therion interviewHello Christofer it’s good to hear you. Where are you at the moment?


In less than two weeks Therion will visit Bulgaria again. What are your expectations and what should the fans expect from the show? Any surprises?

Well it’s a festival so we will try to do the best of us! That’s what bands usually do on festivals. I know what I want from festivals! I want a cold beer in my and the band that I like to play their classics. If I want something special I will go to see a special headline or a club show. Kavarna looks like a nice place for a festival and I have never been to the Black sea region but I have seen pictures and it looks really nice so it will be very nice party! Unfortunately we are not going to party a lot because we have an acoustic show on the next day in Romania and we will leave early.

From the last time you were here I remember that it was a sold-out show. What are your memories from then?

It was extremely warm! One of the warmest shows in whole Europe! It was some sort of sports hall and I don’t think it had the ventilation to handle a concert and the amount of people. It was really hot, that is the first thing that comes to my mind! The audience was really crazy and I remember that the food was really great as well

Its 20 years since your breakthrough album Theli. I know that you were thinking that this album will net be accepted really well.. But the tables turn and it shaped what Therion is right now! How do you look back on this period now?

This is an example for how you should put your actions where your mouth is I have always wanted to realize the music visions I have! At that time I was thinking to lay down the band if I was couldn’t do what I wanted. So I told the label that I don’t want to do another guitar based album. I want to do a record with operatic singers and more keyboards. So the budget in the contact was not even near the amount that we would need to do such an album. Fortunately they said Do the record we will pay the costs! If they haven’t done that I would rather to stop the band and form another one! Actually this is the reason why I have this project band now called Luciferian Light Orchestra because it was my plan B was to do 70’s type of band. The 70’s Rock was always a big influence to me! We actually already had some songs for the 70’s project back then but when the record label gave us the money we left that aside but actually I continued to write songs in that style. The origin of this project was actually when “Theli” came out. And the idea was this band to be called Theli. But since I disbanded this band I took the name for the album.

Your last album contains only covers and the band founded the release. Why the label did not support this release?

Well, first a German record label and a French cover album don’t go really well together. Imagine RAMMSTEIN when they started and made a demo and if they had send it to a French record label. They always had some cultural differences. Second France has always have been different in good or bad! For example if you want to do a Therion cover, you do it and I get the money from the record label. It is that simple, you don’t need any permission But if you want to cover a French song, you need a written permission form everybody involved in the song. And this is the French Law! Imagine if you have a cover album of 10-12 songs. That’s a lot of people to find and contact. Some o the songs aren’t even written by a single person. We are talking for over 50 people that you need to track down. And some of the covers are really old – from the 60’s – 70’s, so the composers might be 80 years and something and not speak English at all. Just imagine the fucking nightmare to get a written permission to do a cover from them! The record label said “Sorry we are not going this way. If you want to do it fine, but you will have to take care of all this stuff” So I thought about it and in the USA the rules are really liberal. If a son has been recorded and released once then everyone can make a cover of it. That is the American law! So that was the solution! To release the album in the US and then import it in Europe and put it in distribution. But Nuclear Blast said: “Sorry this is too complicated for us. We want to do things in the regular way. So if you have all the permissions OK otherwise No!” And I understand them! They had already have paid the money for the recordings. So I paid them back the money and released it by myself!


The band continues to evolve and you are always surprising the fans (In a good way) you had 2 video epics released but are there plans for new studio record or anything else and what happened with the Rock Opera you started?

Well that’s what we are working on and the composition work is pretty much done. I’m working on the last 2 scenes and I expect them to be ready next week. That means that all the composition work will be ready before the summer. Then we will do a short vacation for the summer and we will start recording it in September. But when I say rock opera people get me completely wrong. They are thinking for Avantasia and a story that goes along with the lyrics! This will be something like Jesus Christ Superstar – The Therion version. It’s something that would be staged and there will be characters and scenery. It won’t be just story in the lyrics; it will be a music theatre on stage.

When are you planning to complete this?

