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Arch(ange) Enemy, the way of Angela




Arch Enemy revolves around Angela. No one can criticize her, no one can underestimate her, and no one can neglect her. She’s the very heart of the band, and everybody knows it.

This interview with drummer Daniel Erlandsson took place in the cold, outside the venue. Being a victim of self-censorship himself, he was reluctant to provide essential information. Angela follows a precise ritual. If you want to know what she drinks and what excesses she allows herself – or not – follow the guide.

Radio Metal: Where did the title “The Root Of All Evil” come from ?

Daniel Erlandsson (drums): The album is composed of old songs that we decided to re-record. That’s where the band started, so it’s a play on words. It’s the roots of the band.

Andy Smith did the final mix on the album. What did he bring you ?

He brought his usual professionalism. This time, we recorded the album in various studios in Sweden. We tried a new approach. For example, I recorded the drums in an old classroom. Then we just compiled everything and sent it to England to Andy, so he could mix the album. It sounds like it was recorded in a real studio! Andy is a great guy, he understands that kind of music very well. When he mixes music, you can hear everything at the same time.


(About «The Root Of All Evil» album) «We don’t see this album as a creative statement from the band. This is something we do for our fans. We decided to do it because we were asked to by the fans.»

You produced The Root Of All Evil yourselves. What advantages do you see in self-production ?

One of the benefits is that you can control how much time you spend in the studio. You can decide when you want to start, for example, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes you have to respect the rules of the studio: up at 8, start recording… It can work, but you don’t always feel very creative when it’s that early !

As you said, this new album features re-recorded songs from your first three albums. People must have seen this as a lack of inspiration. What is your answer to that ?

We don’t see this album as a creative statement from the band. This is something we do for our fans. We decided to do it because we were asked to by the fans. We thought it would be good to do it. It has nothing to do with a lack of creativity. We’re writing new material right now for a “real” new album.

Do you like this last album ?

Yeah, I do. Of course, you always think that there are things you could have done differently, but we’ll change that next time!

Where did the idea of recording new material come from ?

Like I said, initially, it came from the fans. We have very few hardcore fans that know the old material, and they often asked for one of the old songs. When we tried to do that, we didn’t get a new reaction from the crowd, because save for these two or three guys, no one knew the old material.


(About Angela Gossow) «I know she’s very careful with her voice, especially when we’re on the road. She doesn’t party, she doesn’t drink, she doesn’t smoke. I may have seen her drunk once or twice.»

Do you think the metal scene is a macho world? Does Angela contribute to a change of mentalities, in some way ?

It’s definitely a macho world, but it has changed a lot compared to when Angela joined the band in 2002. She had to prove to a lot of people that she could actually do this for real, that it was not just a studio thing. Over the years, there haven’t been many female vocalists who have been able to do this.

She opened a way for girls in metal. When girls see Angela on stage, they know they can do it as well. Is that important ?

Yeah, I think so. She’s doing something different. Nowadays most females in metal do melodic, operatic vocals, like NIGHTWISH, EPICA…

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Do you like this kind of bands?

I’m not a big fan of the genre, but they’re good at what they do.

Do you think having a woman in the band is an advantage ?

It’s a good thing because she brings a very different attitude to the band. Before she joined the band, we had a male singer. He was not really into touring and being on stage, he was not very comfortable in that role. Then Angela joined the band, and she was the total opposite. That made everything in the band change.

Angela has a very strong voice on stage. How does she manage that potential when the lights are out ?

I know she’s very careful with her voice, especially when we’re on the road. She doesn’t party, she doesn’t drink, she doesn’t smoke. I may have seen her drunk once or twice. She goes to bed early, she drinks tea. She sticks to herself, basically. She does what she has to do to keep her vocal potential. A voice is something fragile. I guess she learned from experience that she’s gonna lose hers if she goes out at night to party. Then we would have to cancel the show and go home.

Let’s talk about you as a drummer. Being in such an exposed band as ARCH ENEMY, are you feeling put in the background or rather protected from the media exposure ?

The band has several strong characters that attract all the attention. I don’t think that’s a problem. I’m a drummer, and drummers are always in the back. But still, a chain needs all its links: if you pull the drums away, the band will fall apart. It’s easy for a drummer to play too much and get in the way of the music. You have to learn how to stay in the background and think about your song more than about yourself.


(About metal scene) «It’s definitely a macho world, but it has changed a lot compared to when Angela joined the band in 2002. She had to prove to a lot of people that she could actually do this for real, that it was not just a studio thing.»

You once said you started drums on a small kit in your parents’ garage, a few years after your brother did so himself. When you see yourself in magazines or live videos, what are your thoughts ?

Sometimes getting all that attention feels a bit surreal, because I know there are better drummers out there. But at the same time, I’ve been working for this and doing this for so long. It’s great to get all the attention.

For you, who’s the best drummer ?

I got that question the other day. I don’t like one guy that I admire more than the others back in the day. For me it was more like discovering heavy metal. This genre had a big impact on me.

Do you think that there’s something in ARCH ENEMY’s music that is particularly Swedish in nature?

I don’t know. We just combine extreme music like death metal with melodic metal. The extreme side of our music is to be found in Angela’s voice and some of the drums. But for the most part, we’re a pretty melodic band. When we started out, we were associated with the Swedish melodic death metal scene, like IN FLAMES, but we were never really part of that. I think we were outside of that, more thrashy and not really melodic in that way.

Last question: for you, what is typically French by nature ?

I know it’s a cheesy answer, but for me, it’s baguette! I’ve been here for three days now, and I’ve had lots of baguette !

Interview made by Virginie on march 2010 at the Ninkasi Kao, Lyon.

Arch Enemy website :
www.myspace.com/archenemy




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