Interview: Fredrik Akesson – Opeth

Fredrik Akesson

Fredrik Akesson

Progressive rock juggernauts OPETH have once again joined up with Northern Monk Brew Co to launch their second beer the ‘Communion Pale Ale’ on 22nd of April, which follows on from their limited run of 2015’s ‘XXV Anniversary Imperial Stout,’ OPETH have opted to take a different approach with their second beer as their choice in drinks is as varied as the music they create.
Available in cans, it’s a lighter beer than OPETH’s first offering, but still packs a punch full of flavour. Head brewer Brian Dickson of Northern Monk Brew Co comments:  “After the success of the XXV Anniversary Stout, it’s great to be continuing our collaboration with the guys from OPETH.  This time we have come up with an easy drinking American Pale Ale with a solid UK malt backbone over which we layered lots of classic US hop varieties including Equinox and Citra. Expect pine, spice and all the punchy citrus you’d expect of the style, perfect gig refreshment!”
Opeth Communion Pale Ale

Opeth Communion Pale Ale

Jason (JW) was lucky enough to catch up with the 6 string wizard at the beer’s launch in Leeds, and Fredrik Akesson (FA) went through the beer making process and whats next for the band.
(JW) Firstly, thank you for taking a little of your time this evening, i can see you’re raring to go with your DJ duties.  So, the new Beer, the Communion Pale Ale, is this just a beer that you’ve put the OPETH logo on?
(FA) No! Not at all, everything we do under OPETH’s name we put our heart in to it, so this is something that Axe (drummer) and myself have been working on for about a year now, and we’ve been part of the process from the very beginning.  We’ve worked with Northern Monk in the past of course with the Imperial Stout for OPETH’s 25th anniversary, but we wanted to make a beer that we could enjoy on a more regular basis.
It was Axe and me that chose the hops based on our own tastes and when brewing it, it was originally a 6.5% abv but we brought it down to 5.1% abv for a rounder flavour and it also means we can drink more of it before getting drunk!  We added the hops in to the machine to start the process, so i think its safe to say we’ve been part of the whole process.
Fredrik Akesson Opeth
(JW) You mentioned last years stout, was the beer developed after the stout then?
(FA) No, we were actually developing them at the same time, but had to wait until we could announce it.
(JW) Are you happy with the final results?
(FA) Of course! It’s just the kind of beer that we enjoy and so we’re looking forward to seeing what others think of it as well.
Northern Monk Brewery
(JW) You mentioned that Axe was involved as well, but you’re on your own today?
(FA) Yes, Axe is currently hidden away in the forests of Norway practicing for the new album!  We’ve got close to 60 minutes of new material written already and a couple of tracks that are all but in a finished state which is very exciting.
 
Mikael (Akerfeldt – Guitars / Vocals) is very focused on writing at the moment and i have to say, he is on fire! He’s got so many new ideas and the new ideas are coming all the time.  We’ll have plenty to work on for the new album.  I’ve also been contributing tracks to the album and collaborating with Mikael.
Fredrik Akesson

Fredrik Akesson

(JW) Can you tell us what the vibe might be for the new record?
(FA) Its got a more “dark”, “darker” feeling to the album at this point.  Its certainly heavier than the last, but we are not going backwards, no, we are moving forwards – always moving forwards.  Its a bit more guitar based, the keys are still very much there, but a bigger focus on guitars, which is great for me being a guitarist (laughs)!
 
We’ll be heading in to Wales toward the end of May to start recording and i cant wait!
(JW) Sounds like a really exciting direction for the band.
(FA) Thank you!
(JW) So whats next for the band, are you touring the summer festivals?
(FA) Yes, we’ve got shows all over Europe this summer, but i’m really excited to be supporting Iron Maiden in Gothenburg in June – we’ve got a full set planned so a good hour or so show which is just great!  We are also supporting Black Sabbath as well in July which will be good.
 
We’re also playing in Iceland for the very first time as well, so we think we might film the first video for the new album there with an old school black metal feeling, much like DIMMU BORGIR… (Laughs!)  I’m joking of course!
(JW) Many thanks for your time again Fredrik and good luck with the new album and your DJ set tonight!
(FA) (Laughs) Cheers!

INTERVIEW BY:  Jason

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