Amon Amarth exclusive interview!
Exclusive Interview for MetalDays:
Amon Amarth with Olavi Mikkonen (guitar) @ Le Casino de Paris, November 7th
‘if being a musician playing festivals was not my job, and if I had only one festival to go to in Summer, I would probably choose MetalDays because it is very unique!’
How do you feel about touring Europe with legends such as Testament as an opening act?
Yeah, we are also touring with Behemoth in Scandinavia. So I think it’s great, yeah, and really cool! Obviously, Testament is one the bands I grew up with. So yeah, it’s awesome! And also, not only Testament because I think Grand Magus are legends. Grand Magus is one my favorite bands today, and I think playing all together is a really amazing package. These all three bands are still doing great records today. It is not like, you know, they are relying on the History, they are bands of today. Testament’s new album kicks ass, and Grand Magus’ new album is also amazing! Yeah I think it is a really strong package and I am really happy to play with. The tour is being great so far, and I think it’s gonna be one of the biggest tour of this year.
Le casino de Paris is a beautiful venue, isn't it? What do you think about the contrast between death metal music and this venue?
Ah ah (laughing)! I mean, it is cool, because obviously there is a lot of History inside this venue, and you can see there is all like red, you have this French ‘Moulin Rouge’ feeling into it, almost a kind of… hum… let’s say ‘porno’ feelings (laughing)! But it is really cool, and you know, for the fans, they gonna see the show, doesn’t matter in what venue it takes place. But personally, I like to play in nice venues such as today in Paris’ France. Because when you play in Chili venues with bad sound… it sucks. So, today, it’s cool! And I think the last time we played in France in a nice venue was at l’Olympia, which is also a very beautiful venue. But this one seems to be much nicer!
It will be your 3rd participation @ MetalDays next year and Amon Amarth will headline MetalDays. What do you think about MetalDays festival compared to other European festivals?
Obviously, I would say what everybody else also would say and has already been to MetalDays! It’s a kind of vacation resort, you know, because you have the nice beautiful surroundings and rivers. So, if it is nice weather, I can imagine for the fans who spend the all week in that kind of summer camp, it’s amazing! Because I think the nature is so beautiful there in Slovenia…and… yeah I think it’s an amazing festival. You know, if I was not doing this as a musician, if being a musician playing festivals was not my job, and if I had only one festival to go to in summer, I would probably choose MetalDays because it is very unique!
MetalDays lineup announced is that one so far. Would you like to comment it?
Oh yeah there are already bands from Sweden! (laughs) And great bands: Opeth, Doro… she is the queen of metal, Bloodbath is an awesome band as well! And of course our friends from Hell! About the other bands, I can’t really say too much about, because, to be honest, I don’t really know them.
About your last record "Jomsviking" released in March, how has it been received by fans?
I think it has been very well received! I did not hear something bad from fans, but of course you know, usually people who don’t like it don’t come to me and say that in front of my face! Anyway, all the fans that I met, they have been really happy with this record. And also when we play it live, with all the new songs, they really show they like the songs. And especially the song called ‘Raise Your Horns’. Tonight, it’s gonna be the song that everybody will sing along with us! So that’s really cool.
How many songs are you playing on stage from your last record on this tour?
I think we play on this tour five songs from Jomsviking.
Where do you find your inspiration as a song writer?
Well, I don’t know. I think I get inspired by certain feelings on other bands songs, sometimes I get inspired by cool movie stories, or even books. I like to ready History stuff, such as books about Roman Empire for instance. So, it is a mix of all these things, and musically, my favorite bands are Slayer, Iron Maiden, Obituary, Deicide but… I don’t know… I mean, it just happens! It can also happen when I watch documentaries on TV you know. And sometimes you get ideas from sound check, from all over places.
What are you 5 favorite albums of all times?
Wow!!! uh uh! I’m gonna be safe and say Slayer: ‘decade of aggression’ because it is a double album with a lot of songs! (laughs). But Slayer is definitely one of my favorite bands of all times! Maybe I can also add Judas Priest: ‘defenders of the faith’. And about Iron Maiden… well… my all times favorite song might be ‘the trooper’. And of course, I grew up with Death: ‘leprosy’ which is absolutely fantastic! But let’s talk also about new music, not only the old one. As I said, Grand Magus just released a very good record, and ‘hammer of the North’ is an amazing album! Behemoth: ‘the Satanist’ is also a great record! Oh… there are so many good stuffs… I can’t really name them!
What is your songs writing policy in the band? How do you manage the writing process in the band?
I think we always start with an idea and we share it with each other. There is no ego in the band, so everybody can participate to the writing process. It is always the best idea that’s gonna win. It doesn’t matter who is writing songs, so if I write a song and anybody else in the band can make it better, so we go through it. It’s totally cool inside the band. In some other bands, you can hear things like: ‘hey you don’t touch my stuff ‘… but we have nothing like that. Always when we have stuff, we go together and we jam it and everybody has inputs and it becomes a demo. Then, we make changes until we have a final demo.
What are your main projects after this European tour?
My main projects after this tour is to have three months off. We have been touring quite constantly since March now. And then we gonna do another European tour, and it’s gonna be different from this one of course. And then we will go back to America, and then we will probably go to play in South America. I think we will not do any early Summer Festivals, we will only do the Festivals which take place late July and August. So that’s the plan!
One last word for MetalDays Festival fans?
Yeah I can say that we are very excited to come back to the festival! It has been a while since we have been there, in lovely Slovenia. And we have so much production when we do big shows, so it’s gonna be fun to bring it to Tolmin! Be prepared, because it’s gonna be a very massive show!
Interview and pics 3 and 4 by KEUF
Special thanks to Morgan Thomas - Moshing On My Own