Chris Amott is no stranger to the metal scene. While most know him as a founding member of Arch Enemy alongside fellow guitarist and older brother, Michael Amott, Chris Amott's music career stems beyond that. He also founded Armageddon, a band that has been been set aside as Arch Enemy took off, as well as a solo project. He's recently moved to New York.

We had the opportunity of interviewing Chris Amott, and talked about the new Armageddon album, life after Arch Enemy, playing the Middle East for the first time in 2009 with Arch Enemy at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival, and more!

Kareem: Hey Chris, how’s everything been? How’s life in New York?
Chris: I’m doing great thanks! I like living here, there is a lot to experience and a great music scene of course.

Kareem: The last record you released was a solo album called “Impulses” in 2012.  The album was released through iTunes and CD Baby rather than through a label, so how was the process of promoting the album? Were you able to play many shows?

Chris:  I only played a handful of shows. It was never meant to be a full-time touring project. For the most part, people have liked the music. The album has several different styles to offer to the listener, and some find it too diverse. I personally like diverse music! I listen to many styles of music, and this gives me all kinds of inspiration. I tried to not limit myself when making this album in any way.
Having said this, right now I am focusing on the new Armageddon record. It’s going to be the ultimate metal album and I’m looking forward to releasing it!

Kareem: Do you feel that your solo material gives you the most flexibility to experiment more, or is it just a non-metal music project that you want to have to sort of fulfill your different musical “needs”, for lack of a better term?

Chris: Well sure, I don’t have to think about staying in the metal-genre. But honestly I feel pretty free in all the music I do, metal also.

Kareem: The latest news we heard about the new Armageddon album came back in July, when Van Williams (ex-Nevermore) was tracking drums.   Any updates on the record since then or the rest of the lineup? As of now we know it’s you and Matt Wicklund (ex-God Forbid) on guitars, and Van Williams on the drums.

Chris: Van and Matt are not part of the Armageddon line-up. I am playing with all new people, I have found some excellent musicians, they are all fairly new to the scene. I will be making press announcements soon. You can expect an all around great musical journey! We have some killer music on this album, all we need is to make it available to the fans.

Kareem: You were also in a project with Van Williams and Matt Wicklund called Ghost Ship Octavius but left sometime in late August. What exactly happened with that?

Chris: Some collaborations don’t work out. That’s just the way it is. I don’t really want to go into how or why. I realized I would rather be doing what I’m doing now.

Kareem: How’s the recording experience been with Armageddon? How does it differ from recording with Arch Enemy, or even with your solo work?

Chris: Not much difference really, I will be laying down most of the guitars and some clean vocals. I will not be handling the main vocals, I guess that is the biggest difference. Also since Armageddon has a more clearly defined metal style there will less time spent searching for sounds and directions.
I’d say I’m more prepared going into the studio this time.

Kareem: You’re also now endorsed by Jackson Guitars.  The Soloist you’re using looks great!
What made you opt for Jackson after such a long time with Caparison?

Chris: Thanks! A few reasons: it’s a bigger company with more opportunities for promotion and such. Also, I wanted to try something new after playing Caparison for such a long time. (since 1997)
l wanted to write an Armageddon album, a metal album, and Jackson is such a metal guitar!

Kareem: I know this was a while back, but you played at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival in 2009 with Arch Enemy, alongside Opeth, Motorhead, and more.  How was playing your first show in the Middle East? While I assume you did not have much time on your hands, was the overall experience a good one?

Chris: Going to Dubai is something I would never of dreamed of. It was my first time in the Middle East and a very interesting experience. I remember the first thing we saw when leaving the airport was a big picture of the ruler, Sheikh Maktoum. I did not have a lot of time on my hands, I mostly walked around our hotel which was just a typical urban area. There was a lot of unfinished construction going on. I remember the prayer calls being transmitted over the city early in the morning. Very exotic to me!

Kareem: What have you been listening to lately? I think it’s quite clear that you have an eclectic taste in music.  Also, your brother, Michael Amott (Arch Enemy), is really into UFO, Scorpions, and the like, but doesn’t listen to extreme metal.  Is it the same case for you in the sense that the music you listen to doesn’t necessarily reflect the music you compose and play?

Chris: Extreme metal is engrained in my soul, I don’t have to listen it anymore. It’s easy for me to conjure up that kind of energy when writing and performing. At this point I enjoy creating it more than listening to it as a genre. I listen to all genres of music depending what mood I’m in, jazz, classical. electronic, singer-song writer, metal etc. But the last few months I have only been listening to the Armageddon demos, perfecting the arrangements!

Kareem: Being a professional musician for a long period, how have you seen the music industry change, at least in the case of rock and metal? Do record labels still play a significant role or is the “DIY” approach becoming the most beneficial?

Chris: DIY is definitely becoming the norm in a big way. With the use of internet and social media it’s easier to promote and reach new fans without the backing of a record company, at least among metal bands.

Kareem: Do you have a favorite solo from your time with Arch Enemy?

Chris: I really enjoyed playing my solos in the song Dead Eyes See No Future. And my main solo part in the live-set was always fun. Both those parts would give some room for improvisation, if I was in the mood.

Kareem: Which band is your dream band to play a show with, and which country/city do you hope to play in that you haven’t already?

Chris: I don’t really have a dream band to play with... we opened up for Iron Maiden for a handful of shows, in 2003 I think it was. It doesn’t get much bigger that that!
India would be nice to visit, we had a few offers with Arch Enemy but nothing ever materialized. And of course your country and all the other places in the middle east I haven’t yet visited.

Kareem: Do you have any advice that you would like to give to young and aspiring musicians and bands trying to take their music to the next level?

Chris: Practice your instruments and rehearse together in a focused way, go over parts that need work. Try to play many shows and look to bigger bands for pointers in how to create a professional live-show, both musically and the visual side of it. You don’t need to spend money to have a cool show, just be musically tight together and think about how you act on stage.

Kareem: Any last words for Metality’s readers and your supporters in the Middle East?

Chris: Hope you will like the new Armageddon record! Keep on listening to metal and supporting the bands you like.

Kareem: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, Chris. All the best with Armageddon and all your future endeavors!

Chris: Thank you.


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