Liz Ramanand of Loudwire recently conducted an interview with guitarist Fredrik Åkesson of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loudwire: Tell me a little about the new album, “Heritage”, and how it differs from past albums.
Fredrik: [Frontman] Mikael [Åkerfeldt] started writing the album and it started off with a couple of songs. It was more or less a continuation of the last album, “Watershed”, and we deleted those two tracks and we just wanted to do something different. We don’t want to repeat ourselves. It’s like in movies — the second one is usually crap — so we wanted to take a different sound approach, we wanted to do a really honest and free sound. There’s no sound replacements on the albums; it’s the real deal, no cheating.
Loudwire: Mikael decided to approach the record in a new way by doing clean vocals, what was your approach to how you handled the guitar riffs on the record?
Fredrik: Guitar-sounding-wise, we talked about what kind of riffs we wanted to play on the next pick-up, we turned down the distortion a bit, so we get more of a stringy kind of sound instead of hiding behind the wall of distortion. It’s more sensitive and delicate and solos, I tried to go for something that suits the song really. I tried to do something that was different for each song and I think every song on the album is very different. It was a challenging album to record, actually. It was a really cool vibe in the studio, to see all of that old gear which has been kept the same since 1960; it was cool to use all of that old, vintage gear.
Loudwire: OPETH, along with several Swedish metal bands like IN FLAMES and ARCH ENEMY, are achieving great international success. What do you think it is about the music coming from Sweden that has such a broad appeal?
Fredrik: I don’t know. It’s weird, really. Not that many people live in Sweden; only about 9 million. I guess it’s because we have a lot of dark hours during the day, in winter time. It could be that people have a lot of spare time and they sit around in the dark and listen to metal.
Loudwire: You guys are pretty much on tour for the rest of this year; do you know of any plans for next year?
Fredrik: I think we’re going to have January off, more or less, then we’re going to play Japan and a lot of places in Asia, maybe Taiwan, South Korea, stuff like that and after that we’re going to do a South American tour and then we will go back to America in April. Then, after that we have the summer festivals in Europe, then probably another European tour, I think from now on we’re looking at more or less two years of touring. So it’s pretty packed. I mean, this started out on the 19th of September and we’re heading back home the 22nd of December but it’s cool. We’ve been out for quite some time so it’s great to be back touring.
Read the entire interview from Loudwire.