Interview With Arch Enemy At Headbangers Ball Tour '04
Band Photo: Arch Enemy (?)
I had the chance of talking to Arch Enemy's bass player Sharlee D'Angelo this last Saturday in Worcester, MA. As I've said before, I always have so much fun talking to Scandinavians and this time was no exception to the rule. Special thanks go out to Sharlee for being incredibly nice, their tour manager Notty for arranging the interview and Ragnar, a.k.a. Mannahnin for helping out with the questions.
Gothique: With 'Anthems Of Rebellion' you made use of some new elements- Christopher's clean vocals, for example. Do you make a deliberate effort to make changes in style from album to album?
Sharlee: Well, a few things are of course deliberate, like trying to use a little bit of clean vocals. Chris is in this other band- Armageddon, he sang on the last album he did with them, so we found out he was actually a good singer. So we said, "alright, well, let's use that". Sort of like adding a new instrument in the band and so we tried it out.
But then, it's like a subconscious development as well. I think each album that you do is a bit of a reaction to the previous one. With us, we've basically toured for the last 2 years and then you lack certain things and you try to incorporate that. I think it just happens automatically. It's not like- "ok, well, we're gonna have one of these songs now, or now we're gonna make a fast album."
Gothique: So it comes naturally.
Sharlee: Yeah, it does, yeah.
Gothique: You have a new EP, 'Dead Eyes See No Future'. You included some Carcass and Manowar covers in it. Why these bands in particular?
Sharlee: There were a lot of suggestions about different bands but we just tried to pick a few songs that we could do on the basis of how much vocal melody they have and how much they are dependent on that. And, I think, with the Manowar song, 'Kill With Power', the vocal melody is not like the main thing there, it's just the drive. So we thought, "well, that might work, with Angela's vocals".
The Carcass song [ 'Incarnated Solvent Abuse'] ... it's actually something that Michael has been refusing to do since forever. He's sort of like, " I don't wanna relive the past glory". We never played any Carcass songs live or anything. But especially Angela is a huge Carcass fan. So I guess she's been nagging him now for a long while and he finally gave in. He was like, " yeah, shut up already, we're doing it" [laughs]. So I think it worked out fine. I love playing it and I think Angela did a great job singing it.
Gothique: You also did Megadeth's "Symphony Of Destruction", definitely a classic. Nightwish have also been covering this song in their live shows lately. Do you see Megadeth as a major influence?
Sharlee: They definitely are. Though, personally, I'm not a huge fan of this band but especially Michael and Chris are. I guess being guitar players and all that, it comes naturally [ laughs]. But we basically picked a song that you can alter a bit. Because especially songs like "Peace Sells" or "Rust In Peace"- those are good as they are, you can't really tamper with them. While "Symphony Of Destruction" is a very straight forward song, there's a lot of areas where you can do whatever and that's why we picked that one.
Gothique: You have always maintained a very good mixture of heavy and melodic elements. Is this balance an important factor that you try to maintain? Have you been tempted to push it one way or another?
Sharlee: We do actually push it one way or another all the time. Some songs tend to be more melodic, other ones go more towards Death metal. There's a lot of that. But then it's like- you have a whole song that's just aggressive and there's always somebody that brings in something that's more melodic and this is stuff that we like and it's like a natural balance. It's sort of like we subconsciously strive for it.
Gothique: I understand that you use a very collaborative approach to writing you music. But still, are there particular areas that some of the members focus on?
Sharlee: Well, the bulk of writing comes from Michael and Chris, as far as music. But whenever anybody in the band has an idea we just try it out and work on it, when we're on the road or whenever we have time. Other times it's just the whole band together arranging the songs, putting together whatever bits and pieces that we have. And after that, when the song is halfway structured, we try to put in the lyrics and vocal lyrics. That's usually the way it goes.
Gothique:You usually have a camera with you on tour. Can we hope for a DVD?
Sharlee: Well, there are plans and there've been plans forever. We have tons of stuff but the thing is that we have to actually sit down and see what we have. Because by now it's boxes and boxes of tapes. It's like- the more you have, the less you wanna dig into it. In the beginning it was fun to look into what we have but then again- we have so much stuff that it turns into this big chore basically. But we will have to do it at some point.
Gothique: On this tour there's a pretty good variety in styles between the bands. Do you see a lot of crossover interests in the fans?
Sharlee: Well, it's hard to judge from our point of view, from the stage. But if you have a lot of hardcore fans in the crowd, it makes you work even harder to convence them. Because that's why you do support tours- to enlighten people about our brilliance and genius [ laughs]. No, but it's sort of like you're out to spread the word and it's good in a way to see that people are out there from song one and then they start to get into it more and more.
Gothique: Angela definitely contributes to this quite a bit.
Sharlee: Yeah, she does. She's good like that bacause she can handle people.
Gothique:Well, thanks a lot for the interview. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Sharlee: Likewise. Thank you
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