Mike: Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)
ABOUT DOOMSDAY MACHINE ALBUM...
Mayzan: Doomsday Machine is the best sounding album in Arch Enemy's career so far. Who played the strongest role in producing those sounds?
Mike: Our producer, Rickard Bengtsson helped us achieve a really cool and interesting sound production on "Doomsday Machine". Of course, Andy Sneap mixed the album at his studio in England
Mayzan: At the end of Arch Enemy Doomsday Machine Limited Edition DVD, it's written that a full live video is going to be released soon. When will it be available? Is it true that this DVD will contain all the video clips that Arch Enemy ever made?
Mike: This a project that we have been working on for awhile now. Making an Arch Enemy music DVD interesting and cool for the fans has taken a lot of time. The DVD is almost completed now and is looking great...the release date will be in April/May! Look out for it!
Mayzan: 'Nemesis' is an awesome song! What is exactly the meaning of 'Nemesis' in this song?
Mike: Thanks, I am glad that you are enjoying the song! It's a song about UNITY, but also about taking REVENGE. Angela wrote the words to this song and I feel they really fit the music in "Nemesis… Dark and angry - but also heroic and beautiful.
Jeffry: According to Greek mythology, 'Nemesis' is the goddess of divine retribution, the executrix of justice, the avenger of crime. Does the song have any relation to this in particular?
Mike: Yes, there are references to the Greek mythology in the song.
Jeffry: The refrain part (All for one, One for all, We are one, We are strong) in 'Nemesis' seemed similar to phrases from 'The Three Musketeers' epic. Is there any relation to that story in particular?
Mike: Well, it is a song about unity - in any shape or form! No relation the 'The Three Musketeers'…
Jeffry: One of my favourite part in Doomsday Machine is the ending in the song 'Nemesis. This is the part where the music ends and there are 'thrilling' sounds and voices. Can you tell us a little bit about this, its relation to the song, and the making of the 'thrilling' sounds and voices?
Mike: It's the terrible noise from a big machine scraping the bottom of the harbour where our drummer lives!
Mayzan: After 'Nemesis', which song that is chosen for the next videoclip?
Mike: We are not sure yet! Maybe "OUT FOR BLOOD"!
Mayzan: In a short way, can you describe in general, what were the messages in the lyrics in Doomsday Machine?
Mike: The lyrics are dark and apocalyptic at times - but there are also songs that portray strength and a feeling of freedom, or at least a search for freedom.
Mayzan: Doomsday Machine has more of a "shredder's metal album" image compared to Arch Enemy's previous works. Do you define that this is a symptom where Metal music will go back to the Guitar Heroes era? Or at least, will 'shredding' become a trend for the upcoming metal bands? (I'm sorry if this question offends you in any way. Please understand that the majority of the members in our community are shredder fans)
Mike: Arch Enemy has always had many guitar solo's and instrumental passages. If you listen to our 2nd album "Stigmata" from 1998 you'll see what I am talking about. It's always been a big part of the bands sound. I don't think we have more "shredding" on the "Doomsday Machine" Arch Enemy does not follow trends, we have how ever helped create trends in the extreme metal scene. We are not followers, we forge our own way. Besides, we love to shred!!!!
Mayzan: So far, what's the approximate number of Doomsday Machine album that has been sold, especially in famous countries?
Mike: We know already that the sales of "Doomsday Machine" are the biggest we've ever had so far internationally of any Arch Enemy album - I am how ever not sure of any exact numbers at the moment. I don't want to throw numbers out there that are not exactly correct. It's coming close to 150,000 worldwide.
ABOUT MICHAEL AMOTT, SOUNDS AND GEARS...
Mayzan: What technique did you use for recording your guitar part in Doomsday Machine? Using direct recording? the old direct miking technique? What type of amplifier did you use for recording Doomsday Machine?
Mike: I used KRANK Revolution 1 and KRANK "Krankenstein" heads and KRANK Revolution 1 cabs load with Celestion Vintage 30's. We used direct recording (clean line sound for "re-amping" and the old direct miking technique. For delay and chorus on my solo's I used a ROLAND RE-301 SPACE ECHO.
Mayzan: In Doomsday Machine, in average, how many 'take' did you do to record your guitar parts?
Mike: that really varies, depending on my form that day - If I had warmed up properly etc. A lot of factors come into this. Usually I run through the rhythm tracks smoothly - extreme riffing is something I enjoy very much. The solo's are usually pretty quick too, even though I go in and fix some stuff here and there from time to time. Sometimes I have written lead guitar parts in advance, but more often than not I am improvising, and building something. Beautiful and unexpected things can come out of improvisation.
Jeffry: Can you tell us the differences between your live rig and studio rig, including amplifications, effects and stompboxes? And which one is your favourite?
Mike: The gear I use live is not always what I use in the studio. It depends on the situation and the sound we are looking for. On tour I play through KRANK Revolution 1 heads or the "Krankenstein" head and KRANK cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30's.
