We chatted with two out of three vocalists from Swedish melodeath pop fusion act Amaranthe, before their London gig on 5th April 2014. Elize and Jake debated whether the band should go for Eurovision, told us what to expect from the new album and the pros and cons of being the only girl on tour.
Photography by Graham Hilling
You are currently on quite a big tour. How is it going?
Elize: it’s going great. Great audiences everywhere, so we’re super happy. Last night we were in Berlin.
And you’re back in German tomorrow?
Jake E: We actually took a flight here.
Is that because of the clash with the Within Temptation gig next week?
Both: yes exactly.
Elize: People where writing like “No, what the hell!”
Jake: I don’t actually remember if we announced the gig first or them, but I think they released and then we missed it for some reason. But we’re gonna complain now as we’re gonna tour with them in the fall
Elize: Yeah we’re gonna tell them that we offered the whole day, we’ve just slept like two hours because of them!
Amaranthe have what can be considered to be a ‘pop’ sound and there is lots of controversy over this. Do you think this actually benefits you?
Jake: Think it’s both as with everything, it benefits you in one way and it probably is the opposite in another way, because you always have some territories in the world, I will not say which countries, where you really have to be metal and if you even put a keyboard in there they are like “ugh no!” [metal voice]. Then there’s other stuff which is really positive. In Sweden for example we have an audience based on maybe 50% are metalheads listening to Metallica, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe whatever and then you have the other part our the audience that has never heard of these bands. But they are our fans because they love probably something else, but they love us so we have this combinations of fans and that’s really really good.
Have you guys every though about trying for Eurovision?
Jake: Elize is thinking it all the time.
Elize: It is been a dream for me since I was a kid actually, and someday I have to be there, and I hope my band is gonna join me!
I think you guys would be perfect for Eurovision.
Jake: The problem with Eurovision is only this: that it’s time consuming. If you will go to the final thing, you cannot book anything for more or less half a year and after that it’s bla bla bla. So you have to do it in a time period where it fits in your schedule.
So for a working band its difficult?
Jake: Exactly. It’s actually better for bands in Sweden. We have Dynazty, we have H.E.A.T, we have bands that are not very famous in the rest of the world. They only have Sweden then it’s easier for them to do it because when they do it, they get a lot of fame and they can tour a lot in the summer but they can only do Sweden. That’s good for the money and the promotion and everything, but it kills you and this business is you know, if you’re gone lets say 6 months of the touring schedule, and then you call Japan and say we’re gonna come now, they will say “No, we’re not interested, we have another band here now”. So that’s what the whole business is about.
Elize: But if we win that’s gonna be a bit hit
Jake: But not for the territories that are not in the Eurovision. Lets say that you are then aiming for whatever South America or Japan or the US, and then you come in a year later, you have to start over again where you were before. So that’s the problem.
Another part with Eurovision is that ninety percent of all the bands is bullshit!
Elize: But I don’t care about those songs I just want to go in with the songs I write. It’s something I would like to show to other people.
Jake: Of course, we would win it if we would be in it! I watched this commercial on German TV yesterday this 5 CD special bonus thing the best German Schlager from the 80s to now, and every was like [does impression of Schlager singing] and I’m like ok great I’m gonna buy that…
Elize: But it would be extra fun, like Lordi, their hit’s really big because they came up with something different and people liked it . And I mean for me it’s about giving something to other people, so for me if I lost like I don’t know touring time, money, whatever, it still gives them a opportunity to discover us and what we deliver.
Jake: But then there is always another aspect of it, it’s like Lordi they became famous, they sky-rocketed and skydived. Of all the artists doing this thing, I think Abba is the only one who has made it like this, and then continued straight up. [Interrup each other ..]
Elize: As you can see we have different opinions!
Jake: Abba were not that famous before they won Eurovision, but back then Eurovision was something that everyone was watching. Now at this time it’s just a PR trick unfortunately and that sucks
Elize: But also Abba were great, that’s why they became famous, not because of Eurovision. Of course I believe in our band and that we are very good and if we just get the chance to show that in another forum. I think it would be fun personally for me
Jake: As I said I think it would be really fun to participate in it.
Elize: Maybe while I’m getting a baby, you know like the last three months…then we don’t have to tour anyway so then we can stay in Sweden and I’ll be like [mimes being massively pregnant].
So you can plan it in?
Elize: yeah plan it in right there, so January, February, March and then I can give birth in April [everyone laughs]
So you’ll have to work backwards to conception!
