Opeth talk new live album Garden Of The Titans and their plans for the follow-up to Sorceress...
The Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado is one of the world's iconic venues.
Set 15 miles outside of Denver, the 9,500 capacity venue is a whopping 6,450 feet above sea level and is set between two 300-foot rocks, which give acoustic perfection to any artist lucky enough to play there.
It's no surprise that the likes of U2, Stevie Nicks, Mumford & Sons and Depeche Mode all decided to capture their performances there for live albums and concert videos, such is the majesty of the venue.
This week, Swedish metallers Opeth become the latest to join the club with the release of Garden Of The Titans, a lavish live album and live DVD captured on their hugely successful world tour for their 2016 album Sorceress.
We spoke to Opeth mainman Mikael Åkerfeldt about making the live album/DVD and how work is going on the band's next studio album...
Your last live album came out in 2010, why did you decide the time was right to do another?
"We are currently on a break that started when we came home off the last tour. That was November last year, and I started working on the next record right after Christmas. So, I never really went on a break per se. In the meantime, we had filmed and recorded the audio for the Red Rocks show and the plan all along was to put it out to the public while we were away from the scene anyway."
"I was slightly concerned as to whether that show was up to par, as it was incredibly cold and incredibly windy. A very difficult show, all in all. None of us went off stage thinking it was stellar, but listening to the playback of the recording, I suppose our bad shows are still rather good. This one is release-worthy and I’m happy that plan worked out. On top of that we’ve not put out any official live recordings of the last three albums, so I guess it was time. And I’m sure there’s an interest too."
When did you decide that Red Rocks was the right place to capture the performance?
"I’d more or less neglected that place. I deemed it as one that was untouchable for a band like us. Then again, we’ve played some very prestigious venues over the years. Everything from the Albert Hall in London to via Sydney Opera House and Radio City Music Hall. Lovely venues all of them, but also venues that don’t necessarily hold bands of our calibre."
"We’ve been the first real heavy band to play all of these venues, and since then many others have followed. I’m sure it’ll be the same with Red Rocks. But it is a beautiful spot. The amphitheatre is absolutely stunning. Perfect place for a live DVD I think. And it also goes in line with how I guess we want to be perceived visually. I didn’t crack the idea. Our manager, Andy Farrow is to blame for that. Usually, he’s got better eyes for these things than we do."
You worked with The Deka Brothers on the DVD, what did they bring to the process?
"To be honest, I wasn’t at all familiar with them. I don’t know how we got them to work with us, or who arranged for it, for that matter. I kinda mixed them up with the Duffer brothers, mainly to the “brothers” part!"
"’It might be very negligent here but I’m not sure I even said hi to them. They did their job, and they did it very well. That’s all that matters to me. I didn’t have any artistic input in the visuals really apart from a few shots where I had a double chin. I focused on the audio myself."
Why did you decide on Garden Of The Titans for the album’s title?
"It sounds narcissistic, but it really isn’t. It came from one of the original names of the venue hatched by John Brisben Walker. He allegedly called it the “Garden of the Titans” when he was promoting concerts there during the early to mid-1900’s. So I got it from one of the original promoters. And yes, I read it on Wikipedia. It sounds great too, which is a plus."
How is work on the follow-up to Sorceress going? When can we expect it to arrive?
"I don’t know, really. It’s going well I have to say. I’ve written a lot of music. Too much actually, but that’s a luxury problem. We’ll pick the raisins out of the cake eventually and have an album ready."
How does the new material move on from what you did on Sorceress?
"I won’t say too much. Not that I think people are holding their breath, really. I just find it a bit ridiculous when bands and artists are trying to explain how magnificent their next album will be. I have high hopes, however."