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TM - Hi, this is Amelia and Elizabeth from Twinmusix and we are here with Michael from Arch Enemy, thank you for having this interview with us today we really appreciate it.
ML - Thank you for having me.
TM - You are coming to Australia for your tour, what can fans expect?
ML - Well unbelievably it has been 5 years since we were last down there, that is exciting in itself for us. It has always been a really nice place for us two play shows and tour and we missed it. We are excited as hell. Hopefully it is what the fans expect, it's going to be Arch Enemy, 100% pure f****** Metal.
TM - I'm sure all your fans are really excited for you to come to Australia.
ML - Yeah, hopefully, it's going to be a real celebration. We just went through this really rough patch. The last few years have not been great for people and I have found since we started touring again last year it's just a huge celebration of heavy metal and metal culture. Going to a club to see a band, having a beer with your mates and buying a t-shirt and singing along with your favourite tunes. I have enjoyed it too, I have been attending shows myself and it is great that live music is back. For me, I just think it is a really exciting time right now.
TM - Talking about attending shows, what is your favourite show you have attended can you tell us a story?
ML - That's really difficult, I have seen so many shows over the years. I started going to shows in 83 or 84, so a long time ago. I don't want to be that specific, but I like the small sweaty Club shows as an audience member. I also like playing on stage because Arch Enemy has moved up now in Europe, last year we did a tour and we were playing in really big halls and arenas. We had the production with the trucks and the buses and stage production. We play festivals in the summertime in Europe and those are fun but it has never been my dream because when I was really young I was really into hardcore punk stuff and I used to go to really small shows so that is where my roots are. Every time I get to play in a smaller venue, I have a big smile on my face. There are a lot of the other members that enjoy the comforts of playing the bigger shows. I think overall growing up in the hardcore punk scene and seeing bands for the first time they are very small basement shows and those are my favourites.
TM - I think we all appreciate the smaller shows and the bigger shows. When we saw The Killers in a small venue it was cool and we also love big festivals, like Hellfest.
ML - The big shows are cool too, it is a Spectacle, I appreciate them they are awesome. If I was in a band that only played small shows, I would be dreaming about playing the big shows, but I get to do both so I am lucky in that way.
TM - What can we expect from your setlist for the Australian show?
ML - We have had a successful run of singles from the last album 'Deceivers'. It is our newest album the album and we have 6 singles out, so there is a huge recognition. The songs have been appreciated by the fans and the last three album with Alissa have been very successful for us. We will also go back a bit deeper into the catalogue and play stuff for the more hardcore band because we feel that we have to cover a little bit of everything that we have done, there is a long history with the bands now.
TM -Talking about your new album 'Deceivers'what was your writing and recording process?
ML - It was very different to any other record I have ever worked on and I hate to talk about the pandemic but that really affected us, we made the album in 2020 and early 2021 in Europe and the album was heavily affected by all of that. We are an international line-up of musicians and we like recording our music the old-school way, we like to be in the studio recording our music together, it's not like people are recording and uploading files from their home studio. It was a lot of trying to fly someone into Germany and having to quarantine for 2 weeks before having to collaborate on a track but it is wild and really different and an expensive way to make a record. We also had no deadlines on this record, usually, we have a lot of deadlines on records and it is all synced in a big grand plan of how the tours are going to fit in around the album and singles. The videos have to be shot there are just so many things that have to go into an album release and usually it is set up in advance. you have to work to a schedule once you set the release date or the tour dates. Then you have to work back from that and then you have to deliver the album within a specific timeframe. this time we didn't know if we were ever going to get to tour again because of all the negativity and Doomsday Prophecies about what was happening to the music industry. We didn't know if things were going to kick back in at all so we had unlimited time for the album which was good and bad.
TM - Did you write extra songs that you didn't use for the album?
ML - We always write extra songs and sometimes I'm like we will just use those for the next album, but it never works out like that because by the time you write the next album you are like those don't feel very fresh anymore and you have a new batch of songs that's you are more excited about maybe, someday we will have to release the songs that have never seen the light of day.
TM - Maybe you should do that for Arch Enemy's 30th anniversary, that will be cool.
ML - We have been in Arch Enemy for 27 years now which has been cool, during the pandemic we had our 25th anniversary and we couldn't do anything for that, we couldn't do any shows or anything. I wrote something about each album on our social media and we did a retro Merch drop for our old albums so we celebrated in a small way so definitely 30 will be a big one for us.
TM - Would you ever do an orchestra show?
ML - Since 'War Eternal' came out in 2014 we started to incorporate Orchestra into some of our songs. We have worked with a range of orchestras and string quartets, on certain songs, but it is not something that we rely heavily on in our music. You know some black metal bands and symphonic bands have this constant symphonic feel and we don't have that. We have it on some tracks here or there, it's more of a taste of the music for us. I don't know if we can pull it off, but then Metallica did it and they never really had any Orchestra it was all just re-imagined for the orchestral arrangement and it was really cool and really interesting. I think it has been done a lot, like at Waken a band might do a special symphonic show or an orchestra show, but we have never done Maybe it would be interesting for us as well. Do you have any more ideas, I'm writing them down.
TM - Actually I do, I will ask you our signature question. If you could have any band play one of your songs what band would it be what song and in your style or their style?
ML - Metallica why not have them play Nemesis, that would be kind of interesting, in their style.
TM - You covered 'Into The Pit' by Fight One, which is Rob Halford's old band and 'Diamonds Dreamer' by Picture, what made you want to cover these songs?
ML - What inspires the artist to do the cover songs is the record label always asks us to do bonus tracks. We don't really want to give away our own songs as bonus trucks. We rehearse and play these songs and they are a couple of songs that we like for different reasons, they never become famous songs but they are tributes to the artist that inspire us and they don't have to be famous. Picture is a Dutch heavy metal band from 1982, that a lot of Arch Enemy fans probably haven't heard of or anybody for that matter, but why not bring it to life, it's a song that we like. I think, when anyone does a cover song it shows the fans what we like and what we grew up on or what inspired us to make music.
TM - You haven't done any Christmas albums, that's another idea, just left field.
ML - We will start working on it now. I'm writing the idea down, don't worry.
TM - Do a Christmas album with Black Earth, that would be cool.
ML - That's what everybody has been waiting for.
TM - Exactly! You played with your brother in Black Earth in Japan, how was it?
ML - That was super fun, it was some of the current members of Arch Enemy. We played really early Arch Enemy stuff. We don't really go there with Arch Enemy. Nowadays we don't really touch that material, The first 3 records. It was fun to go to Japan where they are really impressed with that era and the line-up of the band. It was very popular over there at the time, it was fun to go back there and play that music with those guys, it was fantastic.
TM - what's your favourite thing to do in Japan?
ML - We went their the first time in 97, I have been there a ton of times, almost 50 times with all my different bands and promotion trips. We have done a lot of trips to Japan and it is always great there. We still work with the same guy who put out our first record which is rare, it is a long-standing relationship. We have a great promoter over there who books our live concerts. We have a lot of great relationships in the industry over there and the fans are great as well, they seem like they are fans for life, they just stick with us. We are picking up new fans as well, the fans we have over there are incredible. We are going straight there after the Australian and New Zealand tour, which we haven't been to in 5 years, which is super exciting. We are also looking forward to going to Japan.
TM - Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
ML - I would like to Thank them for listening to Arch Enemy and Thank them for the support and hopefully see everyone at the upcoming shows in Australia, New Zealand and Japan shows. We have been looking forward to it and we miss Australia, New Zealand and Japan. I would also like to thank you for the interview.
TM - thank you so much for the interview today, we really appreciate it.
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