DATE OF INTERVIEW:
25th November 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: Fredrik Nordström returned after a few years to produce and mix ‘Rise of the Tyrant’ but who do you have lined up to produce and mix this album?
SHARLEE D'ANGELO: A fabulous man named Rickard Bengtsson.
(Sharlee D'Angelo on time off between tours)
"...if I don’t hang out with the band to rehearse and stuff, I spend as much time as I possibly can by myself. There’s only so much human contact that a person can take...I just do that and reload my batteries with some solitude and then you can go out and be social with other people again without going completely crazy!"
Sharlee D'Angelo backstage at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK, 25th November 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
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ARCH ENEMY DISCOGRAPHY
Black Earth (1996)
Burning Japan Live 1999 (2000)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Sarah Lees at Century Media for arranging the interview.
Burning Bridges (1999)
Wages of Sin (2001)
Dead Eyes See No Future EP (2004)
Burning Angel EP (2002)
Anthems of Rebellion (2003)
Doomsday Machine (2005)
The Root of All Evil (2009)
Rise of the Tyrant (2007)
Revolution Begins EP (2007)
MD: Is he new to the band?
SD: No, he produced ‘Doomsday Machine’.
MD: Ah right, Andy Sneap just mixed that one then?
SD: Yeah, Sneap mixed that one. We’ve worked with Rickard loads throughout the years. He’s recorded many of the things we’ve done, and some of the Spiritual Beggars albums as well, so he’s very familiar to the band. He’s also local, and has built a new studio now which is out in the countryside with beautiful surroundings. So it’s gonna be cold, and snow, and miserable! [laughs]
MD: So would you ever work with Sneap again; there’s no bad blood like you say?
SD: No, not at all. We’ve done quite a few albums with him so we try to do something else. He’s got so much lined up as well. It’s really, really hard to find time in his schedule. You’ve got to book well in advance.
MD: Yeah, like when he’s off to the States to do Megadeth or whatever.
SD: Yeah, yeah, he’s in the big league now!
MD: Arch Enemy are kind of big league, so…
SD: Yeah, but we’re not one of his old favourite bands!
MD: Ahhh, from back in the day.
SD: Yeah, back in the day.
MD: So if he gets a call from you one day and then Slayer the next, he’d be “sorry guys”!
SD: I think the only band that’s missing for him now is Priest…[laughs]…so it wouldn’t actually surprise me if he does the next album. He would actually be brilliant at it, I think.
MD: Absolutely, yeah. Do you have a working title for the new album yet, or an actual title that you can reveal?
SD: No, no, not yet. We’ll see what we find.
MD: I have to ask as well, ‘Rise of the Tyrant’, who is the ‘Caligula’ fan in the band? Such a fucked up film!
SD: Yeah, I know, yeah. We all like it but I think it was Michael’s idea just because he remembered that scene in the movie and it was brilliant for the song. When he told me about it, I was like “yeah, absolutely” because that scene is…I don’t think anyone’s portrayed megalomania like that, ever, in a movie.
MD: That’s right, yeah. You re-recorded a load of songs from the first three albums on ‘The Root of All Evil’ last year and it’s the first time you’ve recorded some of those songs…obviously you’ve played some of them live before, but did you feel you were able to put your own mark on those songs bass-wise?
SD: Absolutely, because on the first album, they didn’t even have a bass player. Most of it was Michael, and Chris on some of the tracks. Even on ‘Stigmata’ it was the same thing, even though half way in they got a bass player in the band so he plays on some of it. It was never really a prominent instrument in the band before I stepped in. Martin, my predecessor, he was actually a guitar player. I was the first bass player they had. When I joined the band and we did the first few shows we did, of course, loads of songs off the first two albums, and the way I played them then, that’s sort of how I did it in the studio for ‘The Root of All Evil’ and also the songs from ‘Burning Bridges’ which I actually played on back then because you can’t really hear it that well in the mix. Some of the stuff that I really like that I did back then, I sort of made it more prominent this time, and some of the stuff that I don’t like that I did back then, I changed that.
