Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy: She Will Rise

Australian tour dates enclosed...

Arch Enemy front woman, Alissa White-Gluz is currently in Australia right now ready to ignite Download Festival in less than 24 hours. In a candid interview Metal As Fuck caught up with Alissa prior to the tour to discuss the evolution of Arch Enemy, bringing the band forward into a new era and the craft of heavy metal… After wrapping up a very rare yet smashingly successful north american tour Alissa begins with tour tales from North America “We were so happy to be able to hit North America again”. You don’t get much chance to head there do you? “That's right, we almost never play in North American so it was a huge accomplishment to not only get there and book a six week tour but to have half of the tour sold out so it was really great”. For Australia as well - the band are playing for the first time with you at the helm, this is the first time we get you down here and see you strut your stuff. “Yeah, the most frequent feedback I get is ‘when are you coming to Australia?’ so I’m glad I finally had an answer for this”. 

We’ll get into touring shortly however we are all still talking about the new album Will to Power - prior to its release fans were already salivating to see what the new Arch Enemy had in their pockets so what did the band set out to achieve with this album? “I think that it may be different for other bands but for Arch Enemy, each of us have the same kind of vision in mind. We all want to make good songs so it's not about ‘oh how can we attract this kind of fan’ or ‘how can I make the longest guitar solo ever’ it's not about that. We just want to make good songs. I know that a lot of musicians will visualise themselves playing a song on stage; see if it feels good and if you can imagine you’re in a stadium then it's probably a great song - if you see yourself in a basement then it's probably not a great song [Laughs] but for me personally I always envision a music video and if I can feel a real edge of your seat, interesting music video to go along with the song then I feel really good about it. So we do what we always do; in that same vein - lets go ahead and make an album with really great songs. There is definitely some ups and downs - some days you can walk out of the studio feeling invincible and others you’ll walk out wanting to jump off a cliff, I think that’s just the life of an artist. But at the end, we are very happy with the album and we’re glad everyone else is enjoying it also”. 

It has been going gangbusters since its release - and yourself only being with the band going on three years now - how does the album best represent where Arch Enemy are today? “I think it represents us perfectly. It has elements of the classic, melodic death metal - it has a lot of the very early straight death metal influences and a lot of heavy metal and an overall sound of extreme music and also has the sort of branching out and opening doors to explore more diverse music in the future - we’ve kept a lot of old elements and also introduced in a lot of new elements so I think it really shows who we are as a band, where we can go and probably appealing to a wider variety of people”. And being in the band for three years now - what challenges or goals had you set for yourself? “I don’t have like a visualisation board or anything I really write goals down on or really methodically think about where I want to be or go but everyday my goal is just to do an amazing show. Each time I get into the studio I want to keep to the best possible pace, each time I’m writing lyrics to a song I want them to be the best possible lyrics and you kind of just feel when it's right. I can’t even explain what the process is exactly - but when something is done I know. It's like a painter - at some point one of the brush strokes will be the last one and I don’t think at the start he is able to tell you what stroke that is - but when it's done, he knows. There were a lot of changes going on when I joined Arch Enemy and all of us were quite vulnerable in this position of starting a new era for the band - but we had no choice because otherwise the band would have been over so we were happy that we were able to continue making music with one another and I don’t think we could have expected the extremely positive reaction we got with War Eternal and now again with Will to Power but we don’t take it for granted - we are very, very grateful for it”. 

What has being a part of Arch Enemy taught you about your own craft? “I’ve learned a lot. I think I’ve grown a lot as a person just my character has developed. Touring to this extent is very, very difficult - psychologically, emotionally, physically - it's not easy. Especially (I know it sounds cliche) but being the only woman is also very difficult. That being said everyone in my band and crew are amazingly respectful and awesome. I feel completely at home with them - they’re family. Sometimes though I would like to have some female company [Laughs] I’ve definitely learnt a lot. I’ve learnt what kind of person or behaviour I’m willing to let into my life and what kind I’m not whereas in past I allowed anything and everything - now I’ve set boundaries. I think I’ve learnt to respect myself more. I’m no different to anyone else in the sense that I’m always climbing an uphill battle towards self love but of course I’m getting there which is really important - learning every day to accept myself for who I am, it's definitely made me turn my eyes inwards and take a close look at myself…. because everyone else is [Laughs] I’m realising that I’m the most important person to cast judgement on myself. Gaining a lot of life experience and learning to take the good with the bad and mixing that into something great”. 

