Pictures : Olga Kuzmenko
Interview by: Alan Daly
Alan: It’s a pleasure to meet you. Welcome back to Bloodstock for your fourth visit. The last three times you were the penultimate band of the night, but finally tonight you are the headliner. Tell us how that feels?
Johan: Thanks. Yeah, it’s amazing. Now we’re actually going to put on the full production that we have at a lot of shows in Europe, for the first time in the UK, and that feels really fun.
Alan: Have you noticed how Bloodstock festival has changed or grown over the years since you played here first?
Johan: Definitely from the first time. I haven’t really seen too much today yet as we just arrived.
Alan: How does Bloodstock compare to other European festivals you have played at?
Johan: It’s pretty much the same, you know?
Alan: Your most recent album Jomsviking was released last year. How do you think festival audiences are receiving the songs from that album, particularly considering festivals are places where there are potential new fans as well as loyal ones?
Johan: It feels great. This album had such a good response all over when it was released, so those new songs are as well received as our older so-called “hit songs”.
Alan: You guys have this great theatrical show. What would you say is the greatest theatrical show of any band, metal or otherwise?
Johan: I’m always impressed when I see Rammstein, for example, because they have some fucking amazing stage production.
Alan: They all have qualifications in pyrotechnics and fire safety. Do you guys also need training, with so much pyro at your shows?
Johan: They do. We use the same guys that work for Rammstein for our pyrotechnics. But we don’t do it ourselves. We don’t know anything about pyrotechnics ourselves.
Alan: You just know where not to stand?
Alan: So Rammstein is amongst the best theatrical performances. What would be the worst?
Johan: I don’t know. There’s a bunch.
Alan: I’ll throw one out there… What about the Ronnie James Dio hologram tour that is planned to start later this year?
Johan: I heard about that. I’m not going to go to see that. That feels strange. I mean, why? Why don’t they just hire another guy to sing? Or is it going to be this way in the future; there’s not going to be any bands anymore. Will it be only holograms going on tour? I don’t like that stuff. I like old school. I don’t even like bands that have LED screens behind them because I think it looks cool to have proper stage sets like Iron Maiden and ourselves. It should be real stuff on stage, not just a screen. Because when you see a screen, people just look at the screen.
Alan: I would say Sunday’s headliner Megadeth is a band that uses the big screens to good effect…
Johan: But they have some real stuff as well. They have a stage set built as well.
Alan: And they have Vic Rattlehead come out and walk around too. If you had no limitations or budget constraints, what would be the ultimate stage show Amon Amarth would love to have?
Johan: Well, that’s something maybe for the next album, because then we’ll have a new theme. But for this album, this is pretty much everything we’re going to have on stage. There’s more stuff now than we had on our headline tour any time before.
Alan: So what can fans expect next from Amon Amarth?
Johan: After this Summer, we’re going to start to write. I’m not sure how long that’s going to take, but we’ll start working on the next album.
Alan: After the recent untimely and tragic passing of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, the issue of mental health has been raised. Undoubtedly there are Amon Amarth fans out there who feel like their future is bleak. Is there any advice you could give them?
Johan: I know sometimes people find help in hearing music and getting inspired by bands. But it’s hard to detect. If somebody feels like that, they usually have to seek the help themselves because nobody else sees it.
Alan: Have you ever experienced depression yourself?
Johan: No. Fortunately not.
Alan: We recently interviewed The Dillinger Escape Plan, and they have decided to wrap things up this year after twenty years. What do you think of their decision to end even though their career is possibly at a high point?
Johan: Usually the bands that do that, they always come back to do a reunion tour two years later. I still haven’t seen any band that says “This is the last tour”, and then did NOT come back.
Alan: Do you think it’s a publicity stunt then?
Johan: Maybe they feel like putting the lid on it now, but after they’ve been home for two years, they’re probably want to go back on the road.
Alan: Do you think that some bands reunite for financial reasons rather than a true artistic desire to reform?
Johan: If it was a financial thing then they should keep going. Or maybe they can’t make a living out of music.
Alan: Guns N’ Roses recently reformed for the Not in This Lifetime tour, and that tour has been a massive success financially. Do you think that was the real motivation there?
Johan: I think so, yeah.
Alan: Will you get any time here to enjoy the rest of the festival?
Johan: No, we’re going straight to Europe straight after this, to Belgium. We have these interviews, then the signing at the signing tent, and then it’s pretty much time for our show.
Alan: Well, we hope you enjoy whatever time you have and I’m sure we’ll enjoy your show. Thanks for taking the time to chat.