Tyrant's Of Metal - Angela Gossow Speak out
Arch Enemy are without doubt one of the finest melodic Death Metal acts to come out of Europe and Scandinavia, with such amazing muscians such as Mike ( Carcass) and Chris Amott (Armageddon) both on guitar, Sharlee D'Angelo (Mercyful Fate) on bass, drummer Daniel Erlandsson and the aewsome and brutal vocals of Angela Gossow, there is no stopping this awesome metal act. With the band been around since 1996 when the band formed out of the ashes of Carcass and Mercyful Fate/ Armageddon & Johan Liiva ex Carnage. 1996 also saw the release of the debut album 'Black Earth' and with 'Stigmata' and 'Burning Bridges' saw the band continuing to grow. In 2001 Johan left the band and was replaced by Angela Gossow, who like Sabina Classen (Holy Moses), Angela has adapted the the academy of growl like Sabina. Never in the world of Heavy metal has any female besides Sabina had such a sick and twisted voice until now. Angela recently called me up for a up-dated interview and to talk about what's been happening in the Arch Enemy camp and of course their new album 'Root Of All Evil, 2009 release which features songs from the bands first 3 albums with Angela's vocals and of course a more brutal production. Here is what Angela had to say the the following questions.
Hey Angela, thanx for calling me, it's been a while since the last interview, so lets start the interview off by asking you as a female artist which female vocalists inspired you to become a singer?
"Well I was into Rock & Metal at a young age, my father was a big Queen fan and I liked The Rolling Stones, but there was a lot of Orchestral and weird stuff that was around me back when I was younger. I just decided to pick the Rock stuff and then I got into Heavy Metal and most of my vocal influences were really male singer. I really didn't have too many female influences or roll models, and I started back then 1990 with my first band. My first band was called 'Asmonia' and then I had a band called 'Mistress' and at some point I had heard of a band called 'Holy Moses' with Sabina Classen and then a band called 'Demonic Christ' and 'Nuclear Death' which all came later as there was no internet back then. It was a matter of looking for these bands through tape traders and fanzines and so it took a while to it came to Cologne in Germany. So when I first started out been a female vocalist I didn't even know about nay other bands which featured females vocalists besides Lita Ford, Doro, Vixen, Girlschool. I really didn't want to be like any of these females singer (laughing), I wanted to be the antidote and I wanted to sing in a Death Metal band."
Do you need to train your voice to become a singer with such an intense voice?
"No not really, back in the day I was totally into such bands like Carcass, Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel and I just wanted to sound like these guys (laughing) and for me it's just really loud screaming. That is when you distort your vocal chords and it comes natural to me. When I start to sing loud I start to growl , I can't sing the normal Power Metal stuff and I think I just got lucky liking that kind of music and I just tried out different techniques."
Would you like to do a side project were you could sing in a proper voice?
"I think normal singing has become a lot harder for me and it is more work from the vocal chords and I love metal, but I can't do that. I love vocalist like Rob Halford, Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Billy from Testament because he has a certain rough but clean voice. If I sing clean I sound like somebody out of Goth Metal band like Nightwish, so that is why I decided not to pursue that style of vocals. I would love to sing clean but I can't."
I think a lot of people like myself when they first heard you singing in Arch Enemy just couldn't believe it was a female singer, you sound so sick with your voice Angela haha!!
"Well I knew actually, because in 99 I started doing these vocals and there are more bands with female singer out there now doing what I did 10yrs ago or so, so it is becoming a lot more popular for females to come out of their shells and growl more. I am not unique but I am one of the more successful female singers doing this style of metal. I think a lot of peoples out there who want to sing are aware of Arch Enemy so they grow up with the attitude that women can do this style of vocals so it makes female more acceptable. When I grew up with metal it was just guys singing really and so it took a lot of self confidence and I was a tomboy back then and I really didn't care if I was a boy or girl I just knew I wanted to growl as a singer. I have had females in bands coming up to me and saying I have influenced them a lot and because of me they too are now singers in metal bands."
I was interviewing Doro a few months ago and she told me that you appeared on a song from her album entitled 'Celebrate', which also featured Floor Jensen (After Forever), Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes), Sabina Classen (Holy Moses), and many more. How did the whole song come about and hw did she contact you to sing on this song?
