Public Enemy? - Michael Amott of Arch Enemy
There is bound to be plenty of tedium and mediocrity in any musical genre, but there are a few bands who are able to present quality music album after album. Arch Enemy is one of those bands. As masters of melodic metal, they have risen above the masses and become one of the standards by which the others are judged and rarely can attain.
Arch Enemy continue to grow with their latest release from Century Media, Anthems of Rebellion. Guitar.coms resident metal expert, John Welborn, caught up with founding member and guitarist Michael Ammot to pick his brain on topics ranging from tips for success in the music industry, to his soon to be released ESP signature model guitar, to the Internet and music piracy.
Guitar.com: So how are you today Michael?
Michael Amott: Got lots of stuff to do, we're going out on the road for ten weeks on Friday.
Guitar.com: Oh, wow. Where are you calling from?
Amott: I'm calling from home, Sweden, where our European tour starts as well. So there's always stuff to take care of, you know, before you leave home. But otherwise, we're just rehearsing a bit and getting ready for the tour.
Guitar.com: If you were just in a pub drinking and you ran into a fellow guitarist and you were gonna describe your band, how would you describe it?
Amott: It's always hard to describe music, isn't it? In words. But I guess that it's some kind of extreme metal. It is metal music. But there are so many different kinds out there, so many different sub-genres. I'd say it's kind of aggressive, like with the vocals and all that. But it's got a lot of guitar-playing going on as well, you know? A lot of melodic stuff, guitar melodies, and you know it's hard to describe. And there's a definite death metal influence in there, but we actually write sort of songs with hooks and stuff like that. There's really a definite extreme edge to our music, but a lot of our influences are coming from a lot more traditional music as well. Stuff like Judas Priest, you know? Older metal bands like that, mostly. There's a bit of Slayer and stuff. A bit of a metal melting pot [laughs].
Guitar.com: Well I think that's what people are looking for these days, something that just doesn't sound like one thing, you know? It seems like it's becoming more and more acceptable to cross different styles. Often I find my self listening to Arch Enemy and I'll say, "Oh wow, thats totally a Carcass lead," but then I don't know if it's your influence on them or their influence on you. You know what I'm saying?
Amott: I think it's a little bit of both. I think we were all making really huge steps all the time as musicians back then. We were developing at a rapid rate, and there would be these huge leaps between albums where suddenly everybody was a lot better at playing. We were kind of growing up in public I guess, back then. I mean I guess I developed my sound-- I mean Carcass actually made an album without me after I left them, which is called Swansong, and I guess you can hear the difference what it sounded like after I left as well, if you really listen to that album. I think that was quite different from Heartwork, but that's when you figure that I did quite a lot of writing on that album, Heartwork, musically. I guess that's where a bit of my style, and my writing and playing is defined, and I've just kind of continued in that tradition, trying to get better, and you know, getting a little bit better all the time.
Guitar.com: Speaking of growing, I know you're going out on tour with Slayer, and that's going to expose you to a whole lot of new fans who've never heard of Arch Enemy, which is excellent. Do you have any preconceived notions of what the tour will be like, or do you have any anticipation about things being different than on your previous tours?
Amott: Well, we've been in all kinds of situations, touring-wise. So far with Arch Enemy we've done everything from club-tours, headlining, to being a supporting for other extreme death metal bands. We've even supported Iron Maiden on a couple of shows in Scandinavia. So I think we've played at several different levels, and been in several different types of shows with different types of audiences as well. I think were pretty much ready for it, you know. I think musically were right in the topic for what fits the bill, to go out with a band like Slayer. But obviously its exciting for us cause we are gonna reach a whole bunch of new people, who might have heard the name but have never really checked us out, and were actually gonna be in their face, you know, with our brand of metal. So it's exciting, honestly.
Guitar.com: Definitely. I noticed on the new album there were some clean vocals in there.
Amott: Mmm-hmm. Actually my brother Chris, you know the guitar player, he did some of those vocals, a bit of vocals on the album, which is cool. He actually did some recording last year where he did some clean lead vocals in like a little solo project thing, and when we heard the voice we were like, Wow! He actually had a voice that was different and kinda cool, so we thought we'd try to incorporate that in several places on the new album. But it's not a really dominant feature on the album. It's just kind of there to add an extra flavor in a couple of places. I think it worked out pretty well; it's an experiment that was pretty successful I think.