Now you guys have been touring extensively since the album release last September - what have been some of the highlights for the band in this time? “We’re almost always on tour - so after the release we immediately followed that up with an eastern European tour, Russia and then the North American tour so we had a great time playing through Eastern Europe, Russia was amazing. We played in Siberia which was really cool - and those shows are always amazing but they were even bigger this time - really cool fans there. Then in North America it was one of the only times we come to North America and it was hugely successful - the whole tour was a highlight. For me personally getting to play in Montreal where I was born and raised and play basically the biggest venue that hosts metal acts in Montreal - we headlined and sold out - that was a highlight for me to play with my family watching. I could picture myself fifteen years ago in th audenie of that place watching shows and this time I was the on stage”. 

Getting back to the album - how did yourself and Michael collaborate on writing lyrics for the songs? “Michel writes about half and I write about half - we don’t necessarily set out to make it that way - it's kind of like, Michaelwill send me the instrumentation of a song - sometimes it's not totally structurally finished; just the basics and I’ll ask him, do you have any ideas for this or do want me to go for it? It will either be, no I have something or no, I have nothing for this - do you have anything, other times I’ll hear something and be like ‘ohh wow, can I have this one’ [Laughs] but generally we bounce the ideas off one another - doesn’t matter whose idea it is - the best idea is the one we use. Everyone in this band is extremely accomplished and have a lot of respect for one another. Our top priority is making a great song”. 

In your opinion what are the fundamental components that make Arch Enemy and how have they been driven home in Will to Power? “Starting at the basic level, Arch Enemy is extreme heavy metal - it's a mix of the both. The really catchy melodies of catchy heavy metal - blazing guitar tones but it also has the extreme elements with the drums and vocals and it's a nice marriage there - it really makes for this unique sound that Arch Enemy have - we’re definitely spearheading this kind of sound and it's something we all like. It's something we’re good at. Songs that you love on the first listen - songs that you love on the one hundredth listen, which is kind of rare - usually after an album is recorded you’re like ‘ok, I never want to hear that again!’ [Laughs] though with Will to Power we couldn’t get enough, still really enjoying it and I think that’s a good sign”.    

The Australian crowds are frothing at the mouth to see the band play - not just at Download but the band have announced some shows around the east coast - for those fans who can’t get down to Melbourne. So what are your anticipations for the tour? “I’m really happy that Download is happening and that we’re a part of it - because that gives us an opportunity to get there! I assume that in Australia it's difficult to get bands there as frequently as in Europe - I mean geographically speaking you guys are far [Laughs] and so I’m happy we’re going - having that festival spot, we’re able to book more shows around it. We’re finally getting to go there! I hope that it opens the door to go there more frequently in the future - not to go into the boring side of things but sometimes it's actually just not feasible to get there - either because financially it would be a huge loss, you need to make it feasible. If you have an offer to play in Frankfurt, Germany but you’re playing Hellfest in France two days before - its not an issue because you can just go there. In Australia - being so far away and making it financially viable we need to first have that opening in our schedule where nothing else is booked so we all get there, our gear, our crew - for everything to go smoothly. Logistically its difficult. And I think that’s why a lot of bands have a hard time getting down there but I don’t need to tell you this [Laughs] I’m sure this is something Australian fans know all too well”. [Laughs] Well myself…. And tens of thousands of other Australian fans are also very appreciative that logistics have worked out in this instance. 

 

ARCH ENEMY 2018 AUSTRALIAN TOUR:

 

Friday 23 March - Manning Bar, Sydney (SOLD OUT)

Saturday 24 March - Download Festival, Melbourne

Monday 25 March - The Zoo, Brisbane (SOLD OUT)

Tuesday 27 March - Fowlers Live, Adelaide 

Wednesday 28 March - Rosemount Hotel, Perth  

 

Tickets: www.metropolistouring.com & www.downloadfestival.com.au