ARjEN LucAssEN ON MIKAEL ÅKERfELdT
“T he first time I heard Mikael’s stuff was on Damnation. I knew of Opeth, but I’m not a death metal guy – I’m a 60s/70s guy. But on Damnation, he was singing rather than growling. I heard his voice and I loved it.
I asked him to sing on Ayreon’s The Human equation simply because I love his voice so much. He’s got a really melancholic feel. If a voice sings beautiful melodies, that’s it for me. It’s like David Gilmour – he’s not an amazing singer, he’s just got a warm voice. Mikael is the same.
He’s such a nice guy to be around. When he came to the studio, he was joking around all the time, playing on my old synthesiser. The guy is hilarious, and it’s because he’s real – there’s nothing fake about the guy. He’s not trying to be funny, he is funny.
We sat down one evening and we were playing music to each other – not just prog, but also stuff like 16 Horsepower and Wovenhand and Simon & Garfunkel and Whitesnake. I’ve got all these old vinyl lPs, these collectors albums. I said, ‘Take anything you want.’ He was like a kid in a candy shop. He went home with about 10 or 20 of these albums.
I’d love to work with him again. I ask him, but he’s such a busy guy. I asked him for the Ayreon universe shows I did recently. He knew I was doing theatrical things, and he said: ‘Do I have to dance?’ ‘no, Mikael, no dancing.’ unfortunately, he couldn’t do it. But we will work together again one day.”