TUMBA - ROCK CITY
TUMBA - ROCK CITY
It’s about 3PM and we’re currently crunching through the snow outside of Amon Amarth’s original HQ: a tiny, linoleum floored pizza place that served as their pre-gig hangout, their post-tour crash pad, their office, their board room, and just about every other purpose you can imagine back in their ancient 1990s prehistory: mainly, it’s where the locals get their beer on.
From a distance though it’s just another unremarkable concrete slab in the band’s nondescript hometown suburb of Tumba which, as you quickly learn, may look close to the bustling metropolis of Stockholm on a Google map, but when Amon Amarth haunted these outskirts they may as well have been across the sea.
It’s impossible to overstate just how important living in the margins was to the young Vikings-to-be. They weren’t just on the periphery of Sweden’s famous death metal scene, but they also came along just a little too late to be pulled along by fair winds generated by that early 90s creative gale.
Ted and Olavi are walking us through who in the band had a car, who didn’t, who had a day job, who worked weekends - it’s exhausting just to listen to: a gordian knot of the scheduling and logistical ass-pains that face every band when they’re just starting out and ensure that very few make it any further. Amon Amarth didn’t just make it, but a number one record in Germany? As you look around here and the stories spill out, the fact that they managed to play gigs just a few miles down the road seems like a remarkable achievement in itself. It’s here though that the soul of the Pursuit of Vikings resides - not the high adventure of touring or the glory of headlining the world’s greatest festivals - that’s the band you’ve already seen. When director Phil and I and the band sat down, we agreed there’s no point in telling Amon Amarth fans about what they already know. To tell a story that matters we’d have to put our backs into it and dig a little deeper away from the neon lights. It’s the frustrations and feuds of those humble beginnings that would forge the band that Amon Amarth would someday become. We visit their old rehearsal studios, their old schools. Lagret, a complex of practice rooms where Amon Amarth played their first gig is particularly notable - it's been decades since they've been back. It stirs memories. It’s getting dark though and so we get back in our van and head towards the city, where Olavi and Ted want to show us some of the buildings they helped put together when they worked construction. More stories emerge, and it’s starting to become apparent how far these guys have really come.
Keep checking back for more production diary entries, and if you haven’t yet ordered The Pursuit Of Vikings, you can do that here.