INTERVIEW: Johan Soderberg – Amon Amarth

Interview by Brent Logan

Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth are back with more viking metal in the form of their latest album “Jomsviking”. We talk to guitarist Johan Söderberg about the new songs and the growing popularity of Norse Mythology.


What’s the usual writing approach for an Amon Amarth album?

In past albums we sit around in the home studios, write riffs and melodies and then why put on the lyrics later. The new album is a concept album. We had the story first and we had to make the music fit in with the story so it was a different approach on this album.

I’ve noticed over the past ten or so years that bands are writing more and more concept albums. Is this the first time you have done a concept album?

Yeah, we had the plan to do some like this but we never had the story. So this time our vocalist [Johann Hegg] wrote a movie script to see basically if he could try and pull it off. He said to the band we should try and make a concept album.

So you obviously stayed with the Norse theme?

Yeah, we don’t want to change that department… we don’t want to change too much. We want to keep the style and the theme of the band the same.

Any favourite tracks on the new album?

Though it changes around at the moment I like sitting at home and listening to 1000 Burning Arrows. But playing live Raise your Horns seems to go down well with the crowd.

I only just heard the first single At First Light recently and I am really liking what I am hearing

That’s good to hear.

What are the tour plans?

Firstly, we are doing four small promotion gigs… really small club shows… after that we will be doing three headline shows in the USA and Canada and then festivals in Europe

Is Australia part of the next tour?

Yeah, definitely! We want to go back there during this album cycle. There is nothing planned at the moment but there will be something later on.

Are you aware of the growing interest of Norse paganism in Australia?

No, not really but I know shows like Vikings is helping to grow interest and it’s why people turn to bands like us… it is good!

Not only more people are interesting in vikings but a lot more people are also interested in the religious side as well. It’s been a eye opener in Australia and I think a lot of it comes from listening to bands like you guys.

Awesome that’s very good to hear

What kind of advice would you give to a young metal head who is playing guitar in his room with dreams of playing in a well-known band… what kind of advice would you give him in this day and age to make a name for himself?

I would say play the music that you really like and listen to yourself, try and make music for your own ears. When you find your style – the one you really enjoy – keep on doing that for as long as possible and stay consistent… eventually you will gain success doing just that.

With downloading I’ve noticed it’s hard for bands to stay afloat financially. So what advice would you give new bands who are wanting to make a career out of music?

Yeah, that’s a hard thing. I think, people don’t buy much albums anymore so you have to concentrate on doing more live shows – that’s where bands make money these days. We are fortunate that our fan base like to have the actual album; they like to sit down and look at the cover and read the lyrics when listening to the album. It’s even cooler when you have a concept album which makes it more interesting for the listener to read the lyrics while listening to the album. I like how we got to make the artwork and the package for the new album. We want to have it like when you pull out an Iron Maiden album when you were younger and look at the artwork and the fine details stuff like that. We want to have the kids of the today to have that same kind of experience when they listen to our music. It’s also cool to see that vinyl is actually coming back. I have a record store right next to my house and they don’t really sell CDs anymore it’s only vinyl.

Bruce Dickinson was saying about their latest album how people thought they were crazy for making a double album in this day and age. One thing Bruce Dickinson said is that they know their die-hard fans will actually go out and buy the album and that’s the reason why they did it. Do you find it the same with Amon Amarth?

I really hope that is the case. I do think our fan really want to own the album.

What would you say your favourite song to play live is?

Some of songs we know that a crowd pleasers would be ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ and ‘Guardians of Asgard’ but I do think with the new album it’s going to be the song ‘Raise your Horns’. I do think that this song is going to a future live classic for us.

Changing subject here what is your favourite beer to drink?

I like English style ale, that’s probably my favourite. I also like pale ale and IPA style beer.

Thank you for your time Johan and I cannot wait until to new album comes out.

Thank you hopefully see you guys soon.


Interview Date: 2016-03-25

Interviewer: Brent Logan