The last time Arch Enemy came to town, I was lucky enough to speak with the newest member, singer Alissa White-Gluz. We talked the new album, War Eternal, and what it was like to work with Michael Amott and the rest of the gang. Since that discussion, the lineup changed once more. Guitarist Nick Cordle parted ways with the band and was replaced by Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore). And prior to the switch, Chris Amott came back to the band to help out with the transition and toured with his old mates.
Now that the lineup has been gelling for quite some time, the band also released an updated version of War Eternal’s “Stolen Life,” which features additional leads and solo work from Loomis. By adding a guitarist of his prestige, the question on everybody’s mind is pretty obvious. When it comes time for a new album, will Jeff Loomis enter the studio with the band? And when you get an opportunity to ask a question like that to one of the guitarists in Arch Enemy, why not take advantage of it?
Needless to say, I was extremely grateful to have a chat with Michael Amott. He was kind enough to talk about the new lineup, playing Wembley Stadium, and what to expect on the Summer Slaughter Tour. He also discussed some of his favorite moments from life on the road and what the future holds for the band. Check out what Michael had to say below:
First off, I am a big fan, so thank you so much for taking the time!
That’s awesome, I appreciate the support and I’m always happy to talk to The Aquarian Weekly!
I last spoke with Alissa back in October. You guys have since added Jeff Loomis on guitar. Before he hit the road with Armageddon, Chris also filled in for a number of shows during the transition.
That’s correct, yes! A lot of changes were made last year in the Arch Enemy camp. I am happy to say that we have now reached a point to where we have a very well-balanced team. We all get along great on and off of the stage!
So the chemistry has been developing rather well for you guys since the changes?
Absolutely. We are all getting along great! Everyone is rather relaxed and the vibe is very light and fun. That being said, we are also still very focused on the work that we have in front of us.
What has Jeff brought to the table in terms of the band’s live performance?
Jeff has come into this band in a really great way. He shows a tremendous amount of respect for the existing guitar parts which he has to play, but he is also adding his own flair and style to the material and the show. We are all really digging what he is doing. It is a really great fit!
Since you guys have been touring in support of this record for quite a bit now, have any of the songs changed or taken a life of their own?
Yes, they definitely have. That’s just what happens when you tour and get more used to the songs that you play on the road. They always tend to become a bit more embellished and have a bit more swagger.
You recently released a digital single of War Eternal’s “Stolen Life,” with additional lead and solo parts from Jeff Loomis. How did that come about?
That was just a spur-of-the-moment idea and it something that was easy to get done. Jeff recorded two short solos at his home studio during a break. The digital single featuring Jeff’s parts is just a bonus really, something extra for the fans to get into.
That being said, are there plans for Jeff to join you guys in the studio when the time comes for a new record?
We certainly hope so (laughs). We are all looking forward to it. There is so much potential for it to be a very cool experience. I’m going to have a few writing sessions with Jeff next year and we’ll take it from there.
I know you are very interactive with the fans on the band’s social networks. Have any of you guys ever discovered new music via fans and these social networks?
I do enjoy interacting with our fans, especially while we’re out on tour. But when it comes to discovering new metal bands, I am a little too involved in creating my own music to check other artists out (laughs).
You will be touring throughout the rest of the year. How do you unwind while on the road?
The biggest thing is to keep it fun and fresh. And to do just that, I try to get as much sleep as possible and get away from the show environment as much as I can.
Do you do any writing at all in between gigs or tour legs, or does that come after the album cycle concludes?
There are bits and pieces of new music around already, but we won’t focus too much on the writing until we get off of the road for a while and are rested up. I don’t believe in rushing these things; we will come back with an album when we have something to say as a band. So when we are all feeling hungry again, we will continue to work and create some epic metal music!
I saw that there was someone crowd-surfing in a wheelchair at Dynamo Metal Fest. Was this the craziest thing you guys have witnessed live?
That was cool (laughs). But I think we have seen a lot of crazier things. When we played the Ozzfest tour there was a guy in a wheelchair crowd-surfing while waving his prosthetic leg around (laughs). That’s just one thing that comes to mind. Of course we have seen our fair share of boobs and so on as well (laughs). It’s always entertaining to see what some fans get up to during the show!
Any other memorable moments so far on this tour?
Oh yeah, we have actually had a lot. That being said, we have had many epic highs and some brutal lows—that’s life on the road!
You will be participating in the Summer Slaughter Tour with After The Burial, Born Of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, and a number of other great acts. What can fans expect from Arch Enemy at these shows?
We will focus on what we always do which is to bring the Arch Enemy brand of heavy metal to the tour; it’s a great show and the band is firing on all cylinders now!
You will also be joining Nightwish in December to play the legendary Wembley Arena. Is there extra prep when it comes to performing a venue of that scale?
Not really. We are just super excited to be invited a special guest to Nightwish on their massive European tour. It covers pretty much all of the arenas around Europe in Nov. and Dec. So for us, it is an opportunity to play a different crowd and demographic every night, which is a killer opportunity for us!
Anything else you would like to add?
We cannot wait to see our North American friends on the Summer Slaughter Tour!
Arch Enemy will be joined by Born Of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, and the rest of the Summer Slaughter crew as they take the stage at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA on Aug. 5. They will then perform at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on Aug. 9. The Summer Slaughter Tour will join forces with The All Stars Tour at Webster Hall in New York City on Aug. 12. War Eternal and the 2015 version of “Stolen Life” are available now. For future tour dates and information, head on over to archenemy.net.