Metal Wani‘s Carl Rourke recently sat down with Opeth frontman and mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt to talk about the band’s upcoming new album ‘In Cauda Venenum’, releasing the album in both English and Swedish, his precarious relationship with touring, whether or not music has been demystified for him, and much more.
Speaking in-depth on the translation behind the band’s new album, ‘In Cauda Venenum’, which loosely translates to ‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’, Mikael offered his thoughts behind choosing this title.
“…I don’t know who coined that thing, which was good, I didn’t want a reference because then I’d have to defend it to a physical person. So I found this phrase and there was no reference point, and I liked the meaning. It’s often referring to a scorpion, where the poison is in the tail. Like what you said, ‘the worst is yet to come’, like something vicious, nasty or negative coming at the end, if you know what I mean. So that was something that, I don’t know, the initial reason, to be perfectly honest with you, why I picked that title, was because it sounded cool. That’s very important still, you know, you want those cool titles, you know, BLACKOUT! [Laughs] Cool titles! You know? But it was also weird in many ways because it fitted with the artwork we already have, and the idea of, or how I perceive songwriting for a new record these days because I treat every record like it’s the last record. I’m not saying this is the last record for us, but it could be, you know?. You never know”
‘In Cauda Venenum’ was recorded in both English and Swedish and will be released in both languages. Asked what enticed him to approach this, Mikael said,
‘Now, I don’t think it’s a new standard for us, to be honest. I guess I would prefer to keep it simple for the next release. I mean, the bilingual idea was something I came up within the middle of the songwriting process because the original version was the Swedish version, that was the plan. And for a while, that was the only plan. There was only going to be a Swedish version and that’s it, but as I progressed with the songwriting I was really happy with the songs. I was also getting a bit anxious whether people were gonna pass on this record just because it’s in a language that most of our fans wouldn’t understand. And then I was like, maybe it’s good, for this record, to do an English version as well, because I wanted people to hear it. I didn’t want anything to be in the way of people checking it out.”
Asked which language he will perform the new material in, Mikael shared,
“The new songs, we are more likely to do the Swedish version because they are the main versions. But, you know, then we’re gonna have the older songs that we’re gonna play.”
It is no secret that Mikael and Opeth as a whole don’t enjoy a great deal of what life on the road has to offer. Mikael spoke on this more, referring to an in house conversation over breakfast, asking some fundamental questions about being in a band.
“What’s the good part of being in a band? When the five of us are in a room and there’s no one else, or when the five of us are on stage and there’s no one else. Well, of course, there is a crowd of a thousand people. After the show when we’re in a room and we’re talking about what happened on stage, it’s the five of us talking. Those are brilliant, brilliant moments when it’s almost like, as many bands will say, it’s a family affair, almost. But then there is the constant traveling and the airports and the hotels and all that stuff which is romanticized by fans but hated by the people who have to endure. Everybody in our band, I would say, hates or dislikes a lot of the things that come with being a touring band.”