TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with the guitarist Christopher Amott of Arch Enemy, was done by Sam Chronic on the phone in August 2003.
Arch Enemy has been one of the leading metal bands on the Swedish scene for several years now. The ever so productive Sam Chronic got the chance to speak for a while with the guitarist Christopher Amott. (Vincent Eldefors, editor)
I wanted to start off by talking about your latest album Anthems of Rebellion. I guess the name pretty much explains the concept of the album?
Yes the lyrically concept I guess. I am not too involved in the writing or the artwork but I guess that is safe is to say.
What did you want to do differently as a band when you were making this album?
Well we try to do something different on each album and challenge ourselves as musicians because we easily get bored. We tried to some clean vocals and some really heavy D-tuned 7-string guitar stuff on a couple of tracks.
Which member sang the clean vocals?
I did them actually, that is me singing.
Have you ever done vocals on any of the albums before?
No, I have a side project which is a band called Armageddon and it is released in Japan and I have sung on that album so I kind of new a bit about singing before.
Okay cool. Arch Enemy always seems to find a perfect mixture of heavy and melodic, how do you guys always make the marriage work?
We used to write our competitions very mixed up. Like when you get to the second chorus there would be a crazy lead break with all kinds of stuff going on but nowadays we try to pace ourselves a little bit and try to strip things down and make them harder hitting.
How are your songs normally made up from start to finish?
Well basically me and Michael come up with the riff and melodies and then we take it to the rehearsal room and Daniel put his ideas on things. Everyone has an opinion on the arrangements so everything is done together.
To look at your line up is like looking at an all-star roster but does Arch Enemy feel like home to everyone?
Oh yeah, we are all full time members and although we have our projects everyone is a full time member now. This is basically our job so everyone is concentrated and we are having a good time. It's kind of boring, we are just one big happy family and there is no fights.
How is it being in the same band as your brother?
It's good you know we can be honest with each other and we can be brutally honest. If you don't like a riff or something you can say that is shit and we don't use it. You don't have to be diplomatic or anything.
Do you guys fight a lot?
No, not over music at least so we have a lot of respect for each other.
Well just between you and me who would win if the two of you fought?
A physical fight? (Laughs) Well Michael is bigger but I am faster so it would be a good fight.
(Laughs) Okay well that is fair. The band just played a handful of festivals; did you play a lot of the new material?
We did not have much time for rehearsal so we only played "We Will Rise" which we just did a video for but it went down pretty well.
So you got a pretty good response?
Now it looks like you are off to Korea and then you head to the US.
Yeah, 12 dates with Hate Eternal supporting us so that should be fun as well.
How many times have you been to the US for shows?
About 3 or 4 times so we have been there a few times.
You like coming here on tours?
Yeah, but it is a big country and the only thing I don't like is the distance it is like you don't get to see much. I have been to the states about 5 times and I have seen New York and Lost Angeles but all the other stuff is like gas stations to me basically because you play the show and then you have to go the next show immediately.
I certainly hate to ask a redundant question but is it hard for Angela to be a woman amongst men on tour?
No, it is okay she can handle herself while we are on the road. We are pretty mellow guys and we have not had to change anything for her to fit into the band. We don't get into each other faces while we are on tour; we pretty much keep to our own. The amount of touring that we have done-we played 100 shows last year supporting the album so you have to give each other space.
I also just wanted to say that I have the utmost respect for Angela as a female doing her thing in the metal world and she is just a killer vocalist and I am sure it is great to work with her.
That is the reason that she is in the band, she is a great musician and she is a great live performer because she is very energetic and runs around a lot. She has brought new blood to the band and kicked us in the right direction.
Speaking of touring would you care to share a bizarre experience while you have been on tour?
Actually Angela lost her voice once when she was extremely sick in Allentown in the USA. Anyways we had to play an instrumental show but it went down well as noone left and the crowd sang the tunes for us.
What do all the members do when you are not touring or rehearsing?
We don't have any jobs or anything so we pretty much just take it easy. Michael will be taking care of his daugher and updating the website and will be writing. I will be hanging out with my girlfriend or my friends or just relaxing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies or getting drunk.
What is your favorite movie?
There is so many...I like horror movies like the Ring that Japanese movie it was pretty scary and I am easily scared so I was fucked up for a couple of days (laughs) that sounds pretty wimpy. I have not seen the Hulk, the Matrix or the new Terminator. I also like old movies like Planet of the Apes and Easy Rider and some other 70's stuff.
Have you seen 28 Days Later?
No I need to see that as well-I like those apocalyptic movies.
Do you guys hang out together a lot?
Me and Sharlee hang out together and are usually the ones partying. Me, Sharlee, Snowy and Daniel hang out a lot and are usually drunk (Laughs)
What is next for the band? A DVD?
We always bring a video camera with us on tour so that is in the works but it will take a while. We just did a video for "We Will Rise" and it is a big budget video that will be really cool. We taped over an hour of material and it is only about 4 minutes so there is a lot of fast shit that you will see. I am definitely looking forward to seeing it...
To wrap things up is there anything you want to say to all the readers out there?
I am looking forward to coming back to the States; I have not looked at the tour dates I don't know if we are coming to Atlanta?
No, not close either..it is too bad as I would like to see you guys again.
We will be back by the end of the year before Christmas I think. It is a big country and you have to tour twice to catch everyone. I also wanted to say thank you to everyone that has bought an album and I hope that everyone enjoys the new one. Keep on being metal and hope to see everyone on tour.
I want to give a special thanks to Chris Amott from Arch Enemy for taking his time for the interview. Be sure to check out Arch Enemy's latest album Anthems of Rebellion which is a killer album and also be sure to visit the Arch Enemy official website for updates and touring information.
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