INTERVIEW: Amon Amarth

532133_567390769961359_1023740815_nFor fans, bands returning to tour Ireland, and indeed Belfast, for the second time is a true acknowledgement. A sign that we done ourselves proud.

Knowledge in the fact that the last time the band performed on our shores, we screamed our hearts out and sang at the top of our voices. It’s a statement to Northern Ireland that one of those bands are Amon Amarth, legendary metallers with twenty years experience. Well done Belfast. Before their show in the Limelight earlier this week, they took time out to quickly speak to GiggingNI.com’s Tascha Kennedy. Here’s what they discussed:

You’ve played Belfast before a few years ago in the Mandela; remember us well? Looking forward to tonight’s gig?

“Yeah, as far as I remember we had a great show here last time, so yeah really looking forward to doing this next one. We’ve done a lot of festival shows and club shows so it’s good to get the different atmospheres.”

Yeah, you guys just played Bloodstock festival last weekend and Wacken Open Air a few weeks ago – this is obviously a lot smaller! Do you have prefer the big festivals or enjoy playing more intimate, smaller indoor gigs?

“I couldn’t say that I prefer one or the other – they’re both amazing ways to play. In club shows it’s much more intense, and sweaty; you’re close to the audience. But on the other hand when you play a festival you’re playing in front of a hundred thousand people you know? That’s also a really cool feeling.  So, they’re both cool in different ways.”

You tour quite a lot – playing Europe at the moment, then onto Canada and finally America. It must be quite exhausting! Are there any poignant moments in the last 20 years touring that stand out?

“They are all floating together! Being able to tour all over the world has been fantastic, I mean to do all this is really incredible. It’s different wherever you go – it’s really cool to experience all the different metal-heads all over the world.”

Like your other albums your latest album “Deceiver of the Gods” is about Norse mythology. Did you plan to play and write music about Norse mythology from the beginning or did it just happen by accident?

“We made a decision when we started the band to have this direction. We’re really interested in the mythology that surrounds Sweden and Norway and Denmark. It was kind of a decision we made early and it’s not good if we change our direction! Now people expect us to do more of the same stuff – of that pantheon of gods.”

Was there anyone you worshipped or idolised that made you decide that you wanted to play music?

“I had a few different idols when I was younger. Gene Simmons from Kiss, and also Iron Maiden, Steve Harris too of course was a massive influence. Everything that I listened to made me want to be a musician myself.”

How do you set out to write an album?

“Some songs we start with a lyric idea; some songs are just a riff – it’s different for every song we write, and it’s been different for different albums. We just bring out whatever we have and then put it in a big pot and do whatever we can with it.”

 Amon Amarth have been going now for over 20 years, that’s pretty awesome! Do you have any advice to give to any new and up and coming bands who are trying to make it?

“I think that you have to find your own space – there’re so many different bands and different styles. The most important thing to remember is to play what you love, and to focus on that and sooner or later your chance will come. I mean it’s not easy; you have to work really hard and try to learn from your mistakes. Play from your heart, I think that’s very important. Don’t just try to play like this band because they’re famous and popular. Play to find your own style and just follow that. That’s the most important thing.”

Amon Amarth’s latest album ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ is available now. They played Belfast on 12th August 2014.