First of all, I want to welcome you to THE GALLERY Extreme Metal portal! I hope you are well…
Fredrik Anderson: Thank you very much, I’m very well thanks!
Let’s get started with NETHERBIRD. A new album is released during the following days and, from the songs I’ve listened to, I cannot expect nothing less than perfection! Give us some information about it. Where did the recordings take place? How long did it took to complete the recordings? Any funny moments during that period?
Fredrik Anderson: The album was written and finished already last year. Pontus, who writes all music presented the album to us last spring. I then spent the summer learning the songs, practicing and re-writing my drum parts to fit me better and also to add my style a bit. I didn’t get to keep all my ideas, but at least most of the fills are “mine”. In the end it doesn’t really matter to me who writes what and I’ve learnt to accept that even if a part or a song doesn’t turn out how I wanted, it will turn out good anyway. I might think it would have been better another way, but that is just that; my opinion. Since the album was already written we didn’t really practice it together so we just booked a studio time for me to record the drums and I was mostly alone with Sverker at Wing Studios during the session. We had a good time and it was probably my smoothest and easiest recording so far!
It is the first album in which you are participating. How did it happen and you got into the band, back in 2016?
Fredrik Anderson: I got to know Johan, Nephente through a mutual friend and we almost instantly got along really well and started to hang out a bit. During a drinking night I mentioned that I’d be happy to help out if they needed a drummer, not knowing they actually needed one at the time. Johan then asked me a few weeks later and it was a no-brainer for me to join the band!
Since NETHERBIRD is the band that is releasing a new album as we speak, guide us through the band’s history, mainly for those who are not yet familiar with it.
Fredrik Anderson: Haha I’m not sure I completely know the history… But I know Johan initially started the band in Jönköping, Sweden around 2004, possibly together with Pontus. I think the initial plan was to have it just as a studio project with hired musicians for each album but at some point they changed their mind and started to make it more like a real band and eventually trying to find permanent members.
Was it a challenge for you when you replaced former drummers such as Adrian Erlandsson and Nils Fjellström? How was the transition from their playing style to yours?
Fredrik Anderson: Actually not, I’m confident enough in my own playing that I didn’t feel intimidated by them. I do of course think some parts are hard to play and I’m still struggling to get the 260bpm blast in “Pillars Of The Sky” down. It’s a really hard thing to play for me especially with the song starting so slow and then all suddenly a hyper fast blast. But apart from that I’m trying to find a good balance between how they originally played the songs and to how I want to play them.
Are there any touring plans with NETHERBIRD? If yes, will you pass from Greece?
Fredrik Anderson: We have two shows booked so far for 2020, one here in Sweden and one in Germany. We would love to do some touring and play more shows. Of course it would be fantastic to come back to Greece and play, hopefully someone wants to book the band so we can come!
Let’s go to another band of yours, a band called THIS ENDING. You began as THE PLAGUE and, after one demo, you’ve switched to the current name. What is the story of the band? It’s been 3 years since your last album...
Fredrik Anderson: The story of the band is that me, Mårten and Linus who were the core members of A CANOrOuS QUINTET (who split up in 1998) had been talking about playing together again and around 2004/2005 we finally recorded a demo. We felt that we couldn’t live up to the moniker of “A CANOROUS QUINTET” and that we wanted the sound to be a little more modern so it felt wrong to take the same name even if we were the same members. We decided on “THE PLAGUE”, but the demo landed us a contract on Metal Blade and they forced us to change name. (They had just signed another band that was called something similar, but that band disappeared pretty quickly).
Speaking of THIS ENDING, the band was formed after A CANOROUS QUINTET‘s split up. Again we have a name change, switching from A CANOROUS QUARTET. I guess the change was because you’ve turned to a 5-piece band. What is happening in the band as we speak?
Fredrik Anderson: Exactly, A CANOROUS QUARTET was the first format, back then I played guitar. When I switched to drums and we got two new guitar players we changed to quintet.
We are sorta working on new material at the moment, we will see if that turn into something eventually… or not. Hopefully, would be cool.
Moving now to your past, we have GUIDANCE OF SIN and CURRICULUM MORTIS. Both bands are currently inactive. Do you want to tell us a few words about those two bands?
Fredrik Anderson: After A CANOROUS QUINTER split up, Linus Nirbrant and Jesper started a new band and they asked me to drum on the demos and ep. I actually came up with the name GUIDANCE OF SIN, and always liked it, but at the time I was drumming in AMON AMARTH and eventually I said I didn’t have time for both bands. CURRICULUM MORTIS came about because I’ve always written music, back in ACQ I was once the main writer, but in AMON AMARTH 99% of my riffs were rejected. And since I had a bunch of riffs and songs I thought was pretty good I decided to record them as a “solo” project. I had to bigger plans for that more than just record the songs, mostly for myself and I was a little to shy about it to actually try to get something more serious out of it. It also led to me re-connection with Leo and I think that project eventually led into us talking about reforming as THE PLAGUE (THIS ENDING).
What is your method of composing? Are you the type of musician that wants to jam new music in the studio or do you prefer having everything ready, with just some final touches in the studio?
Fredrik Anderson: Me personally I much prefer to jam, but almost no one does that anymore.
In your personal Facebook page you’ve said some things about the conditions that left you out of AMON AMARTH. You said about bad behaviour from your ex-companions. Accusations for drum-stick tricks that were considered to be dangerous… (that’s ridiculous!) and bad division of your payment methods. Can you inform us briefly about the things that made you leave AMON AMARTH? (especially for the ones that didn’t have the chance to read your statements at your page).
