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Interviews : “It will be a lot of fun to come back and hang out” – An interview with Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth)

By on March 14, 2018

I had the pleasure of once again speaking to Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth this week. He remembered me as the Swedish dude from Sydney, which I guess is a pretty cool thing to add to your resume! As always, when it comes to my interviews with Swedish bands, this interview was conducted in our mother tongue and translated into English by me.

The first topic of the night was how Hegg looks after his voice on tour, and how to avoid getting sick.

“I make ginger tea. I make it every day before our shows sort of, fresh ginger and lemon. You also have to make sure that you don’t drink too much alcohol. I also do silly things like blocking the air conditioning on the tour bus, things like that.”

So is that the beverage you store in your horn?!

<laughs> “No, it isn’t! That’s Guinness! Guinness is healthy!”

I interviewed Hegg two years ago ahead of the release of Jomsviking, and I was curious to find out how he sees that album today.

“I still think it’s a damn good album. I am very happy with how it turned out. It was a different way of doing things and we had to approach it in a new way in regards to writing the songs as well as the lyrics. Usually, you’d have songs that would stand on their own, but this time around there was a chronology to pay attention to. But I thought it was interesting because the songs ended up in a different order to what we normally would have done. That made it interesting, at least for me. We also managed to write damn good songs, I am very proud still!”

I asked whether he had any information to share on Amon Amarth’s next record, but by the sounds of things it is still something that is in the distant future and Hegg had nothing to tell me about it. I then progressed to asking the viking lord himself about his past experiences with Soundwave, and how it compared to European festivals.

“Soundwave was great fun, it was such a different experience to tour with so many bands. It was definitely a great experience to play at that festival as well as the sideshows. We played damn early at the festival because we had our viking ship with us and logistically that was the only timeslot that worked. We didn’t mind though, it was fucking great. Other than the setup the differences were small. It will be fun to come back and do Download!”

It has been a while since Amon Amarth officially finished the Jomsviking tour cycle. What will the setlist be like?

“There will be some sort of focus on Jomsviking of course. We haven’t toured Japan during that album either, so there will be quite a few songs on the setlist for sure, especially at the club shows. But, as you say, it’s six months since we finished the tour, so we will see what happens. It’s like a small diversion to Australia and Japan, so it’s sort of still part of the Jomsviking tour.”

I was curious about if they had any plans to head down this way even before Download contacted them.

“Definitely. We had plans but it was difficult to find a promoter that could help us sort it out. The Download thing turned up fairly early and we decided to wait and see what happened there before we decided what to do.”

It will be a full-blown IKEA night in Sydney and Brisbane with Sabaton joining Amon Amarth for some action-packed sideshows. Was it the festival or the bands who decided who to play with?

“I think it was something that Sabaton and us decided together. It wasn’t really anything weird about that, we’ve toured with them before and it works well. Even if I’m not a huge fan of Sabaton’s music, they’re fantastic guys. It will be a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to it! ”

There will be no local openers at the show, and since this interview was made Live Nation has let it slip that both bands will be playing full sets.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I think we have a slightly longer set, but of course Sabaton will have plenty of time as well. It wouldn’t have been fun if they had to do a 30-minute set, that would have felt a bit rude.”

Sabaton released a cover of Twilight of the Thunder God on Carolus Rex, and I asked Hegg what the judge’s verdict is, and also if they might play the song together on the tour.

<laughs> “It’s the best song they’ve recorded! Let’s put it that way. I think they did a good job with the song, they made it their own. You can think what you want of Sabaton’s music in general, but they’ve really made it into a song that they could have written which is cool.”

<laughs> “I won’t share anything about our plans! There might be something happening there!”

Download boasts an impressive lineup for a first-year festival and I was curious to know what bands Hegg plans to check out at the festival.

“I’ve had a peek, and Mastodon are great friends, so I’ll definitely check them out. I usually just see how I go when I get there, sometimes there’s an interview or something that stands in the way, so there’s no point in planning too much.

When we last spoke I ran out of time, so I didn’t get to ask him about his fondest memory of Australia. Two years later, I finally got to ask him the question!

“We have a lot of great memories. One of the best ones was from our first visit to Adelaide. Our show was the next day so the promoter took us to the beach and it was 40 degrees. Then he took us to this lookout on a mountain and there were koalas in the trees! That’s when I felt that I was in Australia for real. The day after we met the local openers and they were like, “Koalas?! We’ve never even seen koalas!” <laughs> But the thing that I remember most clearly is how great the people are, they are so polite! And the cities are fantastic as well. It will be a lot of fun to come back and hang out.”

We had time for a couple more random questions, and I asked Hegg if he’d prefer to play Pursuit of Vikings for two hours in front of 50 000 people or a regular Amon Amarth set in front of 50 people.

<laughs> I think I would’ve chosen a regular set! Playing Pursuit for two hours straight would be equal to like Chinese water torture!

I then wanted to know if there are any up and coming band that he’d like people to know about.

“There are plenty, the question is how new they are. One band, I’ve gotten into more recently is Insomnium, but I guess they’re not really new. One band, I always try to mention is Primordial from Ireland, I think they deserve way more recognition. Another one is Grand Magus. Hammer of the North is one of their best songs and probably one of my coolest concert memories. They finished their set at Hellfest with that song, and the audience wouldn’t stop singing, they were still going as they were packing up onstage! ”

Our time was then up and I wanted to know if Hegg had any last words for the Australian fans before they head down here later this month.

“It will be so much fun to come back again! We look forward to meeting old, and hopefully, new fans. It will be fucking great!”

Catch Amon Amarth at the inaugural Download Melbourne Festival on Saturday, 24th March at Flemington Racecourse with Korn, Suicidal Tendencies, Arch Enemy, Mastodon, Psycroptic and many more. Click here to secure your tickets.

Amon Amarth will also be performing in Sydney and Brisbane with special guests Sabaton. Click here to secure your tickets.


Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.