Climbing imaginary mountains to Strat-ospheric success, with Amund Maarud.

“When I was a kid we played shows on a Saturday and worked on the farm on Sunday. It’s easy to become humble when you are carrying rocks, cutting down trees, and plowing the fields. You are reminded that everything is bigger than yourself.”

Amund Maarud

Amund Maarud is perhaps best known as a blues musician, and widely regarded as one of the best blues guitarists in Norway. He’s shared the stage with many renowned artists over the years, including the likes of Seaskick Steve, Brian Setzer (Stray Cats), The Jon Spencer Explosion, and Mekong Delta Blues Master, Kong Nay. It’s a journey that he embarked upon at an incredibly young age, first laying his hands on a guitar at the age of two, and from that moment an unbreakable bond with music was formed. At the age of six, he formed his first band, ‘MaarudKara‘, with his brother, Henrik on drums and their father on bass, performing live shows regularly together throughout the following decade. At the turn of the millennium, he pursued a solo career, backed by his A.M. Band, releasing Ripped, Stripped & Southern Fried in 2003 with Seaskick Steve as Producer. The album was a success and nominated for the Norwegian Grammy Award (the Spellemannprisen) in the Blues/country category, however it wasn’t to be… not just yet, at least.

Amund’s appetite for variety and experimentation led to a departure from traditional blues with the initiation of ‘The Grand’ in 2006 – a formidable tight-knit, alternative/ psych-rock band with brother Henrik on drums, Per Tobro on bass and Eirik Tovsrud Knutsen on keys and percussion. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2007 and their live show at WDR Rockpalast has been documented in three parts and thankfully (given the band are currently on hiatus), still available on YouTube; a scintillating performance, saturated with crunchy guitars, incredible solos, thunderous, rolling drums and Amund’s incredible vocal cutting through the fuzz.

Amund’s love of music and dedication to the guitar has resulted in a treasure trove of incredibly diverse music and many outstanding achievements; headlining the Royal Albert Hall in London, tours across Europe, Russia, the USA, South Korea, Cambodia, and Japan. Following a return to his bluesy roots, with the release of his solo album Electric in 2011, he was finally awarded the Norwegian Grammy Award in the Blues category. He’s also co-owner of record label and recording studio, Snaxville Recordings, situated in the beautiful surroundings of the family farm in rural Norway – and publishing company, Morris Electric, with song placements in HBO’s Titans and Lilyhammer, The Oprah Show, Netflix, and Norway´s National Theatre amongst others.

With his cowboy boot pressed hard again the throttle, he’s a self-confessed workaholic with an insatiable drive for exploring musical boundaries in a collaborative fashion. However, the sentiment behind ‘Wolves’, his latest single with Lucky Lips, sees him gently touching the brakes for a moment of reflection… though, it is just a moment. Their album is expected early next year. It’s nothing short of incredible, awe-inspiring even, to consider all this… from a man who’s not long since turned forty years old.

We’ve had the incredible honour of speaking with Amund, (mid-tour), about the upcoming release, his life in music, and how he defines success… his response to which demonstrates a degree of humility you wouldn’t typically expect from such an honorary figure. Let’s get into it…

Henrik and Amund Maarud, (left to right) aged 7 and 9 respectively.

Amund, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, especially given you’ve got a crazy schedule at the moment with the tour, and release of your new album with Lucky Lips… not to mention running your own record label!

Your shows over the past couple of months are in support of your latest single and forthcoming album, Wolves, with Oslo’s bluegrass and Americana band, Lucky Lips. How have you been enjoying the gigs so far and, having spent so long in lockdown, how does it feel to be playing to live audiences once again?

