Below you can read our interview with Jocke Wallgren and Johan Soderberg from Amon Amarth. Interview made in cooperation with Metalurgia.
Today I have a great pleasure and honor to speak with Amon Amarth, welcome to Poland!
First, I wanted to ask you about vikings. Why do you think people are still fascinated , why they are listening to songs about them, watch TV shows dedicated to vikings, read nordic mythology and so on?
Johan: I think people are interested in them, because they weren’t there, you know. All of them wanna reenact. That’s we have these viking fighting groups that try to reenact them, the viking age. I think there is an interest in it, because they simply want to know how it was. It’s just the same with the war. The war movies, war reenactment groups, games. People don’t want to go to war, but they want to see how it was.
Jocke, you’ve joined the band not so long ago. How’s the feedback?
Jocke: I think it’s pretty good. Social media has been very kind to me, fans as well. In general, I’d say, everything’s just been flying.
Johan: Yeah, I heard good things about it too.
Your last record, 10th in your discography, Jomsviking is a concept album. As I have read, this is your first concept album so far. Why now? Because your lyrics in general are conceptual in a way, focusing on vikings, nordic mythology and so on.
JS: We had a lot of thoughts in the past about writing a concept album, but we never had story for it. But now? It was our vocalist, he was in the movie himself. He got interested in it and tried to write a movie script for his own needs. When he’s finished his work, he thought that maybe we could use it as a base for album’s story. He presented the story to the band and we thought that this is a cool idea, we liked that. It was also quite different for us when it came to writing the music: this time we were writing music FOR the story, when we usually write the music first and then make up a story inspired by it.
With some of your music videos you’ve collaborated with polish director, Darek Szermanowicz. Why did you decide to further work with him, what did you like about his vision of music videos?
JS: Yeah, I think we did four videos with him. It was just a good experience. The first time we did the video with him it went very smooth, he works very fast and efficiently. So we decided to use him again.
Also, some of these music videos were recorded in Poland, right?
JS: Yes, it’s because you have this viking village up in Wolin. It’s just a perfect setup for such videos.
MS: You’re still playing massive, melodic death metal, but on your last record i heard some classic, more traditional, heavy metal influences What bands did you listen to when you were working on your last album?
JS: I have been listening to a lot of bands that I’ve listened to in the past. I mean, I was always listening to more old school metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest, stuff like that. And I think we just let ourselves as a band to show these influences more, to really let them shine through. In the past it was rather straight-forward death metal, and right now we are leaning towards the more classic, heavy metal sound.
Jocke, before Amon Amarth you’ve been playing in black metal bands, and bands of many other genres. Why did you decide that the Amon Amarth is the right band for you?
JW: First of all, because I was recommended to the guys and this is how I got into the band in the first place. But also because Amon Amarth is right in between all the other stuff I have played. I’ve played everything from doom to melodic power metal and black metal. So I always had the speed, but I don’t wanna play too slow and now I get to play fast and melodic, with heavy groove – that’s why it’s perfect for me to play in Amon Amarth.
Last but not least, I’d like to ask you about one of the most iconic attribiutes of the viking – the beard. Do you have any special tips and tricks how to keep it bushy and shiny?
JS: (Laugh) Well, I don’t know, I don’t do anything with my beard, I just let it grow and cut it with a scissors once in a while…
You’re not pouring it with the blood of your enemies then?
JS: No, I don’t (laugh).
JW: But I do…