Amon Amarth: Two Vikings for the price of one

Metal as Fuck managed to drag Johan Hegg and Fredrik Andersson away from their mead long enough to have a chat.

As a part of the tidal wave of amazing bands swept onto our country thanks to Soundwave, the ferocious Norsemen that are Amon Amarth returned to pillage Australian shores once again. Metal as Fuck caught up with vocalist Johan Hegg and drummer Fredrik Andersson during the festival's Sydney leg to talk movies, Viking ships and bucket lists.

You guys opened up the festival today. How have you enjoyed your sets so far? [Johan] "It's been great, I think the shows have been awesome. Brisbane and Sydney has been better than what I expected of an 11am slot. The crowd's been fantastic, we've really enjoyed ourselves." I felt like you guys got a little shafted getting the 11am slot, but I guess it's as you said during your set, you're everyone's alarm clock. [Fredrik] "Well, someone has to play first. As long as people are there it doesn't matter. It's cool, we're done with [our set] so we can party and have a good time."

You've got the rest of the week to chill until Melbourne, how are you spending the downtime? [Johan] "Well we have a show on Wednesday with Gwar but otherwise I think we're just going to go do some more sightseeing. Head out on some shark safari or something. The funny thing is, of all the places we've had the most days off while on tour is Sydney. So that's the city we know the most." [Fredrik] "It's a good city too." [Johan] "Yeah, I like Sydney. I like Australia in general because it's so easy to get around, people are really cool and it's easy to have a good time here."

That Viking ship you use on stage is just massive. It must be a logistical nightmare. How do you get that gig to gig? [Johan] "Don't ask me, I don't know." [Fredrik] "It's not our concern" [laughs]. [Johan] "Hopefully is shows up in the morning and that's about it." [Fredrik] "There's a truck that takes it from gig to gig." [Johan] "If you had more rivers in Australia, we could just take it up the river."

You guys have such a vast catalogue of songs, how do you go about selecting a setlist for a 40 minute show? [Johan] "I think it's horrible, so I try to stay out of it." [Fredrik] Yeah, it's impossible to please. Especially in order to please everyone we have to consider old friends that want to hear old songs and new fans that want to hear new songs and we just try to get a good flow in the set all in all. We try to represent the new album, but it's tricky" [laughs].

The video for Father of the Wolf is like a mini-movie, can you tell me how that video come together? [Fredrik] "The idea was something we'd talked about with our manager and we wanted to do something different and didn't really have an idea of what to do. But he knew some people that were interested in writing a script for the video and it seemed cool so we went with it. It's important to do something that no one else has done before. There's such a media "bleargh" over everything coming out that if you want something to be seen, you kind of have to stick out a little bit. That was the general idea for that."

On top of that, Johan even took a place on the cast of Northmen- a Viking saga. Is Amon Amarth planning to break into a major film career? [Johan laughs] "Nah. I mean, I though it was fun to be a part of the movie. I think it's going to be a great movie as well, I've seen a few clips of it. It's going to be really interesting to see how it all comes together. They contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do a small role in this film. For me, I just felt like it would be a great experience to do something different y'know? Whatever comes out of it will come out of it. The band will always come first, but I wouldn't say no if I was asked to do something else if it's a good project." 

Is there anything left on your bucket list that you'd like to achieve as a band? [Fredrik] "The childhood dream has always been to support one of our heroes Maiden, Priest or Metallica. We've supported Slayer and that was on the bucket list, so there's like three bands left, at least for me." [Johan] Yeah, I agree with that. I would also like, and hopefully it's going to happen soon, but I would like to go to South Africa and play because Africa's the one continent where we haven't played yet." [Fredrik] "Except Antartica. [laughs]"

Anything else you'd like to say to the readers? [Johan, putting on a surprisingly passable Aussie accent] "G'day mate, let's put another shrimp on the barbie [laughs]. We hope to be back soon and play some club shows the next time we're around!"