Guitar.com: Yeah I would agree, I think it's very successful and I was going to ask the reason I brought up the Slayer thing is, obviously you do this for a living, and so the more fans you have, the more money you have or the more arguably successful you are. Do you think as you become exposed to more fans, do you start to say, "Oh, well they like this new sound a little more." Are you ever tempted to play something that would attract more fans? Because the thing is, people who don't understand death metal, they always have such a hard time with the voice. And as the nu-metal sound is growing more and more popular, people are growing accustomed to the abrasive vocals as a more acceptable medium. But they also really like it to interact with singing. Do you expect that to be coming into your music more?
Amott: Well, if it comes in our music it's because we want it. You know were just gonna write the music that we like. That's the main reason why we're doing this because we want to write music that we want to hear ourselves. We're big fans of all kinds of music. We listen to a lot of melodic music as well, that's no big news to us. It's not like we only purely listen to death metal; it's never been like that. I've never been like that as a person. Even when I was in Carcass, we were on tour and we'd always be listening to lots of old classic metal Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, all that kind of stuff, you know? Lots of melodic stuff. We've always been pretty broad in our tastes. But I know what you're saying, the scene. We definitely know that at concerts we adapt music to fit a certain public. We already have a pretty big fan base, so, we already do make a living, not a great one, but we already do make a living out of the band, and were not gonna risk that by[laughs]....we play the music that we want to play, basically.
Guitar.com: Ok I respect that, I'm not trying to corner you into saying that you're planning on selling out.
Amott: [Laughs again]Nah, I mean you know but what is selling out, you know? You go on the Internet you know, you get people screaming at you all the time for selling out. After The Wages of Sin, people said we sold out, and those same people consider it to be a classic now. I mean, in a lot of peoples eyes you always sell out after the first album, you know? After the first album that's it, you should just split up after the first album.
Guitar.com: Right, if it doesn't sound exactly like that one did.
Amott: I mean, we're writing songs, you know, and songs are gonna be different from time, we're gonna find new challenges and songwriters and players, you know. I think the problem is now is that the people on the Internet fans seem to believe sometimes that they actually should have an influence on what the music should be like. I mean the artist writes the music and the fan decides if he's into it or not, you know? Music is a subjective experience, you know? That's the beauty of music everybody perceives it differently, it moves and touches people in different ways. We write the music that feels good to us, and thankfully so far a lot of people- a growing number of people- are getting into Arch Enemy's sound.
Guitar.com: I really like the new album a lot. It seems like there's a whole lot of political themes on this album. Is all the stuff that's going on with the terrorism and the wars and all that, is it finally starting to get to you?
Amott: Uh, no. I mean, I wouldn't call it political. I mean everything's politics, you know? The food you eat is politics, you know what I mean? Everything is politics, nowadays. It depends on how much you wanna push that point. I don't think, you know, they're not really political as in I think there's some kind of a thread that runs through the album. But I'll be honest, the lyrics were kind ofa lot of were just kind of non-conformist. [We were] really just talking about being pro-individualistic, you know? Everybody should be more who they want to be, instead of conforming to values that society enforces on you, and school. And I think just in the society in general. But I wouldn't say it's a really political album as such. But I mean of course, everything that goes on in the world of course affects you, you'd be totally a little bit weird if it didn't, you know? But I don't know how much of that has seeped into the lyric writing. I think these lyrics are kind of more rooted in- they're a bit more personal, a bit more, sort of, real, maybe, than the last couple albums that we've done. I'm pretty happy with it, I think it fits the harder riffs, and the new albums a bit heavier then the last album as well, so, this is a bit more angry lyrics. It went hand in hand with the music. The music always comes first though.
Guitar.com: I was going to ask about that as well. What's the typical writing process that you use? You start with the music first?
