Vocalist Johan Hegg of Swedish death metallers AMON AMARTH was interviewed for the latest episode of "The MetalSucks Podcast". You can now listen to the chat using the widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether AMON AMARTH has secured a permanent replacement for drummer Fredrik Andersson, who left the band last year:
Hegg: "No, not yet. For the [new AMON AMARTH album, 'Jomsviking'], we enlisted the help of Tobias Gustafsson, who used to be the drummer for VOMITORY and is now in CUT UP, to write and record the album. Because he's an old friend, and we've known him for a long while, and he's a very creative person. Instead of looking for a permanent member and then halfway through the writing process feeling like this is not the right guy for us and then have to start over again, we decided to work with Tobias so that we could focus on writing and record the album and get to looking for a permanent member after that. So, this spring now, we have a guy that we're gonna work with — this spring and the summer — and after that, we're gonna evaluate, whether he wants to stay with us and if we feel that he's the right guy for the band. We just wanna give ourselves time to find the right guy."
"The tour is gonna be kind of a trial period. We have this guy on board now for the U.S./Canada tour and then for the summer festivals. And after that, we'll see how things work out, how he likes working with us and all that stuff."
On whether it feels weird working with someone new after having the same lineup for so long:
Hegg: "Honestly, it feels awesome. I think it's very inspiring to work with someone new. I mean, writing with Tobias was awesome; it was excellent. He's such a great guy — very positive attitude and a great drummer. So it was really inspirational to work with him."
On whether Tobias "cried" when he found out that he was not gonna be a member of AMON AMARTH:
Hegg: "[Laughs] No. I mean, we would love to have him in the band. Seriously, it would be awesome. But, unfortunately, it's not possible. So we decided to write the album with him and record it with him and then look for another permanent member."
On how AMON AMARTH found its new touring drummer:
Hegg: "We pretty much just sat back and waited for people to contact us. We had a bunch of people contact us. And a lot of them are really great, great drummers. But from our point of view, the first thing that we were looking for… I mean, given that it's not necessary… But we were mainly looking for a guy living in Sweden and someone that we… 'Cause we are still a rehearsing band, you know. We're not the type of band that kind of work at home and then meets just before the tour, or just before going into the studio or something. We do rehearse, so it's something that we need to have… We need to have a fairly close proximity to the guy we're gonna work with, so that was one key factor. But also the fact that we're looking for a permanent member. I guess that makes it easier if everyone speaks the same language. I mean, it wouldn't be impossible today [to get someone who lives in another country], especially not today, when you do have Internet and you can send files and all that stuff, if you're writing material. But, as I said, we are a rehearsing band, and that would be really tricky."
On what's involved in the AMON AMARTH audition process:
Hegg: "First of all, management, agents and label have no say in who gets the job in AMON AMARTH, and they don't really want to have that say either, so it's all cool on that level. But even if they did want to put a finger in there, we'd chop it off right away. That's none of their damn business. You know what I'm saying? Second of all, for us, it's always about: Can you do the job, and are you are a cool guy? That's the main criteria that we have. And that's kind of what we're looking for going into the audition process. But it doesn't really matter. As long as you're a good drummer and you can do the job and you're a cool guy, there is no issues."
"Jomsviking" will be released on March 25 via Metal Blade in North America and Sony Music internationally.
"Jomsviking" — the first concept record in AMON AMARTH's storied career — tells a tragic tale of love and revenge, backed by the Swedes' trademark melodic, anthemic metal, which was produced and mixed once again by Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT). The epic original story is set in the world of the Jomsvikings, the legendary order of mercenary Vikings.