02 Islington Academy
5th April 2014
Interview by Ben Spencer
Photography by Graham Hilling
Before tonight’s show gets under way both Photographer Graham Hilling and I are joined with two of the three vocalists from the highly esteemed European Metal outfit Amaranthe to learn more about their ever growing international success and interesting fusion of sounds they bring to the Metal scene.
You guys are headlining London tonight, could you tell us about how the tour has been for you so far?
Elise: Yes its been great, been very good. Great crowds and awesome audiences so its been fantastic.
Jake: Yeah its been super, I mean its been amazing that even a year after the Nexus album released we have more people coming to see us than last time. So everything has been above our expectations which is looking really good for our third album and the tour that s going to come next year.
I read that it wasn’t really until Elise Ryd joined the band, in what way did she help shape the band from what it sounded like before?
Jake: We were not a band at all, we had one or two songs and we had an idea of making an all star project of Gothemburg of doing an avantasia and we would invite guest artists feature with us. We spoke to the At The Gates guys, In Flames, Hammerfall. Then we asked Elise to feature on one song and our ex growler Andy to participate on one song and when we sung together, three singers on one song we realised that this sounds really fucking cool! So we skipped the original project. We didn’t really sound like anything before Elise.
Elise: I can answer that myself.
Jake: Then Elise came along and then it really flowered out. We didn’t have a sound before that.
Elise: You did have 2 songs though.
Jake: It was really only when Elise and Andy came along that we were like “Ok we have the sound, let’s go with it.”
Elise: As Jake said I came along as a guest vocalist as we were just friends and I had actually my own career going on. I was writing my own songs for my own solo career. The I got together with Olaf who plays guitar and arranged the songs. But then he said yeah we can bring you in and pt some vocals to the song. I was not famous in the metal scene at all so I was pretty useless at that point. Then when I put my own input into the songs, I come from a totally different music background. Then we came together after it was decided for me to be in the band, they said to me we will give you space to write and that’s what actually made me want to stay in the band. It gave me space to be creative and it was where our sound really started to take shape and that’s what we’ve been building on. it’s a pretty interesting story actually (ponders)
Your music has been described as a combination of Death/ Power Metal and has also been noted for having dance elements included. What are some of the challenges and rewards of making this particular brand of music?
Jake: The cool thing is that I personally hate to be put in a drawer. You know when people say “You play death metal, you play power metal or dance music”. The good thing about Amaranthe is that we have no boundaries we are not put in a drawer. You could never tell us that we are this or that or whatever. So when we write music we don’t really give a shit about what were doing. We’re just putting in the music that we like. Of course we work with the frames of what Aamranthe stands for because what it stands for the fans is their used to catchy melodies and good choruses but other than that we don’t have to care very much and I think that’s the best thing with it all.
Graham: Which is where you want to be really
Jake: Yeah but I mean I love Death Metal but are stuck in this little box. I mean you can take bands like Dimmu Borgir playing Black Metal. They succeeded but it was really hard for them to bring in orchestral parts in the beginning because the fans were like “No this is not Black Metal”.
Graham: But then when they did it, people were like this is actually really good
Jake: Exactly! (Enthusiastically).
Elise: yeah but music should not be about being apart from each other. (Ponders) For me it should connect people. I think that’s what we do best actually as it doesn’t matter whether you look metal or not it doesn’t matter. As long as the music moves you.
The focus of your music has been centered around positive energy. How does this work in regards to lyrical content or themes that you cover?
Jake: Some of the songs are really positive lyric wise, some are slightly deeper. When I write lyrics I something that could mean something for me but something that could be totally different for you. You know like when you read it you can think “Ok this song is about a bird” then you listen to the song and the music and you think “Oh ok it’s probably about an aeroplane” but for me it could be about an apple tree.
I want the one that is reading and listening to it to make its own impression. Its kind of cool like with the ‘Amaranthe’ theme song we have lots of mails sent to us, this song means so much for me because it means this and that. Even though it may not be the original meaning of the song, its just fucking fantastic and I’ll reply thanks very much and that is really cool! We try to never write about sad stuff and Elise said the positive side of stuff should move you.
Elise: When I write a lyric, its very important for me to write something that matters to me. (reflects) I always dreamt when I was a little kid that I wanted to be a politician I did not know, I wasn’t talented but I lived a life where I got a lot of knowledge and I got the chance to give something or to express something is through music. So whenever I write its always about important subjects that are important to me and that I think other people need to hear, myself included, like when I need to get it out. Of course you leave it up to the listener. We all work a little bit different but I think it’s a very good thing.
Graham asks: When you write a song, do you write the entirety of the song or is it mixed and matched between the three of you?
Elise: (begins plating her hair) Sometimes I’ll just get words in my head (begins singing lyrics) then I recorded it, send it to Olof and he says that’s awesome, then one day later he will finish the rest of the song. Then chords get put together and we feed off each other.
Jake: Exactly! like the ‘1 Million Light Years’ where you did something, I think it was a chorus line then the guitars came in naturally. Sometimes he just sends me the chords and its very easy for us to hear like what’s going to be there.
What are your plans for the future?
Jake: World domination and good to Mars (Laughs). I think just to work hard, go to bigger places where we cant afford to go too now. Due to the distance and money etc. I mean we get inquires from different countries all the time. Like you guys need to come and play in New Zealand but at the moment we aren’t able to do that as it costs shit loads of money to play there.
Elise: No limits just try to do our best and get as far as possible and continue to work hard.
On that note is there anywhere in specific you would most like to play?
Jake: New Zealand, China, South Korea and everywhere in between.
Elise: South America would be great to go too (smiles).
Is there anything else you would like to add which hasn’t already been covered?
Elise: Just thank you for having us.
Jake: Thank you for spending time with us and thank you to all the fans as we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys.