Metal Life Exclusive Interview With AMON AMARTH
Before Amon Amarth headed to the airport to embark on the long journey to the United States for the second leg of the Deceiver of the Gods 2014 tour with Sabaton and Skeletonwitch, I managed to catch up with drummer Frederik Andersen. We discussed the advantages of intimate venues, the disadvantages of playing live cover songs, and Frederik’s favorite live artist.
Frederik from Amon Amarth is on the phone with us now, how are you doing today?
Good, we are getting ready to leave tomorrow morning [Sept 24].
This upcoming tour is EXACTLY the same lineup that didn’t even happen a year ago! I saw this lineup when you came to San Diego in April. Why come back to this lineup?
To be able to cover everything, we have to split up the legs of tours now. Logistically, it’s just impossible to play certain areas of North American unless we split it up into multiple segments of time. There are many good cities we want to play that we just end up passing because we play all the huge cities first. Hopefully there will be enough people in cities like Riverside who will come out to see us because we had to pass it in order to play Los Angeles and San Diego, for example.
You and Johann have both previously talked about how the album extracts the feelings of a live concert atmosphere and puts them onto a condensed format (eg digital, CD, vinyl, etc). Did having this approach of recording the album as if you were performing it live enhance the experience of making Deceiver of the Gods?
Yeah, in a way I guess. I mean, we have been both touring and recording for a long time now, and our approach is much more relaxed than ever before. We feel like we can let go of the tension that comes with going in to the studio. Even with that though, I think it’s a hard thing to provide the environment of a live setting inside an album, because recording an album comes with [the association of being] “perfect,” but live is so much more aggressive. If we succeed, I think that’s up to the listeners. If they listen to the album and just want to go berserk, then that’s a success to us.
Unlike albums like Surtur Rising, Deceiver has no covers. What is your personal policy of when it is appropriate for bands to play or record cover songs?
My personal opinion is that it is never appropriate. That being said, I know why I do it, and I do it because I think it’s fun. But as a listener, it’s never happened that I’ve enjoyed a cover more than an original song. Oh, actually I shouldn’t say that because Obituary’s cover of “Circle of Tyrants” is way more fun than the original [by Celtic Frost].
Does that opinion also apply to bands who are just starting up?
I think the reason [a band] would play someone else’s music in the first place is because it‘s fun, it makes you feel good, and it’s probably a band that got you inspired to play music [to begin with]. If you’re playing a local show and nobody has heard of you, it is of course good to play a cover occasionally because the crowd will respond to songs they recognize. But as a band, if you want to grow and get your own fanbase, I don’t think the way to go is to play any covers. Amon Amarth has never played a cover live in the last 15 years at least.
Whoa, that’s really interesting! Now, what was the experience of the Evening with Amon Amarth Tour which had you placed in incredibly intimate setting like, and would you ever consider doing this again?
We had an awesome time! It was easy to organize. The promoters and venues were more than able to accommodate to having just [one band] coming in. We had the full day to prepare our show and our production, so the technical aspects were really good. I also think the fans were extremely grateful, and we enjoyed getting to entertain them in a different environment every night. It was usually a 2 ½ hour set every night, but we wouldn’t mind doing it again. I also think there’s a certain aspect of playing a package tour with different bands [that I enjoy]. When it’s just us, we only cater to our own fans, and it becomes an intimate atmosphere that closes in on our own circle, you know? But when we bring other bands, there’s a whole other dimension to performing that’s important as well.
Absolutely understandable, from both perspectives! Now my last question for you: if you could see one artist or band live for the rest of your life, who would it be?
If Rob Halford keeps moving as often as he can, I wouldn’t mind seeing him any time of the day!
Thank you for talking to us Frederik, we will see you at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium! \m/