First of all, thank you so much for reaching out, it means a lot to me! We are currently doing a small tour in Norway to support the upcoming album and the already released single. The reception has been really good, still the reopening takes time, and people are not going out like they used to before the pandemic. It’s all totally understandable and I think it goes without saying that our lives and our approach to everyday living will be different for a while. Everybody has suffered differently through this time and we all need time to heal in our own ways. Playing live again, however, has been just fantastic. When I’m on stage I just dive into the music and I feel weightless for the whole show. The sounds, and how they blend together, are still magical to me. Being away from the live scene for a year and a half except for a few occasions has been both good and bad. Good because I’ve had lots of time with my kids and I have had lots of time to really focus on songwriting, practicing and making demos, and recording this album. The bad part of it is that you begin to doubt yourself, your approach and the idea that live music will ever feel the same again. My whole life I’ve been focused on playing music together with people to enhance the sum of its parts and make it different every time. That’s really something I’ve missed in the past year and a half. Only playing music by yourself must be like a chef only eating his own food. You get tired of the same flavors. But at the same time, it makes you seek out new ways of doing music, the approach to your instrument, and your songwriting process.

To say you’re a busy man just seems a bit of an understatement! Is it a habit for you to have lots of projects going on at the same time or more of a necessity?

I believe it’s a mix between a restless soul, a curious mind, and the need to find out if I can measure up as a player in many different settings instead of growing stale in just one thing. The other big component has been to make an income and build a name. The musical upsides are many; I can often feel that inspiration ‘bleeds‘ from one project to another and that opens up new spaces for me. I have to think quick on my feet and get caught in the moment while I’m pondering a way to let the music breathe, and fuel it with energy. Every night is different and often when I play with, for instance, Lucky Lips and Amgala Temple, at the same festival, the musical space between the projects can seem vast. But I’m still a part of both bands, it’s still my Fender Stratocaster a few effects and a couple of amps, and whatever I can carve out from my imagination and the energy from the other musicians at that particular moment. Being on the road for 200 days a year is certainly not the easiest way to make a living, but I’ve learnt a lot playing with magnificent musicians like Gard Nilssen and Lars Horntveth in Amgala Temple, Stian Carstensen, Ola Kvernberg, Knut Reiersrud and so on. These are some of the worlds greatest musicians, they are from Norway and I’m proud to call them my friends and colleagues.

As an outsider looking in, it seems incredible to me that someone can manage so many separate initiatives. How do you manage to find time for them all?

Thinking back on it, especially after this hiatus from travelling, I also wonder how I found the time. I’m thinking fewer projects and smarter approaches will be the recipe for me for a while now. But my background as a musician is that I’m used to playing 5-6 nights a week. So working my fingers to the bone is something I’m used to. But I’m thinking about changing that a little bit and enjoy having some time off to focus on fewer projects now.

I was fortunate to have discovered your latest single, Wolves. It instantly caught my attention and led me to read up on how it came to be. I believe the origin of it came to you whilst you were driving, and speaks of working ‘unchristian hours’, late into the evening. Can you describe what this song means to you, and what you learned from it?

That’s totally true, the song was born while driving in my car at four in the morning. The sun was about to come up and there was a peace surrounding every house and building. The shops were closed and it was this sense of total serenity. And there I was, tired as hell coming from another gig to feed the monster inside myself that used to think that I didn’t exist unless I played almost every night, pouring my heart and soul out to anyone who had bought a ticket. The song is about trying to describe that bubble you’re in while you’re doing everything backwards from most people. You work when they have time off and you work when they work. Sometimes you just wanna sleep in a bit.

Shortly after the pandemic hit us musicians couldn’t work at all, but some worked harder and more than ever before. I’m thinking about health workers, doctors, cleaning personnel, drivers, etc. They did all that so we could be as safe as we could in these scary times. So the song took on a wider meaning to me after it was written. But to me personally, it carries a sense of pride in my line of work and also an anthemic excuse for being a little bit different at times. Being the only dad who wears shades, cowboy boots and has a car full of backline picking up the kids from school. I’m still very proud of the fact that I can do this for a living and the song is also a reminder to myself that you don’t have to hit the same wall twice. And to take it easy, the music is still there.

