Metal Wani editor in chief Owais "Vitek" Nabi recently conducted an interview with ARCH ENEMY bassist Sharlee D'Angelo. You can listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On ARCH ENEMY's evolution as a live act:
Sharlee: "I'd like to think we get better at what we do in every sense of the [word]. We have come a long way if you think about what we did 20 years ago. We've developed over the years, a few [members] have changed in the band and I think where we're at now, we're a strong, solid machine at this point, especially after doing so many shows on the 'War Eternal' run. This is also one of the reasons why we wanted to do the ['As The Stages Burn!'] DVD because we haven't done anything like this with Alissa [White-Gluz, vocals] and Jeff [Loomis, guitar]. We have toured a lot, but we haven't been everywhere, unfortunately. For those of you out there who haven't seen us, this is a great opportunity to see us at our best. If you hesitated before to go to an ARCH ENEMY show, this is how good we are. [Laughs]"
On the status of ARCH ENEMY's new album, which is reportedly due in September:
Sharlee: "We've done a lot of the basic tracking and we started with vocals a bit. We'll start with leads this month as well, so most of the basic tracking is down then we'll start to add on other things and go back, re-do and fix them. Hopefully everything will be done before we leave for tour at the end of this month so we can just send it away for mixing and forget about it for a while. [Laughs] Once you have something down, you want to put it out immediately and let people hear it. Once you've done that, once the actual album is mixed, there's so many other things that need to be done in the following months. Everything else, it's artwork, it's videos, it's everything, all the visual aspects of it. Then it's all the promotion for it and what have you; there's so much that needs to happen there. But yeah, that's the thing, you still wonder what people are going to think about it. The first few glimpses you get once you start doing promotion and interviews for it. You get some sort of response, at least. The first people who have listened to it outside of the band. It's a bit nerve-wracking, but very exciting to see. As long as you're happy with yourself, that's all you can do. You cannot steer people's thoughts and tastes, so as long as you're happy with the album, then, of course, you want people out there, the nice people who listen to music and come to your shows, sometimes buy your records, you want to see… that's the ultimate payoff is when you stand there onstage and you play a new song and you see people already singing along. They seem to like it and they go nuts to this riff here. That's your [sighs] 'Yes! We did it again!' This is our diploma right here."
On the musical direction of the band's new album:
Sharlee: "On 'War Eternal', there was a certain desperation about that album. But I still can feel it when I listen to it, maybe because I was involved in it. Having lost a longtime, very important member of the band and introducing someone else, a new face into the band, and you wonder, that's even more, like, 'Okay, we have a new album. I wonder what people will like about it, or if they will like it at all.' There's a few nerves there. In the process of recording that album, writing and recording, there was so much going into… There's something desperate and very dense about that album. Now, we know we did it. We're still here; people have accepted the change and embraced Alissa and everything as well. Things are better than they were before, so now you have a completely different vantage point and starting point, for that matter. This album is a bit more open in that sense. It sounds more open and some of the songs I would say, dare I use the word 'epic'. [Laughs] It's different, yes, we can do a lot more now than we could… we just don't have to cram as much metal as possible in the most sort of 'energetic' way. We can do it in other ways as well. Don't be scared, I'm not saying everything will be slow; that's not what is happening. It's extremely ARCH ENEMY, but within what it is ARCH ENEMY, we have gone out to explore new worlds. It will be some of the same and also some new stuff."
On Jeff Loomis's role on the new album:
Sharlee: "Any record that Jeff plays on, he is completely involved with. He puts his mark on it and it's so strong. His playing style alone, whatever he does, it sounds so 'Loomis.' It's going to reek of Loomis, this album, it will, it definitely will."
ARCH ENEMY guitarist Michael Amott told Rock Hard magazine in January that Loomis — who was the main songwriter in his former band NEVERMORE — has not contributed to the songwriting on the group's new disc.
Back in December, Loomis told Metal Wani that he would "probably just be doing solos" on ARCH ENEMY's upcoming follow-up to 2014's "War Eternal". He explained: "If you look at it, ARCH ENEMY is Michael Amott — it's his band, it's his baby, and he is the main songwriter in the band. I did submit a few songs, and I don't know if they'll make it or not. But I definitely will be playing solos on it."
He continued: "I love being in the band. I am fan of the band. I love the music, and I love playing in front of thousands of people with that band. But we'll see what happens. It's kind of the same thing if you can think the same way with NEVERMORE; me and Warrel [Dane, vocals] were the main writers in that band, and we had a revolving door of guitar players. But pretty much, it was me and Warrel that did a lot of it. Steve Smyth wrote a little bit, Tim Calvert wrote for 'Dreaming Neon Black', but most of it, eighty percent, was me and Warrel. So each band has their own chemistry and their way of doing things."
"As The Stages Burn!" will be released on March 31 via Century Media. The DVD contains video footage of ARCH ENEMY's largest stage production to date from their performance last summer at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany.
ARCH ENEMY will celebrate the release of "As The Stages Burn!" with a number of European shows with special support from LACUNA COIL and THE HAUNTED.