Throwback Thursday: Interview with Amulet (1993-2007)

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#throwbackthursday. Wanna do a little time travel? I did this interview on the 11th of August 2007, exactly tomorrow ten years ago, one day before the farewell concert of the legendary Hardcore-Band AMULET at Middelalderparken in Oslo. (You can watch the whole show on Youtube) I got the chance to talk to singer Torgny Amdam, guitar player Lars Rasmussen, drummer Jonas Thire and bassplayer Rasmus in front of Garage-Rockclub, that does not exist by now anymore as well. The interview was originally published at Vainstream Music, re-issue by courtesy of Vainstream.

Manu: How do you feel one day before quitting forever?

Torgny: Very weird. I don’t think anyone has realized what we’re going into. At the same time on the other hand we are very happy and focused. At least I am.

Lars: I’m really looking forward to play. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited.

Torgny: And there is also the sense that we really deserve enjoying it on stage, the five of us. We have done so much for this band, every individual member has worked so hard, so we really deserve to have a good time and hopefully it will rub off to the audience.

Manu: Why did you have so many shows, like the „last club show“, the „last show ever“, …?

Torgny: I don’t know, maybe we went for an easier landing.
Lars: After fourteen years.

Torgny: We had a little more gas in us, you know. We are a band from Oslo and it’s a nice time in Oslo, we played the Øya-Festival before, so it feels good to end it here and celebrate it instead of hiding it. Some bands break up and hide it.

Manu: So it’s a good sign for you are not fighting in the band, because then it wouldn’t have been possible to go on for one more year?

Torgny: Exactly!

Jonas: Then it would probably been one more show here in Oslo, because we had to do it.

Lars: If we hated each others guts, that wouldn’t be possible.

Torgny: We had some times when we decided to break up. I think it’s very important to us psychologically to go out of this relation, this experience, with a positive edge and not end it in a negative edge.

Jonas: These festivals were not planned at all. When we had the first talk, we just wanted to do some last shows, maybe do a tour and then we got the opportunity to release the record, the collection thing, and then these festivals were like a bonus. That was pretty cool. We actually said in an norwegian interview, that it would be cool to play the last show ever at a festival, the Øya-Festival, with Oslo in the background. And then it happened.

Manu: How did the norwegian people react on the split?

Jonas: It has been different reactions. Everyting from „Okay, then see you next time“ – „No, we are splitting up!“ – „Really?“ to people crying. So it has been really different. A lot of people don’t know it.

Lars: Some people that hasn’t followed the band for the past years ask „Haven’t you guys split up already?“

Torgny: There has been a lot of weird reactions.

Jonas: My thoughts about splitting the band was that we didn’t want to do another record, making songs for a year, recording and maybe a year and a half to the next record. We just wanted to use the last of the energy that was in the band and it would be wrong just to quit when we first talked. Because we still love to play and have fun. The tour in Norway was so much fun.

Torgny: I got a rush, I got a good rush for tomorrow. It will be the last time of the five of us to be together. That’s very important (Everyone laughs) Cause every constellation is special. If you have been in a constellation for so long it’s even more special. You know Jazz musicians, they switch all the time and I’m sure they notice that it’s very different each time. And for us, we have been so together all the time, so it’s very special to play this last gig. And I will really enjoy, cause I know it’s never gonna happen again, I will never play with this constellation again, with these exact type of musicians.


Manu: At the last interview I did with Jonas he said you’d probably come back if there is big demand. Would you agree on this?

Jonas [laughs]: Did I say that? No I didn’t!

Manu: Yes, you did!

Jonas: I said it might never ever happen, at least I don’t think so, but if there would be a huge amount of money involved in ten years, a really huge demand of people, …

Torgny: These are the two factors: huge demand of people, most important, and huge demand of money. If you only do it to have a sorry excuse to be away from your wife and to make out with 17-year-old girls, it’s not about music anymore, it’s about fucking fourty-year-old crisis, and I don’t wanna be a part of it.

Lars: I mean me personally, I have the copyright of the name, so I will play alone, [laughing] different line-ups every year. Or maybe I’ll end up alone with a drum-machine.

Manu: But you would never say you are never coming back again? There could be some reasons?

Lars: Never say never!

