Arch Enemy

Interview date

21 octobre 2012


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Sharlee D'Angelo (face to face)

Hi Sharlee and thanks for answering the following questions for the webzine Aux Portes Du Metal.

Well, I haven’t answered them yet so don’t thank me yet! (laughs)

OK, I’ll thank you at the end of the interview then. So, it’s almost been a year and a half since “Khaos Legions” has been released and you’re still touring. You came to France at the end of last year, how come Paris only comes now?

Well, it was just a problem of timing. We thought we would do the rest of France that we had been neglecting for a while first and then do Paris later. It just turned out to be a little bit later than we thought it would be… but here we are now!

About a year ago, I remember reading an article in which Angela talked about taking a long break after the tour? Is that what’s going to happen?

Well, no… not really. We’re gonna continue working, it’s more a break from touring. We’ll do a few festivals but mostly, we’ll be concentrating on writing new music and recording it. The plan is to enter the studio right after next summer. And we also have other things to work on like putting together a new DVD because we’ve been filming a lot of stuff and we’re going to film some more stuff so we’ll see what kind of package it turns out to be… but it’s gonna be a big bundle of stuff, there’s so much material to choose from and with the whole editing thing, it’s just gonna take a very long time. So will be working all year, it’s just that you won’t really see us that much (laughs).

Alright, that’s good news. Talking about this new DVD you’re planning, now that people have got big HD TVs, are you thinking about releasing a blu-ray or will it just be a DVD?

Yeah, definitely a blu-ray. When we did the last DVD, in 2008 I think it was, there was not really a market for blu-ray yet so we didn’t really think it was worth doing it, but now everybody’s got HD so yeah, we’ll do it.

So, still touring for “Khaos Legions” but as the album has been out for quite some time now, I was wondering if you had started writing new songs for the next chapter?

Yeah. We’re constantly in writing mode… writing pieces, demos, etc. Now, it’s just a matter of us getting together in one room and arranging all this into songs and rehearsing. So we have lots of bits, pieces of songs, lots of ideas but no complete songs so far.

Many bands with growling/screaming singers have seen them changing their singing style lately for different reasons but also because singing like this (like Angela does) cannot be done forever, can it? So my question is: have you thought about how Arch Enemy will sound in the future, in terms of vocals?

We tried a little bit of clean vocals on one or two songs on “Anthems of Rebellion” but we didn’t think it worked out so much and everybody’s doing it so we thought we’d stay with what we’re good at. And I don’t know if it’s so much different with growling, you know… Classic singers will lose the shape of their voice too. No matter what you do with your voice, it’s just meant to happen. When some singers change their style and stop growling, I think it’s because they want to change some things and try more melodic stuff, not really because they can’t growl anymore. The clean voice is the thing that goes first. I remember talking to Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth, whenever he got sick he went “Ooohh, it’s like I can’t… you know…” and I said “Yeah, it’s difficult to growl like that…” and he said “No, no, the growling is never a problem, it’s the clean voice I can’t do!”

A bit earlier this year, Christopher has left the band again. Was it hard to see him leave for the second time?

Of course, of course… But then again, he was not really into it. His heart was not in it. It was a hard decision for him because this band had been such an important part of his life… but he wasn’t really happy. So he’s moved to America now, he’s just released his second solo album, he’s about to give premiere shows in Japan, so he’s doing well, he’s really happy. And we’re lucky to have found this fantastic guy, Nick Cordle…

How did you find him?

He used to play in this American band called Arsis that toured with us in America in… 2009, I think, I’m not sure… we thought he was really good, we were really impressed. So, when Christopher talked about leaving the band, we immediately wrote a short list of people and Nick’s name came up. He was the first guy we asked, there were few other people we talked to but once we saw Nick and rehearsed with him, we were like “Wow, we don’t even need to teach him anything, it’s all there”. It’s the kind of music he’s been listening to. He’s got great respect for the original versions but he also adds his own touch to it and it’s great when I look at him on the other side of the stage and I can see he’s really enjoying it. And he’s a bit younger than us, so that also kicks us in the ass (laughs). He’s really enthusiastic, and on a personal level, he’s extremely laid-back, he’s got a good sense of humour…

Many songs were written by the Amott brothers. Is Nick going to write music as well?

