Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
The new album has several major changes for Arch Enemy as a band. For one, the album is self-produced. What prompted this decision and how did you personally find the production process? Where and how was it recorded?
Michael Amott – At this critical point in the band’s career, with quite a few big changes happening, the line up changes and so on, I felt that bringing in an outside producer would not be the correct move. We needed ‘War Eternal’ to be a pure Arch Enemy album, devoid of outside influences. The recording process was smooth, we tracked drums in a big room and the rest was done in smaller studios with the engineering being handled by band members Daniel and Nick, aside from the vocals who were recorded by Staffan Karlsson.
The mix was handled by Jens Bogren who did an outstanding job making sense of all the musical madness we threw at him!
Please outline in detail the movement of Angela from singer to management and the transition of integrating a new singer. How did that happen?
Michael Amott – Life happened, that’s all. Of course these kind of big steps are not easy and I believe this was a gradual thing that kept growing in Angela’s mind for some time. We had decided to take 2013 off from the road and any sort of band activity, the only thing we were doing was writing music and also there always the plan to go into the studio and record at the end of 2013. As the scheduled recording time got closer, Angela informed us at the end of last year that she would definitely be stepping down from her position in the band. To be honest it was not such a huge surprise to the rest of us, as there were a lot of conversations of that nature leading up to that point. Angela recommended Alissa…and after rehearsing with her and doing some demos of new material we all agreed she was in fact perfect for the job.
Were all the songs already written before Alissa joined? If not, what was her contribution to the new material? What did she contribute both musically and personally in the studio?
Michael Amott – Half of songs were initially written with Angela in mind (although she never worked on them) and the second half when Alissa was in the picture. But of course adjustments were made along the way to make everything fit Alissa’s vocal style in the end. Alissa contributed lyrics and vocal arrangements to five songs and I wrote five sets of lyrics myself… We worked on the all vocal arrangements together, making sure sure everything was 100% Arch Enemy.
I have read that the album was prematurely leaked on the internet– what happened there exactly?
Michael Amott – A French radio “journalist” (I am using that term very loosely here!) decided to leak our album that we’d spent more than a year of our lives working on. Thanks a lot!
You once said, “I am always searching for the perfect Arch Enemy song”. Does “War Eternal” contain that?
Michael Amott – Ha! That search never ends! I think we got quite close though on a few of the ‘War Eternal’ songs…
The idea behind the band was “to create the most heavy melodic band of all time”. After 19 years, do you feel that that ambition has been achieved? What have been the personal particular highs and lows that stand out for you?
Michael Amott – Yes, I do feel that I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do… At the same time I feel I have a lot more to give and I look forward to the future. There have been many highs and lows as is to be expected in such a already long career. I like to remember the good times though…
Touring plans include coming to Ireland with Kreator. How did that come about? What is your favourite album by Kreator?
Michael Amott – ‘Pleasure To Kill’ would be the album of theirs that I am most familiar with, I still listen to it now and again…great stuff! Looking forward to playing Ireland, Arch Enemy’s first time and it’s long overdue I’d say!
You have done many interviews, but if you could personally pick someone to interview, who would it be and why? What questions would you ask them?
Michael Amott – I’d like to interview Johann Sebastian Bach and talk about music and life in general as I suspect it’d be a very different kind of conversation.