Mikael Akerfeldt: How I Construct Opeth Setlists

"We think the other way - play something that makes us stick out."

Ultimate Guitar
Mikael Akerfeldt: How I Construct Opeth Setlists

Opeth mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt discussed his approach to constructing setlists, telling Rock Hard (transcribed by UG):

"If it's a metal festival [we're playing] - most metal bands say, 'OK, we're gonna break the other bands, play heavier and faster.'

"We think the other way - play something that makes us stick out. Maybe not the heaviest band on the bill, but something that people might remember, most quiet band or...

"We want it to be dynamic, we don't want to be just another metal band, there's plenty or just metal bands out there as far as I'm concerned.

"On the contrary, when we play pop festivals which we do now and then, like when we played [on the same bill as] Bob Dylan, we tend to play heavier.

"Nobody knowns us there anyway, so we wanna stick out. Wherever we are, we wanna stick out.

"We don't want to be just another metal, and I have nothing against metal - I love metal.

"But in the scenery with a lot of metal bands, we want to stick out a little bit.

Asked about "special setlists," Mikael replied:

"[We play special setlists] every now and then when we're told to, when the management says so.

"Special ultimately means that you're either playing a whole record or that you're playing old shit you never play.

"And that's probably fine for the crowd, but we don't like rehearsing too much, so I don't like special setlists too much.":

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's a shame that he doesn't like "special sets" (The League reference), because watching them play Ghost Reveries in full was incredible. Even more fun was that I dragged along a non-metalhead friend who didn't know Opeth. I reeled him in by playing some of their softer songs for him. As you all know, the opening 8 chords of the album is followed by the most brutal "GHOSTS OF, MOTHER, LINGERING DEATH!"
    2019 is the twenty year anniversary of Still Life. I'm holding my breath we get a "special set" Still Life Anniversary Tour.
    When I saw them a few years ago they played a set similar to the Royal Albert Hall where they did a song from every album only they left Orchid out. They played my three favourite songs by them so no complaining from me. 
    I love this dude.  He's honest about what he wants to do and it gets everyones panties in a twist