A few days ago before Amon Amarth’s show in Glasgow, I had the opportunity to have a chat with the bassist from one of the first bands that got me into metal. After a warm welcome we got straight down to business. Prior to the interview, Ted let it slip that the band were going to be headlining Bloodstock next year – a fact we had to sit on until the official announcement earlier this morning!
How have the shows on the tour been so far?
So far it’s been amazing. It’s a great package we have and it’s a kick ass show that we’re bringing around Europe. We always try to be involved in the choosing of bands and we’re big fans of Grand Magus and Testament so we’re stoked to have them. We’re very excited for the rest of it!
Jomsviking, the most recent album, was released earlier this year. How do you feel the response has been?
It’s been fantastic. We had the best chart entry in our career and the fans really seem to love it. During the live shows we’re seeing people singing along which is nice to see so we couldn’t be happier.
Do you think you’ll do another concept album?
We’ve talked about is as it was a lot of fun to do this. It was a challenge to make a story into music and make it all fit. I’m pretty sure we might do another one in the future or a different approach. Maybe not the next album but who knows?
We’ve not got anything written for the album but we have a few ideas for it.
Who normally writes the music in the band?
On the last couple of album it’s been mainly Olavi [Mikkonen] and Johan [Söderberg] that do all the riffing and guitars. We don’t have a rehearsal room anymore as we’re touring so much and the place we used to have doesn’t exist anymore. We didn’t want to get a new room as we’re hardly at home so there’s no point paying for an empty room.
So we do a lot of stuff at home and we email stuff back and forth. I’ll get sent a couple of riffs and put my bass thing to it. Johan [Hegg] then writes the lyrics and we then come together and play, either in a rented room or some place we can play. That’s where we can all then input on everything and we then have a few more rehearsals before heading into the studio.
Do you think you’ll work with Andy Sneap again?
That’s a good question! We really like working with him so I wouldn’t be surprised if we did some more work with him. But also you don’t want to become comfortable in the studio as you need that little bit of pressure in there. We’ll wait and see though!
How do you feel the year has been for the band?
I can’t complain honestly! We just came back from a supporting tour with Megadeth which was awesome and we had our own headlining run as well which was a lot of fun. The year’s been fun but a lot of work. We’ve done a lot of touring and are going up until Christmas so we’re very busy.
What sort of equipment do you use when you play live?
We use a lot of modern technologies these days such as Kempers, DI’s and in-ears. We made the decision a few years back to go all in ears and it’s been a very easy transition. By getting rid of all the monitors on stage it’s meant that we can have more stuff on stage to create a cooler show.
I personally use Musicman basses and I’m very happy with those. I’m also currently working with an old friend of mine who builds guitars with Serpent King Guitars. We’re testing some stuff right now and we’ll see if we can make something work.
You’ve just been announced to headline Bloodstock Open Air next year. Are you looking forward to that?
For sure! It’s a fantastic festival and the atmosphere is super nice there. We’ve played there a couple of times before and have always enjoyed playing there. We’ll be bringing our big show there and it should be kick ass!
What are the band’s plans for the next 12 months?
After this tour ends after Christmas we hopefully have a few months off before we embark on some more tours in the US and Europe. We’ve got South America, Australia and Asia in mind for some tours but we’ll wait and see what happens.
You recently announced Jocke Wallgren as your new drummer. What’s it been like playing with him?
It’s been fantastic! He’s an amazing drummer and a super solid. He’s very consistent and his playing is always spot on. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’ll come up with for the albums going forward.
What sort of advice would you give to a new band?
The business side of the industry is constantly changing but from a musician’s standpoint, you have to find your style. Play stuff that you like yourself and continue to do your stuff and not try and imitate anyone.
That’s what we did. From the beginning we’ve been doing what we like to do and we’ve been trying to follow that path. It sounds cheesy, but we’ve been following our heats and doing what we like to do all the time. It’s hard work of course.
If you’re going to play live, you’ve got to have good live shows and think about what you need to make your shows stand out from the crowd as well.