Fredrik Anderson: There had been some friction between me and the other members for quite some time. It seemed to me like they were ganging up on me even if they never really truly let me in to be “one of them”, not even in the early years. But at least back then we could hang out together and we called each other friends. In later years, and I can only guess, but perhaps they started to feel that since we were splitting all money equally either I should be more grateful and do what they told me to. Or they simply started to think it was wrong that I should get equally paid, I don’t know.
But in the end, whatever I did or say – it was wrong. I specifically remember one of the last times I played in Greece, it was the last day of the tour and we were flying home the next day. While I was warming up for the show Olli came up to me and said my snare hits were not consistent enough. He said I played too soft during sound check and too loud during the show or, more specifically, he said the individual hits were either low or loud. Since I know for a fact this is bull shit, I got really pissed off. I might not be the most technical drummer, but if something, at least I’m consistent. I thought it was really untactical to come with these complaints 5 min before show and it ruined the whole show for me.
And there were lots of other occasions like this where they would just say I’m wrong about something, that my opinion were wrong or simply silly. It got very frustrating and it built up to really strong friction.
You were AMON AMARTH’s drummer from 1998 up to 2015. Their greatest albums were released with you behind the kit and for me, as a drummer, you are one of my biggest influences. I suppose that being in the band for so many years, was a huge factor of your evolution as a drummer. How did you see yourself evolving from album to album?
Fredrik Anderson: Sadly, I feel that I have actually evolved more in the years after AMON AMARTH than all the years I did in the band. Well, I think I still evolved, especially since I at least practiced my instrument. But I got also very locked and comfortable. And although we spent so much time in the practice room actually writing songs I never really got any time to practice and evolve my playing. A typical song-writing session in the rehearsal room would look like; meet up at 9 and gear up, guitar players jamming some riff trying to find a note or something. At this time my job was to just sit around, silently and without playing, until they needed to try something out on drums when they told me to play. We did this for 8 hrs/day, 5 days/week. So I basically spent the whole day waiting by the drum kit, not being allowed to play. After a full day in the rehearsal room I didn’t exactly feel like staying another couple of hours alone to practice.
What are your memories from the early years in AMON AMARTH? Do you remember the first time you came to Greece, back in 2007?
Fredrik Anderson: I guess 2007 can’t really be described as the early days of AMON AMARTH 😉 but I remember one of the first times in Greece, where I played on a HUUUUGE drum riser, I think it was like 2 meters high! That was cool, and slightly scary cause it was not super stable! 🙂
What was the trigger for you to become a drummer? How many years are you playing drums? What were your influences?
Fredrik Anderson: Hehe… for me it was actually a bit of a “control freak” thing. Since I started out playing the guitar, when I switched to drums I was still the main songwriter. So, as a drummer I wrote the songs AND I played the drums, that way I had more control… I was young 😉
It is a fact that when someone listens at your drumming style, he can immediately realize that it is you behind the kit. In my opinion, being recognised by your playing style is the ultimate goal for a musician! How would you characterize yourself as a musician after all those years of drumming if, somehow, you could see yourself playing from the audience’s side?
Fredrik Anderson: Well thank you! I don’t know it is a fact, but it makes me of course really proud and happy if someone think my playing style is that distinct and somewhat unique!
I see myself as a stable, consistent and tight drummer. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist, meaning I do everything I can to NOT do wrong. I hate making errors. So my goal has always been to be really tight, trying to get every hit exactly in the right spot at the right time and with the right timing. Even with that kind of precise drumming, I still think I have a groove and that I’m able to put my feelings in the drumming even in the smallest most subtle ways. And it’s my hope and wish that it’s noticed and that my passion for my drumming and the music shines through.
Would you like to give us some information about your equipment? What are you currently using in studio and at your live shows? Do you have any endorsements?
Fredrik Anderson: I’m “technically” endorsed by Pearl, Meinl, Vic Firth and Evans but only cause they haven’t officially ended their endorsement. I also haven’t asked for anything from them for a few years now. But they were very kind to me for many years and I like their stuff so I’m happy to keep promoting the things I still have and use. My main drum kit is a Pearl Masterworks kit that is based on their Reference series but with more oak and more bubinga for extra punch. That’s the kit I recorded the new NETHERBIRD with. I’m still playing my Mb20 Cymbals and Byzance Chinas from Meinl. Evans drum heads trying new heads every once in a while but mostly I prefer basic G2s and EMAD Heavy weights on kicks. Vic Firth sticks I use are X5a.
Taking under consideration that your time is limited, do you have any time to listen to new bands and new music? If yes, what has caught your attention lately?
Fredrik Anderson: I try to catch up with everything new under death and black, provided it gets in my playing lists or that I know about the release. Lately I’ve been spinning the new, fantastic BORKNAGAR CD. I absolutely love ICS Vortex’ voice!
Do you know any Greek bands and musicians?
Fredrik Anderson: Hmm.. Unfortunately only the most known ones I guess. ROTTING CHRIST and of course my friends in SEPTICFLESH who I’ve toured with a lot!
Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure having you with with us. The final words for your Greek fans are yours.
Fredrik Anderson: Hoping and waiting eagerly to meet you all some time soon again for some rakomelo! Check out my current bands and if you like it, share it with your friends and family! Let your local promoter know about us and that you wish to see us live!
Thanks Nick for the great questions and for your interest in me and my music!
Interview: Nick Samios
Cover Artwork: Chrysa Antoniadi
Related Link: Fredrik Anderson – Facebook Page