Torgny: Never say never, but we haven’t really thought about it. I just don’t want to end up underground just to play. I want to be very heartfelt by the people. It’s gonna be something worthy. I have seen a lot of reunions, that has left a not good taste in my mouth.

“If you only do it to have a sorry excuse to be away from your wife and to make out with 17-year-old girls, it’s not about music anymore, it’s about fucking fourty-year-old crisis, and I don’t wanna be a part of it.”

Torgny Amdam about a possible reunion

Manu: This is a pretty hard one: If you had just one word to describe the last 15 years in the band, what would it be?

Torgny: Jesus!

Jonas: I would say thanks.

Lars: But thats not your experience though.

Jonas: I would say thanks for all these years and I’m glad to be a part of this. All of us had the same dream of being in a band and go on tour, releasing records, releasing in other countries, going to the states and play in England. I think we got a really huge part of the whole being a band thing and we have been a band in Norway, touring Norway and we got even more than that, you know?

Lars: My word would be proud. Proud of everything I learned, I’ve done and everything I’ve experienced during the 15 years.

Jonas: That’s good as well.

Torgny: The word that popped into my mind would probably be intensity. Everything from the hard work to the extreme being on stage, to the laughs, everything. Intensity!

Lars: Rasmus is too scary and he went away. I bet he would have said money or something like that.

Amulet Torgny AmdamManu: We’ll ask him later. It’s not too bad cause he doesn’t know what you said.

Jonas: Rasmus, one word, for the time in the band.

Rasmus: I would say great. It’s been great. Some very cool things. Some not so cool. All in all it has been a fantastic time.

Jonas: How many years has it been for you?

Rasmus: Three.

Jonas: Three years only? It seems like five.

Rasmus: It seems like forever.

Manu: Was there a special show somewhere?

Torgny: I loved our Berlin shows since at the first time we played in 98. Almost all the time we had good shows in Berlin, haven’t we? Did we ever have a bad show there?

Jonas: Yeah, last year, or summer two years ago, after the Full Force Festival. With STRUNG OUT or TERROR.

Torgny: Oh yeah. That was kinda lame. And we have warmed up for GUNS’N’ROSES. We played huge festival shows, in Norway it’s gonna be pretty big tomorrow and we have done everything between playing really small clubs and playing huge arena. We played everywhere.

Manu: Funny you mentioned a german city first.

Torgny: Yeah, but it’s true. Germany has been good for us.

Jonas: I remember the Quart Festival in 2001. That was the first time I really got nervous and I thought „Now we are getting there“. That was the first time that we, lets say it that way, were a bit mainstream in Norway, not only getting the scene, but also songs on the radio and get music out to more people. And that was the TURBONEGRO-Reunion-Show as well. Their first show.

Lars: That was actually the second. They played Sweden first. 2002. And we played Øya the following year with TURBONEGRO

Jonas: I remember that very well. I was sweating and shaking.

Lars: I remember my first show. I was so scared.

Torgny: Yeah, you threatened to go home.

Lars: Yeah and you worried „Is he serious?“ I was seventeen.

Torgny: Now, that was the second show you threatened. The first show we ever did was with BIG BANG.

Amulet Wiesbaden

Manu: How come you played with GUNS’N’ROSES?

Lars: The promoter of the show asked us.

Rasmus: Because the support band cancelled.

Lars: That was BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. They cancelled. They couldn’t play. So they asked us. And GUNS’N’ROSES had to OK the band, or Axl had to okay the band, and he said it was okay. So we played with GUNS’N’ROSES which is pretty far out. We just called it the “Battle of Bandanas”.

Manu: Maybe the worst show was the second-to-last Wiesbaden show?

Lars: It was actually great.

Torgny: But the crowd sucked. The thing I remember from that show was the BUBONIX people had that massage dude and he gave us back massages, so I thought that one was okay. But the crowd… But I’m always like if the crowd hates me I just walk them out.

Jonas: I got a tattoo from the singer the next day. Thats funny.

Manu: Who did the artworks for your CD’s, like „Danger! Danger!“ or „Blessed and Cursed“? Is it the same artist?

Lars: No, „Danger! Danger!“ was Jonas and Robin, our old bass player.

Manu: Oh, you did it by yourselves?

