by Cameron Edney
– Guest Columnist –
Metal Warriors Amon Amarth Talk Mayhem, Deceiver of the Gods & More
In June Swedish Melodic Death metallers Amon Amarth delivered their ninth studio album Deceiver of the Gods. The band’s latest offering was met with fantastic reviews around the world and has seen the band climb up not only the European charts but smash their way to the top of the U.S. charts as well. Amon Amarth who are currently on tour in the US as part of the Mayhem Festivals are showcasing their unique onstage Viking metal presence to a broader audience and winning over more and more metal fans with every show.
Forming in 1992 Amon Amarth’s popularity has steadily grown as the band has forged on with ground-breaking albums and sold out tours. Signing on with Metal Blade records early on the band never looked back as every album became more successful and every tour became longer taking in new cities. No strangers to touring Australia, the band made their first trek down under in 2008 and again in 2011, now the Aussie fans are eagerly awaiting the bands return. I had the pleasure of catching up with Amon Amarth drummer Fredrik Andersson whilst traveling through Phoenix to discuss the band’s latest masterpiece, the current Mayhem Festival run and returning to Australia next year for some more incredible live performances.
Here is what Fredrik had to say…
Hardrock Haven: Hey Fredrick, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today, it’s a true pleasure… how is everything going?
Fredrik Andersson: I’m good we’re on the bus heading to the venue, right now we’re somewhere in Phoenix; we’re actually running a little late today… this tour’s been really good!
Hardrock Haven: We will talk more about the tour shortly but firstly congratulations on the new album! Another fantastic effort from the band, you must be really happy with the outcome…
Fredrik Andersson: Yeah we are; we’re really happy with the way it’s turned out.
Hardrock Haven: I’m sure that like all bands, seeing your albums climb up the charts is somewhat gratifying considering all the blood sweat and tears that go into making records… this album is doing very well on the charts you’re no doubt pleased with that…
Fredrik Andersson: Yeah of course, it’s gratifying and it’s the only gauge you have of what you’re doing and that the fans appreciate what you’re doing. To pick up the album, especially in times like this it’s nice to feel that from the fans, to know that they appreciate what we’re doing.
Hardrock Haven: Let’s talk about the drumming side of the new album… In the past you’ve had the other guys play along with you in the studio as you like that live feel as opposed to individual studio sessions. How did you tackle the process this time?
Fredrik Andersson: The same way as the last album; we were all playing together in the studio. Even though I was the only one recording we were all playing together in that same room to get more of a rehearsal feel… a live vibe to it. We were playing the songs through from beginning to end, rather than cutting and pasting different pieces. I prefer that… it feels more like you’re playing the song rather than putting it all together on tape.
Hardrock Haven: You do some incredible drumming on this album, how much of what ended up on this album was worked on in pre-production and how much just happened spontaneously whilst tracking the drums?
Fredrik Andersson: All the songs were written when we entered the studio and all the arrangements were pretty much done, however from my part I decided to only write half of the fills, and just improvise the rest. I did that to give it more of that live feeling on the album!
Hardrock Haven: There are some incredible tracks on the new album, some outstanding drumming too of course. Favorites for me are ‘Shape Shifter’, ‘Blood Eagle’ and ‘Warriors of the North’ was there anyone track for you that stands out as being the hardest to track for the album, one track that really pushed you to your limits?
Fredrik Andersson: No to be honest… the way that the songs came out was all written pretty easily for me. I didn’t have to push myself too hard thankfully which is sometimes good and bad. It’s great to be relaxing knowing that you don’t have a difficulty in the playing of songs but it’s also nice to push yourself and cross barriers so you can reach that next level. But there wasn’t really anything too difficult to play on the new album.
Hardrock Haven: Fredrik, now that the process is all over, and you have begun to play new songs in the live set; looking back on the writing and recording sessions is there anything you would have changed or wish you had done differently?
Fredrik Andersson: That’s something for me that comes a long a little bit later, when you’ve been playing the songs live for a couple of months and you start to realise that you could have written a better fill. It’s just something you have to take on board and walk into the studio with the next time. So far we’ve only played one of the new songs live and that one… it’s perfect so far, it’s exactly the way we wanted it to come across live! Usually with every album you write, there are less and less situations like that. You try to think about how to better the last album and recording situation.
Hardrock Haven: Moving away from the studio side of things I wanted to talk to you a little about touring and life on the road…. Do you guys have any plans to return to Australia over the next few months?
