Known for her energy on stage and soul shredding vocals Alissa White-Gluz has made a name for herself in the metal scene, by working with the likes of Kamelot before joining Arch Enemy in 2014 with the mission of taking over the vocals after the band’s former front-woman Angela Gossow stepped aside to take up management duties for the band.
With Arch Enemy set to take over the Australian stages once again as part of Download 2018, and thanks to our good friend John Howarth of Nuclear Blast, we had the chance to have friendly chat with the lovelyAlissa in order to find out more about her musical journey, her relationship with Angela Gossow, playing Download Australia and much more!
SR. How are you guys getting ready to play at the first Download Festival Australia? I’m assuming it will be quite especial.
AWG. We just cannot wait! it’s all very exciting. I wasn’t there last time with Kamelot, and now having the chance to return to Australia fronting Arch Enemy is super special. We love the whole Download Festival thing, it’s a trusted festival and it’s always a cool experience been part of it.
I’m also super happy, we had the chance to book some sideshows, we feel we are more than ready to do our 100%, especially because we know how hard is to get to Australia from a logistic point of view.
I really hope we can arrange a lot of meet and greets, as I wanna meet as many fans as possible!
SR. What’s your take on the line-up? Any band you are really excited to see and or maybe hang out backstage?
AWG. I love the line-up. I heard some people felt it was quite small, but it’s the first in Australia, I’m sure after this one it will grow and become a new classic in your country. We know how much Australia loves rock music.
Personally, I just wanna see as many bands from the side of the stage as I can, I’ve no favourites, I just like rock, and I learn every day so much by looking at other bands and if I have the chance to meet new people and talk backstage even better, that’s the magic of these huge festivals.
SR. Arch Enemy’s latest album “Will to power” has been a huge success. What can you tell us about all the behind the scenes to produce the album?
AWG. A lot of the album was recorded years ago, like little bits and pieces and riff ideas until we finally had a break fro all the touring to get into the studio together and record it.
I had the chance to write part of the lyrics with Michael (Amott), and I recorded my vocals in Sweden earlier this year. The album was once again mixed by Jens Bogren who did War Eternal with us in 2014.
I feel this album, shows more what we are as a band now, we have grown a lot and our energy is stronger than ever.
SR. From Canada to Sweden to tour the world with one of the most influential melodic metal bands in Europe. How crazy your journey as a musician has been!
AWG. If you put it like that, it does sound crazy! (laughs). To be honest I really try not to think much about it, I just feel very lucky to been able to do what I love and have been part of some very successful group of musicians.
For me the journey just began, I want to do more, more and more. That’s why I always take care of my health, because I really want to take Arch Enemy even further….and well here we are now about to play the first Download in Australia.
“…I told myself that I should not worry, because Angela Gossow believed in me, Michael believed in me, and all the Arch Enemy members and crew believed in me…”
SR. You have been also worked with Kamelot in various occasions.
AWG. Yes, I love singing in a lot of different styles. Actually in 2013 I was there in Australia with the Kamelot guys and I did a couple of shows with them this year.
We also were supporting Nightwish in 2012 with Kamelot, it was a pretty cool tour and did some vocals in a couple of songs in the Haven album too…I just like to push myself further and try new things you know.
SR. How supportive was Angela Gossow during this whole transition of her leaving Arch Enemy as the lead singer opening the doors to you? Where you concerned about the reaction of the fans?
AWG. All my worries were gone the moment I spoke to Angela for the first time, as she was the one who invited me and guided me from day one, she is a lovely woman that I can call a friend. Also the band is a group of world-class musicians who welcomed me as part of their family with open arms.
I told myself that I should not worry, because Angela believed in me, Michael believed in me, and all the Arch Enemy members and crew believed in me. I’ve so much respect for them all, and they gave me everything I needed to take on the vocals.
