Phil Freeman of Metal Edge magazine (web site) recently conducted an interview with OPETH mainman Mikael kerfeldt and the group's new guitarist Fredrik kesson (KRUX, ex-ARCH ENEMY, TALISMAN). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On how Fredrik has been accepted by the OPETH fans:
kesson: "They've [the fans] been quite nice. I don't read the band's forum every day. Once in a while, I read some stuff. For me, the most important thing is to do the best I feel I can do for myself. Then if people like it or not, it's up to them. I understand picturing a band with its original lineup, a fan will always have that picture, and it's disturbing when a new guy comes in. But life goes on. All I can do is do my best, that's the way I see it."
On how OPETH is a good fit for Fredrik not only musically, but geographically as well:
kesson: "We [all] live in Stockholm, so it's easy to rehearse and everything. When I played with ARCH ENEMY, I was the only one living in Stockholm and they lived six hours' drive south. And I feel more integrated, more a part of this group. I was playing Chris' [Amott] parts in ARCH ENEMY, and I never got to record with them. Of course, the music is very different here, too, and I find that thrilling."
On the change in OPETH's sound on the new album, "Watershed":
kerfeldt: "I think you can hear that the band is changing and going somewhere. Which to me was a little bit of a revelation. It's not that different to what my personal taste is, and what my idea of OPETH has always been, but it's different.
"Having two such strong figures as Peter [former OPETH guitarist Peter Lindgren] and Lopez [former OPETH drummer Martin Lopez] not be in the band anymore has influenced the music and the lyrics, I think. And on top of that, my head's changed a lot since I had my kids. You see things differently. Musically, I think there's a wider gap between the ugly and the beautiful this time. But I can't say I prefer one or the other. I want everything, you know. And I have a tendency to want to destroy beautiful things, if you know what I mean."
On whether Mikael cares what the fans think:
kerfeldt: "When I write music, I want it to be completely devoid of any outside interference. At the end of the day, I still have to say that we did what we wanted to do. But I also in some strange way am seeking approval from the outside. And if they slag me off, I say, 'Oh, fuckin' idiots. They don't know shit.' If they praise me, I still think, 'Oh, fuckin' idiots.'
"I'm a slave to Blabbermouth. [Laughs] I have to check it out. And if there's something about OPETH, or about me, I have to see whatever shit people are writing. And I kind of dismiss the praise and go for the negative. And sometimes I get pissed off and I have to write something back, and obviously that's when I lose."
Metal Edge's entire interview with OPETH can be found in the magazine's June 2008 issue, available on newsstands now.