It’s an incredible song, and I believe you’d been a fan of Lucky Lips before you guys actually started working together?  Can you describe the feeling and chemistry within the collaborative group when you were composing, recording, and finally listening back to this album?  

Ever since my brother Henrik produced their first EP and then album in our old studio around 2005, I always thought about their collective groove being so damn cool, heavy, and breathing at the same time. They have the grit and brilliance of Stian´s guitar, the incredible groove of Pål on drums, and the musical lines from Even’s banjo that lifts the melodies without being flashy. Erlend is one of my favorite bass players and locks in with Pål. To top it off Malin Pettersen is one of the most exciting singer-songwriters in her genre and also has a thriving solo career. With the Lucky Lips I made new dear friends and getting to know them as humans and musicians has been a real thrill for me. Together we are a band with a lot of room for improvisation, trial and error and everybody is looking to serve the song as best we can. I have learned a lot when it comes to trusting the song and the arrangement. Still, I am Mr. Hungry-Hands, running around, stomping my feet, and trying to climb the imaginary mountain every night. They keep their cool longer than me, but when they go for it they take no prisoners. 

Amund Maarud and Lucky Lips

When we finally were able to record this album, we set up in the big room under our studio at the family farm barn. That meant we could see and hear each other and that’s when we sound the best. My brother was in the control room upstairs recording it all and making suggestions along the way. The songs were pretty much rehearsed beforehand from demos I had made in Logic with drums, bass, harmonies, guitars and everything. Some things we worked out there and then, together. Thats’ something I’ve done for many years; making musical mood boards or mockups to best describe how I hear the song. Sometimes the final recording is close to the original idea, and sometimes the ideas from the band makes for a whole better song. I’m not too precious about it now, I think I used to be more of a control freak. But ask them, I could be wrong. When I sought out Steve Evans to mix it, I knew we were on to something cool, and a bit different from our first album together in 2018. Evans has mixed, among many other things, the ‘Mighty Rearranger’ album by Robert Plant. That record changed my musical life so I knew we were in good hands with Steve. When the single came back it knocked me out, He nailed it beyond my imagination and the soundscape he was able to create from our recording in the old pig house is something I’m very proud of. It’s a sense of accomplishment of giving the songs a proper home.

Many artists tend to ‘stay in their lane’ throughout their careers, sticking to a particular genre, however there’s incredible diversity in your music, from blues, rock & psych-rock, folk, impro-jazzrock to rootsy bluegrass styles – and often blending those into something completely new. Where does that genre curiosity, or drive to explore and combine multiple disciplines come from?

To me it’s centered around all a bluesy guitar approach and my aim is to explore many musical settings my guitar vocal can fit without changing too much of its core. When I was 10 years old I discovered the blues and it became my lifelong vehicle for understanding other types of music. At the same time, I discovered country and Americana through artists like Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Vince Gill. I was instantly in awe of their musical expression and the twangy Telecaster was something I dabbled with for years to come, and still do.

But the storytelling wasn’t something I felt like I could pull off in my early teens. I was much more instantly drawn to the emotional weight of my heroes in the blues genre. The greats like Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker, Little Milton, BB King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Albert Collins all spent thousands of hours in my CD-player, often with me playing along while dreaming about having a life where I get to play music all the time. The guitar has been my go to friend all through my life and it is the only thing that can stop time for me. I remember I used to play soft through my Fender amp and sit closely in front of it and hear how the tones were shaped from attack to the time it died out. The tonal quality of an electric guitar is something that keeps to enchant and mesmerize me. Since my brother is one of my favorite drummers, and we’ve been playing together for 30 years, it’s fair to say that I’m crazy about grooves and how they interact with the other instruments. Live at Leeds by The Who was a huge eye-opener when it comes to that interplay, the same with The Alman Brothers. I think my search for different musical expressions has been just as much a search for different ways of interplay and where the song lies within the band. With Lucky Lips the songs are the thing, with Amgala Temple it’s about the composition but just as much about how we treat the songs every night. After playing guitar for over 35 years I’m still searching and trying to figure things out every day.