"Well Doro and myself have know each other a long time as we live in Cologne and Dussoldorf in Germany and there pretty much next to 1 another and were both Germany. The metal scene is pretty small so we kept on meeting 1 another at festivals backstage all the time in the summer, so we ended up talking and there are not that many women out their that are internationally successful. I think she saw me live at the 'Rock Hard' festival in Germany, and we did a show with her for her 25th anniversary and she thinks I am really cool and I think the same way about her too."
So lets talk about Arch Enemy, of previous albums which is your favourite album in particular that you have recorded with the band?
"I would have to say that the most emotions that I had was on the album 'Wages Of Sin' as it almost tore up my guts, it was all new to me and I was under a lot of pressure back then and it was also at the same time exciting as I was such a fan of the bands music. So I really couldn't believe the situation I was in recording songs with Mike Amott as I have been following his work since he was in Carnage, Carcass and now I'm playing in the same band as him. I also like the 'Doomsday Machine' too, because we had more time to record the album and I did a lot of experimenting and tried out new things."
What's your least favourite album with the band and why?
"That's a tough question, I wasn't a fan of the production for 'Rise Of The Tyrant', as I wish we had of given the album to be done by Andy Sneap. We used Fredrik Nordstrom, who is the guitarist in Dream Evil, he is a great producer but I feel that this album didn't have a crushing sound like other albums we have done. I don't think the guitars jump out enough to give it that edge. I think the songs are great but the sound suffers."
Besides yourself, who else auditioned to sing for Arch Enemy?
"Well I really don't want to say many names, but there were tons of Swedish vocalist who wanted the job. I guess I was the odd one out and they wanted somebody who would rehearse with them a lot because back in the day it was more like a project until I joined the band, that was the 'Burning Bridges' album were members were changing all the time and they never really toured. Mike was doing the 'Spiritual Beggars' band and Sharlee was doing 'Mercyful Fate'. So I quit my job and moved to Sweden and we toured like crazy and that is when they became a proper band."
Moving on Angela, the band has recorded 2 live DVD's, how do you compare each DVD from one another? How do you compare the Japanese fans to those of the British fans?
"Well the English show is very European and it was released in 2004 I think and so we didn't have the 'Doomsday Machine' CD out and the 'Rise Of The Tyrant' CD out either, so there was a lot of songs missing. I think it's a cool show and it was pretty expensive to record. As for the show in Japan, that had a completely different atmosphere as Japan is so odd and we have been big there for some time now, so the show was a testimony to Japan. We filmed ourselves on the streets of Japan and it was a real experience for us too. They don't have too many mosh pits but they do like to sing along with you, whereas in Europe and the UK it's about the pits."
What is the biggest market for the band, which country?
"That's a difficult question, The UK is a really good place for us, and we will be come back in April 2010 to the UK for 10 shows. Japan like I said is a really good market for us, and we are starting to put a U.S. tour together for January 2010, it will be a mixed bag as there are 3 markets in the U.S., these been A, B, C, Like Europe, the U.S. has a mixed bag and we always play in front of about 800 to a 1000 people I think it is cool for the kind of music we are playing. We are a small company and we have total control over our music."
Do you enjoy been on tour? Do you enjoy been on a tour bus or do you prefer a hotel? Any crazy shit happened whilst on tour?
"Yeah I do actually, that is what we do best tour, and record. This is something you have to do if you're in a metal band. It's very expensive to live on a tour music, it's something like £1000 a day, these are the cheaper ones with 16 bunkers in them were you can fit the band on the bus with the crew, so you have to be very careful with staying in a hotel. You only do those hotels when you have a day off and you need a shower. When we go to Japan, we get a lot of fans following us on the trains and waiting for you to get off the trains. It's ok, but I have had time when people have really pissed me off and filmed me. I just attacked somebody in South America were I signed his stuff for him and he kept on filming us at the airport checkout & they search your bags for drugs in Mexico and we had 32 pieces of luggage and we were a little nervous, but this guy kept on filming so I took his mobile phone off him and deleted his pictures."
So you're about to head off to the land of the rising sun - Japan to play with Judas Priest, how excited are you about this?
"I can't wait!! We play just before Judas Priest and I read a interview with Rob Halford saying he is really looking forward to see us live."
So lets talk about the new album, 'The Root Of All Evil', why the title? Did you have any other titles for the album?