MD: Getting the older material back out there, do you think that’s opened the doors to maybe diversifying your setlist a little bit more in that some of the younger fans now know that material so you can include those songs and they will get into them at the shows?
SD: That was the whole idea behind it actually, but it hasn’t worked out that great. Some of the old songs, we tried to put loads of them in but the only place it works is Japan. [laughs]
MD: Ah yeah, well, Arch Enemy have always been big in Japan.
SD: Yeah, they know the songs from the old albums, not from ‘Root…’.
MD: The only footage I’ve seen of ‘Silverwing’ and ‘Demonic Science’ is from shows in Japan. They’re incredible songs though, so play ‘em here!
SD: Well, when we do, there’s a static reaction as nobody knows what the hell we’re doing!
MD: Can you play ‘Demonic Science’ tonight; can I request this now?!
SD: We did do at the last European run we did and it went down so so. It wasn’t a huge success or anything.
MD: Arch Enemy seem to be one of the hardest touring bands out there on the circuit with no big gaps between tours and all the festival dates – do you get to actually spend much time at home, and how do you generally spend that time?
SD: Well, I just become a hermit, basically! [laughs] Most of the time, if I don’t hang out with the band to rehearse and stuff, I spend as much time as I possibly can by myself. There’s only so much human contact that a person can take so it’s just good to get some ‘me’ time as the Americans would say. I just do that and reload my batteries with some solitude and then you can go out and be social with other people again without going completely crazy! [laughs]
MD: Playing so many gigs, you must’ve had your fair share of misfortune over the years at shows, so what’s the worst Spinal Tap moment you’ve had at a gig?
SD: I think it was the first European gig we did with Angela. I think it was the With Full Force festival in 2002 in Germany where I had a pair of stage pants that I’d actually sewn myself many years ago, and like “well, these are alright”. It just turns out that the stitching wasn’t…I’d just stitched them up a little bit again and that didn’t really hold so the whole crotch split! It had one of those string things here, and everything was sort of coming out and I was standing like this just trying to keep them up while playing and the first three songs were segues so I couldn’t really do anything until the first break. Angela was about to introduce the next song and I was like “just say something in German”, so I could go behind the amps and just tie everything up again. People standing by the side of the stage were like “what the fuck is he doing?!” So yeah, a very classic moment there! At the same gig, I also slipped on a bit of water on the stage and fell over so that was…
MD: …a bad, bad day!
SD: Yeah, a very typical thing!
MD: You played in the Maldives for the first time this year and I heard there was really bad weather out there – how was that whole experience?
SD: The whole experience was great but the day of the show a storm came in and the water level just rose so the whole festival area was flooded. Fortunately we’d booked it so we had an extra day after the show which was good because that was the day when the show actually happened. As we were still there we could postpone until the next day. It worked fine until the very last songs where the water came up again but people had time to escape before it got really bad!
MD: You seem to have a really good relationship with your fans, but have you ever had any crazy encounters with fans at all in the past?
MD: Any weird gifts fans have given you perhaps?
SD: There are always weird people around who have weird requests and want to give you weird things or whatever but not lately. I think our fans are very well behaved, most of them.
MD: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to sign?
MD: Apart from boobs. I guess that’s pretty standard…and pretty cool.
SD: Pretty cool, yeah. Some weird looking maybe!
SD: There’s been different types of animal skulls and things like that. A prosthetic leg too.
MD: Attached or detached?
SD: They actually detached it. I had actually seen the guy in the audience before that - it was an Ozzfest and he was just like waving it up in the air!
MD: That’s quite a skill standing on one leg in a gig crowd!
MD: Finally, apart from recording the new album, what lies ahead in 2011 for Arch Enemy? Lots more touring I presume.
SD: Touring, touring, touring, touring, touring…and then we might do some touring!
MD: Right, thank you so much for your time.
SD: Thank you.