Amott: Yeah, but I mean there's so many different variations; we don't have a set formula to write a song. It's never really the same. It can be a like a little riff, it can start with a little melody thing- it can be something I wrote on the acoustic guitar while sitting in the restroom [laughs]. It can be anything; it can be any little thing that triggers a song. It can be a drum rhythm that our drummer comes up with and then we write a riff around that or something. Or it could be a yeah it could be anything that would trigger a song idea, really. But I mean the normal way we work around building and constructing a song is just kind of work from having two riffs and just jamming them both in the rehearsal room. We do it the old school way, you know, we actually pack in, I guess, to this little rehearsal studio that we have and drink lots of coffee and jam on tunes, you know? A lot of jamming and improvising, a lot of mistakes and stuff like that, we kind of make new stuff out of that, it takes different shapes and forms. We don't sit at home with like Cubase and arrange all the music at home or anything like that. It's just from actual playing.
Guitar.com: Old school, that's a good way to do it. There's no substitute for band interaction.
Amott: Yeah, we just let stuff happen, you know? It's more exciting that way, that's the way we've always done it, you know. We'll be jamming all kinds of types of music, you know? Everything like more hard rock, to blues, lots of stupid jams and then well start jamming at more our own type of music, we're just pretty loose with it, you know? We don't really use our brains at all for writing music that much. Sometimes people say you know that we're a technical band or that we play technical music. We don't really see it like that at all. Music comes very easy and naturally to us, so, it's what were used to playing, you know?
Guitar.com: Right, so, I wonder how much of that is because the other guitarist is your brother? I've always wanted to ask someone who's in a band with family members- What's it like being in a band with your brother?
Amott: I mean, we get asked that all the time also, and I'm sorry to say theres no real dirt. It's a pretty happy family altogether in Arch Enemy. We don't really fight, more I think we fight less, maybe, I don't know. We have a pretty direct communication, me and my brother, in the writing process, for instance. We can be pretty straight with each other about each other's ideas and stuff like that, we don't have to think about you don't have to sugarcoat it, you know if he presents an idea and I don't think it fits Arch Enemy, I can just say, "Well, I dont think that's an Arch Enemy riff," and he'll be cool with that. He won't be like "I dont", hurt his ego or anything. I don't know if that's because we're brothers but we have a very open line of communication, so that's good.
Guitar.com: Do you think it gives you more insight? Do you think you think alike? Or is it easier, maybe, for you to communicate as a result of that? Since you grew up together and have the same backgrounds, at least to a degree?
Amott: Yeah, also we've played so much together that we're really tight. We're tight in the actual playing of all the stuff but we're also sort of tight in the way that we can actually we almost know what the other guy's gonna do, before he does it. You know, when we're writing stuff, we'll just sit with two guitars and we're writing stuff, and I'll be playing a melody. You know, he's just really instinctive and he comes up with a chord sequence or something like that, or the other way around. It's just a real natural process, we just kind of let the music flow. It's a great thing, you know?
Guitar.com: Yeah, I always thought it would be.
Amott: It's not a struggle, you know, like for some bands it seems like it's a real struggle to write music. We can hardly get into the rehearsal room without writing a new song, you know, every time we play together. Or at least a part of a new song, you know. It's just like the writing never stops. I mean, it doesn't ALL make the final album, you know, but at least there's a lot of creativity there, which I think is cause we're happy playing, you know? Just a happy family [laughs].
Guitar.com: I think one of the things that you can bring to the table that transcends metal into the field of music in general, would be your experience in the music business. Can you pass on some advice to our readers? Have you learned anything that made you say, "You know what, if I would have known this seven years ago I'd be a totally different place now, because I never would have made all these mistakes."
Amott: Yeah, I mean you can't stress enough, when it comes to dealing with labels and stuff like that, that if you're an unsigned act you should definitely, when you do actually go into negotiations, you should have a real experienced music business lawyer to look at all the paper work, you know, and to negotiate the deal for you. Cause there's a lot of loopholes, and the music business is very artist-unfriendly. That's what the whole industry is built on, it's built on the artist paying for everything. The money that you get advanced is your own money, at the end of the day. The labels work like banks, basically. You also figure, in smaller, very underground music they make very small financial investments, and at times it can also be very big with some of them. Yeah, just be very careful with finding deals and stuff like that, and publishing, and merchandising. Hold on to your merchandising rights, because T-shirts is what's gonna keep you alive on the road. Just stuff like that boring stuff you know, really. If you start playing guitar or in any instance you start a band because you love music, you end up getting fucked in the ass though [laughs]. Eventually you turn into some kind of a mutant between a musician and a businessman and a salesman as well, you know? When you release an album you've got to promote it. So it's a pretty interesting hybrid that you turn out to be in this business.
