An interview with frontman Johan Hegg at Hammerfest 2012
Welcome to Hammerfest, Johan! Always nice to see Amon Amarth on a festival bill. I have seen lots of horns being sold in the merchandising stalls on the ground floor, those are all for your fans!
Johan: Thank you, we always try to do our best! Oh, great to know they are selling horns here. Maybe I should buy one to throw out in the audience, this time I did not bring mine (laugh)!
Last time we saw you here in the UK, you were touring with As I Lay Dying in what was described as a very unusual line-up; however, it proved a very successful one.
Johan: I thought it went really well; As I Lay Dying is a great band and they put together a very good show. I think a line up becomes really interesting with more diversified bands. With Septic Flesh opening up, there was a slightly different take on the whole metal scene. We had a really good time with those guys!
What about from the fans’ point of view? I noticed that both the As I Lay Dying and Septic flesh fans were very curious about you, the Vikings!
Johan: I have noticed the odd kids with the As I Lay Dying shirts up front that were really into us… One of the reasons we decided to have them on tour with us is because they are an incredible new school metal band and they have a growing following in Europe; they are one of the bands that are taking that kind of metal in the direction that we want to see. For us, it felt really good that their fans came to the show and also enjoyed the whole thing.
By the way, lots of fans here agree that the word hammer makes them think of Amon Amarth. There was so much anticipation of you guys being part of the bill!
Johan: It’s so good to know that so many people still want us playing live, it’s so satisfying; besides, it’s always fun to come here to the UK. Too bad that Anthrax played yesterday, I was hoping to see them. I do hope I will make it to see Hell tonight. For me though, going to festival is also going wherever it takes me. Sometimes I end up watching bands I did not expect to watch just to find something new and interesting; I tend not to watch too much the schedule.
Speaking about festivals, I was very pleased to see Amon Amarth in the line-up of Wacken Open Air 2012
Johan: We are really pleased to be part of WOA this year! It’s a great festival and it has a brilliant line up this year; too bad we cannot stick around too much! (WOA 2012 will take place at Wacken, Germany from 02nd to 4th August. For more information, head to www.wacken.com.)
Surtur Rising, your last album that was issued nearly a year ago, was a very successful hit with its majestic storytelling. How was the response you received?
Johan: It’s been really good for both fans and critics, which is weird because having both sides liking it is very rarely the case. Even one of the hardest critics in Sweden, who is always hard to please, was very positive. He said that “this album is not a progression, Amon Amarth are doing exactly what they always do and they do it right” and I think this is exactly what fans want from their favourite bands from my point of view. It’s good to see that by now, fans know most of the lyrics of the album.
Surtur Rising is still such a strong album and your have been so busy touring, but is there any plan for the follow up with more fascinating Scandinavian stories?
Johan: We will record the new album eventually, but at the moment we are just in the planning stage. We are touring until the end of the summer, then we will have a little time off before we start working on new material.
Any final greetings before you go?
Johan: Yes, come to our 20th anniversary shows. We have few of them happening this summer in different places in Europe (one in Holland, three in Germany, one in Poland,) we are doing these in-between festivals; it will be lots of fun!