Thursday, September 16, 2010

Interview with Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth, Part Eight

Johan Hegg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - Over the course of the last week, I’ve been listening to all of your recordings in order. When I went back to Thor Arise and Once Sent From the Golden Hall, I realized how much your voice has changed in the last fifteen years.

JH - Oh, yeah.

KS - The singers I know want me to ask you, “What in the world are you doing? How do you not lose your voice?” When I teach a lecture class, my voice disappears after an hour. How do you do perform such an intense show tonight and then perform another one tomorrow night? Right now, your voice sounds fine.

JH - You should have heard me this morning. Ha!

Johan Söderberg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - Did you take voice lessons with a classically-trained singer?

JH - No, no.

KS - It sounds like your voice is stronger now than it was fifteen years ago.

JH - Actually, Heri [Joensen, of Tyr] taught me one trick that I do to warm up which is, basically, a breathing exercise which helps you warm up the diaphragm. You just breathe in, and when you breathe out, you block the airways with your tongue to the roof of your mouth. You go like, “Hhhhhhh.”

Ted Lundström in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

When you do that, you’ll feel that whole thing. That way, you can warm up the diaphragm without actually straining the vocal chords. To warm up the diaphragm is very important. If you use that when you sing and when you talk, you don’t strain the vocal chords as much. When you feel it, and when you got it right, you’ll notice the difference.

I have some vocal exercises that I do, where I use the diaphragm. One is like, “Zzzzzzz.”

KS - Going down the vocal range.

JH - Yeah. “Zzzzzzz.” Always from light to dark. When you do that with the vocal chords, you can relax them.

Olavi Mikkonen in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

You can also go – which sounds even more stupid, but it’s sort of the same principle – it’s like, “Mmmmmuh.”

KS - Also going down the vocal range.

JH - “Mmmmmuh.” It opens up, and you use the diaphragm.

KS - I noticed, going through the albums, that your voice is much deeper now.

JH - Yeah. One of the reasons is that my style of singing used to be a lot more frantic. It would be totally uncontrolled screaming, which, I guess, is cool. But, when it’s only that, there’s no range in it.

Johan Hegg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - In the beginning, it was almost more like black metal.

JH - Yeah, it was lot more of that, of those influences.

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