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Interview

Michael Amott Discusses the Future of Arch Enemy and Carcass

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Band Photo: Arch Enemy (?)

Michael Amott is by far one of the most influential names in metal, having released some of the most important metal albums of the past 20 years with both Arch Enemy and Carcass. Having spent his entire adult life on the road and still growing Arch Enemy's commercial potential, it's safe to say that Michael Amott has secured his name in metal history.

Metalunderground.com got the chance to meet with the guitar wizard himself to discuss his musical influences, juggling two bands and what it's like to have been in a band with your brother for a decade and a half.

Matt: Are there any plans for another Carcass tour or a new Carcass album?

Michael: Not that I'm aware of right now. We keep in touch, we're still friends. I had a great time doing the reunion shows in 2008-2009. I don't really know what the future holds. I'm very busy with Arch Enemy and other stuff as well.

Matt: So what's Jeff Walker been up to?

Micheal: He plays in a band called Brujeria and I think he's just doing that. I'm not too sure. But like I said, you'll never know when we might get back together to do something. It's still possible.

Matt: Which album, Arch Enemy or Carcass are you the most proud of?

Michael: I like all of them in their own way. I think a special album for me is “Wages of Sin.” It's the first album with Angela. It has great songs on it. It just all came together on that record. With Carcass, I like “Heartwork” a lot.

Matt: On your new album “Khaos Legions,” my favorite song is “Vengeance is Mine.” Is there any chance that this will appear on subsequent tours?

Michael: Sure, there’s a strong possibility of that. We're doing four songs off the new album but that's not one of them. We'll definitely consider that since it's a cool song. We'd like to play all of them at some point.

Matt: what's your favorite continent to tour on?

Michael: We really like touring Europe because it's close to home and it's kind of exciting. But I love them all. I like touring Asia, I like South America, I like North America. They've all got their own vibe and they're all really cool in their own way. One of my favorite things about being in Arch Enemy is that we can tour worldwide all over the world and experience all those cultures. It's great.

Matt: Who were your early guitar influences?

Michael: Early on, I liked a lot of thrash stuff like early Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, stuff like that when metal bands first came out with this hard aggressive sound and technical riffing. But I was coming from more of a hardcore and punk thing but I loved it when thrash came out. Speed metal is what we called it in the beginning and it was very exciting. Those were some of my early influences. As far as lead guitar, I really like Michael Shenker, Uli John Roth, Gary Moore and Frank Marino.

Matt: What are your tour plans for next year?

Michael: We're pretty much booked for this year and then we start up in mid-January again with Arch Enemy and we're doing a ton of European stuff, then I think we're doing South America and then Japan again. I think we're also going to come back to the states next year sometime.

Matt: When you play festivals in Europe, what's it like to do sets with both Arch Enemy and Carcass?

Michael: I've done that. Played festivals. But only a few times. It's pretty hard work to play a 90 minute set with Arch Enemy and then another with Carcass that's a similar length. That was pretty crazy.

Matt: I feel that “Wages of Sin” and “Rise of the Tyrant” are two of the most import metal albums of the past decade just like “Necrotism” and “Heartwork” were two of the most important albums of the 90s. How do you view yourself since you're in many ways a metal icon?

Michael: I don't really view myself as a metal icon. I grew up idolizing and being into certain bands and certain players. At the end of the day, we're just people really. I think of myself as a musician first and foremost and not as a metal icon but I'll take that. That's fine.

Matt: After opening for Megadeth on Gigantour, are there any bands out there that you haven’t played with that you still have to play with?

Michael: Not really. We've toured with Slayer, Iron Maiden and Megadeth. Those are three of our favorites. We've done a few festivals in Europe with Judas Priest and other really big other bands. We're very content as far as that goes so we tend to play our own tours nowadays.

Matt: Where do you think that Arch Enemy still has to grow as a band either through musical changes or expanding your fanbase? Or do you feel that a band that's as extreme as Arch Enemy has already gone as far as possible as it can into the mainstream?

Michael: That's a good question. I don't really think too much about that. As long as we're enjoying it and having fun and as long as I feel like I'm being creative, I don't really think about that stuff too much. I feel very fortunate that that we've had that amazing run that we've had. It’s been a very good career for me. I still have the same passion that I had for playing guitar since I first started out, maybe even more so. I appreciate all the opportunities we've been given and all we've worked for now as a band to get where we are. I really enjoy that now and we hope to keep going for a few more years.

Matt: What's it like to be in a band with your brother since 1996?

Michael: I don’t know. We've been in a band together for son long that I haven’t analyzed it. We get along fine and there’s no rivalry really.

Matt: What's the reason for the long delay between “Rise of the Tyrant” and “Khaos Legions?”

Michael: There was a lot of touring for Rise of the Tyrant and we made a DVD in 2008. Then we made “The Root of All Evil” to rerecord a lot of our old songs while I was also touring with Carcass. I've been busy the whole time. Then I did an album with Spiritual Beggars and fired our old management. We'd been with the same management company for ten years and now, since 2008, we've been self-managed.

Matt: If you did another Carcass tour, are there any bands you'd want to tour with?

Michael: I haven't thought too much about it but I'm open to ideas and suggestions. I love playing guitar and the Carcass guys but I'm very tied up with Arch Enemy until the end of this year and next year.

Dasher10's avatar

Matt is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Illinois and a metalhead since 1999.

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