ARCH ENEMY Guitarist: 'We Don't Have A Big Master Plan Or Anything Like That'

Live-Metal.net's Jeff Maki recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Live-Metal.net: OK, first, the obvious question. Why re-record these songs for "The Root of All Evil" instead of focusing and writing new material? Or was the process of updating these songs basically similar to writing and recording new material?

Amott: It was very different than writing or recording new material. We rented the studio and selected a bunch of old songs we wanted to record. The ingredients were already there — everything's already kind of there. We just have to play them to the best of our ability and do something cool with them. And when you record brand new material, you have a lot of choices that you have to make all the time. But these songs have already been written and recorded once before, so it's kind of a little bit easier.

Live-Metal.net: The basis is already there.

Amott: Exactly. And the reason for us doing it is basically from fans and stuff, people asking if we were going to record some of the old stuff. And currently we were playing some really old songs from the first three records and we tried incorporating them into the live set a few times. And we noticed that the recognition factor was just way lower compared to our current material. From those albums onwards, I think we just became a more popular band. And when people go back and check out ARCH ENEMY stuff, they don't seem to go as far back as our first three records. Because we had a different singer and it was almost like we adapted ourselves with Angela joining. The first three records have some great songs on them. And we wanted to, if possible, put them back in the live set. We tried and it wasn't really possible, so then somebody came up with the idea to re-record and re-release them like this with our current lineup. So yeah, why not? And then it was the matter of finding the time because we are always touring or focusing on new material. We actually had a little window there earlier in the year, at home for a few weeks to get this together. It wasn't that hard, just finding out what songs to do — we had to argue that out, rehearse a little bit, find out what the hell we we were doing 10-plus years ago on the old albums. Yeah, I mean it's been fun and the reaction's been really good. In a way, it's a mixed reaction but mostly positive.

Live-Metal.net: Was everyone on board right away for this project? Was there any convincing that had to be done within the band?

Amott: No, we were all really positive about it. Angela was really into it because she hadn't sung on the originals and she was a big fan of the original albums, so she thought it 'd be cool. I was into it — I think everybody was. We had time off in January and it was fun. We don't have a big master plan or anything like that for every step of a record. We get an idea into our heads and just do it. We all do our recordings and produce ourselves and all this kind of stuff — we just do what the hell we want really and now I'm here talking to you about it [laughs]. It's our project.

Live-Metal.net: Is it me or do Angela's vocals sound different to me on "The Root of All Evil". If you listen to this side by side with "Wages of Sin" or "Anthems of Rebellion", there's seems to be a noticeable difference. Maybe more extreme?

Amott: Yeah, to me, she's kind of doing different stuff on every album. Somehow, she's experimenting. I think every album she's sounds a little bit different, yeah. Time travels between every recording we do, so the voice changes. So along the way, she doesn't sound identical from album to album. So yeah, I think it's a progression and I think that's cool.

Live-Metal.net: So now that "The Root of All Evil" is done and you're about to go out on tour, when can we expect an album of all new material?

Amott: We've got lots of ideas, jams — we've been rehearsing today and this week. We've been doing some new stuff but ... We don't really want to rush into it.. We don't see the need to do that. We just have this record out now, a live album out last year, the year before that "Rise of the Tyrant".. So we're going to go out and play some shows and have some fun with that. A brand new album, realistically I'd say we record next year sometime and maybe release it in 2011. That might all change [laughs]. Depending on how quick we are, how fast we are.

Live-Metal.net: Between this release and playing with CARCASS, you've been playing older songs for a while now. A lot of people or bands don't want to look towards the past. But this seems to be something that you not only do not have a problem with but you seem to embrace it. Why do you think that is?

Amott: Yeah, it's been pretty much a retrospective couple of years now. We started doing the CARCASS reunion in the summer of 2008 — you're right. This is the first time I've ever gone back. I've always been looking forward, just writing new stuff. I've never really looked back at all. But at one point someone just tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, look back. You've been a part of a very metal legacy." You know, helping to create melodic metal, which today has been very influential on a lot of bands. So we did the CARCASS reunion and had a lot of fun with it.

Live-Metal.net: Speaking of CARCASS, what's going on with the band right now? Do you think there's any chance of a studio album in the future? Maybe a live album at the least?

Amott: I guess we could release live material from the touring we did. I think it'd be a waste not to. Maybe a DVD or live album. I don't really steer the CARCASS ship in that sense. I'm not as heavily involved as I am with ARCH ENEMY. But we definitely talked about some sort of live release. I know we filmed a bunch of shows and recorded audio at a bunch of shows, so anything is possible. But then somebody has to take the time to crawl through all the tapes. And nobody every wants to deal with that [laughs]. But something will happen at some point, yes. As far as new CARCASS material, that's not something we're working on right now. And I've been asked that question quite a lot in the last year, and my answer is never say never because you never know what's gonna happen. We're not in the studio now making any new CARCASS record [laughs].

Read the entire interview at Live-Metal.net.

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