Thursday, September 23, 2010

Interview with Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth, Part Nine

Johan Hegg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - I feel that your voice, over the years, has gotten more and more clear. On Twilight of the Thunder God, you can immediately understand all the lyrics. The words are more clearly enunciated than on the older albums.

JH - Well, that’s something that we’ve been aiming for. We wanted to do it, actually, from the start – to get more and more clear. Something that I’ve been doing, even though it’s been more screaming, of course, is to actually try to sing, and not just scream.

It’s kind of tricky, and I’ve had to develop and re-develop my style of singing from album to album. It’s also a matter of trying to get the vocals to fit the music. Sometimes, I feel that, on the older albums, I maybe should have used a different voice here, or done something different here, to make it more vibrant and more alive.

Olavi Mikkonen in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

We’ve become more professional, as well, during the years. Back in the early days, it was more like, “Ah, let’s go. Let’s do it.” We didn’t think so much. Now, it’s more planned, and we try to be more structured when we arrange a song. With everything – music, vocals, everything. Those things try to go hand-in-hand. On the other hand, you don’t want to be too structured, because then it becomes boring. Ha!

Yeah, the vocals have changed. I think, also, it’s a fact that I needed, probably, to change a little bit, to be able to preserve my voice.

KS - You never have lost it?

JH - Oh, yeah. Ha! Many times.

Ted Lundström in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - What do you do?

JH - Not much I can do. One thing that I do, before I have a show, is that I have fresh ginger root. I shave it off into a cup, and then I put honey and lemon juice, and I pour hot water into it and drink that.

KS - And do you scrape some runes into it?

JH - Ha! No I don’t. Ha! Then I drink that and do my all warm-up exercises. Usually, if I do that, and everything is fine, I won’t lose my voice. I might strain it sometimes, which happened on this tour, actually, in Calgary. That’s also another thing that’s more important, is that I hear myself on stage.

Johan Söderberg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

KS - Do you wear earplugs on stage?

JH - No, I don’t. I probably should. Ha! It would probably save my ears. We’re not really loud on stage. We’ll see.

If I lose my voice, I try not to speak. I’ll cancel interviews and all that stuff. And then, two hours before the show, I’ll do the ginger-root tea, and I’ll start doing some simple warm-up exercises and get into it. Then, maybe an hour before the show, I’ll do another cup of tea and keep doing the warm-up and try to get a feel for it.

Usually, I’ll do an hour warm-up, but, if I lose my voice, I’ll try to do about two hours. I’ll start off very softly and just work into it, gently. You can’t force it. Then, afterwards, you do the same thing, more or less. You take a cup of ginger tea and, basically, straight to bed. No alcohol.

KS - Did Marvel Comics call you to do the soundtrack for the Thor movie next year?

JH - Ha! No, they haven’t. Maybe they’re still waiting. Ha!

Johan Hegg in Chicago (April 19, 2010)

This concludes the Norse Mythology Blog's interview with Johan Hegg. Heartfelt thanks to Johan, Amon Amarth, Uli Fisseler (tour manager), and Vince Edwards (Metal Blade Records).


Richard said...

I loved this interview! You did an excellent job. Johan is my main inspiration as a fellow vocalist. You can listen to my viking-themed folk metal band (if you so desire) by clicking my URL. We are called Northern Sword and we're from Michigan, USA! Thanks again for the great interview. :D

Tom said...

Thanks for posting this great interview with Johann Hegg. Amon Amarth is a great band. One of the few bands that give their fans value, like putting in live dvds with albums & selling it for the price of a single cd or putting out an inexpensive triple disc live dvd for the price of a single Hollywood movie dvd.

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