On the live stage, I control my effects and amp channel switching using 2 (slave and master) PROVIDENCE PEC-2 switching system. For more details on my effects etc : see "Michael Amott Rig"!
Mayzan: What type of Vox wah pedal are you using?
Mike: I have been using a standard VOX wah pedals for many years. No modifications. Now I am using a "Dunlop Custom Rack Wah" with 2 remotes (wah pedal) on stage. Lots of WAH-Fun!
Mayzan: What is the thickness of the guitar picks you are using now, or to be exact, what brand in particular?
Mike: I get my picks from ESP in Japan. I don't know what brand they are. They are made of a harder plastic fabric. I get them with customized prints on.
Jeffry: Can you tell us a about your ESP signature 'Ninja' and its specification? Is the guitar actually available in the market?
Mike: I was just in NAMM in Anaheim, California … The "Ninja V" is now going be released on the US market as ESP and cheaper LTD models, I am very excited! The NINJA V has been available in Japan since June 2004.
Jeffry: What is the gauge of strings which you use, what brand in particular?
Mike: The gauges I use are 59, 44, 32, 18, 14, 11 This is a custom set that is not available as a ready set. The brand I use is D'Addario. D'Addario seem to retain "tone-life" longer than some other brands I have tried.
Jeffry: In your quite recent interview in Guitar World November 2005 edition, you mentioned about your guitar tuning: Tune down two whole steps - C F Bb Eb G C (low to high). I assumed that this is done to achieve a deep and dark but somewhat powerful rhythm sound. What makes you did it on a 6-string guitar instead of on a 7-string?
Mike: I never liked the feel or look of the 7 string guitar. I want to play a nice neck, not a huge piece of wood that feels like the neck of a bass guitar. I am 6 string kind of guy!!!
Jeffry: In your website you mentioned Frank Marino, Michael Schenker and Dave Mustaine as your influences. Any other guitarist that inspires you? How about Dino Cazares (Fear Factory's former guitarist)?
Mike: I never listened to Fear Factory very carefully, so I can't count that as an influence. I am however influenced by many guitarists… Michael Schenker and Frank Marino are of my favourites… But there are so many more fine players…not only great soloists - but great song writers… Tony Iommi, Alex Lifeson, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Uli Jon Roth, Wolf Hoffmann, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Clas Yngström, Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, Neil Schon, Kerry Livgren, Leslie West, Robin Trower… I love the great twin guitar teams in metal… KK Downing/Glenn Tipton, Kerry King/Jeff Hanneman, Chris De Garmo/Michael Wilton, Bruce Franklin/Rick Wartell, James Hetfield/Kirk Hammett, Geoff Thorpe/Mark McGee, Lars Johansson/Mappe Björkman, Adrian Smith/Dave Murray…
Jeffry: What is your view towards Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho?
Mike: Alexi is a friendly and genuine person as well as a shredder. I am happy about his rising success!
ABOUT ARCH ENEMY
Jeffry: One of Arch Enemy's uniqueness is the presence of the female vocalist, Angela Gossow. When we wathed Arch Enemy's live DVD, various videos and bootlegs, we were astounded with her ability to deliver such a strong sheer power from her voice. Did the voice came out naturally from her, or did she use any equipment during recording sessions and live?
Mike: That's Angela's voice. All natural brutality!!!
Mayzan: What was the criteria for the new vocalist when Arch Enemy was searching for Johan'sreplacement? Did you purposely search for a female vocalist or is it a coincidence?
Mike: We were looking for the BEST singer we could find at that time. It happened to be a female. That was unexpected and cool.
Mayzan: Are you satisfied with Angela's perfomance in Arch Enemy?
Mike: Absolutely 100%. She's nothing short of amazing. We are lucky to have such a strong singer in Arch Enemy. A fiery character like hers makes us so different from standard metal band.
Jeffry: In Ozzfest 2005, Gus G is on stage with Arch Enemy, replacing Chris Amott. Can you tell us a bit about your relation to Gus G?
Mike: Gus G is a guy I knew from recording at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden… He used to hang out there. He's a very nice guy and a strong player. We had a great time with lots of fun and jokes while he was with Arch Enemy on the OZZFEST tour. I wish him the best of luck with his future projects!
Mayzan: What is the reason that you took Gus G as a guest solo in the song 'Taking Back My Soul'?
Mike: While starting the mixing process in England, we felt that song needed 1 more guitar solo (the song only had 3 solo's at that point!). Gus G came up in the discussion and he sent us the solo over the internet - so he was never actually with us in the studio. It turned out pretty killer I think!
Mayzan: We also notice that Gus G have an exceptional skill than an average guitarist. Any plans to recruit Gus G to replace Chris Amott in the future? Or did it already happen?
