Avatar took the stage in Fort Wayne at a steal for 98.9 The Bear’s 98 cent concert series.

Johannes Eckerström from Avatar spoke with NRR before their show in Fort Wayne, IN. He talked about his passion for performing, Avatar’s rebirth beginning with Black Waltz, and his desire to create visual art with the band’s performance.

NRR: You spoke with another one of our writers recently and said something that resonated with me.  When speaking about All Hail The Apocalypse being your first album to break into the Billboard Top 100 in the United States, you said that you measure success in doing what you love and how you perform in a live show.  Was that always your goal?
Eckerström: I still don’t know if it’s a specific goal. I don’t know if I have a specific goal with anything we are doing at the moment.  It’s more a question of “all these things” and “all these things” need to go really well to create the sense of achievement.  We have to look at this as an artist, and performer and an entertainer, and maybe also part as a businessman and all that.  So there are all these ways to measure the success… Way back when what started it all for me was the excitement when you fell in love with the music.
NRR: Beginning with Black Waltz we seemed to see a rebirth of Avatar.  I have heard you say it was your opportunity to create for yourselves and not just what someone else wanted to hear.
Eckerström: What happened with the third album right prior to Black Waltz , it was tainted by this whole “I hope somebody likes this. I hope they, whoever they are, like it.”  It wasn’t the only thing that went on with the album of course.  It wasn’t like we were trying to be the Backstreet Boys prior to Black Waltz either obviously.  But we were able to peel away some of the bullshit that had started to build through the years unconsciously because it happens a tiny step at a time….And all that got removed with Black Waltz.  A clean slate.  And it helped us focus on what we wanted to achieve.
NRR: That’s when you adopted the whole makeup and image thing, because of the videos.  Has that changed how you perform on stage?
Eckerström: What it did is like it became more expressive and we as a group got to express more things and in a more powerful way.  For me it started to feel more real. The funny thing is that I put paint on and it feels like I take something off.  It undresses me….Now suddenly I am way more exposed.  That means it takes more out of me and it certainly affects the show.
NRR: That’s kinda that whole thing of not doing it for consumption purposes. You know, you’re not so worried about who is consuming it as to what you are doing on stage.
Eckerström: No exactly, that is when it becomes a fulfilling moment for me.  It transcends into something that feels bigger and stronger and usually whats so convenient with it, and the fact that we set out to create those moments, is also what has been helping us commercially.  Us being ourselves and trying kick as hard ass as possible  has apparently been the best business decision we have made . That is very liberating.
NRR: Your videos are a departure because they have a storyline.  Is that a passion for you?
Eckerström: The thing is that we look at Avatar as art, not just the songs and we feel like the music video, sometimes I want to be slightly more pompous and call it short films, but let’s say music video, we treat them with just as much artistic integrity as we treat our songs. They are just as important.  Do something awesome or get out of here.  We do take it extremely seriously because it is part of the whole conceptual art project that we call Avatar.
NRR: What is the future for Avatar?
Eckerström: Long term we are writing the next album.  Short term a European tour is coming up and next year festival season is already looking promising.  Before that? We’ll see what we’ll be able to build.

Anyone who passed up the opportunity to see Avatar at under a dollar absolutely missed a show full of passion and amazing music. This hard working band took the stage and played its heart out. With the music, the theatrics, and the head thrashing, these boys had to be tired after their set. They marched, stomped, and jumped their way across the million dollar stage at Piere’s Entertainment Center.

The crowd seemed to enjoy the show. The fans were pushed right up to the stage horns in the air, pumping fists, and singing every lyric. There were also many Avatar shirts from the Louder Than Life festival earlier in the month in Louisville. It seems that Avatar is creating quite a following. They put on a great show that incorporates awesome stage persona and great music.

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