ARCH ENEMY Guitarist Says Songwriting Is ‘A Natural Process’

Brian Giffin of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the lyrical content of ARCH ENEMY‘s latest album, “Khaos Legions”:

Amott: “Religion always gets a good bashing from ARCH ENEMY. I think we just took things to the extreme lyrically on this album. Angela [Gossow, vocals] was just on a whole godless trip on this album. She’d read a bunch of books around that time and there was also the whole thing with the uprisings in North Africa going on — in the Middle East and North Africa. There was just a lot of interesting things going on in the world.”

“We always like to try to have a thread running through every album, like a bit of a concept. We don’t like to call them concept albums, but there’s always some sort of concept. When we make records, we figure out an idea we wanna go with lyrically and musically and then we piece it all together meticulously. It takes us a while. I think that’s just what I grew up listening to. My favorite albums had that kind of feel. I don’t know, I just like to have everything fit together.”

On the influence of old-school metal on ARCH ENEMY‘s music:

Amott: “My idea when I started ARCH ENEMY was to have that fusion between extreme, death metal and thrash and then, with the vocals and the drumming especially, to have that kind of very evil, aggressive vocal approach. But then also have, with the guitars, have a local of melodies and probably more influence from classic metal: JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, stuff like that. We’re probably just getting better at doing that and fine-tuning that whole thing.”

On the recording process:

Amott: “I like us to be very well prepared. Actually [producer] Andy Sneap, who works on a lot of our records, says we’re one of the most well prepared bands he’s ever worked with. We kind of have every detail worked out, and we like to do demos of our stuff as well. Our drummer Daniel [Erlandsson] is very much into recording as well, so we have that advantage of being able to produce quality demos of all our stuff. We don’t want to do demos and be prepared to the point where you kind of kill the material, you know, but we like to be prepared and know what we’re doing. Certainly in the past we’ve found ourselves thinking, ‘Oh shit, we’ve run out of lyrics,’ or ‘We’ve got to write another song,’ or something on the spot. We’ve done that, but it’s best to be prepared. For us, anyway.”

On songwriting:

Amott: “It’s not like I’m forcing myself. It’s a natural process. I play guitar for hours every day. I guess I’m slightly retarded in that sense. Playing guitar all the time, and when I’m on the road I have even more time to play guitar, because you know you sit around in hotel rooms or backstage most of the time. I just play guitar really, and ideas will come out of that. And it’s so easy to capture your ideas now these days. You used to stick them on cassettes, but now you can put them on the phone or laptop, whatever is convenient. And you just kind of build up an arsenal of killer riffs and melodies, ideas and bits and pieces. And then it’s great to go back to that later when you’re putting together a new album and have that there to pull from.”

Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.