Your passion for guitar is unquestionable, and you’ve already touched on ‘pouring (your) heart and soul’ into each show you’ve performed, for the people. One of the artists we interviewed recently said “don’t make music to please, be pleased to make music”. I love that idea. It came to mind when I read somewhere that some of your fans weren’t so happy when you moved away from blues and more towards a rock style (around the time you’d formed ‘The Grand’). Is that something you were aware of, and assuming so – did that concern you, or lead you to reconsider your musical direction at all?

Thats a great saying, I could not agree more. What I saw early on was that the blues crowd tends to expect the artist to go through a certain programme of grooves in the course of the concert. As I was getting more and more eager to stretch out and experiment it did not always suit that crowd. There were heated debates about how I had ‘let the blues down’, and I remember it was a frustrating time before I got more songs together that showed them what I was about. We spent a huge amount of time writing and jamming trying to find ourselves again in a more 60s oriented sound. That was the start of The Grand. It was very much inspired by the likes of Cream, The Who, Hendrix, Wishbone Ash and The Stooges. We kept the blues, but we changed the grooves, songs and the sound. The blues crowd forgot about us for a while and we got to play some really cool venues including Rockpalatz, Roskilde and so forth. It was an amazing experience and shaped me as a musician forever. 

I wasn’t too concerned about whether my music was liked or not, but I have always been concerned if I am in musical directions that didn’t speak to me. It has to come from a place of truth for me. Otherwise, I would feel like a fraud. So when I was 22 I was the most hardcore blues enthusiast and slowly it became something I didn’t believe in anymore without changing my approach. I think in 2011 with the Electric album I found a good way for me to fuse together my blues influences into my own style. And then I moved on rocking it up again with ‘Dirt’ and ‘Volt’. Then I sat down with Lucky Lips to find a different approach again. And so it goes, I guess. But it starts with me and that it has to come from the heart every time.

Amund Maarud at the Royal Albert Hall

I have to say, I absolutely devoured your three-part videos of The Grand playing WDR Rockpalast. Incredible, energetic performance with a bit of a Queens Of The Stone Age and Wolfmother vibe going on. I loved it! Each of the band members look to be totally dialled in with each other. What prompted you guys to take a break, and can you see the band making a comeback in the future?

Thank you very much, it’s something I’m very proud of. That whole period with The Grand was a time where I think we learned a lot, the four of us. I really feel I was pushed forward In terms of how I could use my blues background in creating something that was louder and more hard-hitting. After working a lot during those five years it all kinda fell apart due to the fact that we were broke and had run out of steam a bit. A motorcycle gang moved into the booth next to the studio and that made it really difficult to work from 4 PM to 4 AM. We had already stopped working daytime because the offices upstairs complained about the noise. When those bikers moved in and wanted to kill us for being so loud it kinda wore us down. I remember putting two 4×12 Marshalls with two 100 watt amps and blasting the guitar out the door to get back at them for pretending to run over my brother with a motorcycle. I almost got beat up but one of the bikers held the angriest one back thankfully. The material is still there and we see each other from time to time so it would be really fun to try it again. But I don’t see how our schedules would allow it in the near future.

Very noble, sticking up for your brother like that despite the repercussions! Music obviously runs in the family – your brother took to the drums, and I read that you grew up surrounded by guitars. Can you tell us about your musical heritage, how you started your love affair with blues music and guitar playing?

Yeah, my father has played the guitar all his life and also trombone, piano, and bass. He comes from the Neil Young songbook, that’s the music he cares the absolute most about. He also was the bandleader of a big band for quite a few years. When I was two I got a guitar with 3 nylon strings and a cowboy hat. I think it just sparked something. Being around the bands my dad played in and also a group of young musicians that he was teaching was very inspiring. I wanted to do that, you know. Aged five or six I got my first proper six string acoustic guitar and that set me on a path to learn chords and play songs. The music was what I could find on the cassettes in the house, everything from Kiss to Neil Sedaka and Shakin´Stevens. My brother was starting to play drums and got his first drum kit when he was five, and I got my first electric guitar when I was seven. It was a cheap Les Paul copy I got for $30.

