Arch Enemy's Michael Amott thinks metal should stay underground: "I don't want it in the mainstream: this is an alternative to the mainstream"

Michael Amott, Arch Enemy
(Image credit: Elsie Roymans/Referns)

Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott thinks that metal should be "underground" music, and says that he doesn't want the genre operating as part of the mainstream.

That metal no longer occupies a 'bandwidth' in popular culture in 2023 similar to that enjoyed by hair metal in the '80s, grunge in the '90s, or nu-metal in the late '90s/early noughties has led to some debate over the genre's vibrancy - paging Gene Simmons - but Amott argues that the genre actually thrives out of the mainstream.

Amott was sharing views in an interview with Australia's Silver Tiger Media, as transcribed by Blabbermouth

Asked about metal penetrating broader popular culture, Amott admits,  "I don't spend any time at all thinking about that kind of stuff. For me, it's all just about the metal, the community, really, and the writing of the songs, the recording, the producing and playing the shows and playing the guitar. I don't really think about the marketing aspect of it at all, really.

"It seems to change all the time now, how to get music into the ears and hearts of the fans. And we have good people working with us on that as well.

"I'm one of the lucky ones," he admits, "I'm not doing it all by myself anymore. For many years I was, but now I'm not. We're at a point now where it's more just saying yes or no to ideas that come in. So I don't really have a lot of input about that… And in a way, I don't think it's that important.

"I think metal should be underground," he concluded, "I don't want it in the mainstream, really — not too much. This is an alternative to the mainstream; it's an alternative to all that very premeditated, cynical approach to music. I mean, this is something that's from the heart and soul, and I want it to stay that way."

Arch Enemy released their latest album, Deceivers, last summer.

Listen to Amott's interview below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.