Interview: Michael Amott of Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy guitar Michael Amott talks about the band's latest album, Khaos Legions
You’re known for bringing a lot of guitars in the studio with you when recording. Were there any on this record that you found yourself really coming back to?
You know what? You’re never going to believe this, but I actually used my Dean signature model [the Michael Amott Signature Tyrant Bloodstorm], the one that I play live a lot. That’s the one I tracked all the rhythms on.
I brought in some other guitars, some Les Pauls and stuff. I wanted to play my signature model guitar on the album, but a lot of times when you bring in your favorite guitar, the engineer or the producer will say, “You know what, that guitar is really cool to play, but actually this guitar sounds better.”
Then you’re like, “Fuck, now I have to fight with this big fat old …” [laughs] But actually this time my signature guitar sounded the best, so I was really happy about that. I had a lot of fun playing it because that guitar fits my hands really well.
What did Chris use to track his rhythms?
My brother used my signature guitar for his rhythm parts as well. We had to stick to one guitar for the rhythms because we tracked four rhythm tracks and we didn’t want to get into any tuning or intonation issues. Then to get different tones, we used various amps and different cabs instead of different guitars.
You’ve long been known as a Randall guy as far as amps go, but I know you and Chris have been playing Marshalls live a lot lately. What sort of amps made their way onto the new record?
For rhythm tracks, is was the Marshall JVM410 with a Maxon Tube Screamer in front of it, and that is pretty savage sounding!
For my solos, that was kind of an elaborate set-up, actually. I used a vintage Marshall JCM800. It’s got a very warm sound, a really human sound, if you know what I mean. It’s not this fizzy, nasty distortion. I wanted a really classic lead guitar sound like Michael Shencker or somebody like that. A really nice, sweet tone, and I think you can’t beat the older Marshalls for that.
What about effects?
I’ve got a signature wah now with Home Brew Electronics, a small company from Arizona, and we’ve been working on a signature wah and this one is really, really good. Otherwise I don’t use that much else. All the echoes and delays are just this old Rockman half-rack unit. For the cleans we had an old Roland Jazz Chorus.
Did you add any effects in ProTools during the mixing process?
We didn’t add any other effects in ProTools so we tracked all those effects, like the MXR Phase 90 on my solo on “Bloodstained Cross.”
That might surprise some people who think of Arch Enemy as a pretty high-tech band.
From what I’ve read, it seems people have this idea that we’re kind of like this really high-tech band, but actually we’re pretty old school in our approach to gear. We don’t use active pickups like most bands in our genre. It seems like everyone is using them, but I find them to be too linear in tone for me. They’re great for rhythms, but when it comes to the leads, I like to hear more. I don’t know, it’s something … something in the air. [laughs]
Look out for an edition of "The Inquirer" with Michael Amott in the August issue of Guitar World.
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