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Monthly Archives: November 1999

Amon Amarth
Melanie talks to Fredrik Andersson, November 1999
Ø: Denotes Fredrik. This is how they wanted it presented, thus I comply. -ed.

 

MR: Hails Amon Amarth! When did the band form and how?

Ø: Olli, Ted, Johan and Nico formed Amon Amarth in 1992 from the ashes of a demo-band called “Scum”.

MR: Talk a little about what went into the making of your new release. What are your favorite songs off of it and who produced it?

Ø: The song writing procedure was altogether the same as usual, long and thoroughly. The Avenger was recorded in Abyss Studio with Peter Tägtgren as engineer, produced by ourselves.

MR: What is your present lineup?

Ø: The line-up now is:

Olavi Mikkonen-guitars
Johan Hegg-vocals
Ted Lundström-bass
Johan Söderberg-guitars
Fredrik Andersson-drums

We prefer to have all fan contact via our mail address which is found on our web-site: http://www.amonamarth.com , but if someone have to use the traditional postal service they can send it to Metal Blade, so they can forward it to us.

MR: Describe a few of your favorite songs and their composition; key elements fans should listen for, and so forth.

Ø: Some of our favorite songs are “Bleed For Ancient Gods”, “The Last With Pagan Blood” and “Avenger”. The essence of all our compositions, which we hope that everyone who let themselves get into our music discover, is that the song- and music-writing walks hand in hand. We try in every song to describe a certain mood. For example in the beginning of “Legend of a Banished Man” where the bass plays alone, a dragon ship should be visualized. Or in “Victorious March”, the feeling of victory, and you can almost here the sound of feet marching!

MR: What do you think of the present underground metal scene?

Ø: I think that the underground scene has grown a bit the last couple of years. Much of that thanks to the Internet. Unfortunately, there’s just so many bands out there it is impossible to find out the real good and original ones. It seems to me a bit like those who get the most attention are bands which sounds exactly the same as some other band. Many record companies just try to sell-out some old “success-formula” and I can’t understand how people in the business can encourage that.

MR: What are your goals and aspirations for the band?

Ø: We play the kind of music we’d like to listen to ourselves. If others appreciate what we do that is a very satisfying feeling. Of course we’d like to sell a lot of records, it would be hypocritical to say otherwise and I think that bands who claim that their goals are not to be successful are lying.

MR: Any funny/horror show stories?

Ø: It seems really, that the funniest show story is almost always the same as the horror one after getting some perspective. We had a quite bad gig here in Stockholm just some weeks ago, there we’re not to many people around since there had been no advertising, we had problems with a loose bass-cable. And on top of that there was a film crew, putting it all on videotape, typical!

MR: What can fans look forward to seeing live?

Ø: Amon Amarth live is something you just have to experience, total liberation of aggression! We believe that a band shall as well as playing only the best live songs, give the fans a great show!

MR: Is song or lyric writing collaborative, or do certain members do certain things?

Ø: Most of the times it starts with Olli having one or a couple of riffs. After trying them out we see if they’re something we could work further on with, building melodies, try different drumbeats and so on. While we’re playing Johan often comes up with some lyrical ideas of what it sounds like, and tries to describe in words what the song should be about. After having laid the foundations of the song we all try to put the pieces together and finish it, this can take as long time as a year or even more! Since we won’t let go of a song before everyone’s satisfied it can take quite a long time. Often we have to lay it aside for a while and wait for someone to come up with an idea on how to continue.

MR: Do you find it hard coming up with original material?

Ø: Yes, and no. I think that even if a riff is original it might sound familiar. There are just so many variations! We always try to do original songs, and protest loudly if someone has come up with something that sound like something else. Still it has happened that long after a song is finished one might discover it has partly already been done, I guess it’s just the way of life!

MR: Where did you get the band name? Who came up with the idea?

Ø: It was Ted who came up with the name Amon Amarth, and it comes from JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”-series. I don’t know why he got to think of that as a band name but I guess it has to do with the symbolic in the meaning of it; the great Mountain of Doom. Suitable for real powerful music!

MR: What are your musical and lyrical influences or inspirations, and how do you blend them to sound unique?

Ø: When it comes to musical influences I think there’s not just one. Inspiration can come and go whenever you least expect it, I know for myself that some of the best ideas have come while doing something completely different. At work or on the subway. Johan gets most of his lyrical inspiration from Swedish mythology in books, films and also from the music we produce.

MR: What is the funniest thing you have seen lately?

Ø: A really funny photo of our dear guitarist Johan taken from the Sweden Rock festival this summer; look forward seeing it on our web-site!

MR: Do you feel that the band has a relatively large fanbase, so that there is pressure on you to impress and keep it interesting?

Ø: Yes, I think we have quite good fan support, but with the pressure I don’t know. So far I think that our fans has been loyal and supported us in what we do. We would never do anything we weren’t happy about only to please or fans, or any one else for that matter.

MR: If you could tour with with any 4 other bands, who would they be?

Ø: Hard to say since we don’t know all bands, we think it’s important that one can get well along with those we share tour bus with. There are bands we think should be suitable for a tour package with us such as Cannibal Corpse and Bolt Thrower. There are also bands that are really fun hanging around with like The Crown and Six Feet Under.

MR: Any words of wisdom to the masses?

Ø: We think it’s always better to be honestly critical than a two-faced smarmy type, and that is what we try to live after.

MR: Any last words?

Ø: Thank you for the interview! Stay true to metal and drink lots of beer!

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