ARCH ENEMY’s MICHAEL AMOTT Says New Guitarist ‘Nailed’ The Band’s Set During Rehearsal

Earlier this week, Peter Hodgson of conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. An excerpt from the chat follows below. Obviously the hot topic at the moment is [your brother] Chris‘s [Amott, guitar] departure from the band. What’s the story?

Michael: Well, Chris informed us in October last year that he wanted to leave the band. Again. [Laughs]. He’s been out of the band, in 2005, 2006, 2007. The first time he quit the band it was more of a shock. But this time it didn’t really have that impact on us. We were half expecting it. He just hasn’t been that happy playing in ARCH ENEMY for a while, and music is supposed to be fun. The rest of us love it and live for it, and if one guy doesn’t, then that kind of affects the whole atmosphere in the camp. So this is really for the best. And we found a new, really great guitar player [Nick Cordle]. He’s in a band called ARSIS and they supported us in America in 2010. I just kind of checked out the dude on that run. I saw him first and thought, “Shit, he really looks like Chris did ten years ago. That’s uncanny.” Then I started watching the shows and I really liked his guitar playing and stage presence and everything. And then I just kind of put him in the back of my mind, I guess. I just pulled that name out when this situation arose late last year. So you’ve been rehearsing together already?

Michael: Yeah. He was over here in January rehearsing. At first he sent us a bunch of videos I’d asked him to record of himself playing our songs. I thought he was going to send two or three songs but he sent over, I don’t know, 20 songs. He picked our entire current setlist and went through them all. He had pretty much everything note-perfect, so it was like, okay, this isn’t going to be that much of a big job for us, to rehearse with somebody, break them in, show them all the fine little details of what we do. He was just very much on top of it, really. Which is great, obviously. That’s what you want. Less work for us. We can just get straight into it. And he was great. He came over and started playing with us, and obviously that’s a totally different thing, and it sounded great. The first thing we did on the first day he got here was to run through the whole live setlist and it sounded great. He nailed stuff, didn’t miss any cues. It was great. At that point I felt about five tons of stress come off my shoulders! It must be stressful, the gap between knowing Chris was leaving, arranging a replacement and ultimately breaking the news to the fans, like, “Oh shit… here it comes.”

Michael: Oh, the reaction? Yeah, but it’s kind of old news to us now. Chris handed in his notice in October, so it’s been a while. I pretty much contacted Nick immediately back then so he’s had plenty of time to get into it. We just kept it under wraps because we did a bunch of dates, the last shows with Chris, in January. We had all these shows booked, flights booked, commitments that we had, so Chris fulfilled his commitments with us and now he’s off doing his own thing. But you know, we wish him the very best, of course. As we said in the press release, we just want to keep it as undramatic as possible because there really is no drama. It’s just something that’s run its course. Music is a positive force. It should be a positive force. We don’t want to stick together just to please other people. You’ve got to move on with your life, and that goes for both him and us, I guess.

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