And I believe you still own a very special white 1980s Fender Strat, which you’ve described as ‘home’ to you and the instrument that you’d learned on as a child?

The white Stratocaster was in the house, but I didn’t realize yet that it was the guitar I really wanted. But the Strat fell into my hands when I came close to being ten years old and heard live guitar soloing over a 12 bar form at the shopping mall. We played there also with our first family band, Maarudkara, at the talent show. That Christmas I wanted a CD player and my parents also bought me ‘The Best of John Lee Hooker‘. It stopped me in my tracks, I wanted to play the blues for real. I started exploring through the few channels of inspiration there was back then. No internet, so if you got a copy of Guitar Player or something, you read it so many times it fell apart. I listened to Buddy Guy very early on, he had such a striking guitar sound and singing. He was so expressive. Then all the greats were studied and loved and played along to for the years to come. It was 80% blues and 20% country and I very early on tried to blend the two and see what could go where.

As the list of musical heroes grew the Stratocaster became a mainstay with me. I recently had it refretted after being out of use for many years and you won’t believe the amount of gunk on the fretboard and the frets were completely worn down. I used to play for hours and hours every daydreaming about one day getting to do this on the big stages. In my 20´s I had many Gibsons but a Strat always seemed to find its way back. It’s a love story, I still think it’s so beautiful and expressive. It became a goal of mine to be able to go to any gig with just a Stratocaster. I took many years to find my voice, but I think I’m getting close now. The thing is that some guitar models have so many signatures in them and when you pick them up you tend to go for that sound. But I wanted to find my own mix and that’s a lifelong journey. I still play guitar every day and it is like being at the lab trying to get the potion right. And then I get to try out what I figured out on stage, but when I’m on stage I’m just being taken over by this energy and sheer will to make the music go places. So there are bound to be a lot of unnecessary notes here and there. But I’m still working on it. Playing more and playing less comes in waves for me. Now I’m going to cut back on the notes a bit and try to focus on playing less. I always record every show and listen back to it to check if it makes sense when you’re not full of adrenaline. It’s a good way to learn from your mistakes and a good way to pat yourself on the back when something is actually good, too.

Amund Maarud and Kong Nay

You’ve mentioned a number of artists already, though who would you say were your primary musical influences when you were growing up, and how has your taste in music developed over the years?

From 60s pop from the age of two, to the blues from the age of 10. Artists like John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, BB King, Buddy Guy, Freddie King alongside the country greats like Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, and Buck Owens formed me at a young age. I was in my mid 20’s when I discovered rock music through Jimi Hendrix. Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple, and then on to Dinosaur Jr, Queens of the Stoneage, and Them Crooked Vultures. Then The Black Keys, which I’ve opened for twice, The White Stripes and Jack White. Then I discovered Blake Mills, Derek Trucks, White Denim, Jonathan Wilson, and so on. I think in general my musical taste has gone from very guitar-driven to more song-oriented over the years. I am also a big fan of productions that makes you dive into it instead of this massive wall of sound coming to get you. I think Dan Auerbach and Blake Mills are two of the finest producers around and they can really make a soundscape that pulls you in. In the past few years, I have been listening to a lot to electric African music from artists like Tinariwen, Bombino, Ali Farka Tourè, and Mdou Moctar. I love their groove and vibe and the guitar players are just out of this world.

Your 2003 blues album, Ripped, Stripped & Southern Fried, was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy, though it was your Electric album that earned you the award in 2011 a few years later. In addition, you’ve achieved the Edvard Grieg Composer Award and the Blues Award at Notodden Blues festival – both in 2016. You have your own star at the Blues Walk of Fame in Notodden alongside the likes of Ry Cooder, BB King, and Bonnie Raitt… Despite all of these amazing acknowledgments, you seem to have held onto a really down-to-earth attitude. How have you managed to stay ‘grounded’ and humble in a time when so many other artists today seem to be chasing fame and celebrity?