Yeah, absolutely. He comes up with stuff all the time. It’s good because he’s a bit different so it brings something new to the song writing as well. His riffs are a little bit more energetic and it makes an interesting combination with the more melodic stuff we come up with. I think he’ll definitely leave his mark on the next album.

Do you agree with the fact that it seems that, with the years, Arch Enemy has become more and more political. Do you feel you’re a band with a mission or are you just here to make some kick ass music?

Reponse We’ve always had these personal views and stuff, but it’s true that, lyrically, it has become clearer and clearer. I think we’ve almost hit the wall with “Khaos Legions” on that subject, it’s always gonna be there but we’ll probably attack it from another angle on the next album. It’s just… we can’t really sing about dragons and stuff (laughs)… But it’s cool, many of my favourite bands sing about dragons and warriors… I’ve always been a huge fan of Dio, Manowar and such. The message is not more important than the music, but we do care about it and we feel strongly about some issues so it’s always gonna be there.

What songs do you personally enjoy the most on stage on this tour and why?

I always like playing “Under Black Flags We March”, there’s just something about that song… It has always been one of my favourites on the album right from the beginning. On this tour, we’re playing “Cruelty Without Beauty” for the first time, and it’s slightly difficult to play so you have to concentrate but it’s challenging and fun, I like that. And even though we have played it thousands of times, I always love playing “Nemesis”.

You’ve been touring a lot for the last ten years… are there any bands you haven’t toured yet and would love to hit the road with?

Hmm… Priest would be one of them. Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth too… But Judas Priest would be nice. We’ve done festivals with them but never a tour. That would be cool.

Arch Enemy is a band that has released many covers through the years. Will you release a whole album with old and new covers, or will you just continue to use them as bonus tracks or b-sides?

It would be fun but, I mean, we don’t really have time for that (laughs). But it’s always fun to do covers. There are things we haven’t released like a cool version of Mike Oldfield’s “Shadow on the Wall” that really turned out well during the Khaos Legions rehearsals. It would be cool to do what Metallica did but we don’t really have time for that right now. But we’ll see, maybe one day, who knows?

Let’s talk about side projects now. Anything in the works? A new Spiritual Beggars, maybe?

With Beggars, we’ve done most of an album. I think it’s gonna be released in April or May and then we’d like to do a little bit of touring. It’s gonna be the same line-up as on the last album. I’m still with Witchery as well, it’s a bit difficult to get together because we’re all involved in our own bands and it takes a lot of time but I think we’re gonna try and see each other and work on new songs maybe in December after Arch Enemy’s South American tour.

What memories do you keep from your time with Mercyful Fate? Do you know if the band has a chance of coming back?

I do not know… It’s up to King, really. He’s just starting to do some King Diamond shows again… If a sort of reunion happened, I don’t even know what line-up it would be. It could be the original line-up which would be fantastic because I’ve never seen the original line-up so I would be in the front row anyway (laughs). But if there’s something with the last line-up, yeah, I’d be happy to do it…

But it’s strange what happened with Mercyful Fate, because usually when some bands decide to quit, it’s well documented but with this one, nothing was really said and we don’t really know what happened…

There was never a split, like a decision to disband… We did the last show; I think it was in Milwaukee in 1999, and we said: “Alright, see you in a while…” And then, King went on to do another King Diamond, and then another one, and then another… And later, he became inactive because of health problems… Now he’s back, he wants to do another King Diamond album because it’s what’s closer to his heart, and he doesn’t have to compromise, it’s his band. If something came up, I’d be up for it if I have time, of course. I had great times with the band… only good memories. And for me, apart from the fact that I was playing with one of my favourite bands ever, it was a great school of rock because I learnt business from the inside. That’s the good thing about joining an already established band like I did because you start at a slightly higher level and then you see how everything works and how the business is. So yeah, I only have really great memories, and they’re all good people, we had a lot of fun on the road together and I’m so grateful for the six years we spent together. It was my first American tour.

Anything I forgot to ask you and you would have liked to talk about?

No, not really… Ah yes, about the side projects we talked about, there’s another thing: I’m also in a band called Night Flight Orchestra, you know with Bjorn Strid (from Soilwork). Listen to it, you might like it, but it’s not metal at all, it’s more like slick late 70’s rock.

Thank you Sharlee, now I can really thank you, right? Have a great show.

Yeah (laughs).Thank you, I hope you’ll enjoy the show.

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