Here’s a man that needs no introduction, as he’s been into the Metal scene since a long time ago. He is & has been involved in some bands that have always released great quality albums. If I talk to you about Netherbird, Myronath, A Canorous Quintet, This Ending, Amon Amarth… well, I’m sure you know the common element in all these bands. Yes: the thunderous and relentless drummer behind his kit, Fredrik Andersson. He took his time to answer my questions for Blessed Altar Zine.
Hi Fredrik, and thank you for doing this interview. I can imagine how proud you must feel of being a member in two bands that last year released a new album each: in 2021, “Arete” by Netherbird and “Djevelkraft” by Myronath saw the light. How do you see the reception of these two albums by the Metal community?
Fredrik: I think the reception has been fairly positive. Both bands have gotten good reviews for the albums and what I’ve heard from friends and fans is that they think the albums are good! I have to say I thought especially Arete deserved more attention but it’s hard to reach out as an underground band. And as you probably heard by now, since it was made official last week, I’m not in the Netherbird anymore. We actually decided to go separate ways already last year and it was completely undramatic and on good terms. Sometimes things just change and it’s the way it has to be!
Do you have any plans of doing gigs with Netherbird soon? And with Myronath?
Fredrik: There’s one show booked with Myronath in Norway this summer, that’s all I know, and obviously nothing with me and Netherbird.
Although you are no longer the drummer for This Ending, you were involved in their latest album as a songwriter, so that’s another great thing for you! And A Canorous Quintet is still alive and playing live. However, has ACQ any plans to release new material?
Fredrik: Most of the songs for the latest This Ending album were written when I was still part of the band and they kept the material I wrote for it so that’s cool.
We have been talking about writing new music for ACQ and I have some riffs and ideas that we’ve worked on a bit but it’s hard to get that true 90’s feel and if we release something we want it to sound like ACQ should sound.
And, as if you weren’t busy enough, you are also in Vananidr. How are things with this band, how’s the new album recording?
Fredrik: New album is recorded and is being mixed at the moment, we’re looking for a label and hope the album will be out this year.
Being so active with your bands, which are your drumming routines? Do you play your drums every day? And with the other bands members, can you do physical rehearsals often?
Fredrik: I don’t really have any routines. Right now I’ve been on hiatus since the last show we did with Vananidr in December. Haven’t touched a pair of drum sticks since.
Usually I practice a bit more intensely before a new gig or recording but in between I keep busy with my day job and other stuff mostly.
I have a practice space but it’s super small, I can’t even fit a kit with two kick drums so it’s not ideal but at least we can do some rehearsing there.
Is there any other band(s) in which you are involved nowadays?
Fredrik: I’m gonna keep drumming live with Kvaen and we’ve been talking about recording the next album together so that’s exciting. When Jacob approached me last year he initially asked if I could do one show. Then two, and that turned into 5 shows all in all. And during that he said he wanted to keep me for as long as I wanted to stay.
Last year I also agreed to drum on some other projects but to be honest, especially with Kvaen being so active, I’m not gonna have time for that unfortunately so I’ve been forced to turn them down. Working a full time job I just don’t have the possibility to keep up and spend all my free time in the rehearsal space no matter how much I like the music or people.
Of all the years you were in Amon Amarth, which is the album you are more proud of, regarding your work? Any particular song that you think “oh, I really nailed it here”?
Fredrik: That’s really hard to say. I can say the albums I’m the least proud of and that’s The Avenger and Fate of Norns. On The Avenger most drum parts were already written when I joined and on Fate of Norns I was in a really bad place and we were at a bad place as a band.
I guess WOOOS (With Oden On Our Side) would be one I’m proud of, especially after pulling ourselves up from a very dark place. Musically and drumming wise my playing on Surtur Rising is the best and the one I’m most proud of. Especially Töck’s Taunt and Doom Over Dead Man. I also get emotional every time I hear Embrace of the Endless Ocean ‘cause those albums were the most difficult to record for me. I had physical problems with my wrists to the point that I had considered calling a friend to fill in for me during the recording. But I pulled through with pain killers and long, slow warm-ups. Embrace… was the last song I recorded and I really had to struggle to get it down. I think that song took a full day and it was frustrating and stressful. Turned out great though.