I remember the first show we did together, it was in Bucharest, I wasn’t nervous at all to be honest, just anxious to jump on stage and sing, especially because getting there was quite an adventure as our bus broke down and the crew had just short amount of time to set everything up for us. Also our drivers, were crazy scary, the type of people who should not be driving ever again (laughs).
We arrived just 2 hours before the show and despite all we did it, we did the show. I don’t really remember much to be honest because I was super concentrated, but the thing I do remember was hearing the entire crowd screaming my name: “Alissa, Alissa, Alissa” after the first song. That’s something you take with you forever.
SR. Arch Enemy introduced something fresh with the song “Reason to believe”, and if I’m not mistaken that’s the first pure, clean type of ballad from the band with you on vocals. I glad you guys did that, because the song is a new personal favourite and fans are loving your voice in its purest form.
AWG. Thanks so much for the kind words. You know “War Eternal” almost had that simplified type of chorus, but we decided to wait and work on it a bit more.
Now with “Will to Power” we felt it was the right time to finally introduce a power ballad, quiet, honest that allowed me to sing with a real melodic voice.
We look at our heroes, and we got inspiration from the to do it, you know as a fan of classic metal bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Deep Purple, they all have this type of technique, and I really wanted to do something like it with with Arch Enemy and we are really glad our fans enjoyed it.
SR. Not long ago you announced you will be releasing a solo project named “Alissa”. How do you find time to do so much stuff?
AWG. Well, I actually haven’t fount the time (laughs). I’ve been so busy with Arch Enemy, that I wish I would not have announced the album so early, as now I feel the pressure to get on it, but honestly I can’t right now, as my priority is Arch Enemy.
The album will happen, as I want to be able to express in different ways, so it will be a very personal album, but it’s still in very early stages.
SR. We have seen your live shows, and you really are a machine. You move the entire time from one side to another of the stage and your vocal range seems to never get affected. What’s your secret technique?
AWG. Not really a secret technique. It’s more about taking care of your body. For example now I have this nasty cold starting, thankfully it happened on my last day on tour.
While on tour I always try to be as healthy as possible and drink plenty of water and and generally not eat much before a show. Normally I started by warm up first thing in the morning, I know this sounds weird, but I’m very in-tune with my body. Then, I’ve another warm up session before soundcheck, normally one hour before the shows. Obviously I don’t smoke, drink coffee or drink any alcohol at all.
I do intense workouts to keep fit too, and I also do yoga, which is very important, because my yoga sessions are a way to calm down as it is totally opposite of being on stage. Its a way to revert myself and train my lungs.
SR. Can you share with us any funny tour story?
AWG. Just one? (Laughs). There are so many, but the first one coming to my mind wasn’t that funny at the time, but during the filming of “The Race” music video, while in Finland we recorded some bits of the clip during soundcheck. However, what not many people know is that in one moment I hit my face with the microphone so bad that I got some of my teeth damaged, so I’d to spend a lot of time on a dentist chair while doing that. It wasn’t funny, for me but now when I see the clip I just cannot avoid to look straight at my teeth.
SR. Just to finish. What would you like to say to your Australian fans ahead of Download?
AWG. First of all thank you all for your support. We are extremely excited to go back and we want to meet as many fans as possible there. Download is like no other experience and we are honoured to be part of it.
If you can’t make it to the festival, come and see us at the sideshows, its gonna be fun!
Download Festival Australia 2018 Lineup
Korn (Only Australian Show)
Prophets Of Rage
Falling In Reverse
Hot Water Music
Of Mice & Men
The Story So Far
Bad Cop/Bad Cop
DATE / LOCATION:
Tickets to Download Melbourne are on sale 9am (AEDT), Thursday 16 November
Arch Enemy Australian Tour Dates
Presented by Metropolis Touring and David Roy Williams Entertainment.
Friday 23rd March – Sydney – Manning Bar
Sunday 25th March – Brisbane – The Zoo
Tuesday 27th March – Adelaide – Fowlers Live
Wednesday 28th March – Perth – Rosemount Hotel
Tickets from: metropolistouring.com