Charlie Steffens of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with vocalist Angela Gossow of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KNAC.COM: The last time you and I spoke was just after [guitarist] Christopher [Amott] had left the band and Fredrik [Åkesson, now in OPETH] came in as his replacement on guitar. Gus G. did the 2005 Ozzfest dates prior to that. Is Christopher fully committed to the band now?
Gossow: Absolutely. I think if anything they've actually gotten closer as a guitar team, Chris and Michael. He really complements Michael. It's always different when you have two brothers playing. They grew up with each other. The way they write, it fits perfectly. It was definitely different with Fredrik. Fredrik's a great guitar player. He just goes and learns a song, note by note, exactly how it should be. But it's a different chemistry in the band when you go onstage, when you have Chris back. It feels again the way it's supposed to feel. The funny thing is that Gus, obviously, was introduced to OZZY OSBOURNE at Ozzfest and now he's actually playing with OZZY OSBOURNE. All these good things came out of that whole thing. We toured with OPETH and Fredrik got to know the OPETH guys. Now he plays in OPETH. Chris had his time out, Fredrik Åkesson got his break, and Gus G. as well, really. It's amazing how fate works. I don't really believe in fate, but that's just almost too good to be coincidence.
KNAC.COM: A couple of years ago I was flipping through a metal magazine and there was a fold-out poster of you and Cristina [Scabbia] from LACUNA COIL representing their "Hottest Chicks in Metal" feature. To be considered as one of the hottest chicks in metal wasn't a career goal of yours, right?
Gossow: It's funny that you mentioned that because I just had a huge clash with the editor of Revolver. He's put me into the 2010 "Hottest Chicks in Metal" calendar [see below] with that picture in of 2004, so they keep kind of recycling that one. And, I've explained several times I don't want to be featured in that — in that corner. If they want a picture of the band and it's about the music, all cool. No problem. But if it's about me being a woman… I don't like the "Hottest Chicks in Metal" movement at all. I think it's very counterproductive and kind of retro, you know? Going back in time and he said, "Of course. If you don't want to be featured then I will make sure you won't be featured in any of the other publications we have." So I burned that bridge by saying, "I don't want to be part of it. I'm not cool with it. You should have asked me." So that's what I got for it, and I don't give a fuck. That's so bad, Revolver magazine. It's just all about highlighting the crap that's going on backstage, highlighting a pair of tits, and all the crazy stories on tour. And then you look for the actual bits on music and you can't even find them anymore. I don't even know what kind of music these bands are playing that they are featuring, because it doesn't come through in the articles, at all. We haven't even had a feature in this magazine for the last three years, so I can very well live without the whole… I hate the "Hottest Chicks in Metal!" It's an embarrassment for women, I think (laughs). It's an embarrassment for female musicians, who actually are musicians. I don't think we're ever going to be popping up in Revolver magazine again, after my little e-mail conversation with the editor. (laughs)
KNAC.COM: Going back to the "Anthems of Rebellion" period in 2003 on up to now, you guys have continuously been busy. It seems like you've never slowed down, despite the little change in personnel back when Christopher left.
Gossow: Yeah, it's been a crazy ride since then. When I joined ARCH ENEMY we didn't really know what was in for us and where it would go. We have evolved as a band. We've become very self-confident musicians in a scene full of victims. I think the music scene is terrible when it comes to how musicians are being treated. We've come out on top. We've done really well. We've released a bunch of really good records; we've done a bunch of very good tours. We fired our management in 2008 and now I do all that.
Gossow: Yeah, we're totally free. We own all our songs. No management in the back telling us what to do. Yeah, it's amazing. And the weird thing, since I took over management, is I'm not getting sick either anymore. I don't feel so victimized, like somebody else has decided that I got to make it through no matter what. When you're in charge of something, you really want to do it. You've got a different strength for it.
KNAC.COM: It's not like slavery.
Gossow: Exactly. The music business is setup to enslave the musician. The record sales are dying, so they're going to put a lot of pressure on a band to tour as much as they can. Sometimes I think some bands are touring to death. How much are you enjoying playing your 260 shows in a year? Whatever we do we do it very consciously. Yes, we want to go to the U.S. now, because we haven't been there for two years. We do a lot of touring, but we hop from continent to continent. There are a lot of different scenarios we experience, and that's how we keep it really interesting. We picked out the support bands. We're totally excited about the package. Yeah, I think we're in an excellent spot as a band, but it takes a lot of self-confidence and a lot of knowledge. If you want to run your own business, you better know your business. Not everybody can read a contract or really concentrate on it, or negotiate a deal, or a tour, or speak to promoters. You have to have a very equal relationship in the band to be able to be self-managed. Everybody's got to do some jobs. We're very lucky with ARCH ENEMY. Everybody's equal. It's a team.
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.