any last words for your friends out there in Wormwood land?

RJ: Thanx for the interview, no chore at all haha! I really liked the questions, so thanx very much. As for last words, if you like death metal the simpler way ,you would be well advised to at least try one of my releases haha. Chances are that you maybe will like it!



BONE GNAWER                










THE 11TH HOUR