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Opeth - Music happens when itīs happening

The pride of Stockholm and unbendable veterans of Progressive Metal are here. On this yearīs Wacken Open Air, Stalker had the chance to have a little chat with Opethīs drummer, Martin “Axe” Axenrot.

We are all pretty familiar with your early influences, but are there any new bands, which influence you? And what new bands are on your private playlist?
I donīt think that there is any new band having influence on Opeth and I personally listen to Deep Purple – okay, itīs an old band, but they are still around. Oh, there is one new band, their name is Ghost. We toured with them and they are good. I mean I do listen to new music, but itīs mainly from people who have been around for some time. New stuff, from the old bands. Maybe Iīm getting old.

Are there any bands or musicians you would like to collaborate with?
Yes, of course. But I canīt name any now. I literally like songs more than just instruments. So maybe a good songwriter to do some additional recordings for the album would be cool. And maybe more a concert with somebody, than a record. I once had the luck to play with Jon Lord in Trondheim in 2010, which was an awesome experience.



Last time we interviewed Frederik and ask him about the thing, that Wikipedia thought he is Norwegian. What is the most ridiculous wrong info you have come across?
About me? None, really. About Opeth…Well there is this US-band called Oteph. Because of the name similarity we got mistaken with them I guess.

Could you sum up the essence of your latest album, Heritage?
It means a lot to us, as itīs a very personal record representing all of us. We did what we wanted to do and thought not so much about pleasing anyone. For me it has a lot of lively feeling. I like that itīs more airy and breathy.

So, did all of you been involved in the song writing?
Michael wrote all the songs, I would say.

Are satisfied with your latest album, or if there is something you would have liked to change now afterwards.
This is exactly why I donīt listen to it. Music for me happens when itīs happening. Iīm totally in the present. I canīt go back to how I felt exactly in that moment or how I should have done it or didnīt. Because when you do it, itīs meant to be exactly like that, even if itīs wrong or bad or whatever. It is like art. Like a painting or something. Somebody probably thinks it is quite horrible but the person who did it...might not want this person to put it on his wall.

How do you cope with being on tour? And what was the longest?
The longest was this year for me. Weīve been on tour for 8 weeks. We did a South American tour first and we went then straight on to an American tour. It was 8 weeks before we went home again. Otherwise we tour two years for each record. Maybe 250 concerts each year or something. Itīs a lot going back and fourth and sleeping on tour busses and hotels, sitting in shuttles and waiting... mostly itīs waiting. It actually sometimes feels more that your job is to wait than to play. Itīs very boring at times, but sometimes itīs very giving also. I shouldnīt complain comparing it with work in a factory or so. But when you have too much fun, you canīt see the fun of it anymore.

How is your family dealing with being so much away?
My girlfriend and my cat are my family and we usually spend a lot of time together when Iīm home, so that is working nicely. Michael on the other hand has young kids. That is a different thing. You canīt explain why you are gone for one month. My girlfriend is easy in sight of this. She sang on the last Opeth album before this one, which was called “Watershed” on the song “Coil”. She isnīt really touring. She is only a self-artist. Natalie Lorichs. She played with Jon Lord also.

How do you deal with the life on the road –is it the old sex, drugs and Rock īn Roll, or yoga and green tea?
I donīt know itīs different for me every day. I do have to work out and stretch every day, even if I partied the day, as I have had a slipped disk. The stomach has to be a bit stronger than before that. Iīm getting older also. Iīm 33 now and when I was in my twentieth, it was like I could just go up and play and not get a strain or a cold. But nowadays I have to stretch afterwards which makes me feel like a old man. We do party also of course, but itīs a combination for me of stretching and partying. We did party more when we younger.

Thanks for the interview and have a nice show today!
Thank you!


Author: Samira Alinto
Date: 2012-08-20

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