‘We are always more inspired by our fantasy and ideas
more than specific other artists.’
– John Engelbert
John Engelbert and Oskar Bonde commonly known as Johnossi, brought with their 5th studio album ‘Blood Jungle’ their alternative indie rock tunes back on the world stages. Those two guys know well how to rock the stage with an incredible energy and a brilliant songwriting. We had a little chat with John and Ossi before their Berlin show, which we by the way really enjoyed.
How are you doing? How does it feel to be back in Germany and especially to be back in Berlin?
John: I feel good. We had a day off yesterday. It’s always nice here in Berlin.
Ossi: We really like it here. I mean both of us are coming here as tourists or for playing shows, it’s always nice. I think tonight’s venue is the biggest one we’ve played so far in Germany.
John: Yeah on our own, as a club!
Is there any difference between the crowds back home in Sweden and German audiences?
John: Not really. Perhaps you squeeze in more people in the clubs. It’s a bit more strict in Sweden, it’s always a bit more packed here.
Ossi: The energy tends to get more tense.
John: And we have a little bit more of a rockier crowd here than in Sweden. More guys who really like to jump around – we have more of those here in Germany. In Sweden we have more woman in the audience I think.
You just released your 5th studio album ‘Blood Jungle’ in February this year, what inspired you the most for your 5th record?
John: The whole process of making this record was like the inspiration itself. We wanted to do something different, especially when it comes to the way we recorded and produced the record. We were really inspired by our producers and the way they approached and produced this record. Apart from that, when it comes to themes that inspired us, it’s pretty much the same as always. I mean lyric-wise, it’s pretty much the same stuff I’m singing about – and I’m probably gonna do that all my life – I’m just singing about life – basically. Like the wonders about life.
In which way are you influenced and inspired by other artist?
John: I mean of course you are all the time influenced perhaps more than you know. But we tend to, like when we write our own music, when we record, we don’t listen to other music that much. Other music is never like the main inspiration when we do music. We are always more inspired by our fantasy and ideas more than specific other artists. But of course there’s a lot of music that we love.
Do you have any childhood heroes?
John: Yeah! I have a couple ones! Michael Jackson is the biggest and after that I’d say probably Nirvana.
Ossi: Well of course I have some childhood heroes, if you say heroes than I’d say I’m more into sport heroes. I had my favourite tennis player. And I guess you can include that in your creative world as well, because in the end it’s all about wanting it the most and if you’re willing to do the hard work. Stay true to yourself! For me that’s really important.
Both of you are parents. John said in another interview that you were kind of rebellious in school. How would you feel if your kids will turn out as rebels themselves?
Ossi: They won’t! (laughs) I won’t let them!
John: I think would not have a problem with that. I pretty much would encourage it. Yeah I do no, because my oldest son he’s so good in school and he’s so correct. And I say that ‘it’s fantastic that you are so good in school and that you have perfect grades and you are the smartest boy’. But you don’t have to be a slave to the system and to the school system. It’s totally okay to not put that super amount of pressure on yourself – it’s just school. He can be as much a rebel as he wants to, as long as he doesn’t hurt other people.
What means fashion to you?
Ossi: I wouldn’t say that I’m much into fashion. I don’t think about that too much. I have like ten pairs of jeans and maybe hundred t-shirts. Just Jeans and t-shirt. I mean of course I wouldn’t put on a pair of orange jeans but I’m pretty much in my little square of ideas what to wear. I like to keep it easy. Not to spend much time on thinking about what I’m going to wear.
John: I really like true artists and designer, who creates beautiful pieces of artwork that is clothing. That’s really fascinating I think. And I think as I get older I started to get more and more interested in fashion. I mean I don’t care about trends at all. I just like to buy nice clothes, I think I realized that. Like ten years ago I didn’t really care. I mean I always care what I put on body, but it’s nice with nice clothes. The only problem is that the nicest clothes are the most expensive clothes. (laughs) But clothes are fun!
What influences you in the way you dress?