Guitar.com: Being the founding member of the band do you seem like you get stuck with the business responsibilities a lot more than the other members?
Amott: Ah, yeah. I mean it's not that they don't want to do it, but it's like, the people, it's like endless, it seems like they always wanna talk to me or talk to Angela, the singer, you know, which is kind of natural I guess. Sometimes I just think, "Yeah, wouldn't it be interesting a little bit if you read an interview with the drummer, you know? See what he's got to say about the band." Like with Aerosmith, you know? I'm sick of reading interviews with Steven Tyler and the guitar player.
Amott: Yeah. I mean I just, I don't want to know about their story anymore, you know? I've read it a million times, you know? I wanna know I'm more interested to hear what the other guys have got to say about being in the band. You know I mean, these really high profile bands, it's just the same people doing the interviews over and over again, it like, gets old [laughs].
Guitar.com: I know exactly what you're talking about.
Amott: Sometimes when you read an interview with- uh- who is it? Brad Whitford or, the other guitar player? I read an interview in a guitar magazine a few years ago with him, and it's like kind of interesting to read his perspective on the band if you know what I mean. But I guess just some people are more driven as well towards doing interviews and talking about their music and stuff like that. And you know, the more experience you get at doing interviews, the more sort of requests you get. Well we did an interview with Michael last time and it turned out really good so we want to talk to him again. I'm going to start to really suck at interviews and give really short answers that are not really interesting at all, so people are probably start looking for other people to talk to.
Guitar.com: Well you should just stick your brother out there a few times.
Amott: Yeah, we did actually we sent him out on a promotion trip in Europe together with Angela for a couple of weeks, so that was good. It's all about gaining experience in that field as well.
Guitar.com: Right, and right on the heels of the label and knowing about that stuff, how do you feel about the record labels suing the users for having mp3s?
Amott: For downloadingthe mp3-downloading thing? I don't know, are they suing users now?
Guitar.com: Yeah, they have been kind of threatening to do it for a while, and then they opened up a couple of hundred lawsuits against users that had large numbers of files. I guess, supposedly one of them was like a 12 year old girl or something.
Amott: Yeah sue the bitch [laughs]. That's pretty weird
Guitar.com: [Laughs] Yeah, so how do you feel about that?
Amott: Yeah I mean, it's a very sort of difficult situation, I think. I mean, the world is changing, if you know what I mean, and I don't know if the labels, or the artists, we're really prepared for it. Like, the opportunity's there now to get as much music as you want for free and you don't have to pay for it and that kind of fucks the whole set up, you know. Because then labels won't want to invest in bands, and the first bands to go will be the more interesting ones I think, you know?
The bands that are a bit more left field, you know, bands that are sort of thinking out of the box you know, that are kind of more progressive and interesting artists, certainly who don't sell millions and millions and millions. So I think what you're gonna be left with is maybe mostly boy bands and you know, those really safe music that everybody likes, you know. The real mainstream stuff, maybe. That's probably whats gonna happen. I'm not sure though, I can't really. I don't have a crystal ball, I can't look into the future. But I think the artists are just going to find a new way of distributing their music, and getting paid for it as well.
I don't think anybody likes to work for free, really, you know? I don't think most of the people that actually sit at home and download music, when they go and work in the Wal-Mart or whatever that if they didn't get paid by Wal-Mart I dont think they'd go to work, you know what I mean? I don't think people want to do that, nobody really wants to work for free. And I mean I know that CDs are too expensive and stuff like that, but there's gotta be a sort of a way in between this, you know, like a middle way or something that will work out that'll be good for everybody, hopefully.
