Lady Obscure recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers HELLOWEEN. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked for his opinion about some OPETH fans’ position that Mikael should have started a side project under a new name instead of taking the band completely away from the death metal-tinged sounds of OPETH‘s early albums, Åkerfeldt responded: “Well, I mean… It doesn’t really work like that, does it? First and foremost, people can have their opinions. It doesn’t mean we’ll follow it. We love our fans, [and] we respect them, but we’re a band first and foremost. I never felt that… Whatever we do with this band, whatever ends up being OPETH isOPETH, because it’s us. And that argument kind of fails in that sense… How does that work with Joni Mitchell [or] David Bowie? For solo artists who have a sound. Should they change their name? It’s just a random and, I think, a bit ignorant and stupid comment, to be honest. I think it’s easier if [the fans] just stop listening to it. I think the best solution is that they stop listening to it if they don’t like it.”
During an interview with Australia’s The Rockpit, Mikael spoke about the sharp musical turn OPETH took with 2011’s “Heritage” album and its follow-up release, 2014’s “Pale Communion”. He said: “I do understand and appreciate that ‘Heritage’ was a little bit of a shock to fans who are more into the heavy, death metal type of sound, and maybe it’s a bit much to expect them to take it all in so we got a bit of shit for that record. I love that album with a passion, because, for me, it was natural, but I have seen that with the coming of the‘Pale Communion’ record that people come up to me and say, ‘I did not like ‘Heritage’ when it came out, but when you put out ‘Pale Communion’, I finally understood ‘Heritage’ and now I’m starting to like it.’ So I’m hoping it’s going to escalate into a love for that record.”
He continued: “People have been more gentle with us with ‘Pale Communion’ coming out, but there is still… Like, I don’t have social media, I don’t correspond with the fans in that sense, so I don’t really get a lot of the confrontations about what the hell we are doing. My overall response to that question would be that people might be getting used to and maybe understand a little bit better about what we are trying to do. And, for me, that is good, of course. I never had a problem. For me, it was never a big step. For everybody in the band, it was not a massive thing for us to do ‘Heritage’, but I do accept that it might have been too curvy of a curveball for people who are not in the band, but now it’s starting to calm down a little bit.”