Mike: No, Gus G was only recruited to do the OZZFEST tour in the US this past summer. Gus is very focused on playing traditional heavy metal in his Firewind band. I believe he is making a new album soon!
Mayzan: Are you going to find Christopher's Amott's replacement? If not, what is your plan?
Mike: We are currently touring the world now with a Swedish guitar player called Fredrik Akesson filling the 2nd guitar position. Fredrik is an amazing shredder with a great technique and flair - but also a ton of passion in his playing. It has been working great. We hope to add Fredrik as a permanent addition to ARCH ENEMY soon!
Mayzan: In Ozzfest 2005, how did the crowd towards to Arch Enemy?
Mike: It was very beneficial for Arch Enemy to be on the OZZFEST tour. We made a huge impact and had very strong CD sales as a result of participating. The reactions we had during our shows were very wild and crazy. It was fun!
Mayzan: One of Indonesia's famous guitarist came to see Ozzfest 2005. Surprisingly, after witnessing Arch Enemy, he came back to Indonesia and formed a melodic death metal band. What do you think about this?
Mike: Wow, I did not know that. That is very flattering. I'd like to hear it someday!
Mayzan: Considering that many famous metal bands are born in Sweden, such as Messugah, Soilwork, Flames, etc, how popular is Arch Enemy in their own country, Sweden?
Mike: Hard to say exactly HOW big we are in Sweden, but it's looking good. We are gaining more and more fans in our country Sweden now too. We played 2 fantastic sold-out shows in Gothenburg and Stockholm at the end of 2005. ARCH ENEMY is growing everywhere…
Mayzan: Can you tell us about how did the name 'Arch Enemy' came up and its meaning?
Mike: The ARCH ANGEL (ENEMY) is from the Christian bible - the fallen angel…the one that defects to the dark side…
Jeffry: We know that Arch Enemy is HUGE in Japan. Since the release of Doomsday Machine, in which country do you think that Arch Enemy has the most fans / most popular? Is it in Europe, USA or still Japan?
Mike: Yes, Arch Enemy has always had a special relationship with the Japanese fans… We consider us very lucky for having the faith of the Japanese metal fans. Japan is a very special place for Arch Enemy.
Mayzan: In the future or near future, are there any plans for Arch Enemy to do a tour in Asia or maybe our country Indonesia?
Mike: That would be very interesting to us. I have discussed with our management and booking agent the idea of playing more shows in Far East/Asia. So far Arch Enemy has only performed in Japan and Korea. We hope to come and play for all our Asian fans someday.
Mayzan: On behalf of Gitaris.com, I want to thank you for taking your time for this interview. Thank you so very much. We salute you!
Mike: Thank you for the interesting questions and support! Guitars rule!!!!
"MICHAEL AMOTT RIG 2006"
Guitars: ESP Ninja V (Michael Amott Signature Model)
UPSTAGE (in rack):
- Shure ULXP4 Radio
- Jim Dunlop Custom Shop Rack Wah DCR-2SR
- Providence PEC-2 1st or " Master" Switching/Routing System
- Loop 1 - Ibanez AD9 reissue Analog Delay Stompbox
- Loop 2 - Boss OC-2 Octave Stompbox
- Loop 3 - Hush Super C - Rack Noise Gate
- Loop 4 - MXR Phase 90 Stompbox
- Loop 5 - Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer reissue Stompbox
- Loop 6 - Roland SDE-3000 Rack Delay Unit
- Loop 7 - Channel Switch on Krank "Krankenstein"
- Loop 8 - Channel Switch on Krank "Krankenstein"
Tuner Output to Boss TU-2
Buffered Output to Downstage PEC-2 for Tuner
Buffered Output to Krank amps
- PEC-2 2nd or "Slave" Switching system (Connected to Upstage PEC-2 by 7 pin Midi cable)
- Buffered input signal from Offstage "Master" PEC-2
- Tuner out to Boss TU-2 Tuner
- Jim Dunlop DCR-2SR Foot Controller - Right Side of PEC-2
- Jim Dunlop DCR-2SR Foot Controller - Centre Stage
- CABS: 4 x Krank "Revolution" cabs (loaded with Celestion Vintage 30's)
ESP Ninja V (Michael Amott Signature Model) Spec: (More info at http://www.espguitars.com/news/news_amott.htm)
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood, 22 frets
SCALE: 24.75 inch (628mm)
NUT (width): Carbon (42mm)
TUNER: SPERZEL® Trim-Lock TUNER
BRIDGE: Tune-matic / Sting-thru-body
PICKUPS: (Front) Seymour Duncan SH-1n - (Rear) Seymour Duncan SH-4
CONTROLS: Front Volume, Rear Volume, Toggle PU Selector
STRINGS: D'Addario (11, 15, 18, 32, 44, 59 - custom set)
More about Michael Amott and his bands:
Michael Amott forum: http://musisi.com/web/guitar_community.php?page=detail_extra_page&idm=250ecda15b