Fredrik Andersson: Yeah we’re working on it as we speak… there’s nothing confirmed yet but the plan is to come back to Australia as soon as possible. I’d say it will be Next Year though as we don’t have time to do it this year; but hopefully next year we will be back to play a couple of shows.
Hardrock Haven: You’re a no stranger to Australia… what memories do you have from the last Australian visit?
Fredrik Andersson: The last Australian visit was actually very hectic, we had shows every day! We love the country and we love the food and of course the beaches so we usually try to get some time off. The shows are always great in Australia that’s something we always look forward to playing there; the crowd is so appreciative when we come around. We can only come over every second or third year for shows, and it’s always a nice and energetic atmosphere at the Australian shows. I think we only got one day off in Sydney and I love the city so for me that was perfect. We want to have time to go see other places as well. Perth and Adelaide are great cities as well; we hope that next time we get a little more time to explore besides just playing the shows.
Hardrock Haven: You’re currently doing a run of shows in the US on the Mayhem Festival bill, how have those shows and crowds been?
Fredrik Andersson: We’ve had some really good shows opening up the main stage on the Mayhem Festival. People were telling us that it was going to be hard, not too many people would be there to see us cause they have to basically move from the side stages to the main stage, but so far it’s been really really good. We’ve been playing for a lot of people and the fans have been really appreciating our shows… it’s been fantastic.
Hardrock Haven: Over the years you’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many fantastic artists… whilst on tour who’s given you the best advice and what was it?
Fredrik Andersson: Well depends, in general one of the first tours we did the tour manager we had had been on every tour in the past and was very experienced, and he said you always meet people in other bands and in the business twice, once when they’re on their way up to the top and once when they’re on their way down! So basically the advice was to always be nice to whoever you meet. I guess the philosophy behind it is karma, and to treat people with respect.
Hardrock Haven: You have the best seat in the house when it comes to seeing all the craziness that takes place what comes to mind when you look back over the years as some of the most insane intense things you’ve seen happening whilst playing?
Fredrik Andersson: Well obviously playing the huge festivals in Europe… playing to fifty to sixty thousand people is an incredible feeling. Sometimes I’m in my own world so much behind the kit that I don’t even notice what is happening out in the crowd. I would say that some South American shows, when the entire crowd is singing along to the melodies it is very hard to ignore that or not notice that and that’s an incredible feeling.
Hardrock Haven: I’ve read that you’ve got no problems with using other peoples gear or hired kits, even other people’s cymbals but you feel that it’s most important for you to use your own sticks and pedals… why is that?
Fredrik Andersson: It’s basically the closest to me as a person… I’m holding the sticks and the pedals are pretty much attached to my feet. Obviously everything is important but I can’t bring my own drum kit with me all the time, I kind of have to adjust and play on different equipment from day to day sometimes it’s just a matter of adapting. Obviously I prefer to play on my own kit all the time and nowadays I bring my own cymbals all the time, but a couple of years ago we just couldn’t afford to bring them with us… especially on long trips and heading to places like Australia.
Hardrock Haven: Some people may not be aware that you actually play a number of instruments from piano, to guitar and of course drums… how did that transition happen, I mean what was the turning point for you that made you want to become a drummer?
Fredrik Andersson: I think it was just in general… at the rehearsal space we had there was this huge drum kit and it was always fun to just sit on it and play around. The first band I was in, I was writing all of the music, so me switching to drums and being able to play guitar meant I could have total control over the songs and I liked that. It was more important for me in my previous band to have total control. I guess as time went on I became more professional and I began playing drums more than playing guitar, it just kind of happened.
Hardrock Haven: Just before we wrap up, the new album is out now… The Mayhem tour is in full swing and there are plans to return to Australia. What other current plans are in place for Amon Amarth?
Fredrik Andersson: We’re on the mayhem festival here with a few weeks to go… in late August we’re heading back home and are going to take September off. We’re touring again in October, hitting Russia then we hit Europe with Carcass and Hell and we’re really looking forward to that!
Hardrock Haven: Fredrik I want to thank you again for your time mate and wish you the best of luck out on the road. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Fredrik Andersson: Thanks for your time and questions I hope to see everyone back in Australia next year and hope all the fans appreciate the new album!
Deceiver of the Gods Is Out Now Grab your copy today!
For all the latest on Amon Amarth head to the following sites