"Well it's an album which features old Arch Enemy songs, which are re-done with my vocals. The title is the root of Arch Enemy, we are the roots of all evil, so we put in a picture of a old skull which is very old school looking and the Arch Enemy symbol in the brain. With regards to another title for the album, well we never really had any other titles name in mind, we just thought this was the best one."
I believe this album is a collaboration of old songs, re-worked with your vocals as a pose to Johan Liiva, so why did the band decide to re-work the old songs?
"Well Testament did it with the 'Legacy' material with Steve Souza (ex Exodus) and we thought it would be a good idea to also re-work the songs from the past. We did the whole stuff from scratch, the drums, guitars, bass and vocals. We picked 4 songs from the old previous albums that Johan sang on and I think we chose the best songs. I think the album has turned out pretty good actually, but we never wanted to change the songs, and they are very close to that of the originals. The whole idea was to create a better sound with today's technology with Daniel on drums, he never played on the old albums, so for him and myself was a exciting time. Also Sharlee wasn't on the early albums either so for him it was a great experience too. It was also a good idea to re-record the songs because a lot of people don't know the early material and for us to re-record them meant that the kids could finally get to hear some of the old songs which are pretty hard to buy these days."
Where was this album recorded? Was it at Andy Sneap's studio or was it done elsewhere?
"Well some of it was recorded in our rehearsal studio in Sweden, some of it was done in a studio, and a couple of studios, we did it in about 3-4 studios in the end. Andy did the mix and mastering of the record and it is very well produced because of Andy helping out with the album."
Is there any new songs already been written for the next full length studio album? Do you come up with the ideas whilst on tour for the next album?
"Well we have been putting some songs and ideas together since 2007 when the 'Rise Of The Tyrant' CD came out, and after a while you have to stop touring and take time off to write new material. We all pretty much come up with melodies, riffs etc.. and save them to our computers and at some point next year we have to say no to any tours, as we really need to focus on writing and recording the next new studio album. Yeah some times we sit around the tour bus and start to come up with ideas etc..."
This year saw you co-headling the Friday of the 'Bloodstock' open air festival here in the UK, how was it for you and how do you compare it to that last time you played the festival? What changes have you seen?
"This year was great!! This time around we were co-headling with Carcass, and we had more fans to see the band, who actually knew our songs. We had people singing along to such tracks like 'Nemesis', 'We Will Rise', 'Blood On Your Hands', which was very satisfying. This years festival was a better stage and a lot better sound for us & it wasn't raining (laughing). I stayed for Carcass until the fireworks & then I left."
You should of stayed around for Europe, they were awesome, they went down really well!!
"We couldn't stay for Europe, we would of loved to of done, but we had to fly to Mexico on the Sunday. We played with Europe at the 'Masters Of Rock' festival, we played just before they did and they are good friend with us, they watched us and we did the same for them. We both made each band feel nervous on stage been watched by the other band haha!!"
I'd like to ask why the band wear these arm bands on stage, what do they mean to you?
"Well we had them on our video for the song 'Revolution Begins', it is our revolution sign or symbol."
What would you feel if there was a Arch Enemy tribute CD, would you be pleased about it?
"Yeah I think it would be pretty cool actually. I'd like to see such bands like Morbid Angel, Obituary doing our songs, that would kick ass!! Judas Priest playing 'Nemesis' would be awesome!! (ED: Why don't you ask Rob to come out on stage with you in Japan and sing along with you?) Wow that would be fucking awesome!!! (laughing), but I doubt if he would do it, damn that would be killer!!"
I believe you are still signed to Century Media, are you happy with the way they handle the bands promotion etc...?
"Yeah we are still on that label, we have a licensing deal with them and they don't own anything, we are very free with the label and we both work well extremely well. There is a lot of direct communication between us and it works really well. At the end of the day you always wish that your label would do more and more, but all the label are actually suffering right now with the downloading factor."
Are with Century Media on a world-wide basis?
"No, we are with them for pretty much all the countries expect for South/ East Asia, and we are with 'Toy Factory' and 'Trooper Entertainment'".
Well Angela, thanx for the interview, best of luck with the Japan tour with the mighty Judas Priest. best of luck for the future, do you have anything to say before we come to an end?
"Yes, thanx to our fans and to your readers, also thanx for the interview Jason, keep supporting Arch Enemy and keep your eyes open for the tour in April 2010."
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