Answers coming in as fast as "Versus the World" conquers the metal world. |
Basti: While "The Crusher" seemed to be very MidTempo and using more groove, "Versus the world" is a very straight hit in the face, with great energy and speed. Why did you leave the path, that already began on "The Avenger"?
Fredrik: I don't know.. most people think that "Versus.." is more mid-tempo than "the crusher", but I guess that's a matter of opinion. On "crusher" our goal was to concentrate on those things we thought were missing on "avenger" and significant for "once sent". But for "Versus" we simply stopped to care about what we believe people will think, and just made them how we want and what we think is good.
Basti: Are you satisfied with "Versus the world"?
Fredrik: Yes, completely. Of course there's always things you think could have been done better but due to the circumstances I think it's the best we could have done!
Basti: Most lyrics were written by you, Johan, as I read, just as it was in the past.
Where do the ideas for these songs come from and especially when are
Johan: My main source of inspiration is Northern mythology and old Viking legends, but I also get some inspiration from other books or movies. It all depends. I write a lot of lyrics at the practice room, or at least I get the ideas there, and then I work on them at home, but that's also different from time to time.
Basti: To me it seems like Amon Amarth are a bit leaving the "traditional" Amon Amarth-topics, which were - in my opinion - northern myths and vikings. The lyrics on "Versus the world"
seem to be less concrete and much more abstract. I also feel like they
are very apocalyptic. Do you really see the world close to its end? Or am I totally wrong?
Johan: Well, you're not totally wrong, but not really right either. The lyrics are more apocalyptic, that's true, but that's because the main lyrical concept of this album is the end of the world in northern mythology - Ragnarök. So you see, I haven't left the general lyrical influences. I just developed my style of writing lyrics a bit. For the lyrics to this concept I took certain parts, events if you will, of the Northern Myths of Ragnarök and wrote lyrics about them. All from different angles and points of view, to make them more interesting and diverse. There are two main thoughts behind this concept. First of all it's a cool story all together, the other part has to do with the development of us as musicians and as a band. We've left "the old world" behind and entered a new world where we have to be more professional and concentrated in our work as musicians. This is something we felt changed after "The Crusher" but with this new album it's even more evident.
Basti: While Peter Tägtgren did the mix on all previous albums (and even the 1995 EP "Sorrow throughout the nine worlds"), "Berno" did the production for "Versus the World" at "Berno Studios". Who is he and why didn't Peter do it anymore? Weren't you satisfied with his previous work?
Fredrik: Berno is a cool guy and when we chose between different studios, Berno studio seemed to be the best choice for us. We are of course happy with Peter and everything he has done for us but since his decision to limit the amount of bands in his studio we had to change.
Basti: The line-up is very constant since 1999, so since "The Avenger". How do you guys come along?
Is this line-up possibly "build to last"?
Fredrik: I know that Olli once said in an interview that this is the final line-up and if something would change with it, it would probably be the end of Amon Amarth. Now I don't know about that, and I don't wanna spread any doomsday news. We have had our difficulties and fights, but still managed to stay together and hopefully we'll keep on doing so for a while longer!
Basti: Did this "everyone knows everyone" situation make working easier for the creative and production process?
Fredrik: Yes and no. Sure, we know how we work and are as persons, but maybe it also makes us less respective against each other so instead of listening we dismiss the other's opinions..
Basti: How is the work shared? Johan is writing most of the lyrics, but who writes the music? Is everyone involved?
Fredrik: Olli normally has an idea or a riff, he shows it and we play it for a while and try how it sounds. Then we record what we have so far, with improvisations and listen to it at home. If it sounds good we keep on with that and try to build a whole song on it, hopefully some idea come while listening to the tape if we don't have already any ideas. In the rehearsal room we work together, everyone has a voice. It often happens we have different opinions however, then the strongest will - or majority - decides.
Basti: How long did the recording, mixing and stuff take?
Fredrik: We started to record Wednesday directly after Wacken, and recorded the last vocals the week after Summerbreeze. The first mixing we did the last week of August, but did a new mix the week after that. All in all I think it took about one month, but we often worked up to 10-14 hours/day so it was very intense.
Basti: Will there be any additional touring to promote the new album?
Fredrik: For sure! Metal blade are working right now on finding a good tour for us and I hope we will be able to tour by next spring. But as of for now, we don't know anything..
Basti: Finally, Amon Amarth have reached a point, where they are a pretty well known band themselve and also a measure to reach for newcomers. But what music do Amon Amarth listen to? Are other bands still an inspiration like they were at the time of and before "Sorrow throughout the nine worlds"?
Fredrik: Hell yes, I listen to a lot of music and different bands. I know we all had a period after the recording of "versus.." when no-one felt for listening to anything, I think that's normal. But now at least I have started to listen to music again. All music can be inspiring, it doesn't have to be metal even if metal is mostly what we listen to.
Basti: You played a lot concerts and festivals this year. What was best, what was worst?
Fredrik: Wacken was the best show ever so far! It was amazing to see that many fans already at that early time (we played around 12) and it was a great festival, and we sure had some big parties there! Our worst show.. I think that has to be the show in switzerland on this year's headliner tour we did. We were totally uninspired and bored, and it wasn't fun to play that night unfortunately.
Basti: Did you like touring and playing live so much or was it too exhausting?
Fredrik: It was fun at the time, but it was too much work for us to do two full tours and at the same time write songs for the new album, we discovered that afterwards. But we held out until the recording was finished and have had a break now since then without rehearsing, so we're fit for fight now and ready to take on the world!
Basti: What do you guys do, when you don't play great Metal?
Fredrik: Drink beer, and listen to great metal! :-) Honestly, there's not much time left for other stuff. We all have day time-jobs and rehears 2-3 times/week. Some of us have family or a hobby, personally I like to spend much time in the gym and had a really successful autumn when we had "free" from the band.
Basti: Thanks for your patience. I wish you much success for "Versus the world" and really hope to see you guys
on tour next year...
Fredrik: Thanx for the interview! For more info and latest news visit our homepage! [see info on this page - annotation by the editor]