AMON AMARTH Interview with Frederik Andersson
XM: Hey, nice to be talking with you. So how are you today?
Frederik: Pretty good. It’s a fine day.
XM: Now first off, Amon Amarth are going to be playing Tuska Open Air in Finland in four days. Are you excited?
Frederik:Yeah. Not only to play at Tuska, but the fact that we've been off for nearly two months now. We're excited to get back on stage again and play some metal.
XM: Second, can you tell us what the writing process was like for your latest record Surtur Rising?
Frederik: We approached it the same way we usually do. We all meet up at the rehearsal place and gather ideas, put it all together piece by piece. It’s a slow process, but it works for us in the end usually. We just bring it all together, and work on it until we have a couple of finished songs that we're satisfied with. It’s really no revolutionary or anything like that; we just play together and try to make the best out of what we have.
XM: Now, you've worked with producer Jens Bogren on your previous albums, but this was the first time you recorded in his new studio, right? Tell us a little about that.
Frederik: No, no. It’s just the fact that he sold his old studio and built a new studio in his home. The last three albums have been recorded in his studio, but this was the first album recorded in his new studio.
XM: Ah, okay. So, did you find it easier?
Frederik: Since we were familiar with him since three albums it was very comfortable to work with someone who has been like a sixth member the past year. He's been in the loop when we started writing the songs; he's been listening to demos and showing up at the rehearsals and stuff like that. In that sense, it’s been very easy to work
with him again. But, on the other hand, it’s also nice to work with someone new. It puts you a little bit on edge; it makes you feel like you have to perform a certain way. If you get too comfortable it takes that edge off a little bit, so it can be both positive and negative I guess.
XM: Do you have a personal favorite track from the new album?
Frederik: I very much liked the second song. The second part of Loke's Treachery, I think that for us its a very different song that we've written. We've never done acoustic guitars in a song before. It feels new and fresh to me. I think the song has a great groove, and, it’s a nice song.
XM: And, you've also put out three bonus cover tracks with this one.(Balls to the Wall by Accept, War Machine by Kiss and Aerials by System of a Down) How did you decide on the tracks? I was surprised to see a System of a Down cover myself, but it’s actually quite good.
Frederik: Oh, thanks. I mean, our record label wanted to have some bonus material, some bonus songs. And, since we don’t really do that, we figured we could record some cover songs as bonus and they were cool with that. The first idea, when we were kind of talking about this, we were saying we should do God of Thunder by Kiss. Just because, it would fit the band pretty well. But, then when we started listening to that song we realized it wasn’t the right song. So, we picked War Machine instead and thought we could do something more interesting with that. The Accept song is pretty obvious, Accept is a band that we've all listened to when we were younger and still listen to. That song is such a classic; I think Johan already knew most of the riffs from the song so it was pretty easy to get into that. The third song, we couldn’t really decide what to do. We were thinking of Rammstein for a while, they've been influential to the band so. We couldn’t really pick a song, but half way through the recording of the new album we went to do a one-off show in Japan. One night we ended up in a karaoke bar and we were, obviously a little bit drunk... We were singing along to the song in the karaoke and it was one of those karaoke boosts. So, when we came home we were just like "Hey, let’s do that song. It'll be fun." Especially since we know we've been criticized for being predictable, we figured that this would be the last thing people would expect us to do. Or, it would be challenging for us as musicians, so we decided to give it a try and I think it turned out okay.
XM: Now, can you tell us a little about the Norse character Surtur?
Frederik: Yeah, sure. I’m not an expert on the subject to be honest, I kind of only know so much. But, he's a fire giant. From the fire world in Norse mythology. The thing about him is he apparently was there when the world was created, but he's also a part of when the world ends. So, he kind of completes the circle or something like that. He's... I don’t know. He's a fiery, giant man...
XM: And on the upcoming tour An Evening with Amon Amarth, now you plan to play two sets on this tour. One of which will cover all of Surtur Rising and another of a collection of older material like on your last part of the tour. How did the decision come about to do a double set like this?
Frederik: Well, we first did it on the first part of the North American part of the tour we did earlier this year which only covered the states. The reason for that is that the tour got squeezed in between two previously booked tours so we had limited time. Also, it was booked in a very short time so we weren't able to find any support acts. This inspired us to do it on our own, and we thought that would be something interesting, something new to do and we tried it. It turned out to be so appreciated by the people who came to the shows and it was such a good tour we decided to do it now again as well. We want to make sure that for everyone who can't get enough Amon Amarth, they get a chance to see a lot a lot...
XM: So how long can people expect their evening with Amon Amarth to last? How long will you guys play each night in total?
Frederik: I think it’s going to be roughly two hours and fifteen minutes or something like that. Almost two and a half hours. There's going to be a little break in between the sets, a breather of like fifteen or twenty minutes.
XM: Now, of course you'll play fan favorites and all that but is there any song in particular that you really like to play live?
Frederik: Well, it’s very fun to play all the new songs obviously. We're not that comfortable playing them, we haven't played them that much yet. So, I think the new songs are fun to play and its challenging also when it’s not backbone material yet. You're kind of on edge when you're playing them a bit. Then with the old songs, all songs have their special something that makes them special when we play them. When it comes to that, it’s always nice to pick up a song we haven't played for a long while or something like that. Like, brush off an old dusty something that you have lying around. It’s always fun and it brings up such good memories from earlier days and stuff like that. We actually haven't decided the second set yet, so we don’t know what we're going to play. It’s a little bit of something fast and something heavy and more epic that usually does the trick.
XM: Alright, now this is a tricky question. If you could have been involved in the writing, recording, or production of any album ever which one would it be and why?
Frederik: That is a tricky question... I've never really thought about it, so it’s hard to come up with an answer just like that. I guess it would be... The easiest for me would be to say that I wish I could have been on the first Amon Amarth album, 'case I didn’t record that one. I think those songs are so much fun to play when we do play them live. I would say that, that album. Actually, I have recorded it now, but the live version. But, yeah. It’s easier for me to pick that album right now.
XM: Okay, last question. After this tour, you're touring Europe in the fall. Is there any dates you're particularly excited about? There are a few dates with places you've never played.
Frederik: Yeah. That’s always fun. It’s always cool to go to somewhere you've never been before. That’s definitely something we're looking forward to. As long as people are showing up at the venue and everybody's having a good time, then once you’re on stage, you don’t really think about where you are. It’s more about the atmosphere there and then. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, but its everything around. If you're able to walk around in the city and check out new stuff that’salways interesting. But then, in let’s see.. September, October, going down to Spain will be really nice. The weather will be nice, like fifteen or twenty degrees.
XM: Thanks so much for your time. I know there's a lot of people really excited to see you guys on your upcoming tours. Final words yours...
Frederik: Oh, well. Thanks for your interview!
XM: Cool. Have a good day, take care.
Frederik: You too.