Jonas: Robin was the guy who knew all the technical stuff, I was just the guy with the ideas.

Lars: That’s actually why Robin left the Band. Thats what he does now. He is better at that.

Jonas: And the „Solid“ Album was a good friend of us, called Are Kleivan. He is also the guy who is doing all the artwork for the Oya Festival. And there as well we had our ideas.

Lars: „Blessed and Cursed“ is the same guy, and Jonas. Jonas is always the art director.

Manu: I see you have the setlist for tomorrow. How did you decide on the songs?

Torgny: We thought it had to be the songs that meant the most to the people, and the songs that meant the most for us.

Lars: And to get a good spread of our whole career. And I think thats it.

AmuletSolidManu: I thought you would end with „Remember“.

Torgny: No, we are ending with „Naked Eye“. Of course!

Lars: It is just the whole career. Every record.

Manu: So you were sitting together, deciding on the songs?

Torgny: Yeah, pretty much.

Manu: Some weeks ago I saw DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS and I thought they were very influenced by you. Do you think so, too?

Rasmus: I recorded all of their albums. That explains it. That was the answer.

Lars: They kind of liked the same bands I liked, when I started playing guitar, when I started Amulet with Torgny. So I don’t know if they are inspired by us.

Rasmus: It’s the same melodic edge to Hardcore.

Lars: They’re good.

Rasmus: We know those guys very well, what can I say?

Lars: The drummer has played in DAMAGE CONTROL, with Espen. Other than that there is no connection.

Manu: Jonas is playing with SILVER now. What about you? He told something about THE DEMAGOGS.

Torgny: Yeah thats my new project.

Rasmus: I’m playing with Espen in THE ANCHORS.

Lars: And I don’t have a name for mine yet.

Manu: But you are planning on something?

Lars: Yeah. Writing and stuff. I have to do something. Nobody is gonna quit music. That is for sure.

Torgny: That’s for sure!

Manu: The thing with BLACK DIAMOND BRIGADE, was this just for the one song?

Torgny: That was just for the one song.

Lars: I would really like to see that band together again.

Torgny: It could be. We tried to get it together once, but Knut from TURBONEGRO is too busy.

“Thanks for all these years and I’m glad to be a part of this. All of us had the same dream of being in a band […] I think we got a really huge part of the whole being a band thing and we have been a band in Norway, touring Norway and we got even more than that”

Jonas Thire about his time in the band

Manu: Jonas also told me that you were trying to get a last show in Germany, so why did it not happen?

Torgny: That was a thing between money and time. Every german should be as smart as you and take the consequence of this and come to Oslo.

Jonas: We really wanted to do it, one last show in Berlin and one in Hamburg.

Amulet Jonas ThireRasmus: But that would have costed us a lot of money, so we just didn’t have the money to do it. That was the reason.

Torgny: That sucks, I have to say it.

Jonas: Yeah it sucks. We owed Germany that. You can tell Germany that we really wanted to. I felt like I was the only one that answered people on Myspace. There were so many people asking. And all the time I said „Yeah, we will maybe in May“ And then it was „Maybe June“ and then I didn’t know what to answer anymore. It’s also a shame that the Danger album never got out in Germany. It only got out in Scandinavia. How many records did they sell? Three?

Lars: Maybe more than three…

Manu: I got to ask this: Remember the poster you took with you from Wiesbaden, the „Seniorenhippie Dieter Thomas“. What happened to him?

Torgny: Ah yeah, Dieter Thomas, ask Lars!

Jonas: He went down with our old rehearsal space . Remember the poster we had? Senior Hippie Dieter Thomas?

Lars: Oh yeah. That went down when they tore down our rehearsal space.

Manu: But you had it hanging there? Thats sweet.

Rasmus: Yeah, it was there all the time.

Lars: Of course!

Manu: Is there anything you wanna say to the German fans?

Jonas: Sorry for not coming during our last shows. Start collecting those money and talk to you in five years. You could start an Amulet-Fond. No, thanks for all the good times and thanks for sticking around and you can see the last show on Youtube probably.

Lars: I can’t say anymore than thank you, check out all the projects, it will be really interesting, a lot of different stuff I can tell you.

(Pictures: Promo and Manu, Wiesbaden 2007)

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