Interview with Sindre Wathne Johnsen (Guitar Vocals) with Deception and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
SWJ: Hi! My name is Sindre Wathne Johnsen and I am a guitarist, vocalist and composer. Typically I write death metal with a symphonic element to it as I am pretty inspired by movie soundtracks. I play in the norwegian death metal band Deception and that’s where I get to infuse the symphonic elements into the harder styles.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SWJ: My musical journey started at age 10 when I started playing the guitar. Rock and metal was the passion and during my teenage years I got more and more into it. I also went to music school to educate myself in the theory of things. After I finished I went on to gradually enjoy more diverse music. I had always liked some instrumental guitar work and traditional oriental music, but it wasn’t until my late teens I really sparked a joy for soundtracks and also jazz, hip hop and pop.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SWJ: My musical influences are drawn from different bands including Wintersun, Septicflesh and Blood Red Throne. The first two I mentioned are symphony heavy so that’s where the influence to start composing myself came to life. Christos Antoniou and Jari Mäenpää are probably my biggest influences in composing. As for guitarists I really appreciate Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Teemu Mäntysaari, Wes Hauch and Steve Vai. I don’t often get asked about my non musical influences, but I really appreciate good art in general. Be it the old greats like Michelangelo or Caravaggio, or the more modern greats like Beksinski. I was lucky enough in my upbringing to be brought to great museums in the different big european cities to see some of the most recognised artworks in history. I guess that still inspires me to this day.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SWJ: It must be to be able to do music with Deception for a living and also to be viewed as an artist in general. I really enjoy to create, even if it’s painting, drawing, composing or making videos. Anything really. To be able to create for a living with my best buddies would be the absolute goal.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SWJ: We write everything ourselves. I am mostly responsible for the writing for the moment, but everyone in the group are involved in some way or another. When it comes to lyrical themes we like to create concepts for each individual album. Within the stories there are a lot of different themes and problems with society, norms and the human mind that are brought up. We don’t like to just tell it like it is and that’s why we wrap the themes into stories that can be enjoyed without even knowing what the story is portraying.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SWJ: We try to do interviews as much as we can and also spread news through social media. Our music also gets promoted by doing live shows, which there have been a lack of the last year and a half. Especially on the international side of things. Each individual in the band is also active on their own social media with doing videos and posting pictures.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SWJ: Well, it’s pretty hard to avoid nowadays, but sites like Bandcamp are the absolute bomb for downloading music if you want lossless content. Streaming services are unavoidable at this point, but it’s a great way to get your music across.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SWJ: Financially I wish I had written something from the Black Album by Metallica, haha. It’s a great album nonetheless. Artistically I wish I had written either Sons of Winter and Stars by Wintersun or Martyr by Septicflesh. Both are utter masterpieces on different levels. Great dynamics and excellent harmonic content.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SWJ: Musically I don’t really have much pet peeves anymore. Only thing I can think of is people being assholes about other peoples creation. It takes a lot to produce something, but not a lot to critique it. Everything can be enjoyed if you’re open to it.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SWJ: My proudest moment in music thus far is producing and recording ‘The Mire’ with Deception. It took a long time, but it turned out great! It’s the only album I can say I am 100% happy with. Our next album sounds promising as well, haha.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SWJ: We are trying to do some shows here and there as the world opens up, but for now we only have a few norwegian dates in store. We also are busy writing new material for Deception. We are aiming to hit the studio in January.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
SWJ: For Deception we have both a Bandcamp and a Bigcartel for physical copies. I would recommend you trying out ‘The Mire’.