Avatar frontman Johannes won't take credit for his music saving lives

Johannes Eckerstrom
Johannes Eckerstrom

Avatar frontman Johannes Eckerstrom says he’s happy the band’s music can have a positive impact on people’s lives – but he won’t take the credit for it.

Revealing that he’s been told by some fans that Avatar’s music saved their lives, Eckerstrom says that the real heroes are the people who have turned their lives around – and not the musicians who provide the soundtrack to their recovery.

Eckerstrom tells Metal Hammer: “I’ve received letters from people saying, ‘Your music saved my life.’ If you’ve been through something where staying alive became hard, then you are the survivor – you’re the one who fought and lived to tell.

“I provided the soundtrack, but I don’t want the credit. Maybe it’s better to say that music provides people with catharsis – that it triggers a response that they interpret in their own way.”

Avatar’s sixth album Feathers & Flesh was released earlier this year and Eckerstrom says that while it has a strong pacifist message, he’s wary of forcing his views on the listener.

Feathers & Flesh is open to interpretation,” he says. “But at the same time I recognise there’s a strong anti-war theme.

“I’m inclined to see things from a pacifist’s point of view. It’s not what I was looking to say specifically, but it’s there because of who I am.

“It can be attractive when powerful messages are cloaked in entertainment. Music is a powerful tool, but it can also be deceiving.

“It can move people, but if we want to bang our drum and say that the music we make can do so much good, then maybe music can do all the bad things that we want to deny – people wanting to blame Marilyn Manson for school shootings, for example, which I think we can agree is fucking daft.”

Avatar played at Download festival this month and have a number of summer dates still to come.

Read the full interview with Avatar in issue 285 of Metal Hammer magazine, out now in print and also available via TeamRock+. Sign up for TeamRock+ here.

Avatar remaining 2016 tour dates

Jul 08: Norway Rock Festival, Norway
Aug 13: Alcatraz Music Festival, Belgium
Aug 24: Post Falls Greyhound Park & Event Center, ID
Aug 25: Missoula Big Sky Brewery, MT
Aug 26: Nampa Idaho Center, ID
Sep 12: Bonner Springs Providence Medical Center, KS (with A7X)
Sep 14: Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena, MI (with A7X)
Sep 15: Toledo Huntington Center, OH (with A7X)
Sep 20: Fort Wayne Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, IN (with A7X)
Sep 21: Nashville Bridgestone Arena, TN (with A7X)

Avatar: Feathers & Flesh inspired by fear of death

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.