John: I don’t know – just my taste. I mean at least most of the time I know what I wanna wear, like in the morning when I wake up. If I don’t feel so good, if I’m not having a great day, If I’m really hung-over or depressed or something, then it’s nice to dress up a little bit more, to create a balance. And if you have a really super successful day, then it can be nice to look a little bit more trashy than usual.
Ossi: Weather I guess (smiles). No as I said for me it’s just I like it when it’s practical. Not having too many different sets of clothes is practical. Not having too much over choice I’d say. Otherwise it sorts of fucks up my day.
A waste of time?
Ossi: Well for some people it’s absolutely no waste of time, because that’s what they like. So I’m not telling you that my way is better than others, but I definitely found my way of what sort of time I would like to spend on making decisions what I’m going to wear.
An indispensable piece of clothing for you?
John: I have a couple of those. Things that I have for a long time, that I will probably have for a long time, if I won’t loose them. When I was like 17 I bought a really nice APC coat in New York. It’s like an alligator skin pattern, but it’s made out of wool. From the distance it looks almost like a camouflage coat, but it’s actually crocodile. And it’s a big, heavy, nice thick winter coat. And I’ve been wearing that since I was 17 and it’s still a really good quality. That one I really like. And I have a jeans jacket from Fendi, which I bought like 15 years ago. That’s still super quality. Not cracks, nothing everything is really intact.
Ossi: I would say I have a leather jacket that I really love. And it’s something about leather jackets, because after a time they start to fit your body perfect if you buy them in the right size. Not too big, you have to buy them a bit too small. I own it for maybe 4 or 5 years or something, I mean that one is really… I mean when it suits you that well there’s no money in the world that can buy a jacket that fits you so well. That jacket is like a second skin I guess. You can always wear that to pretty much anything. That one I really really like and I hope for my son to wear it when he’s my size, I think it’s gonna last forever.
What was the funniest thing that happened to you on tour?
John: That’s a big question!
Ossi: Big question!(both are laughing)
Ossi: Yeah that’s a big question and it’s really hard to answer. We try to have as much fun as possible when we’re on tour and there’s a lot of shit going down. And the funniest I have no idea!
John: We have so much fun all the time, which is fantastic. So it’s hard to pick a moment. Perhaps it hasn’t so much to do with stuff that happened, it’s more like a mood thing. We usually have a party on the bus, because we travel every night. So tonight after the show we’re going to Hamburg. We usually don’t get to stay in a city, so we end up partying in our bus. And we are tem people on our bus. We all are really good friends. We just party on the bus.
Ossi: I think everybody has a really good sense of humour on the bus as well. And there are so many jokes that crack every day. There’s a lot of sick humour going on and I love to have that around me. Because humour is something that I definitely wouldn’t be able to live without. Humour is the most crucial thing I would say, it’s so important.
Ossi, you said once in an interview that John was kind of „a rapping Bart Simpson“ to you, when you met him back in the days. A couple of years later, is he still able to rap like Bart Simpson?
(laughter filled the air)
Ossi: Oh well I don’t know if he raps like Bart Simpson. He was kind of a Bart Simpsonish character when I met him. I think he was like 13 years old. And I think the first time I saw him on stage, ‘cause I played with another band on the same stage earlier, he was rapping a Beastie Boys song. That was the first time I saw him on stage, sort f a rapping Bart Simpson.
John: I used to be… I wouldn’t say a decent rapper. I used to rap, but I think I lost it now. I mean I can imitate. I know a bunch of Eminem songs that I can rap, like the whole song, but I’m not a rapper, no way (laughs).
We’d love to hear that!
John: You never will! (laughs)
To be honest we’re kinda sad about John’s last answer, but after their fantastic show it was all gone. From old tunes to new bangers, the crowd got very enthusiastic and ecstatic and it was real fun to dance and it’s for sure that ‘Man Must Dance’. Thanks to John and Ossi for a great show and a the lovely chat we had before their gig.