sTEvEN wILsON ON MIKAEL ÅKERfELdT
“I first came across Opeth when I was being interviewed by a French journalist in the late 90s. He gave me a copy of Still life, saying, ‘You might like it.’ It was spectacularly powerful but really nuanced. I realised there was a real artist at work.
Mikael and I have worked together many times over the years. We’re both music nerds, but what we realised early on was that we both have no concept of musical boundaries. We egg each other on to become more and more experimental in what we do.
When Mikael says he’s a mediocre singer or guitarist, I understand what he’s saying – I say the same thing. But he’s a great musician – and that has got nothing to do with ability. Great musicians are people who are brilliant musical thinkers. Brian eno is one – he can’t play anything, but he thinks about music in a brilliant way. roger Waters, arguably the worst musician in Pink Floyd, is another – he’s responsible for most of their groundbreaking music. Mikael is in the same category.
I’d like see him make a record that really focuses on his songwriting, because he’s a fantastic songwriter. I’ve just made a record where I’ve stripped away a lot of the more conceptual elements and focused on my songwriting. I’d like to see him do the same, because I think he is really underrated as a melodicist, a songwriter and arranger. I think that would be a challenge for him but one he’d absolutely rise to.”