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Fredrik Åkesson Talks Joining Opeth And New Album "Heritage"

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Band Photo: Opeth (?)

Opeth guitarist Fredrik Åkesson caught up with Indian Rock at the Hard Rock Café in Bangalore a week ago to speak about Fredrik joining the band, the new album "Heritage," guitar techniques and effects, and much more. Check out an extract from the interview below:

Mikhail: After you did your tour with Arch Enemy (featured on their DVD) and you joined Opeth how has the transition been from that band to Opeth?

Fredrik: It was different but luckily for me I got to join the band in the writing process for watershed which was a good thing. So if I compare it to arch enemy I was basically playing Chris Amott’s parts but in Opeth I got to be part of the band and more involved. Of course music is very different. Opeth demands different styles of guitar playing and I had to practice to learn Mikael’s style of guitar playing. I was a fan of the band before but it is a different thing listening and playing music. Now I have been in the band almost 5 years now so I feel very comfortable with this style.

Mikhail: Back to "Heritage." When Roadrunner released the final album artwork, there were mixed opinions because it is very different from all the other Opeth album covers including Watershed. Who came up with the concept for the artwork?

Fredrik: Our manager Andy actually came up with the concept of the tree. He said I see a tree. It was collaboration between him and Mikael. He had a dream. Travis Smith did the artwork; he has done all the artwork since "Still Life" I believe. I think it connects with the 70's prog rock feel that the music on the album has. It is more like an oil painting design. It is a bit fun but it is also dark. There’s symbolism in there. The burning city and the 9 stars in the sky which represent the other Opeth albums. The sun is the 10th which is "Heritage." You have the death metal roots with the devil and hell at the bottom.

Mikhail: On to some guitar questions. You just told us that you have been with Marshall for 2 days now officially and PRS. What effects do you use?

Fredrik: I use lots of Dunlop and MXR pedals. A guy in Sweden at SOS got a rack system for me. I like the old stomp-box idea. The idea is I don’t have to run audio cables to the back of the pedal board so I keep everything at the back to keep the shortest path. Basically what I use is an MXR micro amp which is what I use for all the distorted tones. I have a carbon copy delay which I really like. I like the warm and analog echo. Univibe phasor with a bit more spacier tone. I use a compression pedal for some of the finger picking parts. Also I use a jim Dunlop crybaby rack wah. I also use a Dunlop volume pedal which I love because it lets me do volume swells and the crunchy old school guitar sounds.

Mikhail: What are your favorite Opeth albums that you haven’t been a part of?

Fredrik: "Still Life." Actually I like them all. When we did the evolution XX tour, I really enjoyed playing a couple of songs from the first few albums and I really think we brought a new energy to the old songs. With Axe and everybody, those songs sounded really cool.

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