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Interviews : “We got to offer feedback on the mixing process” – An interview with Jocke Wallgren (Amon Amarth)

By on April 25, 2019

Amon Amarth drummer and percussionist Jocke Wallgren is on the promotional trail talking up the new studio album Berserker.

Wallgren is a relatively new arrival to the Amon Amarth camp as he joined the band in 2016, just after the release of the melodically inclined, Jomsviking.

For the unaware, the press rounds prior to an album launch involve an artist/ musician talking to many journalists from all corners of the globe, and naturally, there is a gulf between the standard of interviewing styles and techniques from seasoned journalists and those indie journos pursuing the craft as a hobby.

It seems Wallgren’s bandmates have bestowed on him the responsibility of promoting the album and given this is his first studio recording with the band, he said he didn’t anticipate doing such a volume of press.

“It’s pretty much the same questions all over but it’s fine, I didn’t expect to do this much press since I’m the new guy but yeah, I’m all good,” he said.

The writer has listened to two cuts from Berserker prior to the interview and would venture to suggest that this is Amon Amarth’s best sounding album.

The jury will need to wait until a full album copy is serviced to make any claims on the quality of the album overall, yet this is an album that can played at a decent volume over poor quality speakers and still hold together.

This has been a real issue for extreme metal acts as the intricacies of the musicianship become buried under layers of instrumentation and a lack of funding due to the obvious commercial limitations of the music’s appeal.

Wallgren said the crystal-clear production was handled by producer and engineer par-excellence Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour) and that he alone could take credit for the way it sounds.

“We didn’t spend too much time on the production (as a band), that was more of our producer Jay Ruston,” he said.

“He did all the sounds and all the mixing so he is the one we have to thank for the production of the album, and it sounds awesome… you can even hear the bass.”

Yes, that was certainly true of the cut “Crack the Sky”, the bass is absolutely audible underneath the death growls and melodic guitar interplay, in essence, the bass guitar carries much of the ‘grunt’ so it can be anticipated that the rest of the album will offer the same dynamic.

Wallgren also said that the band were given an opportunity to take home various mixes of the album which allowed them to play it in their cars and over other household grade speakers which certainly helped when it came to deciding the version of the album that fans would hear.

“We got all the versions sent to us so we can listen to it in our car and on our home stereo and all those devices,” he said.

“We got to offer feedback on the mixing process (that way).”

The road ahead for Amon Amarth is marked by long treks to support the album’s release by performing live for the band’s legion of fans.

Wallgren couldn’t say for sure when the band would visit down under, yet their last visit is a prominent and fond memory.

Amon Amarth performed a defiantly heroic set on the truly awful sounding “Red” stage at the 2018 edition of Download in Melbourne and Wallgren said he should have bought an obvious accessory familiar to many Australians on stage with him.

“I remember it was very nice and the Sun goes in another direction there which is pretty awesome,” he said.

“But it was pretty funny because we just started to play and I was like, yeah, the Sun is about to set and then it just went the other way, so I was like, fuck, I should have brought my sunglasses!”

Berserker is out May, 3rd via Metal Blade Records / Sony Music.

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith