Amon Amarth - Interview
A few years ago, in 1992, in a small southern town called Tumba, a few guys were having a beer and a serious talk about Viking mythology and heavy metal. What was born that night was Amon Amarth, which throughout the years satisfied our sick pleasures with pure death-viking music style and an unlimited amount of consumed alcohol. After releasing an MCD and three full-length albums, one day Fredrik Adersson (drums) decided to put his beer a side and have a few words with me about the band and of course about his well-known drinking habits. Here is what he had to say…
Kick-ass job on “The Crusher”. It’s nice to hear bands that are more heavy and aggressive with each album…
Tell me why Martin Lopez left the band for Opeth and how did you end up behing the drums in Amon Amarth?
I think he wanted to focus more on the technical drum bit. He liked that kind of drumming more and I think he wasn’t that interested in playing with Amon Amarth already from the beginning. Actually I was the first drummer they wanted to have after their first drummer (Nico) left but I played with my previous band and nothing came along and they decided to take Martin at that time. I guess destiny had its plans from the beginning and finally I ended up in Amon Amarth.
I think that 2001 might be your lucky year. First, a great album and then in December we are going to see the first part of “The Lord Of The Rings” which might introduce your name (Amon Amarth - The Mountain Of Doom) to a lot of new people…
I’m not sure about that. Maybe people will recognize the name, I don’t know, but we won't have anything to do with the movie.
So, what’s new at the top of the mountain?
Well, not much. Actually we are rehearsing a lot for live show we are going to do in Europe. We play for two weeks with Vader and Marduk than we play a few festivals and some shows in the summer. We decided to wait quite a while until we start working on the new material. Maybe we’ll start doing something for a new album after the summer, we’ll see. We need a vacation from song writing.
Although you lyrics are mostly rooted in the Viking mythology, the first track is about Judas Priest law suit. I guess you couldn’t time it better cause Slayer has this same problem right now…
Really? I didn’t hear anything about it. I guess it will always be a popular issue as long as censorship and things like that will still exist.
Are you going to turn into more contemporary issues in the future?
No, that will always be our main topic. Maybe I shouldn’t say "always" but it’s Johan’s main interest, our main lyrics’ writer, and he likes to write about things that touch him or are close to him. I think he will keep on writing about Viking mythology. Amon Amarth was always about Vikings and if we change this then we would have to start a new band and call it something else.
It seems like more and more people from Scandinavia are turning away from Christianity. In your opinion how big of an influence had metal bands on it? Your lyrics are also anti-Christian.
I don’t think bands had a lot to do with it. It’s happening everywhere also outside of the metal scene. Scandinavia is not that big of a Christian place to start with although a few years ago when you were born you were automatically included into Christian community but it’s not like this anymore. I guess people started to believe in other stuff than Christ.
Why did you decide to include “Risen From The Sea” from your first demo “Thor Arise”?
Metal Blade wanted to have a bonus track on the CD and since we didn’t rehearse anything and didn’t have any other plans Olavi (guitar) brought our demo tape, and we just listened to it and without rehearsing recorded. But we thought that it actually sounded pretty cool and we decided to include it as a regular track. Since we still had to include a bonus track we decided to put a Possessed cover which we did a long time ago.
I guess even Amon Amarth can’t stop the label from recording covers? Why Possessed “Eyes Of Horror”?
Actually that was an Italian label that wanted to do a tribute to Possessed and since it was never released we decided to use it on our new album.
What’s wrong with the sound of this cover? It sounds more like a demo track…
Well, at the moment when we recorded this track at Das Boot the studio was in its beginning stage and wasn’t really finished. Plus we recorded this song in half a day and mixed in the second half so it took us only one day to do it. On top of it we had such a big hangovers that none of us really put any effort into it. I recorded the drums in half an hour and left the studio cause I wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t want to be in the studio.
Why is the “Risen From The Sea” the only track without lyrics?
Because they really SUCK!!! I think it’s one of the first lyrics that Johan ever wrote and when we were listening to it he was really embarrassed and we decided not to print it.
The last three songs seem to have a little concept going on. What’s the story behind it?
Yeah, in a way it’s a concept. When we started to work on “The Crusher” we already had a vision for the whole CD what it was going to be about. Hopefully you can feel it throughout the whole CD that it’s written in this same mood. But when we wrote the “Annihilation Of Hammerfest” we didn’t want it to end like that and we decided to add a continuation to it. So it worked this way and it just happened to be a trilogy of some sort about this guy.
Congrats on your great website. How much does the Internet help you in promotion of the band?
I’m not sure, but I think that Internet is the best way to spread the underground music right now. There is not much of a tape trading nowadays so it’s the easiest way of trading the music and of course it’s also a great place to talk to the fans. I think Internet has done a lot for metal scene over the last few years.
What’s your opinion on MP3’s? Are they good for music and bands?
Yeah, I think so. I have no problems with it. I mean I would be a liar if I said I would be grateful if I could live only from the music, only by playing it and doing what I want but I still think MP3’s are more helping than hurting bands. When the labels are saying that the sales are going down I don’t think it has anything to do with MP3s but rather CD’s prices are outrageous. I think MP3s are a perfect solution to poor people who can’t afford to buy all CDs they want and there’s anything wrong with that. Everyone should be entitled to listen to the music. I’m also sure that most of the people who like what they hear on MP3 will go to the store and buy the CD anyway.
Any US tour plans? It seems like you popularity increased tremendously over last two years over here.
No plans yet, but Metal Blade told us they will work on it.
What’s spinning in your CD player right now?
I just got Rammstein's “Mutter”. I’m still listening to Nile’s “Black Seeds…” cause it’s so awesome, Perfect Circle, Halford and many more.
Based on your profiles from your website you guy like to party and good booze. Give your fans a good drinking story…
[laughs] Oh shit. There are really a lot of them and it’s hard to come up with one right now. OK, we have our small metal pub when we always hang out and one night Olavi our guitarist succeeded in being thrown out from the club and was forbidden from ever coming in. Unfortunately our release party took place in this club and we had really big problems with getting him in. Everything is sorted out now and he’s allowed to come in but on that night it would be really weird if we couldn’t have a guitarist during our release party.
I guess drinking is a culture in Scandinavia and I don’t think in US this type entertainment is too popular…
What else do you do beside Amon Amarth, any side projects?
Well, yes I have something but it’s not a project. I just help my old friend which have a band called The Dead. They are going to record a mini CD after our European tour and I will do the drumming on it. It’s not a regular band or anything like that I’m just helping them out. Apart from that none of us have any projects at all. We are too involved with Amon Amarth to have time for any other band.
And now I have one of your favorite questions, “Do you play in Marduk?”
[We laugh] No
I know, it’s a joke but do really people ask you this question?
Yeah, all the time. It’s really popular name in Sweden and I know at least two other death metal drummers with this same name as mine.
Well, now you guys go on this same tour with Marduk so maybe two of you can finally sort it out?
I guess there will be one Fredrik Adersson too much on that tour [laughs]
Thanks for the interview and as always at the end “Would like to add anything?”
Yeah, sure! Check out “The Crusher”! I hope everyone who will listen to it will like it and eventually buy our CD. And hopefully we will be able to do a tour with this album in US. We would love to do this. We’ve had 3 or 4 offers before but unfortunately the tours were always canceled and we are really eager to go over and do some shows.
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