Opeth is back with a new livealbum called “Garden of the Titans” and I got the chance to talk to the bands guitar player Fredrik Åkesson.
How did you come up with the idea for the DVD?
We were on tour with Gojira and our management told us we were playing at this place called red rock. At the time we
didn’t know anything about it so we checked it out online and saw what a fantastic place it was. So we thought about it and
realised we hadn´t released a dvd since we played Royal Albert Hall in 2010, and there had been three studioalbums since also, so we all felt it was a good time to do it. The band was in good shape and better do it now before we’re to old.
So initially it was our managements idea. Sort of a way to sum up the Sorceress-tour.
How do you prepare for a night like this when you know there’s going to be camera and soundcrew recording everything?
You try to ignore it completely. But of course you think about it, that you only have one shot at getting it right. But you try to have fun and do what you have been doing for the whole tour. We had a bit of bad luck though. That eavning the temperature dropped to zero degrees as we were getting ready to go on stage. We though it was like a curse you know. So playing outside in zero degrees is hard enough but on top of that a storm blew in.
When you watch the dvd you’ll see that a few songs into the set the wind is starting to blow pretty hard. It looks really wild and cool. The crew told us after the show that the wind was picking up the big videoscreen behind us that we use for projections and that they had to have several guys hanging from it to keep it from blowing down. After the show we were a bit worried but we listened to the recording and it sounded great so that was a big relief.
When the recording of a liveshow is done does it go through the same channels as a studioalbum would? I’m thinking mixing and so on.
We recorded with a seperate soundcrew and a lot of mics. All instruments seperate, nothing from the mixingtable. Then we spent a lot of time mixing it to get it just right. The album was mixed by David Castillo, who also worked with Katatonia and Candlemass to name a few, and the result is very good.
We’re very satisfied. Me and Micke Åkerfeldt spent a lot of time in the studio with a lot of opinions and David really captured the songs good. While mixing the song “Heir Apparent” from Watershed I wanted him to make the guitars sound heavier so he made us listen to the studioversion first and then the liveversion and live was so much heavier so that was like a stamp of approval.
Did you get any pointers or direction from the filmcrew?
None whatsoever. We didn’t even see them or speak to them before the show strangely enough. We did the show like we would any other on the tour.
What formats are you releasing the album on?
Well, it’s the dvd. And besides that it will be released on cd and also vinyl. We spent a lot of time on choosing the right pictures for it. The vinyl looks really cool. It’s gatefolded with pictures from the show and on the audience. It will be interesting to see how people react to it. Will it be like back in the days when you bought “Live after death” with Iron Maiden or “Priest in the east” with Judas Priest.
Now that many of the old giants are stepping down, Slayer, Deep Purple, Ozzy, who will take their place? Opeth?
I’d like that! Who knows what will happen. Iron Maiden are still going strong. Priest and Saxon also. Metallica won’t quit anytime soon. In an eight year period a few bands will probably start to step down. It will be interesting to see what will happen then. If Opeth will take a place among the big ones? You do your best and hope for the best. Time will tell I suppose.