Ben of Australia’s “The Moshpit Backstage” podcast recently conducted an interview with frontman Johan Hegg of Swedish death metal veterans AMON AMARTH. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how he prepares for an AMON AMARTH live show:
Johan: “I think it’s different for all of us. Everybody has their own little routines and stuff like that. I usually just, there’s nothing really special during the day, really, the one thing that I do, is try to make time for, roughly an hour before the set, I start warming up. I have a little yoga routine that I do for the body to open up the back and all that stuff and I do vocal exercises and stuff like that, just to get into the feeling of it. That’s usually really all I need. At this point in our career, it actually feels easier to go onstage and just be present and go hard and go all in, no matter what kind of day you’ve had. Obviously, it’s not always that you can do exactly what you want to do, so then you kind of have to be able to adapt as well, but usually, it works out really well.”
On how he knows when AMON AMARTH has turned in a good live performance:
Johan: “It usually just feels right. One of the main things for me, is if I get the connection with the audience, if I have that, then I know it’s a good performance. Maybe the other guys would answer something different, but that’s the key for me. Usually, if I don’t have the connection to the audience, I feel that I kind of failed as a frontman. [Laughs] But, it doesn’t happen very often that I feel that. Usually, I do feel that it works out really well. I think one of the key factors that we always try to…I’m not sure how to explain it, but, we try to talk with the audience, not to the audience. We try to play with the audience, not for the audience, you know what I mean? It’s an interaction that we want to have with the audience when we’re onstage. It’s not us out there and them down there. It’s us together, creating this experience for both the audience and band, I think.”
On making their shows an actual “experience” for fans:
Johan: “I grew up in the ’80s, going to see bands like IRON MAIDEN, who are excellent at bringing the audience into the show and making the audience part of the show. That’s what I love. That’s what we all love. So, that’s kind of what we try to do as well without actually imitating them, but to do it in our own way.”
On whether it’s difficult for AMON AMARTH to play single songs from 2016’s “Jomsviking“ considering the album is conceptual:
Johan: “Actually, when we started the project of doing the concept album, ‘Jomsviking’, one of the main things we said from the very start was that we need to write these songs so that we can take them out of context and that they can stand on their own anyway, both musically and lyrically. I think we succeeded really well with that. All of the songs are little stories in themselves that work, but if you connect them, you get the bigger story. So, that was actually one of the things we thought about when we wrote the album. I think we did pretty well doing so. It doesn’t feel weird to take a song out and play it by itself.”
On the status of the band’s next studio album:
Johan: “I mean, obviously, we’re going to work on new material at some point, but right now, we’ve been taking some time off after almost two years of intensive touring. So, we’ll see when we start working on new stuff.”
“Jomsviking” debuted at No. 19 on The Billboard 200, having shifted 21,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 31, 2016. The disc was released via Metal Blade in North America and Sony Music internationally. The first concept record in AMON AMARTH‘s storied career was produced and mixed once again by Andy Sneap (JUDAS PRIEST, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT).
AMON AMARTH enlisted a session drummer, Tobias Gustafsson (VOMITORY, CUT UP), during the recording sessions for “Jomsviking”, following the departure of longtime drummer Fredrik Andersson. The band tapped OCTOBER TIDE drummer Jocke Wallgren as Andersson‘s permanent replacement two years ago.