Amon Amarth - Fredrik Andersson

Amon Amarth - Fredrik Andersson

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A few hours before AMON AMARTH's impressive show by  in Chicago METAL KAOZ met Fredrik Andersson and had a nice talk about everything; from the band’s musical direction to the fans’ reaction to the recent cover songs.


Hey Fredrik how are you?
Well, I have a cold but it is nothing that I cannot handle.

Oh, take it easy then… So, the new album has entered the Billboard charts, how do you feel about this? Did you expect it?
Well, we did expect that the new album would enter the charts but not in that high position. Obviously it feels nice and it shows the dedication of the fans who bought the album.

What is the difference with the previous one? I mean the new one seems to be more successful.

We had a talk about this some days ago and we believe that the success of the new album is also a product of the work from the last album. We try in every album to widen our fan base and our efforts seem to be successful. Also we did tour a lot with the previous album so I think more people got to know our music and the interest was bigger for the new release.

What were the differences in the song writing process between the two albums from your point of view?
We tried really hard not to limit ourselves since we are aware that AMON AMARTH is a little bit one directed. On the other hand this is how we always wanted to be so…

How do you feel, do you think AMON AMARTH is musically restricted?
Yeah, there is a certain plan of how AMON AMARTH should sound and what to do and what not. We generally try to follow this plan but this time we tried different things in the new album and it felt less limited in the song writing process.

Who has set this plan for AMON AMARTH?
It is something that was decided from the beginning of the band actually so, it was the original lineup’s idea.

Have you ever felt restricted in your drum work by having to follow this plan?
Keep in mind that I found this plan and that I am the new guy even though I have been in the band for almost 13 years (laughs). When I got in the band the guys told exactly how I was to play. Even though they liked the style of Martin Lopez [previous drummer] they thought that it did not match the band’s sound and they wanted straightforward drumming. So, they wanted from me to play hard and no fiddling about it. Obviously, this is kind of limited for a drummer and sometimes it feels like you are just the beat for the guitars to follow and not really expressing your musicality. And this is the hardest struggle for me especially during the last years that I feel I need to do more. But, on the other hand this is the way to do it in AMON AMARTH.

Fair enough and absolutely honest. So, this is the first date of the US tour and you have decided to play the entire new album. From your point of view how confident do you feel to play live the new stuff that you have just played in the rehearse room?
(laughs) Well, we had the UK tour before this one and we had the chance to play 3 songs from this album. But, it takes 3-4 nights to feel comfortable with the songs so, obviously I am going to feel a little bit nervous but not for long. This is also the fun part to have new songs on the setlist; it kind of puts you in the edge and I think it challenge you by making you feel a little nervous.

So, is this going to happen only in the US tour? Or are there plans to get it in Europe?
The plan is to do this only in the US. This tour was booked very late and actually this also the reason why we have booked dates in smaller venues (the other venues were already booked). Also, we did not find supporting bands that we feel comfortable to take with us. We do not like to get any band available to tour with us.

Do you get to choose the bands to tour with?

Well, we get suggestions from the management and the label. The problem these days is that if a band is capable to do a headlining tour (even though that means getting 300 people on the show) then it will get paid. But, if one band chooses to be a supporting act then it will get no money. The promoters will only pay for the expenses basically. So, the only bands that are available are really “small” and they in the end do not attract fans in the shows. For the fans that have come to watch the headliners this is just more waiting time from the main attraction. Of course, we like getting bands with us but this time there were no one that we felt good the need to tour with. The booking agent came up with this idea; we liked it so we will see how this is going to work for an entire tour. If we like it maybe we will consider of doing it more…

Any thoughts of filming a show while in the US?
Yes, but as we found out the venue needs lot of money to allow us. If I remember right some venues asked for something like $7000 to allow us to film a show. And that is expensive…

Yeah, it is… Ok, last time I watched you live was in ‘Graspop Metal Meeting’ 2010 and you had a big production with the pyro show. So, is there any chance to bring this type of show in the US?
I don’t think this is going to happen since you have to play in arenas to be able to pull that off or outdoors. The liability here is harder than it is in Europe so I don’t think this is doable. Especially for pyros you need to have a 6 meters clearance to be allowed to use them and here the rules are even more restrictive.

You have also added some cover songs in the special editions of the album and I am sure you are getting a lot of questions about them. The most obvious is about the SYSTEM OF A DOWN cover; who did you decide to do that? Was it just a marketing move to draw attention?
No, it had nothing to do with that since we did not think it would attract that attention. The cover songs were meant to be just on the special editions (fan package and digital versions). We did not think that the fans would be so angry… (laughs)

Angry? Do you get this type of feedback?
Yeah, we are getting a lot of anger for some fans. In fact I’ve heard people would stop listening to AMON AMARTH because of that cover song. Of course, I am not gonna judge anyone on this but the reason we did that was because people were calling us narrow-minded and that we are doing only one thing. So, we did this song to challenge ourselves and shock everyone by doing something that was not expected from AMON AMARTH.

Did you have any other songs in mind to choose from?
Not really. The ACCEPT selection was kind of easy since everyone is familiar to that. The first thought was to do “God Of Thunder” by KISS since the title was close to AMON AMARTH's songtitles but while listening to the original we did not feel it was that funny to cover so we went with “War Machine”. When we were in Japan for the ‘Loudpark’ festival we went in a karaoke bar and we were singing the SYSTEM OF A DOWN song (laughs). So, when we returned we thought it would be a good idea to try that. But, we were totally shocked by the reaction we got with “Aerials”. After all, we have been accused for being single minded and then the moment we did something different there were people reacting like that. You cannot please all the fans whatever you do; there will always be some who will not like what you do.

Ok, let’s move on. In the new album the production was handled by Jens Bogre; what was his input in the sound of the album?
For this album we had a couple of meetings with him before even starting to write songs and we said that we would like to move away a little bit from the ‘clean’ sound and do something more aggressive. He liked that idea so, he was involved from the very beginning. He came to see us while rehearsing he listened to some demo versions of the songs and came with some suggestions. But, what is most important was the fact that he did get the best from us in the studio. He has an ‘amazing’ ear for music and he thought that some orchestrations would fit our music. The bottom line is that we worked hand-in-hand with him and we also felt more secure having him handling the production. In fact when we listened to “Doom Over Dead Man” we were kind of shocked with all the strings and the orchestration; but, after a couple of listening it felt natural and we liked it.

Well, Fredrik I am done here thank you for your time and get well from the cold.

Thank you Dimitri and I hope we will get back in Greece to play live again. See you at the show!