Interview : Angela Gossow – Arch Enemy




Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”

Transcription and editing by Si Smith


After 3 times of scheduling problems, I was able to interview Miss Gossow and the first thing that come to mind listening to her voice, is her resolution and high-confidence of all the (musical) path that she has built and still continue to do. That’s for reason, I think, is considered a model for every femme metal singer, not only for her way of singing but also for her assurance that she communicates. Is simply a woman that kick’s ass, no more words to add, yeah at least I have one : enjoy the interview!

Hi Angela, first of all thanks for accept this inteview. It’s an honour to speak with you. Let’s talk about your upcoming album “Khaos Legion” : the cover album is very robotic, what do you want to represent? And who’s the creator of the cover?

The cover is influenced by a French painting called “Liberty Leading the People”. It is a very famous painting of a woman holding up the French flag from the French Revolution. Basically we wwomananted our cover based on that idea because it’s a very iconic picture for revolution; it is a woman leading the revolution, and when you look at our cover it is a female in the middle leading the pack. We like using this is in Arch Enemy because I am leading the band as well. These people on the album cover have just survived an apocalyptic ending of the world; the world is burning down in the background. That’s why they are wearing all these masks and look a bit like zombies. They are a little bit representing Arch Enemy, but we didn’t want it to look like us on the cover, we wanted it to look a little bit more alien. Its been done by an artist called Brent Emmet White from America. He’s very famous for this kind of digital artwork, it took him actually three months: it was hand painted first, then he rendered it in 3D on a computer. It’s all hand painted, I think its pretty awesome!

“Khaos Legions” is totally straight-in-your-face title, in your opinion what you want to express this title?

The Khaos Legion is an army that basically brings anarchy and atheism to the world, but in a positive way. It’s an army that frees people of governments, of religion, oppression in the social surrounding we live in, whether its people or relationships. These are the Khaos Legions. It’s us in our metal town.

How was the recording process and when you nailed down the first note/lyric?

We’ve basically been writing this album for four years, since the release of “Rise of the Tyrant” musically, but I started with the lyrics in Summer 2010, because I knew we were going into the studio in December and we already had some demo songs. I wrote the first lyrics, but when I get the music that’s when they change a lot, because I find it very difficult to fit words to the music: I find it a lot easier to have the music and then fit the words on it. Otherwise you might go against the rhythm of the music – for me its very important to have the music first, that’s when my assortment of words and phrases determines the lyrics. One of the first songs I did was “No Gods or Masters” and “Through the Eyes of a Raven”, which I wrote in a van while doing the UK tour in November. I write my lyrics everywhere, on trains…we do lots of travel because we tour so much, so I write them in trains, in planes, in cars, or waiting around somewhere backstage. So I get the demo songs and listen to them and whatever comes to mind.

Fredrik Nordström produced the previous album “Rise of the Tyrant” and this time you have chosen to work with Rickard Bengtsson (already in Armageddon with Christopher Amott). How was work with him and what do you think that Rickard have added to Arch Enemy musi?

Rickard is a local guy, he lives where we live, he has a studio out here which is pretty cool, and we have all our gear out here in Sweden, and its easier to record locally – because, we have a lot of equipment, a lot of vintage equipment for example, echo tapes, old amps, and we wanted to use them all on the album, so for us its a lot easier to get our stuff there – so that’s one big advantage to recording locally. And the other one is that he has known our sound for many years, he worked with us on “…Machine”, and what he’s done is engineered the album, which means he sets the sound for the drums and then he starts to record….we don’t work on our own. It just makes it easier to work locally. He sings on one album…whats good about him is that he understands vocals. I have recorded most of my vocal lines with him, because he is a singer himself, that helps a bit. 

“Khaos Legions” comes out also in a Ltd. Edition 2CD in Mediabook packaging incl. 4 cover songs. Why choose this to cover this songs from Europe and Kiss for ex.? Are you connect to them for some your private facts or simply you are fan of this bands?

I am a huge fan of Europe. Michael and Chris grew up in Sweden with Europe of course. And they’ve met them many times, they are genuine Europe fans, we’ve played together on festivals. So there’s a mutual friendship. I don’t think anyone’s friends with Kiss. Kiss are such a big influence on Michael and Chris and pretty much everybody, when we were like 13 and 14, Kiss albums dominated the rock world – and they had the pretty cool make up and everything. So most people are inflluenced a little by Kiss. We do have some Kiss elements in our sound and thought it would be cool to do a Kiss song. But we are not friends with Kiss unfortunately.

