Saturday, July 9, 2011

OPETH Frontman Says New Album Sounds Unlike Any Other Band He Has Ever Heard

Radio Metal conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH at this year's Hellfest, which was held June 17-19, 2011 in Clisson, France. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On OPETH's new album, "Heritage":

"I never heard music like that, so I can't compare it to other bands. If you want to compare it to another band, it has to be us. But still, it's different. For me, it kind of makes sense, because I've been doing this for such a long time. So it's not a massive departure for me and for the guys in the band. But for fans, if they are, for example, into 'My Arms, Your Hearse' [OPETH's third album, released in 1998], it might be a bit different. But I'm hoping that a lot of people are ready for this type of album from us. The music is all over the place. It's hard to define the album and say it sound like this or like that. There are no songs that represent more the album than any other songs. It's an album as whole. You can't listen to only one song and you'll know what the album is going to be like. Because, like I said, it's all over the place."

On the departure of keyboard player Per Wiberg:

"He was fired. But he was going to leave anyways, because he wasn't happy with us. It's not like we weren't friends, but I don't think he felt comfortable playing keyboards with this style of music. If you don't give of your own — and he didn't — then you don't belong with us. It's as simple as that. The difference is that [current OPETH touring keyboardist] Joakim [Svalberg] is a keyboard player while Per wants to play guitar, sing and he wants to take care of the business side of things. He wants to run the ship, so to speak. There was no place to do that in OPETH. He wasn't confortable just playing my songs, I guess. I don't think he ever connected with the music that we do to the point where he felt that he belonged with us. He was always more interested in doing other things. I'm happy for him if he's happy, but he's not with us anymore, and I'm happy that he's not with us anymore, based on the fact that he didn't want to be with us. (laughs)"

On his side project with PORCUPINE TREE mainman Steven Wilson:

"We've written six or seven songs. We have a record deal and it's coming out next year. But we don't have a name, really, for it. I guess we'll have to come up with a name. We want something slightly more creative than the WILSON ÅKERFELDT PROJECT. It's grindcore, highly influenced by 'Scum' from NAPALM DEATH. (laughs) Well, sometimes it sounds like [OPETH], because when I'm singing it sound a bit like OPETH, I guess, and when he's singing it sounds a bit like PORCUPINE TREE. It's… I don't know. It's good! (laughs) The project is just the two of us, but we did hire a string section."

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