Peter Atkinson of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with OPETH mainman Mikael kerfeldt. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.
KNAC.COM: After this [Progressive Nation tour with DREAM THEATER], you've got a pretty busy schedule, European festivals, Asia, Israel, Australia and then back to the states?
kerfeldt: We're going to tour a lot; we're booked for the rest of the year, and for a lot of next year as well. It won't be as tough a slog as last time where we were out almost constantly for a year and a half. The European tour we're doing is not all that long, we're doing select cities. And I'm not sure if we're going to be doing a second and third leg in America, although it is a big country and there is a demand for us for some reason (laughs). When we come back again, we'll start on the 15th of September and go to October 26. We could tour forever if we wanted to. We just want to promote the album properly. We don't want to overplay certain areas, which I think we did to a certain extent last time. But we've had some good results from those tours. We see a lot of people coming out to our shows. Basically, everywhere we play we never have to be worried if somebody's going to show up.
KNAC.COM: Now that you've got two kids have you gotten comfortable with the work/family situation, or is that something you'll always be adjusting to?
kerfeldt: Well, you never get comfortable leaving home. It's always horrible. Even before I had my kids I never liked leaving home, the first week is on tour is always horrible. It takes some time to adjust. But my wife is very supportive and my oldest daughter understands what I'm doing a little bit more now. But she's saying things like "if you're going away you can't play with me dad." And that's just like a dagger in your heart. It really hurts, but I don't really have a choice. It's either doing this or being miserable changing tires. Somewhere down the line we'll probably cut down on the touring, but I can't see myself having a regular job.
KNAC.COM: Obviously it's got to be great that good things are happening for OPETH now, it's too bad this didn't happen 10 years ago when you were young and free, so to speak?
kerfeldt: Yeah. But it puts a bit more perspective on what you're actually doing. We're not out to party anymore, that's not our main motivation. We're out to support the album, the touring thing has become a little bit more of job in a way, even though we love being on stage and playing every night, that's awesome. But all the things around it, like being on the bus, it's not great anymore. We're all kind of touristy, we like seeing the sights and everything. But generally when we come to any city there's always something for us to do like work! Interviews or promo stuff, signings, all kinds of stuff. So it's rare that we have a real day off and when we do it's usually in a place like last night. Bedford, Pa., where there's what? Tumbleweeds?
KNAC.COM: Your MySpace album blurbs says "Watershed" "takes OPETH where it's never gone before." How so?
kerfeldt: It's different, I guess. The original idea for the album was to make a metal version of SCOTT WALKER's "The Drift", which is the most influential album I've heard in the last 10 years. But I couldn't really do it, it's like a pipe dream in a way. I usually come up with the best stuff when I don't really think about it too much, or I don't push myself in certain directions. And we've got two new members in the band. Somehow I felt like I had more freedom writing this time around and we ended up having stuff in there that we probably wouldn't have used before. Like there's a funk kind of riff in "The Lotus Eater". It's a bit humorous in a way. It's serious, but if I were not in the band and was listening to the album, I would think "Well, they seem to be enjoying themselves doing this." Where we'd always been miserable in the past.
KNAC.COM: I spoke last week with Ihsahn from EMPEROR and we talked about your collaboration on his solo album. What did you make of the experience?
kerfeldt: I did it while we were recording in our album, just one night. He sent me a digital copy of the music for the song and the lyrics and said "knock yourself out, do whatever you want to do." I was really tired, it was the middle of the night when I did it, but it came out fine and most importantly he was very happy with it. I love him, he's a good friend of mine, and we're very much in the same situation. He's got two kids now and a wife and he's fronting a metal band, or at least he used to be. And we're basically the same age, so we've got a lot in common. And we've been around for a long time, we've kind of got past the kind of rebellious thing of being in a metal band, now we're just musicians. At least that's the way I see it.
KNAC.COM: Now that you're seen as a "respected musician" are there any other collaborations or projects in the works?
kerfeldt: (Laughs) I don't really need collaborations, but I get asked constantly to be part of this project or that. I get asked by people and I'm like "what the fuck, how do you know about us? And why do you like it?" We've been in the business for such a long time that you end up meeting some people you wouldn't normally meet. I got an e-mail from Rick Rubin the other day, just to say hello. I'm hoping it wasn't like a scam, these days you never know (laughs). But it's weird, more people seem to know us than I ever would have imagined. And I guess there are worse problems to have.
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.