Also the thing that hits me so much is : why have you called the second CD “Kovered in Chaos”?

Because the first album is “Khaos Legions” and the second album contains cover songs, it’s a cool little play on words.

Angela, you entered Arch Enemy already 12 (twelve) years ago, what is your personal balance between the touring activity and recording material?

Well first, we always work, we never take time off. I manage Arch Enemy and we plan ahead. So I have planned all tours up to the year 2013. I know exactly what we are going to be in 2013, where we are going to be touring, what shows we are going to play. It’s like a little company, it’s all carefully planned. I know that we will be touring, we’ll be doing all the festivals now, then we go the US, then we are going to tour Asia, then we are going to do European shows in the winter, then we are going to do Australia, South East Asia and South America in the spring of 2012. Then we do all the festivals again. We’ll be releasing a new live DVD at the end of 2012, then we will tour a little bit more, than release a new album in Spring 2013. We’ll go back to the studio, probably start recording December 2012. That’s how we do it. You just have plans and you stick to them, and we are like a machine, we work and stick to our plans. We plan carefully, and thats how we keep the balance. And there is no time for any private life!

Have you ever thought about managing or producing any other bands, young bands for example?

I’m very busy with Arch Enemy right now, obviously we have a lot of requests from other bands. I have my own management company called Khaos Management and I do all the business for Arch Enemy now, all the merchandise and stuff, but I don’t have any time for anything else! Later on maybe when Arch Enemy slows down a bit I can start working more in management. I also manage Spiritual Beggars, and all of Chris’s projects.

You do so much, I don’t know where you find the strength to do all that you do!

Well I worked in marketing for a while and I have got a degree in Business, so I have had training. That was my job before I joined Arch Enemy, I was a marketing manager. I’ve also always been creative and always had a sewing machine. That I got from my mum – I can cook and I can sew and I can clean and I can organise. I’ve got three younger siblings, so I was the one leading the pack – and I think that’s where I learned that from. I’m kind of smart as well, it helps! I’m a very busy woman and I’m happy when it’s all working out.

What is the big dream that you want to fulfill with Arch Enemy in the future?

Just to keep going a little bit every year, getting a little bigger every year, we can now tour the world and play shows everywhere. We earn enough money with it to support ourselves, which is awesome as a lot of bands can’t do that. We just want to have another 10 years or so – just keep on doing what we do and enjoying it, it’s a lot of fun, because we are our own masters, no-one can tell us anything, we do only what we want to do, and we want to just keep doing that. We are living our dream. And the other thing we want is to keep that, that’s all we want for the next 10 years.

And now talking about present what are next the band plans? Is on working a videoclip?

Well as I already said we are going to do lots of festivals now in Europe, then USA and Canada in September and October, we’re going to play Japan and Korea and a whole bunch of Asian states. Then we do the headline tour of Europe in December. I think the next video we are going to release in maybe August, but we’re not sure which song yet.

A curiosity now : have some funny/interesting facts about touring in the Maldives Islands?

Yeah, I think we were the first international metal band to play there. It is a Muslim country and had a very conservative government up to last year. They were trying to forbid metal and rock shows and anything like that. Last year the government changed, and they have quite a young president now and he’s trying to encourage foreign artists to come over. He actually set that up, together with a company – so we stayed in a beautiful luxury resort for one week, it was a wonderful holiday! That was cool. We had to have a military and police escort from him because there were fundamentalist extreme Muslims demonstrating against the show, around the concert site, and they were a little bit afraid that something might happen – but it didn’t. It was awesome, we had about 3000 people there (the Maldives is very small). It was a very exciting and strange and positive experience to play there.

Thanks so much for speak with us Angela. Greet your fans as you want.

To all the ladies reading your webzine, go and kick some balls. To all the guys reading it, thanks for all your support and united we stand. Gender doesnt matter anyway, we are all metal at the end of the day, so stay true fucking metal!

Photo Credit

Photos by Patric Ullaeus


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