Thank you, I’m glad to hear I’m coming across that way. I think I started playing music long before I knew about the ‘bonuses’ that could come from fame. So I never chased that, it’s always been about music and that you are never better than your last show. I´m soon on my way to a gig with the Lucky Lips. I have recently listened to the recording of Friday’s show and I wanna go about my playing in a different way tonight. I’ll try to play less and communicate more. This is the stuff that keeps me grounded as an artist, I feel so free when I’m playing and I evaluate afterward. The great bass player and songwriter Bill Troiani used to play bass in my trio at the beginning of the 2000s along with my brother on drums. Every show he recorded with his Minidisc player and every Sunday was spent in the van listening to the show. It’s impossible to become big-headed after listening to 90 minutes of a Minidisc recording tapped from the mixer with almost no guitar and really loud vocals. It has taught me a lot and I still record the shows. It might seem too analytic and stale, but I never think about the recording when I’m playing. So it’s more like a photo finish snapshot of me doing my very best. And there is always room for improvement. Also, I believe that being nice to people is the only way to have a good life. I say what I mean and stand my ground, but I don’t pick fights and discussions for no reason. When I was a kid we played shows on a Saturday and worked on the farm on Sunday. It’s easy to become humble when you are carrying rocks, cutting down trees, and plowing the fields. You are reminded that everything is bigger than yourself.

I love that! I didn’t know you’d opened for The Black Keys a couple of times! I went through a stage of listening to them a lot some years ago, along with JJ Grey & Mofro! And, Seasick Steve! He produced your Ripped, Stripped & Southern Fried album… I believe you’ve also shared a stage with him too?

That is right, it was an amazing experience. I first met Steve before Christmas in 2001, he had moved to Notodden and brought the old Stax equipment, which he had bought that year, I think. The studio and he had so much vibe going on. He was so supportive and a lot of fun to be around, a very kind and gentle soul. We recorded a track then for a compilation album. Later in 2002, my trio with Bill Troiani and Henrik Maarud went to Notodden to record my debut solo album which was a nicely recorded version of our live set with some cool guests. Steve recorded and produced it and Blue Mood released it through Eric Malling. Eric is the same guy that made the Royal Albert Hall show happen years later. 

I even mixed it live with Steve on the analog mixer, panning the solos in and out as we printed the mixes to tape. He had old Fender Tweed amps and the place was just magical. We played together later that year as he was just starting to get his thing, what he is now famous for, together. I miss hanging out with him, it was inspiring. Also, there is so much I know now that I didn’t know then about music and it would be great to catch up. But that’s the way it goes in this business if you’re lucky you become really busy.

When it comes to getting ‘lucky’, everyone measures success differently, and you’ve enjoyed so many achievements in your career which are the direct result of your dedication to what you do as opposed to luck, dare I say. Looking back, what would you say has been your greatest success to date?

Thank you, I would say marrying my wife Anne, and having two beautiful girls, India and Frøy is my biggest achievement. The girls are now 8 and 10 and it´s not always easy to have a father out on the road all the time. I really put my efforts into being a good dad and a husband. They make me whole. And the other achievement is creating what I think is my own musical voice and just carrying on year after year and making new music.

Amund Maarud and Lucky Lips (Photography by Hans Arne Vedlog)

Great response! And, with regards to that relentless activity; touring and having been consistently active within the industry, there’s bound to have been some challenges along the way. Can you recall any major setbacks in your career, and how you managed to overcome them?

