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Amon Amarth interview – November 2013

amon amarthI spoke to Fredrik, drummer with Amon Amarth before their gig in Birmingham on the Defenders of the Faith tour.

Planetmosh: Your latest album, Deceiver of the gods was released in the summer.  How do you think the album sounds compared to the previous ones?

Fredrik: I think it’s a good mix of the old and the new and fits in really well with our previous albums.

Planetmosh: The album was produced by Andy Sneap who you’re on tour with in the UK

Fredrik: Yes Hell are on the whole tour with us.  When we were recording the album we were talking about doing a tour together because Hell were rehearsing once a week in his studios, and we thought our fans would appreciate it.

Planetmosh: You’re currently starting the Metal Hammer defenders of the faith tour as headliners with Carcass, Hell and Bleed from within supporting.  You’ve come a long way since the 2008 Unholy alliance where you opened the bill with a very short set supporting slayer, mastodon and Trivium.  

Fredrik: Yeah for the UK yes.  Obviously we’ve done a lot of touring here and the UK metal scene seems to understand what we’re doing more and more.

Planetmosh:  It’s going to be nice to hear a full length set from you tonight rather than the very short set you got at Download this year where you played just four songs.

Fredrik:  We were supposed to play six songs but we had some technical issues and had to cut our set by ten minutes.  Actually the set tonight is also  shortened due to the band Bleed From Within, that aren’t on the tour package, they’re just added on for the UK dates, so instead of a 90 minute set we’re playing a 70 minute set.

Planetmosh: It’s always a difficult balance – adding more bands can be nice but it does mean shorter sets.

Fredrik: Well especially here in the UK as the venues are kind of tricky.  Here there is a strict curfew at 11 and they want to have doors at a certain time, and for security to get people in takes an hour, so it’s a bit of a pain in the ass.

Planetmosh: Some shows have the first band on stage five minutes after doors open and they play to a couple of dozen people at a sold out gig.

Fredrik: That’s also why we’re doing a shorter set.  The original schedule was that Hell would go on ten minutes after doors, but we decided to cut our set by a further ten minutes so that we could push their start time later.  It’s stupid, if people come early and want to watch all the bands then they should be able to.  In mainland Europe we have an hour between doors and the first band.

Planetmosh: That’s a big difference.

Planetmosh: After the UK you tour Europe till mid December and end the tour in Finland – I’d expected you to end in Sweden.

Fredrik:  Well it’s just logistically easier to end it in Finland.  The way tours are booked, you can’t always pick where you want to go in this order.  It depends on which venues are available on what dates, so it’s a bit of a puzzle fittng it togeher.  The second to last show is in Stockholm so that’s going to be our official last show, and then we have a bonus show in Finland.

Planetmosh: You’ve got a US tour planned for January and February then fly to the other side of the world for some dates in Australia.  

Fredrik: Yes we’ve got 5 or 6 weeks in the US.  In Australia we’re doing the festivals there, Soundwave.  The way the dates work it makes more sense to go straight from the US to Australia rather than back home in between.

Planetmosh: Do you actually get much time on tour to see anything more than an airport, hotel, tour bus or venue ?

Fredrik: It really depends on what kind of tour it is and the budget.  Usually it’s expensive to pay the crew and the tour bus on a day off, so you try and have as many shows as possible, but sometimes it’s not possible and you have to have a travel day or day off.  In the past when we’ve done Australia or South America it’s been pretty much a show every day or travelling if not.  There’s only so many shows you can do – 5 or 6 shows in Australia, so that doesnt allow for a week of sightseeing as well.

Planetmosh:  On longer tours though it must be pretty physically demanding doing shows every night.

Fredrik:  We try to have a limit of five or six shows in a row, mainly for Johan, for his voice.  If it was up to me I’d prefer to play a show every day, because if you have a day off you just get a little bit off and have to start over again the next day.  Yesterday we had a nice day sightseeing here in Birmingham – went to some good curry places and went to the Brewdog pub and had some nice pints.

Planetmosh: Looking forward to next summer you’ve already been announced for Wacken.  Are there likely to be appearances at other festivals?

Fredrik:  Yes there are going to be a few – not too many.  The UK one will be announced after the tour ends. [NOTE: Since the interview Amon Amarth have been confirmed for Bloodstock 2014]

Planetmosh: Do you get much time to relax and listen to music?

Fredrik:  yes but I don’t think anyone really listens to music while on tour.  I prefer to put on a movie or read a book – we get enough music every day.

Planetmosh: What sort of movies do you tend to watch on tour?

Fredrik:  Light movies – you watch it on your computer screen or something like that, so I usually pick something I’ve already seen or that I don;t really care that much about watching on a crappy screen.  So comedies or action adventures, something like that.  I did watch a horror thing last night but that was only because I had it rented on iTunes and it was running out so I had to watch it.

Planetmosh: Looking at the inside of tour buses, the beds aren’t very big – does Johan actually fit in them?

Fredrik: He does yes.  We try to pick buses that have decent size bunks.  I think he can barely fit but somehow over the years he has learnt how to bend right to fit in the bunk.

Planetmosh: It’s got to be important on tour to get a decent nights sleep.

You never get a full nights sleep on a tour bus, that’s never going to happen.  You either drink enough that you pass out and wake up four or five hours later, or if you;re sober it’s a bumpy road, so you always sleep lightly and wake up all the time.  I usually sleep for a week when I come home from a tour.

Planetmosh: Then when you get to the venue you’ve got hours of sitting around before soundcheck and between soundcheck and the show.

Fredrik: Yes lots of waiting.  Actually the best sleep you get is when the bus pulls in at the venue and you can sleep till you have to get up and do stuff.

Planetmosh:  Thank you very much for your time.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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