Voor hun optreden in de Melkweg en tijdens het voorprogramma sprak ik met gitarist Johan Söderberg over Amon Amarth. Deze niet al te spraakzame muzikant wist me toch stof te geven voor een kort verslagje van dit gesprek. Gelukkig heeft hij meer noten op zijn gitaar dan op zijn zang.
WiM: Amon Amarth was founded in 1992. The line-up has been quite steady from 1998 onward. What is your secret?
Johan Söderberg: I guess we have the right personal chemistry within the band.
WiM: You have a new CD out called Surtur Rising. Are you satisfied with the result and how have been the reactions so far?
Johan Söderberg: I am very satisfied with it and the reactions have been overwelming. It’s the best feedback we have ever had of any album we made.
WiM: The show that is part of the tour you are currently doing is in honour and promotion of the new CD. Are you particularly fond of touring?
Johan Söderberg: We have been on the road for about two months now, so now I am getting a bit homesick. But it’s always fun to go on tour when you have a new album out. We can play the new songs. In the U.S. we did the whole album and some more songs from the old albums. Tonight we play maybe four new songs.
WiM: Before the European leg of this tour you have been in the US and in August you will return there for more shows. Can you explain the difference between touring in Europe and America apart from the obvious larger distances?
Johan Söderberg: There is not a big difference really. We play the same size venues over there as we do here in Europe. The U.S. tour was also very succesfull; the venues were sold out almost every night.
WiM: For the tour of Twilight Of The Gods you have been to some countries in Asia. Will you be visiting those countries again? How has been the reaction there? Have you ever considered doing shows in other places around the globe?
Johan Söderberg: In China we played mostly small shows, the audience are not that large. In India it was almost like a small festival in Europe. We’ll be visiting those countries again on this tour. We have been in South America also and in Australia. We have pretty much been almost everywhere.
WiM: While doing some background research on the internet, I found out you did the 70.000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. How was that experience?
Johan Söderberg: It was very funny. It was kind of like a vacation. It was a four day cruise and we did only two shows, so we had a lot of time off.
WiM: What is it like playing on board a ship?
Johan Söderberg: The ship was very steady. We’ve played on other ships that were not so steady and than it’s a bit harder to stand on your legs.
WiM: You play death metal and your lyrics are about Vikings and Norse mythology. How does a typical AA song come into being?
Johan Söderberg: Usually I and the other guitar player sit at home and create the riffs and the basic structure for a song. Than we take it to the rehearsal place and everybody listens to it and adds their thing. And that’s usually the moment when the vocalist hears the song and experiences the feeling of it and he can think of what it can be about and writes the lyrics to it.
WiM: I saw your drummer Fredrik wrote a song for this album. How many of the band members contribute to writing a song in matter of ideas?
Johan Söderberg: Everybody contributes to the songs. So it’s really a band effort.
WiM: Surtur Rising is the third album in a row to be produced by Jens Bogren. Is he turning into the sixth band member?
Johan Söderberg: No, I wouldn’t say that. We like very much to work with him.
WiM: Each artist has been under the influence of music. Who are your heroes? Kiss? Accept? Where does your musical and/or lyrical inspiration comes from?
Johan Söderberg: I like Accept, Iron Maiden, Metallica. You know, the bands that I grew up with. The first metal album I bought was Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden. I guess the music of these bands is always somewhere in the back of my head. The music that I grew up with. I usually don’t listen to other music when I am writing music, because it just gets in the way.
WiM: Do you listen to your own CD’s?
Johan Söderberg: Yes I do, because we make music that I like to listen to myself.
WiM: Imagine that I am a young aspiring musician and that I want to start a band. What advise would you give me?
Johan Söderberg: Play what you like to play. Stuff that you like yourself. Keep on doing that for a long time and you will eventually succeed, I think.