Well it will take us a while to record it. We have 3 and half hours of music which is almost 4 albums of material. As I said in September we start recording drums and we will try to speed things up but also we like to take our time in studio. In normal conditions it would take us several years to record it but my aim is everything to be recorded by Christmas and to mix in the beginning of next year but will see

As I said you always try to do something more and more interesting but nowadays we see bands that actually return to their roots.. Or even looking for 60s 70’s sound. What do you think about that and is it possible to hear a Death metal project from Therion.

Well in “Sitra Ahra” we did one song with Death/Black influences. Inever said that we will never do any death metal again but the way I feel about Death metal is basically everything that has been done it is done. Not boring but rally uninspirational. To me it’s like punk music, how can you make something interesting when everything is done already. I’m sure there are a lot of death metal bands that continue to release good records. But nothing is really revolutionary! But if I write some cool death metal riff I don’t mind to make it a song. It won’t happen anytime soon but you never know. In “Lemuria” we had Typhon with death metal vocals and in “Sitra Ahra” Din was with Black Death metal influences so you should never say never!


You are the only founding member of Therion. Is there anything you would like to change in the 28 year history of the band?

Well you always do mistakes but that is the part of learning. We did plenty of them, business mistakes and mistakes like touring. For example the US tour was big mistake –Shitload of money for bad time. The first tour was good- you know to see the country and meet the fans but the second was complete waste of time! I don’t rally believe in looking back and being bitter about it. You try things, you make mistakes and you learn from them so you don’t repeat them. And of course there are mistakes with some band members for bringing them in the band. I believe that everything you do contributes with something in one way or another

What things inspire you nowadays? And what music do you listen to?

When you reach certain age it seems that you got stuck in what you like. I personally like those new bands that sound retro like Purson and Hexvessel. So I like the music I grew up with basically – 70’s 80’s hard rock and heavy metal. There are some bands I like and some records, but most of the stuff li like are retro sounding things or classic bands like JUDAS PRIEST that continue to play their style. I never liked their classic albums but when they were reunited with Rob Halford I started to like them again. So when you are 30 you pretty much nailed what you will like for the rest of your life. Maybe it is different for other people but that’s how I feel. I don’t mind finding new music actually. For ecample RAMMSTEIN is one of the things from the 90’s that I like!

Almost everyone that I interview complains about the music business nowadays. And I guess for over 20 years you have experience most of it. How hard is to make money from music nowadays? And why is that difficult compared to the old days?

Well everything is changing and you cannot really do much about it! You know record industries try to prevent the streaming and stuff. Take Spotiy for instance, it is ridiculous you have to stream 20 years from someone to pay the amount of the CD! If you are a carpenter and you do furniture and you have to buy the wood and materials and invest time to make a really good dining table! Then someone tell you I will buy your table but I will pay you for 20 years. I will be giving you some cents every day. The current business module is not really good for starting bands but it is different if you are an established band. Because if someone streams one of my old records it’s not a big deal because I have been paid for them back then. So I think that even the times are worst it’s not that bad for old generation of bands. If you are starting right now you can forget the perspectives that you will be living from music. And if you can imagine the record deals look like now. I helped a neighbor of mine to look on a record contract that he was offered with his band and almost thought that it was a joke. To be honest the only thing missing in the contract was “We can fuck your girlfriend once a week!” Total rip-off deal. Then I realized that I this is like how all contracts look today. I grew up in the golden age of the industry because then the CD was new it was cheap to produce versus the Vinyl which is more expensive and it was big, heavy and bulky. So there were new record labels that popped out because you don’t need big investment to start a new label. To get in to the game they would offer you a great deal. Nuclear Blast was one of them, they had very fair deal. So I was really fortunate to start in that specific time. If you look how record contracts looked like in the 60’s and 70’s, these were totally shit as well. BLACK SABBATH, ABBA or whoever from that era got only a fracture of the sold albums. For example Therion are getting 3 times more money from a CD in the 90’s then ABBA on a sold record in the 70’s


Would you please leave a message for everyone that is going to read this interview and attend Kavarna Rock Fest?

See you there and I hope we will have a cold beer afterwards. We wont party a lot because we hace and acoustic show on the next day, but we will hang around for beer or 2. We don’t mind going in the audience and speaking with people!

Thank your for your time to do this interview! See you in Kavarna!

For sure take care!

Author: Nikola Petras