After nearly 30 years since the band’s formation and subsequent hiatus, what led to Arched Fire’s reactivation in 2019?
Ari: It guess it was just the thought of having some unfinished business. Or more like unfinished songs. All four of us were still playing music and decided to try this. Then we finally found the singer we tried so hard to find decades earlier. We had some demos and live recordings to build on, and we wrote new parts and rearranged the old. After we were done, they weren’t old songs anymore.
How did it feel to pick up where you left off after such a long hiatus, both personally and musically?
Ari: We did it for fun, and fun it is. I think we all were excited to make music together again. Now we’re good enough players to be in a band like this, whereas back in the day we were just kids who had just picked up instruments. As people, we’re pretty much the same. People really don’t change that much. Personally, I felt good about contributing to the new songs, which I hadn’t done in ages, because all my other bands had strong songwriters. I used to write for Arched Fire and it just felt natural to do it again with these guys.
What were some of the biggest changes you noticed in the music industry and metal scene between the time of the band’s hiatus and its reactivation?
Ari: It was a whole different world. In every possible way. I remember when we were rehearsing, back in 1989 I guess, and we were talking about how cool it would be to have a cd player. Those things that are now ancient were new back then. The extreme metal hadn’t really arrived yet. I guess death metal was just around the corner. It was really difficult to contact labels and other bands. There was no scene whatsoever where we came from. Now, all you have to do is go online and join the club.
Did any of the experiences or lessons you learned during the band’s original run inform how you approached making music during its reactivation?
Ari: If you read the biography on our website www.archedfire.com, you’ll see that the original run was all about learning. We were just getting started in playing music and writing songs. What I’ve learned from those times is that the good band chemistry is very important if you want to remain inspired, and that you have to believe in what you do to make it work.
What advice would you give to musicians who have gone through a similar long hiatus and are considering reactivating their band?
Ari: if you do it, do it for the music and the good times. Those are the only proper reasons to get into something like this. And the only way it works.
Assu: Even if decades pass, never stop believing. We were young and full of music and had a passion to make it, and then time passed by, until one day our dream was alive again. Now, we’re back driving toward our teenage dream… Never stop dreaming!
Let’s back to the album! Can you tell us a bit about the creative process behind Trust Betrayal, and how it compares to your debut album, Remote Control?
Kristian: We had some songs and riffs ready right after Remote Control and we just kept doing it the same way. We were recording at home and sending the ideas back and forth via messenger. Once we had a full set of songs we thought ”what is the common theme here?” and it was trust. That is the thing that runs the world anyway so it seemed good. But with two words it would have a pattern with the previous album and thus we settled with “Trust Betrayal”.
The album features a collaboration with Tim “Ripper” Owens on the track “Pestilence.” How did that come about, and what was it like working with him?
Kristian: I contacted Ripper and we agreed about the collaboration. We sent him the lyrics and the song with vocal melodies and very soon he sent us the vocal tracks with some extra screams included. We were mind blown and enthusiastic about the result. It has been 25 years since the Judas Priest’s Jugulator came out and back then never in my dreams did I think I could have a collaboration with Ripper. But anything can happen if you just start doing things.
Trust Betrayal features a mix of old-school metal styles and modern themes. How did you balance these different elements while making the album, and what was your approach to blending them together?
Ari: Some of the lyrical themes are contemporary, but it’s more about the form than the essence. The questions and the issues behind the lyrics have always been the same, whether they’re about human relations or religion or the environment. I think art – be it a movie or a metal song – should always reflect the world it’s born into, and there should always be an element of protest.
Kristian: Some of the songs on Trust Betrayal were written in the 90’s and some now. We like many types of metal so it’s nice to have versatile songs on our set. We just wrote what feels good. ”Blind Faith”, ”Corporeal Abhorrence of Entrails” and ”Oblivion” were the 90’s oldies rearranged. ”Fear” and ”Pestilence” were also older Arched Fire songs born again from a few old riffs. “Mastermind” and ”Artificial Sun” were originally done for a previous death metal band a couple of us had together. ”Wings of Chrome” we made just before Remote Control came out. ”Narcissist” was a riffs off the shelf type of a song that was now completed for the album. “Self-Backstabbers” might be the newest song.
The album ends with the epic finale of “Artificial Sun.” What inspired this track, and how does it tie together some of the album’s overarching themes?
Kristian: Artificial Sun is the final hope for the people in the world of Trust Betrayal. They have made the wrong decisions in the past and they think they can only fix it with the clean, unlimited energy of fusion power. I came up with the title before I knew that China actually has a project titled “artificial sun”. I don’t know where the inspiration came from. It just came.
As a band, you have worked with the label WormHoleDeath on both Remote Control and Trust Betrayal. How has that collaboration been, and what do you appreciate about working with the label?
Kristian: With WormHoleDeath, we have a good partnership and a freedom to express ourselves the way we do. They have connections around the world, which is essential.
Ari: They’re friendly and approachable. The personal chemistry is important.
Assu: Everything has been smooth and band-based from the beginning. They listen to us and what we wanna do next and how. We make great music and they give it to the people.
Your music has been described as having a “no-frills powerhouse” sound. How do you approach writing and performing music that is both powerful and accessible to audiences?
Ari: To me, it’s about straight-forward arrangements. “Pestilence” is a good example of the “no-frills powerhouse” sound. It’s short, mean and simple. But it’s not by any means the only way we write. “Artificial Sun” is very different from “Pestilence”, but great in it’s own way.
Kristian: Usually our music is born via guitar riffs and then comes the drums and the bass and finally the vocals. Though there are exceptions to this method. We have plenty of our old riffs and songs on the shelves and many times we just pick the right kind of stuff from there. Each of us has quite a different taste so if the song is ok for all of us, it should be ok to audiences.
The lyrics on Trust Betrayal reflect “here and now” themes, such as technology and the environment. As musicians, do you feel a responsibility to address these kinds of issues through your music, and if so, why?
Ari: I don’t know about a responsibility, but I find it important that the songs say something real. That’s part of the punk rock element in speed/thrash metal.
Kristian: I’ve always enjoyed meaningful lyrics such as Dave Mustaine and Chuck Schuldiner have done. Annihilator and Nuclear Assault have also shown that environmental lyrics fit well even to thrashier music. I’m a philosopher type of guy so I like that lyrics make you think. I also like creating short stories that are like little worlds of their own. Trust Betrayal is about human actions that concern the society and the environment. It’s not just complaining about the situation since there is a glimpse of hope and possible solutions at the end of the songs. It was the state of mind here, and the next album might be about something else. I want to make a positive impact on the world.
What do you hope listeners take away from Trust Betrayal, both musically and thematically?
Assu: I hope everyone who likes it would take some good music and history to their hearts and minds… And if someone gets excited enough to make their own music because of us, it would be awesome. I hope we are an inspiration to young musicians.
Kristian: I hope listeners can have an immersive experience that takes them to this world of the album. I hope the lyrics give some new ideas and perspectives to them. I hope that the music brings strength in consequences and willpower to make positive changes.
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