Guitar.com: Yeah, my personal take on it for whatever it matters is that I think for smaller bands and in the overall scheme of things I would consider Arch Enemy a smaller band, as compared to like Madonna, or Aerosmith. I think bands like you, and my band....I think we benefit from file-sharing, because, it's ways for people who've never heard of Arch Enemy, and who don't have the money to go out and drop $20 on an Arch Enemy CD, it's ways for them to hear your music. Because they're never gonna hear it on the radio, at least in the United States, you know
Amott: Yeah I know what you mean, it is a community that's definitely there, but I don't know. But then there are people who'll just download albums you know, and they never buy anything you know what I mean? But I think I know what you mean because in metal, I think it's not that common because I think a lot of metal fans are actually real fans, and fans want to support their bands, and they want the whole package as well, you know, they want the cover, and they wanna buy into the band they wanna buy into being a part of that scene.
Guitar.com: I agree completely. All the people I know that download music that's the way they use it, you know? To me it puts more pressure on the bands, to a degree, to deliver good albums rather than one or two good songs. What happens is you know people go on and if there's only one good song on an entire album, then they're not gonna pay for it. But if there's like a whole bunch of good songs then they're like oh yeah, I wanna support this band, you know, I'll go buy the CD. I'll GO to the show because they wanna put money back into the community.
Amott: Yeah, I don't know if everybodys got that conscience, though. [laughs]
Guitar.com: [Laughs] You don't think so?
Amott: [Laughs] I don't think so, I don't have that much faith. You know I mean it is a proven fact though that sales are really, really down for everybody across the board, so, I don't know. I think it's down for metal as well, you know? The sales have dropped, you know?
Guitar.com: Yeah but comparatively, metal sales are way up, compared to other music though. I mean like, maybe overall they're down, but comparatively metal sales are up.
Amott: Yeah, I don't know. I definitely think you're right in that it does challenge the bands certainly, like with the artwork, we always try to put a lot of work and time and money into making expensive, you know- booklets, with a lot of artwork and interesting stuff, and coming up with cool packages and stuff like that. I think that's important. I don't know if that's enough for some people, but we like to give something to the fans that do buy the album, something special, I think.
Guitar.com: It's a very cool cover and layout. Did you come up with the idea, or how did the concept come about?
Amott: Yeah I came up with the concept, and then I collaborated with a graphic artist. So, yeah, it did turn out really cool.
Guitar.com: Yeah it did, it came out very cool, I haven't gotten a chance to watch the DVD yet
Amott: It's actually not a DVD you can't actually watch it, its just audio only. It's just like some DTS mixes, some 5.1 mixes that we made of some songs of some studio cuts. And in Japan they put it out as a DTS CD- so you can actually stick it in your DVD player, but it wasn't a DVD, and it would play these DTS mixes. But the Century Media label for the rest of the world didn't want to do that, they wanted to press it as a DVD disc, and have it done that way, so, it caused a little bit of confusion with some people. But it's an audio only thing. But it's a pretty cool, surround sound mixes of a few studio tracks.
Guitar.com: Cool. So what are you into outside of metal. Like, what do you do when you're not playing guitar?
Amott: Ah, well I've gotta do a lot of this, what I'm doing right now - talking on the phone, it would be with journalists right now on releasing a new album, its like I'm doing interviews all morning and now I'm doing interviews all evening. So a lot of time is spent doing that, and also a lot of other business related stuff to do with the band, talking to my management or the other band guys.
Guitar.com: Yeah, but what about fun stuff?
Amott: I can't remember what that was like [laughs]. Yeah fun stuff, hmmm It's kinda weird, isn't it? Because when you're playing guitar, that's kind of your hobby, and then when it turns into your job, you're like, what do I do for fun now? You know? It's kind of weird, it's a weird situation. I think a lot of musicians have been in that situation. What do you do when your favorite thing to do turns into a job? [Editors note: Don't you live happily ever after?] But you know, actually I always managed to keep the fun in guitar playing. Always acquiring new guitars keeps it interesting, you know?
Guitar.com: Right. How many guitars do you have?
Amott: Oh, not that many 20, 25? [Laughs].
