An Exclusive Interview With Arch Enemy's NEW Vocalist, Angela Gossow

Interviewed by Cid
Questions by Cid and EvilG

 

First off I'd like to ask you to give our readers a bit of background information about yourself, like where you're from, your age, your phone number and home address and finally if you have a boyfriend. No, really. I think you should introduce yourself to the fans as Angel(a) Gossow the person behind all the news ruckus caused by your recent joining of Arch Enemy. Maybe tell us a bit about yourself, like where you come from and what you did (musically) before joining forces with the Amott brothers in this huge metal band.

My musical background are bands like Carcass, Boltthrower, Morbid Angel, Terrorizer, Napalm Death. I discovered Metal in 1989 when the wave of death & grind - bands came over to Germany. In 1991 I joined my first deathmetal - band Asmodina and continued with them 'til 1998. Then I founded Mistress. I spent over 10 years in rehearsal rooms and on small stages in shitty clubs before I came to Arch Enemy.

 

Tell us about your past bands, who they were and how far did they go? How many albums were released by them?

Both bands stayed totally underground. We released several tapes and 2 CD's. We never signed a contract, just spent our own money and organised everything on our own.

 

This will take us back in time a bit, how and when did you discover your talent? I mean how and when did you realize/decide you could perform a death metal vox as good as any man in the scene?

When I started I didn't pay to much attention to the quality of my vocals. As raw as possible. I developed my vocals a lot during the past 10 years. I guess I am much better than a lot of male vocalists nowadays. The quality doesn't depend on the depth or high of the voice - it is more expression, timing, sound.

 

How did you feel when Michael (was it?) called you to try out for Arch Enemy, were you nervous or just jumping around the house in bliss?

I was really thrilled! Excited and nervous. I couldn't believe it first.

 

When you went to try out, were you nervous or did you have a feeling you'd get asked to join the band?

My knees were shivering. I didn't expect anything. Just hoped I wouldn't fuck up.

 

A geographical Q now, for practical purposes, will you be relocating from Germany to Sweden or is the distance not a major factor to work with the band right now?

Actually, I moved to Sweden in February 2001 - I concentrate on Arch Enemy 200% now.

 

I was wondering, will you be splitting your time between Arch Enemy and another band, or are you going to focus on one band alone? 

Arch Enemy, Arch Enemy and Arch Enemy. No other band, no job, no studies in the next months.

 

Next I have a question that has been on my mind since I found out you'd be performing vocal duties on Wages of sin and hopefully the rest of AE's releases from now on. Are you feeling pressured at all by the fact that Arch Enemy is such a big name in the metal scene and they did 3 albums with the same singer (Johan Liiva) that you have now replaced? 

Arch Enemy isn't as big as it should be, I think... It still seems to be an insider-tip. We are gonna change it now! It isn't pressure - it is a great challenge I will grip with both hands! My style is quite different from Johan's.

You must be getting asked a lot, but I guess an official answer is the best way to stop that, so has it been difficult to walk the path of metal being a woman? Have you run into many obstacles?

I am very focused on my personal goals. I ever did what I wanted to do - this will not change. So I just ignored a few close-minded idiots who tried stopping me. It isn't easy for women, but it is possible.

 

Who would you say is (are) your main influence(s) musically?

Hard to say. I listen to so many different styles nowadays. My roots are in extreme Metal.

 

Why do you think the German death metal scene never received the same attention as the ones in Florida or Stockholm?

Lack of quality in the music, technical skills not advanced enough - compared to Swedish and American musicians. Most of the German bands can't compete with their high standards.

 

Judging by the sound clips, you've had quite an effect on the band. The music seems more aggressive and even faster (if that's possible having not one, but 2 Amott's in the guitar department). Would you say you have had a big influence in the band so far?

I influenced them a bit, I guess. Yes, I like speed, the brutal Slayer-type riffs - so I asked for this - and they wrote them. They really appreciated me, coming from a fan point of view, letting them know what I as a fan would like to hear from Arch Enemy.

 

What we've heard so far is very much in the vein of classic death metal, are you going to stick to that style exclusively or will we get to hear some melodic/clean vocals from time to time? Or do you think that style is not suited for Arch Enemy right now?

Clean vocals are boring - everyone would expect this from a woman.

 

How have the fans responded to your joining of the band so far? Has it been a warm welcome? Have there been some displeased fans? Does anyone wish the place had been taken by someone else?

99% react(ed) very positive - most of them didn't know about my gender when they heard the soundfiles first. We revealed my identity later. Many suggested a mixture out of Jeff Walker and Anders Friden - they were shocked when reading my name. I got many excited mails and great feedback on our comment-site online.

 

Did you ever talk to Johan Liiva? What do you think was the reason for his departure?

I haven't spoken with him so far, but I am not afraid of this or something like that. We simply haven't met yet. Michael tells me that he is the nicest, easy going guy you could ever meet. AE fired him due to many reasons - vocal performance and live-presentation for example. It is up to Michael and Chris to explain this - they made this decision.

 

I saw Arch Enemy live a few years back and I remember I loved the show, how will you approach doing the older Arch Enemy material live? Will you try to stick to the original sound or will you reshape it to your image?

The songs will get my stamp without changing the basic sound. People will recognise them! They will not lose their "old" identity.

 

How much of Wages of Sin was written before you were brought in? How much of your own ideas did you put into this new album?

Riffs and song-structures were mainly done. I was involved in arrangements as well as in writing lyrics. The vocal-lines were still pending - we did them together.

 

Now for a little studio indiscretion, regarding your vocals, were you given green light to do whatever you thought would be the best for the song, or did the guys already have a good idea of what they wanted from you?  Or was it more of a band collaboration?

For some songs I knew 100% what will sound best, other songs I wasn't sure myself - then I was very thankful for input. Michael has a very clear vision of what he wants, but he is at the same time in no way a dictator about it y'know.  The vocal-arrangements are team-work and we did very well - in my opinion.

 

Again, this might be a little indiscrete, but now that Sharlee is back in Arch Enemy...do you think he will have the time to tour with the band this time?

He gave up some other projects and seems to be very dedicated to AE now. I am sure, he will be on tour with us this time.

 

Are there any clear plans for touring with this new album yet? Maybe to north America? Maybe to Mexico? Maybe to a certain location I hold in high esteem?

We will surely tour Japan in the summer. We want to tour as much as possible - worldwide. For this we need the album released - it is delayed because of several business-problems we have to sort out first.

 

How do you expect the fans to react to your presence on stage? Do you have any expectations about this?

We will work out our live-performance before we enter stage. Hopefully, everybody will be surprised in a positive way!

 

After all this fuckload of questions, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview and if you would like to add anything at all to it, just do it freely, or in the words of my beloved, backstage getting, free booze providing and metal loving editor:

"Any other news items or things she'd like to let people know....let her say whatever she pleases!"

Thanks a lot for supporting Arch Enemy! I am very happy about the warm welcome I got from you! Hope to see you soon on tour. Until then, check WWW.ARCHENEMY.NET for all that is ARCH ENEMY!


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This page last updated on:
Thursday, March 29, 2001