An Interview With – Ted Lundstrom (Amon Amarth)
4th April 2016, 17:32
Posted by Tristan
Comments

Having just released their brand new album Jomsviking, Amon Amarth have stated their claim to being one of the solid Death Metal bands out there. Known for the solidified reputation, twenty plus year in the industry can sometimes take its creative toll. Not only that but having the added problem of their now departed drummer the band are strangely, stronger than ever.  Now on their tenth album the band decide to explore their most creative side yet. As the band’s foray into the unknown, Jomsviking is the bands first attempt at a concept album. Just days before the album’s release we were lucky enough to not only catch the band at their Underworld intimate performance but to be able to share a mead or two with the bands bassist and founding member Ted Lundstrom.

Listen to the full unedited interview on our Soundcloud widget below or read our entire transcribed chat below!

So hello Ted!

Hi!

Today I am here with Ted Lundstrom from the mighty Amon Amarth! How are you?

I’m good, I’m very good thank you!

Excellent. Its the eve of the release of Jomsviking, how do you feel?

It feels great, I mean we have a super album coming out, we’re really happy with this one and we have this cool show at The Underworld. It’s going to be tight, its going to be sweaty! Its really cool to be able to get out and be playing again since we haven’t played live for over a year now. Since we were writing and recording, took over a year. You feel that adrenaline coming back, you miss it a little bit when you don’t perform live because you get the energy from the audience that you don’t get at home.

What made you decide to perform in The Underworld of all places?

Ah, I guess we were looking for a smaller a venue since this is not a real show its a promotion show. We wanted to do a smaller thing for the fans, press and stuff but also I think this was the first venue we played in England, like ten years ago or so. Its kind of like coming back to the roots again. Its a cool thing to do I think!

Could you tell us about the concept behind Jomsviking?

Well its a story that Johan, our singer, wrote. I guess he got influenced by his acting career in the movie Northmen haha! He’s been thinking about writing a story for a long time but Jomsvikings are an old viking clan or a group of vikings that actually existed a long time ago. Nowadays there are a lot of groups over Europe that call themselves Jomsvikings and they do battles against each other they meet every summer to battle and stuff so we decided lets do a story about Jomsvikings. Since we have been doing videos and shows together with them. Its about a guy, you follow him from when he is young until he is old and what makes him become a Jomsviking, a warrior and what happens in his life. Ups and downs, it tells a story about a viking!

Do you know what inspired Johan to write his own creative story about it?

Well I mean he likes to write. He writes a lot, lyrics for the band and as I said probably starring in this movie opened his eyes to try new stuff. You’re in a band and you’ve been going for over twenty years you want to try new stuff. Try to find a new angle, what can we do… We thought a concept album would be great and he had this story already in his head you know. It came naturally at this point.

What was it like writing for the concept album, obviously you have to be kind of conscientious of what you are writing…

Yeah, yeah! It takes much more planning he presented a story. Written like a story or a movie script or something like that then we needed to pick out which part you can make songs out of. How can you present this part in the story in a good way to make it fit musically or how can we make music fit. Normally when you write an album you write a bunch of songs that you can flip them around a little bit to find a good flow through the album. Here you have to follow the story all the way through, you can’t jump back and forward like that. Naturally you will get maybe ballads or sad songs, or more aggressive songs so you have to plan this a little bit more than the normal album so it took us a bit more. Creating work, it was fun it gave us a kick.

A new drive sort of thing! You also got Tobias Gustafsson…

Yeah he is an old friend of ours and we like him a lot, he’s a super cool drummer so we asked him if he wanted to help us write and record the album and he thought about it and decided to join us. He was part of the whole writing process, helped out writing the whole album actually and then recording it but unfrotunately he was not able to do the touring. It didn’t fit his schedule. Now we have another guy here for the spring and summer, we’re trying him out. He’s a really cool guy, cool drummer so hopefully if it works he might get a permanent spot.

See how it goes! This is something that I have often wondered haha! Its a bit of a strange question, did you ever think when you have those tremolo sections that it would sound like vikings humming haha!

Nah I don’t know if it was thought that way, I can’t remember man!

Fair point. You also had Doro come in on the album as well, what inspired that?

