Interview by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy
Swedish heavy metal act Amaranthe have a massive melodic sound, aided especially by having three main vocalists and have recently released their fifth album ‘Helix’ which may just be their biggest and catchiest release yet. We caught up with vocalist Elize Ryd to find out more about the new album, their influences, touring with Powerwolf and much more!
Can you tell us a bit about your formation and how you arrived at your band name?
We hung out as friends, in the beginning, writing songs together, we had the same vision to get an album out, a project going, a carrier as a singer and songwriter, to tour and see the world.
That’s basically how we started the journey, with a dream. We put our creative minds together and wrote music that turned out to be quite unique. After putting up 3 demos on MySpace we gained lots of attention with the current lineup back then. After receiving offers from Record labels we decided to form a band and from there it continued with everything you need to be able to get it all right. The first name on MySpace was Avalanche but it was already taken so we came up with a different name – Amaranthe.
How did you first get into metal and when did you know you wanted to be a singer in a band?
I knew I wanted to sing in this genre after my brother was constantly inspiring me, and kind of pushing me towards this direction (in a positive way obviously). He himself was a growler and started 2 bands. I ended up recording guest vocals for a melodic death metal/power metal band in high school. I then met up with Dreamland and Dragonland which got me musically involved in writing songs after I auditioned for Nightwish. I decided then since I didn’t get the job that I would start my own project/band. And for that I needed musicians. I didn’t end up doing my own thing but we started the band Amaranthe instead, with 3 vocalists.
How would you best describe your music?
I would describe it from my perspective as the ultimate combo between all the different genres we love. It has heavy riffing, danceable rhythms, an emotionally wide range, an unlimited expression and lots of energy.
What are some of the main influences for you personally and as a band that helps contribute to your larger than life sound?
For me personally, it’s Queen, Evanescence, ABBA, Marilyn Manson and Rammstein. A little touch of Basic Element / E-Type from the 90’s.
You can also hear inspiration from In Flames, Soilwork and Destiny’s Child’s – the stuff that was played a lot during the time we were teenagers.
So your fifth album ‘Helix’ was recently released through Spinefarm records, can you tell us about any lyrical themes on the album and why is it called ‘Helix’?
The lyrical theme is expressions from a human perspective such as social stress, love, and hate. Daily struggles, lack of understanding and empathy in this modern society. The importance of being real, and the allowance to keep on Dreaming. The album title Helix represents the DNA string, what we are as human and what we’re able to achieve and feel but also from a musical perspective, we wanted to find the DNA of Amaranthe musically.
What was the recording and writing process like for the album and how do you think it compares to your previous records?
I think this album is solid, we stick to the theme throughout all the tracks even though they represent different things it’s one and a straightforward line. We focused a bit more on the arrangements from the instrumental perspective. A little more technical playing. We wrote the whole album in 2-2,5 months finishing up with the last songs and lyrics in the studio. We worked once again with Jacob Hansen in Denmark, which is always a relaxing and familiar environment. We had a lot of fun recording this album. We felt that we could go back a bit to how we used to compose songs in the past. The biggest difference this time was I’d say that we didn’t feel the need to explore or push boundaries even further like in the past. We feel quite confident in finding our sound which is really nice so now we can focus more on putting out the message and the vibe we think is most important when it comes to our music.
You just released the ridiculously catchy ‘Inferno’ as your latest single, what made you decide on this track for the next single and how happy have you been with the response?
Thanks, we are happy with the response. We are aware of that many of the Amaranthe listeners are all eaters, and Inferno is one of the tracks from this album that forces you to sing along. Especially since we released a lyrical video for it. It takes us back a bit to the massive Hunger and The Nexus era mixed with some pure ultra classic pop.
It was an obvious choice while we had the listening session in the studio together with our record label. We hope to release at least 2 more singles from this album before it’s time to write a new one.
How is the tour with Powerwolf going so far?
It’s been fantastic. To get the chance to play our late hits and a few tracks from the new album in front of 3k to 8k people each night is pure greatness. The best way to start the touring cycle we could ever wish for. And on top of that, I have to say that I really enjoy to watch the Powerwolf set over and over again. It’s very inspiring and entertaining, I enjoy the theatrical. Kissing Dynamite is and young and energetic band to open the night, so the entire tour package is quite perfect, it seems like the audience really enjoys it as well. It’s clear to see that especially in Germany there’s a lot of people that haven’t heard about us yet, but therefore we’re extra happy for this opportunity to present to them the musical rollercoaster of Amaranthe which in the end of each show everybody seems to understand. That is our goal when you play in front of the newer audiences on a tour like this.
What has the fan response been like to the new songs live and are there any new ones you are particularly enjoying playing?
I love to play Helix and 365, they are my favourite live tracks at the moment. It’s quite fantastic to see our fans are already singing along to the lyrics. We played Dream in the beginning of this tour and the response has been really good. We can’t wait to go on a headline tour so that we got the time to play more songs from the new album, people are especially requesting Inferno and Unified among the songs we couldn’t fit in the set on this tour. I’m also hoping to squeeze in Breaktrough Starshot since it’s one personal favourite at the moment. It’s a very playful song which I always like to add to the set on longer shows.
What can attending fans expect at your shows?
They can expect to hear the old classics and tracks from the new album on this Helix World Tour. We like to inspire people to move, shake their asses along to the music, start a mosh pit, head-bang, jump to the rhythm and sing along. They will definitely get energized and hopefully take with them a strengthened, empowered and more positive mind. Listen, feel, think, laugh and cry. Just be human and do what feels good basically. Everything’s allowed and possible at an Amaranthe concert. We try to free peoples mind from stress and other thoughts, the rules and musts we may struggle with in our daily lives.
As we get nearer to the end of 2018, what have been some highlights for you as a band?
Of course, the release of the new album was a highlight, the great respond and the major attention it has received so far with great charge positions was the best reward we could get after the intense period of recording. Followed by a festival summer that was the best in years. We got to play all the major festivals, and the response was fantastic.
What have you got planned for the remainder of the 2018 and what does 2019 look like for Amaranthe?
We are planning to headline shows in Norway right after the Powerwolf tour. Then we start the second leg in Europe already in January, followed by a headline tour through Scandinavia. Then we’re having another intense festival season in the summer. We will go back to Russia and Japan again, and hopefully, throw in a tour in the U.S.
Check out their latest single and lyric video for ‘Inferno’ below:
For more on Amaranthe: