On the occasion of Arch Enemy’s live shows in Greece, Metalpaths visited the band at their hyper-luxurious hotel. Sharlee D’angelo who has been also a member of bands such as Mercyful Fate and Dismember in the past, welcomed us and in a really great mood talked about “The Root Of All Evil”, what makes Japan so special for Arch Enemy, the future palnds of the band and also about Gus G., the new Megadeth and Slayer albums and the partnership that he had with King Diamond. You can either watch the video interview or read it below.
So, here we are with Sharlee from Arch Enemy at Metalpaths.com. How are you Sharlee?
Fine, what about you?
I’m fine. So, “The Root Of All Evil” is your latest release featuring re-recorded songs from your first three albums but with Angela on vocals this time. How did this idea came out?
Well, it’s something that we’ve been toying with for a while, just because a lot of people have been asking for some of the old songs as well. But then again when we included them in the set, the reaction wasn’t the greatest, because as far as the majority is concerned “Wages Of Sin” was our first album and they really know from that era of the band. So we thought why don’t we try to re-record some of them and release them again, just to make the songs a bit more up to date and actual. We’ve been talking about this idea and lot of people thought it would be a good thing to do. So that’s the main reason for doing it.
Did you enjoy recording all of these old songs again in the studio or it was a little bit boring maybe especially for the older members of the band that have already done all of this again in the past?
No, not really, we all enjoyed doing it. Especially for me, I joined on the third album and most of the bass on the previous albums was done by Michael and Christopher and some of the production wasn’t the best either. So it’s good to re-present it with a better package. It was fun going in and recording an album without the long process of actually writing it first, and I think that’s the thing that makes people want to do a cover album. We also did a little bit of rearranging, but not very much, so we kept it quite true to the original thing.
Was it difficult to distinguish which songs to re-record? What were your criteria?
There was a lot of arguing about that, because everybody has their one favorites. I mean there are some songs that are very obvious to do. There are so many of them you know, a couple of mine didn’t make it on the album. We debated over this for a long time, boiled down 12-13 songs that we could do, so that everybody would be happy with. I think it’s a pretty good selection, and if we had more time we could have made a double album instead (laughs). There’s a piece of some of the most important songs, as most are part of live sets. It’s fun because some of these songs haven’t been played live before, like “Demonic Science” which we did for the first time in Japan and I think tonight will be the second, let’s see how it goes (laughs).
There is also another CD out on stores, a compilation one called “Manifesto of Arch Enemy”. What about this?
We have nothing to do with really, if we had put together a compilation, it would be a more extensive package. It’s just something our label put out, they’ve done it with several of their bands. It’s something like a “greatest hits”, all of them have the same type of cover, it’s something to make people more familiar with our music, a way to get younger people buy CDs, like a promotional tool.
So what are you doing in this period of time? A lot of touring I guess?
We just finished a run with Asia, Australia and New Zealand and now we’re starting off from here Thessaloniki, do a little European tour up until Christmas basically. We have a couple of weeks off, and then it’s the US and then some European things lined up again.
As we are talking about live shows and countries, your relationship with Japan differs from the other countries. What makes Japan so special for Arch Enemy?
Well, they were the first country to embrace us with open arms back in 1997, which was great, because up until 2001 or something we didn’t really tour much of the world, except some US and European tours. Japan was always there, we have quite popularity there, so they remain special for us. It’s something about the way Japanese people listen to music I think. There are a lot of fans there that listen to music the same way that I do, but except for the passion they pay attention to details a lot more than the rest of the world. They can go crazy during a song, but as soon as someone starts talking, the others are like “pay attention”, which is why they can also go a bit quiet in between songs. They are a different type of crowd, Japan is a wonderful country, and I’m glad I’ve been able to go there so many times and make a lot of friends.
Getting back to the music, are you going to release a new album in the near future?
Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of loose ideas that gradually come together as songs every time we rehearse. For example when we rehearse a live set, we get bored halfway and start playing new stuff instead (laughs). We have little pieces of music, there’s a constant writing process, but we just need a period of time and concentration so that we can actually turn them into whole songs.
Can you tell us some words about how is it going to be or what could the fans expect from the new album?
It’s too early to tell, because there are so many different ideas and what’s going to turn into songs or be left behind. There are always ideas that we try to incorporate into songs and sometimes they don’t make it. A couple of albums later though, someone says “what about that riff?” so these ideas may come out of the drawer because they fit perfectly to a new song. They are small but still alive.
When do you think this new album will be out?
It’s very hard to say. A wild guess, I hope it will be out probably in early 2011.
Recently, Gus G., that you have been partners with some years ago, joined Ozzy Osbourne. Would you like to comment on this?
