Alexander Ludwig interview: I’ve been writing songs with Travis Fimmel

Alexander Ludwig and Travis Fimmel

The Vikings love never ends! Alexander Ludwig and Travis Fimmel have been working on new music

(Picture: Rex)

‘I said there is no way this works if it not authentic,’ says Alexander Ludwig, determined to break the mold of actors jumping into music.

Last month, Ludwig, arguably best known as barbaric hero Bjorn Ironside in the blockbuster TV series Vikings, released his first ever EP, an authentic dose of country pop. But he’s not resting on his laurels.

Despite a colossal career on screen, he’s determined not to rely on his fame, following and fan base to carve out a successful music career. If anything, with film stars having a turbulent track record of turning their hand to the charts, assuming their IMDB profile will determine huge record sales, Ludwig knows he has a lot to prove.

‘So many actors have tried it and failed because the songs weren’t there or they expected to have it quickly,’ he says.

‘I would be naive to think this would take any less time than my career in acting. This is going to be just as difficult and I’m here for it.’

And he means it. Instead of rush releasing his first songs off the back of Vikings – which ended last year with hefty viewing figures and an enormous following in 2020 – Ludwig put in the graft; he met various songwriters in Nashville, studied the craft of country music and worked ‘from the ground up’.

‘Once I got there I realised how much growth I needed to do – I showed up with my hat in my hand and knew that was the only way this was going to work.

‘Naturally I think people can have an air of entitlement, but I went to Nashville with the knowledge that I’m starting a new career from the ground up and that’s OK because I love it. If that means me being on bus smelling like s**t for a month then sign me up because I love the grind.’

When Ludwig announced his ambitions to become the next country superstar, it didn’t seem the obvious path for the action hero, better known for his talents with an sword in Vikings or firearm in the long-awaited Bad Boys For Life, his real breakthrough moment on the big screen.

Actually, his connection to the scene is deeply rooted. As a Vancouver native, country music has long had a huge history in Canadian charts.

‘So many other forms of music speak to the attaining of things like the accumulation of wealth, cars and big houses, and there’s a place for that, but with country music it’s a reminder that the dream is already here: you don’t need a lot,’ he insists.

‘In my line of work I always relied on country music to remind me, “dude, take a step back. I’ve got my health, I’ve got a car that takes me from A to be – we don’t need all this stuff.

‘It’s the highest form of story-telling the world.’

So many actors have tried it and failed because the songs weren’t there

But fans of his epic Vikings will be thrilled to learn his time on the show is already playing a huge part in his music. After starring alongside Travis Fimmel – who played the show’s protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok until his demise after four series – the two have been collaborating once again.  

‘I’ve literally written songs with Travis,’ Ludwig, very excitedly, tells us. ‘He’s a massive country fan.

‘He was at my house in Georgia a couple of months ago and met my wife for the first time, and they ended up passed out on the floor. New best friends!

‘He’s one of my best friends; he’s literally family. He’ll spend time with my fam in Vancouer when I’m not even there.’

But don’t expect to be hearing Fimmel jumping on any of his former cast mate’s tunes.

‘Duet? God no,’ he stresses, affirmatively. ‘He has a ranch in LA and I went there we had a blast.

‘Travis and I really bonded. He’s a real dude, he’s not typical Hollywood bulls**t, he’s just not that. We love what we do but that’s it. There’s a lot of great people in this industry but there’s also an air of entitlement.’

And he was in equal adoration for his co-star Kathryn Winnick, who played the formidable Queen Lagertha right until the very final season of Vikings.

‘Katheryn is the same, she’s family,’ he says. ‘Last time I saw her was in Nashville with her man at the time, and we had an amazing time.

‘Those relationships will never fade, I love them so much.

‘I could never say that to Travis’ face but I really love him. He doesn’t say it often but after a few beers he might say, “you know I love you.”’

Alexander Ludwig’s self-titled EP is available to stream now.

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