DATE OF INTERVIEW:
13th November 2013
METAL DISCOVERY: I’ve seen some footage of your latest stage show where you have half a Viking ship attached to your drum riser. Obviously it’s great for an audience to look at, but do those kind of props and epic looking stage sets enhance your actual performance from your point of view, and add to your feeling for the show? Or is it just in your way because you can’t see so much?!
FREDRIK: [laughs] Well, for me, personally, yeah! We have three different ships; we have two here in Europe and one in the States. The one in the States is absolutely massive. The people who built that had no intention of… they didn’t think about there being a drummer sitting behind it when they built it! Of course, it’s not that great when you end up behind it but, I mean, it looks impressive, so you have to compromise a little bit on that. But I think, in general, when you bring in big stage props, it feels like an Iron Maiden show and you kind of get a different vibe, of course. We didn’t bring the ship on this run, however.
(Fredrik Andersson on Amon Amarth's Viking ship stage set)
"We have three different ships; we have two here in Europe and one in the States. The one in the States is absolutely massive. The people who built that had no intention of… they didn’t think about there being a drummer sitting behind it when they built it!"
Fredrik Andersson in the Academy, Manchester, UK, 13th November 2013
Photograph copyright © 2013 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Amon Amarth Facebook:
Official Amon Amarth Website:
AMON AMARTH DISCOGRAPHY
Once Sent from the Golden Hall (1998)
The Avenger (1999)
Thanks to Kirsten Sprinks for arranging the interview.
Fate of Norns (2004)
With Oden on Our Side (2006)
The Crusher (2001)
Versus the World (2002)
Twilight of the Thunder God (2008
Sutur Rising (2011)
Deceiver of the Gods (2013)
MD: Oh, okay, that’s a shame. Not even a small one?!
MD: Once you’ve gone big, you can’t go small again!
MD: I interviewed Ted a couple of years ago and he said that you’re always aiming for bigger and more theatrical stage shows, and the bigger the better. Do you have any plans for anything more theatrical in the near future? He was talking about maybe getting Viking fighters on stage with you.
FREDRIK: Yeah, we’ve done that, mainly at festivals in mainland Europe. And yeah, we’ve tried to bring in new stuff all the time and do cool live shows. That’s what we wanted to see when we went to shows… many years ago… [laughs]… and still do, so we think that’s something that belongs in the metal scene.
MD: It seems to have disappeared a lot from the metal scene compared to how it used to be.
FREDRIK: Yeah, I guess there are few bands that have a reason to do it. I mean, it can’t just be there, it has to work with the music.
MD: Not just for the sake of.
FREDRIK: Yeah, exactly.
MD: As part of the mini-documentary to promote the new album, you reveal that, as a young kid, five or six years old, you were into Meat Loaf and ‘Bat Out of Hell’…
FREDRIK: [laughs] Yeah!
MD: …and then you simply grew into metal over time. So can you pinpoint an actual turning point, maybe hearing a particular album or track, when you properly clicked with heavier music?
FREDRIK: Meat Loaf was something my parents listened to so I just really liked that album but, I mean, they were listening to all sorts of heavier stuff and different stuff. But I think, personally, I got into Alice Cooper and bought ‘Raise Your Fist and Yell’ on cassette tape. And Europe, of course, were one of the reasons I wanted to become a musician myself.
MD: If you’re Swedish, do you have to like Europe?!
MD: A Swede told me this once, that if you’re Swedish, you have to like Europe!
FREDRIK: If you grew up in the eighties, you do. I just saw them recently and I think they still put on a fantastic live show.
MD: Yeah, and the last album’s very bluesy and retro sounding but the one before that sounds very contemporary.
FREDRIK: Yeah, they’re still a strong band, I think.
MD: So are you still a Meat Loaf fan, to this day?!
FREDRIK: I was never… I don’t consider myself a Meat Loaf fan! I mean, when you’re five or six years, you don’t really have that wide… [laughs]
MD: You don’t know any better!
FREDRIK: [laughs] No, exactly! I mean, his classics are classics… but it’s nothing I put on!
MD: I read a quote from Johan [Hegg] where he said that “opening for Iron Maiden remains high on the list” of aspirations for Amon Amarth. Is that something you’ve been actively seeking through your booking agent? I think Sabaton opened for them over in Sweden not too long ago.
FREDRIK: Yeah. Obviously, opening for any of our old heroes, be it Maiden, Priest, Black Sabbath, Metallica, it’s something you dream of, of course. I mean, it’s only for your own ego; it maybe wouldn’t benefit the band per se, but it’s a bucket list thing.
MD: I gather Johan’s been cast as a Viking warrior in a new movie, ‘Northmen – A Viking Saga’. Has that always been an ambition of his, to play a Viking in a film?
FREDRIK: You’d have to ask him about that, I don’t know. I know that he was approached a couple of years ago to be part of another film project that kind of ended up into nothing, but he was into that project a lot before nothing happened. So, I think, maybe he has some aspiring dreams to become an actor.
MD: Is that something you’d like to do if you had the chance?
FREDRIK: Of course. I think we were all asked to be extras in the movie but it just didn’t work out. But, if I had a part in a movie, it could be really fun for the experience.
MD: Another bucket list thing!
FREDRIK: Yeah, exactly!
MD: So what about ‘Amon Amarth – The Movie’… hypothetically, if you became as big as Iron Maiden and had the budget, is that something you’d want to do? Like, you have all these mini-movies for your videos already…
FREDRIK: I think that would add an extra dimension to the music. When we write the music, we always try to look at it theatrically. When we listen to a riff that we wrote, it’s like: “What does this sound like? Does it sound like a big battle scene or does it sound like some men marching into war?” We try to picture it like a movie so I think the music would probably work.
MD: So the movie’s already written in your heads!
FREDRIK: Yeah, exactly!
MD: My final question - there was a video clip released yesterday by Nuclear Blast where Hell and Carcass members talk about their ultimate tour lineup. What would yours be? Apart from Hell and Carcass, of course!
FREDRIK: [laughs] That’s tricky. For me, personally, I’m a huge Priest fan so I want to play with Judas Priest. That would be a dream come true, definitely. If I could pick any band, dead or alive, I would say Death.
MD: They’re touring later this month with Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert and…
FREDRIK: Yeah, I know, I saw that, yeah. Actually, I was checking the dates to see if I could go and watch it but more because of curiosity than to hear the songs. But it can’t be the same thing without Chuck.
MD: I think the guy who’s fronting the band is the guy who now does the death growls in Cynic.
FREDRIK: It’s basically Cynic.
MD: Yeah, like you say, there’s no replacement for Chuck.
FREDRIK: Yeah, exactly.
MD: Well, thank you so much for your time.
FREDRIK: Yeah, cheers.