AMON AMARTH Bassist: 'We're Going To Try Our Best To Become An Arena Band'
April 7, 2019
Loud TV recently conducted an interview with bassist Ted Lundström of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the concept behind the band's forthcoming studio album, "Berserker":
Ted: "The idea came from the story. It's one of the last battles between the Vikings and the Englishmen in England, the Stamford Bridge. The berserker is the most badass warrior you can think of. He fears nothing; he doesn't feel pain and he's wild. He's like on drugs, almost. Everybody fears the berserker. At this point, the Viking army was fighting the Englishmen, but the Englishmen were quite a few more than the Vikings, but since they were on the bridge and he was holding the bridge all by himself against hundreds of Englishmen, just because of his aggression and his lack of fear — they were trying to take over the bridge, but he would stop them. In the end, they had to go into the river with long spears and stab him from underneath. That was the only way to kill him. They tried everything else. A story like that deserves a song and an album title. It's powerful. We're all interested in this thing, but Johan [Hegg] is the guy, our singer, he's the one who reads all these stories. He really likes that. That's why he writes all the lyrics because he knows all the stories and all the history. But we keep up with all this stuff, too. You have to if you're in a band like this. People are going to ask you all the time about different mythology and every time you meet fans or do interviews, they will have a question, so you have to be educated in this field, otherwise, you're going to be there standing like a fool. All these stories are great stories. You can read them to kids. But they're also interesting for adults. It's such a great treasure of cool myths and stories. It's been like this for all the times — all ages, people have been telling stories and myths and all that. It's been interesting for people forever. It's going to be the same in the future. We're just trying to spread our history to the rest of the world."
On why AMON AMARTH recorded "Berserker" in the United States with producer Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR):
Ted: "We like to change a little bit. We recorded two times in England with Andy Sneap. We felt like we always try to find new ways to push ourselves, too. If you record too many times with the same guy, you'll get comfortable. You don't have this adrenaline anymore, like a new feeling of something new. I mean, luckily, since Sneap couldn't record it anyway because he was with JUDAS PRIEST, so it was a good [time] to change. We wanted to do something in a of a bit warmer climate. Recording in England, wintertime a couple of times now, it's raining, it's cold, it's pretty miserable sometimes. So, we felt like 'Let's do something more comfortable.' Then we started looking. L.A. is a great area. Classic rock and roll town. A lot of studios, a lot of producers, so we decided to go to L.A. and record with Jay Ruston. Jay Ruston mixed our live DVD, 'The Pursuit Of Vikings [25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm]', so that was the first time we worked with him and we were really happy with the result of the DVD and then also, the ideas he had and how to record the album a little bit different from Andy Sneap. The way we recorded it song by song instead of doing all the songs in a row, all the drums, all the guitars. We did one song. When that was finished, we put that to the side and started with the next song. It was always fresh. Instead of waiting two weeks to start your job, this is much more fun to be there and do a little bit at a time. You could also go back after a week to let the songs mature a little bit, then you go back, then maybe you change a little bit because everything was set up all the time. It was fun recording. But I think the biggest improvement on this album compared to the other ones is that our producer is a bass player, too, so I think my bass got a lot more room in the mix. You will hear my bass a lot more on this album than the previous, I think."
On the new elements AMON AMARTH plans on introducing with "Berserker":
Ted: "It's fun to try new stuff. We had some acoustic guitars, some piano and orchestral stuff to make it more like a movie soundtrack. On this [album] we actually felt like maybe we should have more clean vocals or talking in the beginning, which is him talking. It kind of became vocals. We thought it sounded pretty good, so we decided to keep it and it's something fresh for the fans, too. It's fun for us to record and hopefully you guys will like it, too. We don't write songs on purpose to be good live, but I think our way to write songs works very well live. Our style is very live-music style. We don't think we have to write a song that works live, but the songs we write do usually work very well live. It's a good combo because today, live shows is an important part of the band. You cannot live on the albums alone. You need to do shows and get out there."
On whether AMON AMARTH could become the "new IRON MAIDEN":
Ted: "It's going to be hard to beat IRON MAIDEN. That's my favorite band of all time. There will be all these old bands — they're starting to quit. They got too old to play or they don't want to play anymore. There will be spots that need to be filled with new bands. Of course, we're going to do everything we can to take a spot like that. These are bands we look up to, IRON MAIDEN, for example. Their stage production, their live shows, it's something that inspires us a lot, so, of course, we're going to try our best to become an arena band, or do arena shows at least, in smaller venues. There are so many bands who want to be the best or the biggest or the coolest. You can never relax. You have to focus even more, because since more and more bands do bigger shows, people expect more from a show. Not only listen to music because you can do that on a CD, but you want to have the rest. You want to have the show, the atmosphere, everything. You have to give the audience what they like. Otherwise, other bands will come take your spot."
"Berserker" is due on May 3 via Metal Blade Records. The album was recorded at Sphere Studios in North Hollywood, California with Ruston.