All through your musical career you’ve been on tour in so many countries, a lot of concerts and festivals… Do you have special memories from any of those? And any really funny moment you can tell?
Fredrik: First time in Japan was amazing. Our late Metal Blade boss Michael Trengert joined us there and showed us around. We ate live squid, other amazing foods and drank way too much. It was definitely a peak in my career.
Playing the main festivals in Europe was amazing too, and touring South and Latin America. And Russia, really had fun there. And touring the States and Europe. Come to think of it, I enjoyed all places and I miss all of them!
Is there any country or place you still haven’t played in and you’d love to do it?
Fredrik: I regret that I never got a chance to go to Africa. Would love to go there.
Well, now looking back in time, when everything started… At what age did you start playing drums? And when did you have your own first drum kit?
Fredrik: I started pretty late, I actually didn’t start playing drums until I was around 15 or 16. It took a long while for me to afford my own drums, I used loaned gear up until 1998 when I bought my first kit at 23 years. A used Pearl Export kit.
Was it difficult for you to dedicate to drums? Because of the obvious, it’s not that “handy” instrument like a guitar for example…
Fredrik: Drums is an instrument everyone thinks anyone can play but most drummers hardly know what they’re doing. Well, it’s better nowadays when there are some really talented kids. But when I started out everyone was self-taught and no one was really technically skilled. I was one of those kids that thought I could play and it took me many years to realize I couldn’t. In fact I’m still learning and only in recent years I started to feel I know what the hell I’m doing! So to answer your question, no, it wasn’t a hard decision since I thought I would be good at it easily 🙂
Which was the very first band you were a member of?
Fredrik: We had a no name band in school where we’d mostly just play covers but also some crappy first attempt at original songs. First real band I had was A Canorous Quartet. I got to know Mårten and through him I met Linus P. and a drummer called Mathias and us four started this band. When I switched from guitar to drums we got two new guys on guitar and changed the name to Quintet.
Is there any drummer you consider a great influence on you?
Fredrik: Adrian from At The Gates. Nicke from Entombed.
Can you play any other instrument besides drums? Doing vocals, maybe?
Fredrik: I ”play” guitar, but only to write riffs and songs so I’m absolutely not good at it. Singing not so much, although I did growl in a band and we had one live show somewhere back in the day 😀
As a young metalhead, which bands were you listening to in your teens? Are you still listening to these, nowadays? And which “modern Metal bands” do you listen to, if so?
Fredrik: Judas Priest was one of my first favorite bands that I’m still a huge fan of. I also had periods where I was really into Maiden, Scorpions, Helloween, Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Tankard, Pestilence, Obituary and Carcass. I still listen to all of them.
I would say that At The Gates was also an early favorite band that I’m still a fan of. Huge fan of Nevermore, Eucharist, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Exodus and many many more.
I’m usually not a fan of most modern bands but I’m impressed by some of them. Archspire for example, insane. All the new Black bands; Stormkeep, Gloosh, Whoredom Rife, Aara, Gaerea, Istapp and the unproportional amount of good bands from Iceland!
Do you have any “musical guilty pleasure” you can confess?
Fredrik: Haha well I do but don’t feel so guilty about it! At work I mostly listen to radio and there are quite a few pop artists I think are pretty good, both Swedish and international. I’m a fan of Sia. Anything Gwen Stefani solo or No Doubt.
What does Metal music mean to you in your life?
Fredrik: You might not have guessed it but I have no problem going to work or the store in my sweatpants, and I don’t wear a leather jacket or patch vest. But Metal is in my heart. For me it is my life. Had I not gotten into music and metal I don’t know if I would be alive today.
Many thanks for your answers, Fredrik, and wishing you the best in all things you do. Is there anything you want to add?
Fredrik: Thank you for your questions, hope you find my replies worthwhile! I will spare you the usual ”check this and that out” and just say, I hope we all soon can enjoy music the way we all want to, live. And that these long damn years are finally over! Cheers!
Interview by Sílvia
Check out Fredrik skills in Myronath and Netherbird in the two songs below, and you can listen & support his bands. Support the underground.
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