EMP Spain conducted an interview with vocalist Johan Längquist and guitarist Mats "Mappe" Björkman of Swedish doom metal legends CANDLEMASS at this year's Leyendas Del Rock festival in Villena, Spain. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On CANDLEMASS being an "innovative" doom metal band:
Mats: "I think it still comes from our first album. Everything comes from [the band's classic 1986 debut] 'Epicus [Doomicus Metallicus]'. That's where it started. We were quite unique at that time. Every album after that, even if it's not pure doom metal, people who play doom metal today is very slow. We call ourselves more like a metal band, not traditional metal, but the combination of doom metal with the heavy riffs. We're a metal band. I think even if we do a metal album, the old fans still have so much respect for CANDLEMASS in one way. You see the black metal bands from Norway. When we're playing there, we'd play with the guys in MAYHEM a couple of days ago, but he was, like, 'CANDLEMASS!' He played with MAYHEM for many, many years. To compare the music we've done to MAYHEM, it's a big difference, but they still have so much respect for us. The respect has always been there for 32 years. Now with Johan back, there's more respect than ever."
On Längquist's return to CANDLEMASS after originally appearing on "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" strictly as a studio vocalist:
Johan: "I feel great. We're having a good time and we've been out playing now for almost a year."
Mats: "I said it yesterday, I think it was exactly the day now about when I called Johan up and said, 'Do you want to come back to CANDLEMASS?'"
Johan: "The timing was perfect."
Mats: "The timing was perfect."
Johan: "It all happened very fast. He called me up one day, then asked me if I was interested in joining the band again, and I said, 'Yeah! Definitely. I am.' We've known each other for so many years and I've done a couple of gigs with CANDLEMASS throughout the years when I wasn't a full member, so we've done a couple of these together."
Mats: "He's been a special guest on occasions when we did the 'Epicus' 20th-anniversary shows and stuff, and we always had Johan in the band for some shows, even when Robert [Lowe] was in the band, he played in Athens in Greece — he came and did some 'Epicus' songs. He's always been in the family all these years. I had a plan to do something with Johan for many years, but this was the right time to take him back to CANDLEMASS. I didn't know how he would answer. I was in a meeting with Leif Edling [bass]. I was sitting in a pub in Sweden and said, 'I'll call him right now.' My feeling here [holds gut] was, 'He's going to say yes.'"
Johan: "I knew the songs when he called me up. I said, 'Yeah, I'm very interested. But I need to hear what it's all about before I say yes permanently.' Then we went to the studio the day after and I could hear the songs for the first time, and I [went], 'Wow, these are good songs. Can we start to record immediately?' So, we did. The very next day."
On the recording process for the band's new studio album, "The Door To Doom":
Mats: "The album was recorded with [previous vocalist] Mats [Levén]. It was finished. It was supposed to be released in November, so we had to record since everything was finished. We had to re-record all the vocals. Everything was finished. That was not a problem, but it was, like, 'We should go for it now. I don't care. We have to re-record everything. Johan is here. Re-record everything.' Of course, Mats wasn't happy at that time. I can understand. He had done a great job in CANDLEMASS. I have nothing to say bad about him. He did a great job. If he thinks now, a year after, or maybe next year, he's not going to be that pissed about the situation because he knows this is the ground of CANDLEMASS. He will understand. But it happened in one way at a very good time, but one way at a very bad time because the album was finished. If we started with Johan and recorded the album from the very beginning, it would have been easier for us and no hard feelings. It was like putting someone down: 'You're out of the band. Johan is back.'"
"The Door To Doom" was released in February via Napalm Records. The disc includes the song "Astorolus - The Great Octopus", which features a guest guitar solo by none other than BLACK SABBATH's Tony Iommi.