Guitar.com: Yeah, that's a pretty good number [Laughs}.
Amott: You could use more though, you know. It's ridiculous. A lot of it comes from companies that have endorsed me and stuff like that. Right now, I'm with ESP, and I've had quite a few guitars from the ESP Custom Shop in Japan, so it's pretty cool. I'm actually doing my own signature model as well, it's gonna be released on the market over in Japan next year.
Guitar.com: Oh yeah? Wow, cool.
Amott: So, yeah. I'm following in the footsteps of George Lynch and whoever else.
Guitar.com: Right, right.
Amott: So, that's gonna be exciting. You'll have to do another interview with me then.
Guitar.com: Yeah, definitely. We'll do a video lesson, with you and Chris.
Amott: You had one with Zakk Wylde a while back, right?
Guitar.com: Yeah, like that. I actually did that one...
Amott: I've seen that one. He's sitting like backstage or something on a couch...
Guitar.com: Yeah, exactly.
Amott: That would be awesome.
Guitar.com: Yeah, it's really cool when you can sit down and play through some of the riffs and show how you guys work together with the harmonies and stuff.
Amott: Yeah that'd be awesome.
Guitar.com: The album sounds amazing, incredible. Tell me just a little bit about the recording process.
Amott: Yeah, we did it with a guy called Andy Sneap.
Guitar.com: Yeah, I'm familiar with him from Sabbat [Editor's note: Sabbat's album Dreamweavers is an '80s thrash classic!].
Amott: That's right, yeah, and you know he's obviously producing nowadays, and I think he's like, he's probably the best there is right now for metal I think, for this extreme music. He brings you a lot of heaviness, a lot of extreme edge in there. But he also brings out a lot of power and punch in the song you know? He really knows how to bring out the best...so, yeah. He did a great job, we actually did it over in the UK, in England, at his studio. It was a lot of hard work, he made us play the shit over and over again, and driving us crazy, but it paid off, you know? Usually we can be a bit lazy...Arch Enemy is a bunch of musicians who...we can pretty much...we don't have to play to our full capacity to make it sound great, if you know what I mean. You can kinda smooth things over a little bit and it sounds great, add a little harmony on there and everybody's like, "Yeah, these guys are so good," you know [laughs]. You know, people love it? But we've done that on the previous albums, and this time we had to step it up because Andy just said, "These rhythms aren't cutting it, you've just got to get tighter, you've got to do this, you've got to that." I don't think I've ever played as much guitar in my whole life in the studio as I did on this one.
Guitar.com: Yeah, so he was busting your balls a little?
Amott: Absolutely, it was brutal, it was brutal. I mean, he's a guitar player himself, you know, he's the king of the whole...all the fast down-picking stuff and, it was kinda fun. It was a challenge though, I enjoyed him a lot.
Guitar.com: What was the process like? Did you record drums first, and then...?
Amott: Yeah, yeah, it was all done like that, first we'd record the drum tracks and then we'd add stuff on that, so there wasn't any actual live... we didn't play live together in a room or anything like that with this one. That's how Andy wanted to do it just to create the maximum sort of...you know, obviously from his production point of view that's how he wanted to do it.
Guitar.com: Oh yeah it definitely sounds the best that way. Have you played live on previous recordings?
Amott: Not with Arch Enemy, really, but with other projects. It's a different kind of vibe. I like that, too, but with Arch Enemy we wanted a really cold, dark production, with a lot of really high quality sound. So you've got to be meticulous about it. You can't fuck it up from the beginning, you know, 'cause it's all in the drums and how you're tracking everything to begin with, you know. He was kind of like a...a bit of a mad professor, Andy Sneap.
Guitar.com: How many guitar tracks are on any given song?
Amott: There's always four; nearly always a core of two each on a given track, and mostly additional solos and little melodies and stuff like that are going on at times as well.
Guitar.com: What do you guys tune to?
Amott: Most of the album we just tune C...we drop the whole guitar down from C. It's C and then it follows on from that. So we tune down the whole guitar, it's not like it's dropped, we don't just drop the top string or anything. There's a couple of tracks that are in A as well, for a bit heavier...
