Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt is afraid of stagnating

Mikael Akerfeldt
Mikael Akerfeldt (Image credit: Getty)

Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt admits that he is scared of stagnating.

The singer and guitarist says he is never afraid of taking creative risks with the band’s musical direction – but he fears the prospect of becoming a money-driven musician who works just to “pay the bills.”

He tells BangerTV: “If I could never write another song again that would be terrible for me. Luckily that’s never happened for me, but there have been a few periods in my life that I’ve not come up with anything that I like.

“I’m not scared about where we’re going to go – if we have a song or a record that’s different it doesn’t scare me. I’m more scared about stagnating and just pumping out shit just to maintain a career and pay the bills.”

Akerfeldt also recalls his struggle to become a “shredder” lead guitarist when he was younger before he realised his strengths lie in songwriting.

He says: “I wanted to be lead guitar player, I wanted to be a shredder. I was practicing and listening to the masters like, ‘How the fuck do they do that?’ and I never made it.

“Part of the reason is that I don’t have the patience to sit and practice – I find it boring. Eventually I was more interested in the songwriting side.”

Akerfeldt adds: “I just sit down and sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I’m not. We’ve done 12 studio albums now, and if I kept all the shit that I’ve written, that would be 100 records of shit. The good stuff we’ve put out comes with a tale of absolutely horrible shit music that I’m ashamed of.

“I’m lazy and horrible with some things in my life, but when it comes to music I’m really tunnel-visiony. I work a lot because I love it. I get lost in a bubble when I’m writing.”

Akerfeldt also sampled the Icelandic delicacy of fermented shark, which he washed down with some vodka following the interview.

Opeth recently issued their second teaser for their upcoming album Sorceress. It’s due out this autumn.

Opeth 2016 tour dates

Sep 29: Pittsburgh Stage AE, PA
Sep 30: Silver Spring The Fillmore, MD
Oct 01: New York Radio City Music Hall, NY
Oct 02: Boston House Of Blues, MA
Oct 04: Motreal Metropolis, QC
Oct 05: Toronto Massey Hall, ON
Oct 07: Detroit The Fillmore, MI
Oct 08: Akron Goodyear Theater, OH
Oct 09: Chicago Riviera Theatre, IL
Oct 10: Minneapolis First Avenue, MN
Oct 12: Oklahoma City Diamond Ballroom, OK
Oct 13: Houston Warehouse Live, TX
Oct 14: Austin Emo’s, TX
Oct 15: Dallas Gas Monkey, TX
Oct 18: Las Vegas Brooklyn Bowl, NV
Oct 19: Tempe The Marquee, AZ
Oct 21: Sacramento Ace Of Spades, CA
Oct 22: San Francisco The Warfield, CA
Oct 24: Portland Roseland Theater, OR
Oct 25: Seattle The Moore, WA
Oct 26: Vancouver Orpeum, BC
Nov 05: Stockholm Annexet, Sweden
Nov 06: Oslo Konserthus, Norway
Nov 07: Copenhagen DR Koncerthuset, Denmark
Nov 08: Hamburg Docks, Germany
Nov 10: Vienna Arena, Austria
Nov 11: Stuttgart LKA Longhorn, Germany
Nov 12: Munich Theaterfabrik, Germany
Nov 13: Zurich Volkshaus, Switzerland
Nov 14: Milan Alcatraz, Italy
Nov 16: Cologne E-Werk, Germany
Nov 18: Tilburg 013, Netherlands
Nov 19: London SSE Wembley Arena, UK
Nov 21: Paris Le Trianon, France
Nov 23: Luxembourg Den Atelier, Luxembourg
Nov 24: Berlin Astra Kulturhaus, Germany

Mikael Akerfeldt flicks through Book Of Opeth

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.