Well since this is a story there is also a female character in the story and we wrote this song where we decided that we wanted to have them both sing against each other so we were thinking like, who could we use for this song. We needed to have some of the great female Metal singers but it has to be cool enough for Amon Amarth, since we are more Death Metal style you know what I mean! It can’t be too much opera style, it has to fit our music. We have known Doro since before, we met a lot of times at festival and Johan has actually been singing with her on stage on one of her songs. They did a collaboration many years ago so we just decided to see if she wanted to do it and she really likes the band so she said “yeah, I’ll come to the studio!” So we just sent her the music,the lyrics and the idea so she could try it out at home and then she travelled over to the studio and we recorded the song and it turned really super cool. 

I know on the previous album you also had the singer from Candlemass on “Hel”. Is that kind of something that you have always thought of that you wanted to have a guest vocalist?

Its a way to make it fun and interesting for us and also for the listener! When you have the possibilities to do it like we have. We are at the point where we have a lot of friends and we can ask people if they want and most of the time you get a positive reaction so since you can do it, why not! For us its super cool because the artists that we have worked with are actually artists that we are big fans of ourselves. Thats the cool thing, we can actually work with our idols which is super cool.

How did it come about that you ended up having this Viking mythology around the band?

I mean its just, of course we are from Sweden it comes naturally but back when we started the band the coolest thing in Sweden was Black Metal. It had just started to rise, it had sort of taken over from the Entombed kind of style, the classic Stockholm Death Metal. We felt like singing about Satan and stuff, we didn’t feel cool to us. We didn’t have anything that could relate to that. Also maybe me and Johan, we were reading about viking mythology and we liked that a lot. One of my favourite bands was Bathory, the early days when they went from Black Metal to more viking.

I know the album!

Why don’t we do this! Why don’t we find our own band. There was not too many viking Metal bands out there so we thought that this is something that we are interested in, you need something. Its easier to do music or art whatever if you have something that you can focus on. You get more focused and say “lets do this and thats cool”.

You can bring the artwork all together and it all ties in.

Yeah, yeah! So much to take from.

Speaking of very cool things, you just released the video for “At Dawn’s First Light”. That looked pretty fun!

It was a super fun video to record! Working with those guys, the polish part of the Jomsvikings. We travelled down to Germany on the border to Poland with the polish film crew and we did this video and it turned out super cool. It was super fun to be there. To see all this battle and we were in the middle of this.

So you were actually stood in the middle! It wasn’t post production or anything?

No, no we were standing there! Running and sometimes you had to jump out of the way! They would come crashing through you know with swords and shit so that was super cool and then we got to act a little bit ourselves. The smashing and crashing but I think it turned out really cool and I like a lot of action, aggression and blood. It’s just a lot of fun. 

Its also got a bit of tongue in cheek in it as well, there’s a bit of humour in there!

Oh yeah definitely, if you’re too serious then it will be very cheesy. You have to keep a good level to find where it is cool but not nerdy.

So what is your personal view on the concept album? In general I mean not Jomsviking.

Its a cool thing if its done the right way, its always fun. I like the old school way to listen to an album like we did when I was a kid. You bought an album and you would put it on and start from song one and you could read the lyrics, study the cover looking for details! I was a big fan of Iron Maiden I was always looking for those, so much small stuff that he has put in there. You really focus on the album whereas today I feel that many people they listen to music more randomly. They pick one song and that song is digital and its not as intense as it used to be. In that way the concept album brings back that, if you want to get the whole concept you need to follow the story and look at the picture. We did one design for each song on the album so if you read the booklet you will have a lot of stuff. We asked artists if maybe they could do something.

Are there little clues in the front cover?

No, no the front cover is one part but there are different things for different songs you know!

So what is coming up in 2016 after the album is released?

Well were back off out on the road again obviously! So after these four shows we go back to Sweden just for a few days and then we go to America to do a tour for eight weeks and then we will come back to Europe to do summer festivals and then after the summer festivals we hopefullly have more touring. Its still in the plans but we need to do a European tour, South America and Asia and Australia we’re going to try and cover the whole world with this album. Its probably going to take us two years to finish everything haha!

Excellent, thats great! Finally what has been an album that you have been listening to over the last six months to a year?

Its been a lot of albums haha! I don’t know if I have one that is special. Well there’s a lot, Grand Magus… I listened to Entombed A.D. not the one they released just now but the other one. A lot of stuff but I’ve got a kind of wide music taste along the lines of Dead Can Dance. Its a lot more folk and electronic kind of thing, they’ve got some cool stuff. I try to mix it up, some swedish stuff all of that haha!

Excellent! Well thank you ever so much for speaking with us.

Amon Amarth’s brand new album is out now.