Guitar.com: Yeah is that "Instinct," is that one in A?
Amott: Yeah that's right. And "Dehumanization."
Guitar.com: Yeah I could definitely tell on that one, there was a little bit more of the nu-metal feel on that one.
Amott: [Laughs loud].
Guitar.com: Well it's not that nu-metal really, it's just more so than any other one. When I was on your website I saw a link to Spiritual Beggars. I had no idea you were in there. And, you know I've always heard that band name, and I've always just dismissed it as some lame band, just by the name.
Amott: [Laughs] Yeah, it's lame.
Guitar.com: I always just thought it would be either like Stone Temple Pilots or just some hippie crap.
Amott: Yeah. Well it is. [laughs]
Guitar.com: Well, yeah...but it's not though. It's like...hippie crap with musical value.
Amott: Yeah, I mean it's definitely more sort of a Sabbathy, Deep Purple kind of vibing going on in there. But it's quite heavy, I guess. It's a different approach for me, something like...I'm a big fan of '70s rock as well, so that sort of thing allows me to do that stuff a little bit as well, a little bit more sort of just...not as complex as Arch Enemy. You kind of just relax a bit more and go off a little bit on the old pentatonic stuff.
Guitar.com: [Laughs]. I saw Opeth a while back, and your keyboard player from Spiritual Beggars is playing keyboards for them on the tour, right?
Amott: Yeah, he's on that tour.
Guitar.com: Yeah that was the first time I heard the name in connection with any other bands, and I was surprised! I never would have expected to hear that guy was playing with Opeth, so I'm definitely gonna have to check out some Spiritual Beggars stuff.
Amott: You've never heard it, or...?
Guitar.com: No, not really. I mean, I went to your site this morning and watched the video and listened to it, to all of the mp3 tracks. Is that you in the video with the braids?
Amott: Yeah [laughs], I hate that video. It was the director's idea, he was like "you gotta wear this hat," I was like, "Ohhh, great".
Guitar.com: [Laughs] "You look too metal, you need to wear this hat and put your hair in braids."
Amott: Yeah, I know, yeah, it's like...ok. Ahhh! Next time I'll say no. [Laughs] We did a new video with Arch Enemy, maybe you've seen it.
Guitar.com: Oh, no I haven't.
Amott: Yeah, it's the song "We Will Rise." They've shown that on Headbanger's Ball and stuff a couple times already, so that's pretty cool. That's a pretty cool video actually, I'm pretty happy with that one.
Guitar.com: What's it like doing videos?
Amott: It sucks. Everything about it sucks apart from that when you've done it you know, you get some exposure. You just feel like a bit of a poser when you're doing those things. It's pretty hard work too, actually. I mean they keep you there for like 20 hours or something, you know, you work from morning to the next morning, basically. That's what every video shoot I've done has been like. You're just sort of miming to the recording, you know, the song, over and over again, these different parts. It gets pretty repetitive. But you know, it's always fun to see the end result.
Guitar.com: Right. It also has to make you feel like you finally made it, to a degree. You know 'cause as a young kid when you're growing up, you see videos, you always think, "Wow that's so cool."
Amott: Yeah I know, you've got to think about that, cause you know all the fans are gonna see it and you're like, "Wow that's really cool! Those guys are cool" like I did when I saw Megadeth videos or something like that. You're like, "Oh my God, that's Dave Mustaine," you know. You just freak out. Or when they're playing solos and stuff like that, you just go, "Oh that's awesome." You know, you didn't think about that, they're actually not even playing at that point, they're just kind of like...faking it, you know. You didn't even think about that. But in the '80s all the musicians were so much better at doing videos, they were just like, throwing all these shapes and posing like crazy. [laughs] Videos are a bit more boring now: just some fat guy with a hat on, and a Paul Reed Smith guitar, you know? The nu-metal stuff, it's like the fat kid at school's revenge.
Guitar.com: [laughs] Well I think that's about it, do you have anything else you want to throw into the mix?
Amott: Not really, no. We covered all the ground there, everything from riffs to mp3s.
Guitar.com: Fair enough. Talk to you later.
Amott: Take care man.