Yeah, I have experienced various things like being burnt out, very depressed, and broke. Having to travel all the time to make ends meet has been challenging at times. Sometimes the momentum isn’t there when releasing the music so we have to go back to the drawing board and make more music and release more albums. I’ve done a tour in the UK where very few people came because the promoter bailed on me and nobody knew we were coming. So you just dust off and keep going. There are so many incredibly talented people out there and everybody wants to be heard. So we all work really hard at it. Once we spent a ton of money to play in the Baltic with The Grand at this festival. When we got there everybody was stoned out of their minds. The show was delayed for four hours and when we finally took the stage around 2 am, everybody’s laying on their backs passed out. But you’re bound to get into situations like that. It is inevitable when you are full of energy and high hopes. And sometimes you can’t know beforehand, you have to get in the pool to get wet.

You’re now sitting on a pile of incredible songs. Looking back over the years, is there a particular song, or album that has significant meaning for you?

It has turned into a little pile now. The reason I started going for the songwriting initially was to never run out of songs. After The Grand Played the next biggest stage at Roskilde and were asked to play for 75 minutes with 40 minutes worth of songs in front of 14,000 people, I swore to myself that it wouldn’t happen again that I didn’t have enough material. I think the two songs that are most significant to me is Love That Burns, since it’s about growing up with a loving grandfather. The song takes the perspective on how he would see me now as a grown man. He passed away when I was ten and that was such a blow. We were really tight. The other song I would like to highlight is Wildchild. It is inspired by a tumultuous relationship I had many years ago and I play it in almost every show I play. Having a song that can be played over and over again without me getting tired of it is a gift to me. I also feel strongly about the new single, Wolves. I think that too is a song I will perform for many years to come.

Both ‘Love That Burns’ and ‘Wildchild’ can be found on the Volt album, which also includes one of my personal favourites, ‘Sticky’. And of course, we have the new Wolves album to look forward to early next year which I expect will be your primary focus for now – though, we’ve established you don’t sit still for too long. With all the collaborations you’ve been part of, and the various styles of music you’ve produced, what are your aspirations for the future?

Well, you are right about that I don’t sit still for too long. I have a lot of ideas and have written a few albums worth of songs in addition to the new Lucky LIps album during the pandemic. Time will show, but I think the headlines will be multicultural, rock, Norwegian language, and even more fuzz guitar. And not necessarily combined. But right now I’m really proud of the album I´ve got coming out with Lucky Lips and the tour is just fantastic to experience to be a part of.

Really looking forward to the album for sure! Finally… we talk to artists who are well established in the industry, in addition to those who are just starting to emerge. Given your experience, what advice might you give to those musicians who are still early in their careers and, what is the best advice you’ve been given in your own career?

I think advice can be like your parents telling you not to smoke cigarettes, you just have to go about it with trial and error on your own terms. Maybe what I would say to a musician in the early steps of their careers is to remind yourself of your value. Don’t sell yourself short because someone made you an offer that seemed too good to be true. Try not to sign anything unless you’ve used a lawyer first so you have a complete understanding of what it means. Go with your gut feeling about the people you work with. If you don’t have a good vibe about them, there is a chance that other people might feel the same. If they are speaking on your behalf you might be missing out on good opportunities. Never underestimate your audience, there can be two important ears in a room full of drunks. Try to write from the heart and tell the truth in your songs even if you have to lie to get it right. Trust yourself and treat people with respect, even when they disagree. They might have a point, too. 

To myself I would probably say take it easy and be patient, it will be alright eventually. Be less patient with people who think they own you, and at the same time don’t have big dreams on your behalf.

It’s been an absolute pleasure hearing from you Amund, and we wish you all the very best for the future, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to share your stories with us.

2 Comments

  • Giulietta Zardetto arrojo
    11 months ago Reply

    What an amazing artist. Inlove with his music already. I had to read his piece of advice 3 times as I found it resonated a lot with me and a number of artists I know. Incredible that he managed to have 2 daughters and a beautiful wife and still travel and gig so much. Hats off to him.

  • Rick Tyrrell
    11 months ago Reply

    This is a fantastic artist whose ability and poetic way with a word in this interview makes for a superb feature. The photography is stunning, too. Great stuff!!

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