Before the Northmen started their show at the Live Music Hall in Cologne, bass player Ted Lundström did welcome us to a small talk on the couch... |
First, tell me something about the new CD. Are the reactions as expected or was it surprising?
Ted Lundström: Of course, we are really happy with the new album ourselves. So we knew that it would receive very good reviews, but it is maybe even better than expected.
Did you ever receive bad critics for "With Oden On Our Side"?
Ted Lundström: Not really musically, but f.e. in Sweden we have some people in magazines, who think that "viking thing" is some kind of boring. They don't even like it, but musically it's been good all over in Europe and US.
And how is the tour so far? Still the same venues, or do you need more space for more visitors?
Ted Lundström: Of course we have a couple of more bigger places than last time. Some are the same, some are bigger ones. We had venues with a capacity from maybe 800 to 1600.
Were they all sold out?
Ted Lundström: No, not all places, but many of them have been sold out or close to it. It was a very successful tour. We are really happy. And it was a very good package.
In which city did you have the best night so far?
Ted Lundström: Oh, it's difficult to mention one. All of them have been good in different ways. The most fun places to play were in Slovenia and Croatia, because we didn't play there so much before. So it was very nice and there was a very loud audience. And of course all the shows in Germany were very good, because they seem to like us here.
What do you say - as a northern viking - to this mid european "winter"? Some days ago f.e. we had about 20 degrees...
Ted Lundström: That's not really a winter, it is a very slow winter here. But we actually got a little bit of winter, when we travelled to the tour. Before the first show we got into a blizzard in Stockholm, and so two of the guys missed the plane to Germany. But luckily they managed to take a plane the next day. So we got some winter, but it's been very warm while touring. But that's quite good, because if it is too cold, if you don't sleep enough and you're among a lot of people you easier get sick. So we're happy. When I go back to Sweden I hope for a dark cold winter with a lot of snow.
Let's talk about your new album. I have to admit that "Fate Of Norns" doesn't have the same power as "Versus the World". But with "Oden On Our Side" were are happy to listen to the strongest songs you ever made. What did you change in your production process?
Ted Lundström: The biggest change was that we put much more time to complete the songs. "Fate of norns" was maybe a little bit rushed production. We toured a lot and we all had our daytime jobs. Most of us were working during the day and in the evening we rehearsed and went home to be with the family. This time we could focus 100% on the music, so it was more like a daytime job. We met everyday in the rehearsal room, played for a couple of hours and then we took something to eat and we continued. So it was more relaxed and we also had more time.
The studio thing was also more different. For the first time we had a producer who helped us with the sound. The whole band could stay in the studio for the full length of recording. Usually there were only two guys who recorded, and then another guy came in to do his part. With this you don't get the same focus, so it was much better that everybody was in the studio for the whole period.
As far as the critics are so good, what you will change in your life? Will you have more time for music, or do you still need jobs besides AMON AMARTH?
Ted Lundström: Nowadays we can focus nearly 100% on the music. That's at least the goal for the rest of 2006 and also 2007. We concentrate on the music, on touring and we hope to start writing songs for the next album.
Do you fear a major status in the public and the high expectations to the next album?
Ted Lundström: Of course we'll gonna have high expectations for the next one, but you will never get away from that. It doesn't really bother me, because we do this and we really like to play, to make music. It's nice to have high goals. I don't see it as a bad thing, it's creative I think.
Some questions about the lyrics: you have a strong viking image - did you ever think about scandinavian lyrics instead of english ones?
Ted Lundström: Not really, but perhaps we will do one song or so, just for fun. But we think that it is easier to reach the crowd. And Johan tries to sing as clear as possible, if you can use that term in this music. But we want that the people should be able to listen to the songs and to understand and also sing along. That is part of the band between the band and the fans during the concert.
But what was then the decision to write "Siegreicher Marsch" in German?
Ted Lundström: I don't really remember. I think the idea just came up from somewhere, because that was a very popular song in Germany. Probably it was a thing between the band and the record label and the fans. And because Johan is fairly good in German, he knows a little bit, it was easier for him. We got help to translate the lyrics and we thought it would be nice as a bonus song.
Do you know that there were some problems with the lyrics here? F.e. "Keine Christin ungeschaendet, ihre Kirchen von Flammen verzehrt" means that the christian women were raped and churches burnt down. For this some people put you into the satanic black metal corner.
Ted Lundström: But of course it's just lyrics. You know we write about the viking era and of course there were some vikings doing such things. So it's just a way of retelling old stories; they must not necessarily be true, but it did probably happen.
We think that you were misunderstood in this point, but there were some reactions in this above mentioned way.
Ted Lundström: Yeah, I can imagine that maybe some people think it is too rough lyrics.
Are you patriots, or just interested in historical stories - like in 'Beheading Of A King'?
Ted Lundström: It's very much an interest. Of course we are patriots during the world cup in soccer, but otherwise it is mainly an interest in history and sagas and stuff like that.
How did you contact the "Jomswikinger"?
Ted Lundström: We got in contact to them because we had this competition in the Metal Hammer. We searched for the most viking looking people. So they could send in photos in viking outfit. And so this group also did something, and that was when we decided to do something together. And it ended up on the DVD. The winners of the competition was invited to come here for the last tour and be in the show. And they all came up - the winners and the Jomswikinger, too.
Why are the former plans interrupted? The shows in Sweden and Norway are postponed?
Ted Lundström: Yes we were supposed to play three more shows in Scandinavia but then we got this tour in the US, so we decided to do those shows in January. So it's better to move only three shows here than nearly 20 shows in the US...
Aren't you very tired after all this touring?
Ted Lundström: Yeah, I'm tired right now but it's very funny to be on tour. It's not really a problem. You only have try to sleep more than you party, so you will survive.
Ok, now I hope we all will enjoy the show, and perhaps you will again close your tour diary with "... and everything went black"!
Ted Lundström: Yeah, it probably might happen.... It's our second last date in Germany. We play the last european show in Hamburg and then go will go straight to the USA from there.
Thank you very much for your time!