OPETH

Opeth’s grand mage talks stage fright, close-up pun­ters and where that next al­bum’s at…

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents - WORDS: JAMES WEAVER

They have a new DVD, but what about new mu­sic? Mikael Åk­er­feldt re­veals all.

SIT­TING at 6,450 feet and look­ing like some­thing from a dystopian sci­ence-fic­tion out­back, Red Rocks Am­phithe­atre in Colorado is one of the most im­pres­sive venues on the planet. Gar­den Of The Ti­tans, the new live DVD from Swedish jug­ger­nauts Opeth, cap­tures their spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mance there last year, and tal­is­manic front­man Mikael Åk­er­feldt tells Ham­mer that it was quite the oc­ca­sion.

SO MIKAEL, YOU’VE GOT THIS NEW DVD COM­ING OUT. WHAT ARE YOUR ME­MORIES OF PER­FORM­ING AT RED ROCKS?

“It was freez­ing, it was very windy but it was so beau­ti­ful! The venue is re­ally high up and I think you can see all the way to Den­ver. It was a beau­ti­ful evening and a beau­ti­ful am­phithe­atre but we were quite ner­vous be­cause we were film­ing, of course. We’ve played some re­ally nice venues and I can’t say what my top five is, but I think Red Rocks would be in there.”

THIS WILL BE YOUR FOURTH LIVE DVD. HOW DO YOU DE­CIDE WHICH SHOW IS GO­ING TO BE RECORDED?

“We had a dis­cus­sion with our man­age­ment about do­ing an­other DVD and Red Rocks was pretty much pre-de­ter­mined. To be hon­est, I’m never re­ally keen on do­ing them be­cause of the amount of stress I feel be­fore do­ing the show, but we hadn’t done one since In Live Con­cert At The Royal Al­bert Hall and we’ve done three al­bums since, so we fig­ured it was a good idea to do it.”

YOU PER­FORM ON THE BIG­GEST OF STAGES QUITE REG­U­LARLY NOW – DOES THAT MAKE YOU NER­VOUS AT ALL?

“It’s eas­ier, to be hon­est. If it hadn’t been for us film­ing that show I would have been more calm than play­ing a pub – they are the worst kind of shows. I re­mem­ber we played two nights, to make it even more hor­ri­ble, in a tiny jazz club called Ne­fer­titi down in Gothen­burg where I had some­body’s face a cou­ple of inches away from my gui­tar. They were just star­ing at my fin­gers when I was play­ing. The room held maybe about 150-200 peo­ple and it was so daunt­ing. I was so ner­vous. On a big­ger stage, when you are away from a crowd and it’s just one big mass of peo­ple, for some rea­son it just calms me down, even if those shows, on pa­per, are more im­por­tant be­cause there’s so many more peo­ple there. Like fes­ti­vals: we’ve played Wacken and peo­ple are freak­ing out but I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s a piece of cake, try a jazz club!’ Ha ha ha!”

GAR­DEN OF THE TI­TANS AR­RIVES TWO YEARS AF­TER THE RE­LEASE OF YOUR LAST AL­BUM, SORCERESS. IS THIS BA­SI­CALLY HERE TO TIDE FANS OVER UN­TIL YOUR NEXT PROPER RECORD?

“In the busi­ness world I think it’s not the most stupid move you can make, to put out a live al­bum from the last tour when you are writ­ing for the next one. I don’t think peo­ple are go­ing to for­get about us so I’m not too con­cerned with tid­ing them over, but I like to have good al­bums out. If we’ve got a good live al­bum then why not re­lease it for peo­ple? And in the mean­time we’re work­ing on the next al­bum, so it’s come to­gether well!”

SPEAK­ING OF THE NEW AL­BUM, WHAT’S THE LAT­EST FROM THE OPETH CAMP? HAVE YOU MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS?

“I have, ac­tu­ally. I told my­self I’d be tak­ing a break, maybe even a sab­bat­i­cal or some­thing, af­ter the last tour but I think I lasted un­til af­ter Xmas. I was def­i­nitely in the stu­dio be­fore New Year’s. I started writ­ing in De­cem­ber last year and I’ve got a lot of mu­sic – I think

I’ve got about an hour and a half’s worth of ma­te­rial, but I’m go­ing to take it easy. I’m go­ing to be very me­thod­i­cal and lis­ten to a lot of stuff I’ve done and just make sure there’s no gaps of any kind on the next al­bum. That feels im­por­tant to me.”

“PUB SHOWS ARE THE WORST KIND OF SHOWS”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.