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Arch Enemy - Digesting fruit with Mike Amott
On 5 October 2005, yours truly and the Great Lord Of Stinky Feet (Buzzin Hornet) had a small talk with Arch Enemy guitarist Mike Amott, who was enjoying various amounts of fruit while having this conversation. If you are a real fan of the man I will give you an mp3 of Mike munching on a banana, but until that happens, read on to see what he had to say!

The new record has been out since July, and you’ve just returned from a tour in America with Ozzfest. How was that experience?

It was much better than I thought it would be. We were lucky I guess, and we made a pretty strong impact.

Do you think that the fact that there were a lot of Swedish bands on the bill have anything to do with it?

No I don’t think so. We’ve toured before in the USA and the crowd on festivals is a bit different. They go out and want to see Sabbath and Iron mainden but don't go to a lot of club shows. It was great that there were some other Swedish bands though, some guys to hang out with.

A few days ago you played in the Patronaat in Haarlem, which happens to be a new venue like the Effenaar. What did you think of that day?

It was great. Everything went pretty well..

We heard that there were some problems though..dinner was late, there were a lot of people still standing outside when Trivium was already playing. Are you going to play the same setlist tonight?

Well the same songs I think but we might change the order. We did a different set in Cologne yesterday. We’re just starting up this tour so we’re moving things around to get things perfect.

Your last few records have been mixed by Andy Sneap, don’t you think that a lot of bands who use his services tend to have the same type of "sound"?

Well we recorded the album in Sweden ourselves with the help of a Swedish engineer at a studio I’m personally involved with. Andy only did the mix this time.


It seems to me that there is a sort of effect on the vocals on the new cd; can you elaborate on that?

 

Hmm. People say that all the time but the only thing that is really used is compression. For the rest she held the microphone instead of singing into a fixed one. And sometimes there are more layers, there is definitely a thicker sound but there is no real "effect" on it. It's more raw and brutal.

Doomsday Machine has had great reviews in the press but some of them say "The Real Masterpiece" still has to come. What do you think of that?

I think they are right. I guess people expect a lot because of who is in the band. I don’t think you’re conscious about that. When Metallica made Master of Puppets they probably weren’t thinking "this is our masterpiece". You’re in a band, you’re working and touring, It's a natural proces, you just play that music at that time. Every good album captures a band at a specific time. You can’t put that pressure on yourself, you just do your best.

Do you think that you might reach a point in the road where that "idea" isn't going to work, and that things have to change?

I think we do that, we set very high standards. We try to improve ourselves on every record. It's been a little better every time..

In my opinion the songs and attention to dynamics have gotten better on each record. Do you think you might throw away that balance one day and just do something complete different?

Yeah but apart of that I don't really think about music. People who write about music think a lot more about it than I do. Some bands have this intellectual approach to music and I think that is bullshit. It's metal, it's a feeling. We’re always pushing ourselves and the writing comes pretty natural.

So you don't lock yourself up in a room and say to yourself "Im going to create the most complex riff ever and use it"?

Well for this album we rehearsed every day for 36 days and we put the album together like that. It's an intense period and you get drawn into it. Making the album becomes your life for over a month, it's hard work but a lot of fun. I write stuff everywhere; before this tour began we put down some ideas for new songs. We currently are in the situation that we can record when we want to.

Is it fair to say that Arch Enemy has gotten much more attention since Angela joined the band?

Definitely, we have a clear focal point in the band who has some "star quality", it’s not just some fat guy in an old Morbid Angel t-shirt. She is pretty special and unique at what she does so that is awesome. If you look historically at every great metal band you will see that they had "something". Halford with Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson with Iron Maiden, somebody that is recognisable. Most bands today are faceless and if you look at them you wouldn't know who is the singer or the drummer or if that is the roadie for the band etc. She interviewed us when we just got "Burning Bridges" out and thats how we met her.

Well thats pretty much it, thank you for your time!

Thank you.