It’s great. I think he’s the perfect guy because he’s not only a good lead player, he’s also an extremely good rhythm player, which is needed if you’re the only player in such a guitar-driven outfit as Ozzy’s. Ozzy had always legendary guitar players, so Gus has pretty big shoes to fill, but I think he’s absolutely perfect for it. He’s one of the few young, aspiring guitar heroes that we have in this world. He has many roots, and if you consider his age and listen to what he has played, you’ll definitely think he is twice that age. He’s really good, we are very happy that he could help us out when we needed it, he did a great job, we also had him out in the US last year, but he always had his focus on Firewind.
Megadeth and Slayer recently released an album. Have you listened to them? Would you like to tell us your opinion?
Actually, I’ve only heard three songs of the new Slayer so far. I like it because it has a bit of an old school vibe in it. I need to sit down and listen to it more though, which is strange, because usually whenever a new Slayer album is out, I’m over it like a hawk. For some reason I’ve been busy and I wasn’t able to sit down and listen to it, but I hope I’ll finally pick it up one of these days and listen to it closely. The new Megadeth is good I think, It has brilliant production. David Mustaine is the perfect guy for them. Megadeth together with Slayer are bands that influenced Arch Enemy the most.
We are a few steps before the end of 00’s and our webzine is working on a big tribute about this. I would like to ask you how productive were this decade in your opinion for metal? Do you notice any highlights? Which are your favourite releases and bands of 00’s?
There are a lot. The weird thing is that if you ask me about the 70’s, the 80’s or even the 90’s it would be so much easier to do it, because this has been the decade when I’ve been the most busy myself with music. It’s a bit of a blur in that sense. Of course there are highlights. I think especially the year 2000 was really good for metal. Nevermore released “Dead Heart In A Dead World”, a fantastic album and The Haunted released “Made Me Do It”, which was also absolutely amazing. One of my favourites is Spiritual Beggars’ “On Fire”, but that was the year 2002 or 2003, I can’t really remember. God, it’s almost 10 years of music and it’s really hard (laughs). As you can tell, the ones I’ve mentioned are from the beginning of the decade. After a couple of years it will be easier because you start to think about it. For example the 80’s, you’ve had a few years to boil it down and figure which albums meant the most to you and things like that. This decade is still too new (laughs).
Could you compare the 00’s decade with the previous one of 90’s? What differences can you see? Do you think that in comparison with the past the things are better or worst nowadays?
Well, it is different, because in the 90’s the focus was still on selling albums. Nowadays, that’s not really happening. The albums are almost dead. We might still be able to sell music online, but people just get it for free or just pick songs. We’re fortunate to play in a crowd where people still care about owning a physical product, which I think is good, they still have special interest in music.
We are during a world financial crisis. Do you think that the crisis have a negative effect to music as well? Many labels are talking about abolishing physical cds and replace them with digital albums. What’s your point of view?
I’m old school. I mean when I grew up, at first there was vinyl. So, for me it was a step down going to cd as well and get used to that. Now, having nothing is not really for me, but I understand how young people listen to music through a concept with their phones basically (laughs). Then is the deal that bands spend a lot of time in the studio, making albums perfect, the way they want them to sound, which is little redundant nowadays because people listen to music through the phone speaker, so what’s the point of producing an album (laughs)? There are many different ways of seeing that, but for that, times change and you’ve got to go with it, but for me I like the physical product.
You have played in many bands in the past. What was so special about Arch Enemy and you fit so perfect the last 10 years?
I had the opportunity to play with really great bands, but I think I was just playing there. Finally you find a place to call home. It’s like having a few girlfriends or boyfriends before you find the one to get married with, it’s the same process I think. Especially the lineup we have in this band is just so definitive. You’ve noticed that Chris disappeared for a couple of years, we’ve had Gus and Fredrik Åkesson as well, both really great guitar players, but there was a little piece missing. As soon as he got back it was like “oh that’s it, that’s the thing” you know. Everything it’s about personal and musical chemistry.
A few words for your old partner King Diamond?
I’ve had a few really great years in Mercyful Fate and I’m really thankful for that opportunity, because I was a long time fan as well. In the beginning it was like playing in the world’s greatest cover band with original members, it was fantastic (laughs). I got to make a bunch of albums with them and it’s also the band where I learned the ropes of the business and everything, a valuable lesson. It was good fun and great guys to play with. It was also a cool thing to see what they did for Guitar Hero.
Thank you for your time Sharlee. Is there anything you’d like to add, a message for the fans in Greece or whatever?
Hail Satan (laughs).
Interview by: Karagiannidis Panagiotis
Translation by: Thanasis Gatziouras.