Elize: Or everybody in the band can get kids at that time, something like that but of course it will only show on me!
Your videos are like mini-movies. Where the the inspiration for them come from?
Jake: From movies
Any in particular?
It depends. I am a movie geek. I also work in video production and stuff like that . We’ve said from the start that we want to make videos that are like a trailer to an action movie. You know, you want to put all the best things in there for three minutes. I always had the idea of music videos. I’ve always loved music videos. I loved Jonas Åkerlund and guys like him.
Also the old Michael Jackson videos and stuff like that. Where there’s something happening instead of spending money performing your songs, pretending to sing in front of a white wall. The outcome of that is that people will only watch the video to get a hint of the new song from the album. They will only listen to the song. They don’t care if they are standing there playing, they will put the video on and make some coffee. But with our video it’s like this, you watch the video, “Shit! That was cool I’ll have to see it again”. Then you show it to your friends and maybe the friend will not like the music, but will like the video and he will then show another friend.
So the visual side is as important as the music?
Jake: Yes absolutely
Elize: It’s fun to record also when you know it’s going to be like
Elize you recently posted a photo on Facebook of you doing chin-ups, how do you guys keep in shape?
Jake: We’re not doing push-up and chin-ups. That’s how we keep in shape!
Elize: I used to dance. I was a dancer for eight years and I’m together with a professional hockey player, so for me it’s just like being healthy and have some muscles and a good condition. I try my best to do workout as often as possible but the best workout is actually on stage.
Jake: I used to be a hockey player as well and you know doing the gym thing. Elize knows all about how you go up early in the morning, you go to the first practice, then you have another practice in the afternoon and the only thing of your life is just to be healthy. When I stopped doing hockey a and started with music every-time I am thinking about carrying a weight or something I’m like ‘aargg!’. Still love playing hockey though just for fun nowadays. That’s the best training, when you’re training and you’re not thinking about it. When you go to the gym you have this mind-fucked thing in your brain that “Oh this is going to be boring”….
Actually I listen to Amaranthe in the gym
Elize: Do you? Nice!
Jake. Apparently it’s a common trend in Sweden because the there a lot of people who tell us “Oh they play you song at this work out”.
Elize: Actually I heard the firemen in Gothenburg play in it in their gym. I agree with you it’s good gym music. I must confess that I listen to myself. At least I used to, when I went to the gym.
This question is for Elize. Is it difficult being the only girl on tour?
Elize: It can be difficult. Today for example I was like talking to Morten and said, “Oh it was such a great mirror in the hotel room. You know and the lighting was perfect!’”and I didn’t get any response and I was like, “What the fuck you didn’t even notice the great mirror”. I was like, “OK I just forgot, I’m the only girl here!”. No one will understand. I was like “if there was girl here, I promise she would have noticed that this mirror was awesome and like almost perfect”. But that’s the only thing I miss actually. And also usually the guys say if I was the only guy on a bus filled with girls I would not be able the handle it. It’s not that hard. I don’t think about it.
It’s so funny coz know so much about guys! Probably more than any girl in the world
Jake: Yeah you hear what they talk about…
Elize: I hear what they talk about you know and I snap up some things and I’m like “Ah, hey okay that’s what they think”. I’m like a guy expert now!
The album is scheduled for release in Autumn. Any hints about it?
Jake: Yeah it’s gonna be a CD this size, it’s gonna be round, it’s probably silver colour and in October 2014 there probably won’t be enough CD players to play it!
It’s gonna be a fucking awesome album. It’s gonna be taken to the next step like lets say it was twenty percent compared from the ‘Amaranthe’ album to ‘The Nexus’ album in the change. Maybe it’s forty percent now and you will still hear that it is Amaranthe of course but it has some new sounds, it has some new ideas and it’s gonna be really, really cool. We’re going to start recoding it directly after the tour. We’re still working on the demos on the tour.
I read in an interview that you were considering incorporating dub-step…
Both: We already did that.
Jake: We actually released a single B-side.
Elize: Did we released it? I never heard it!
Jake: Yeah we released it. We did a b-side of the single ‘1,000,000 Light Years’ as a dubstep remix and we already have that on other songs as well. You can touch it, I don’t know maybe we will add some on the new album.
Elize: I think it’s a little bit old now. It was very hyped and modern, but now it has past
Olof: Can I add something? [he has come in part way though the interview] I just want to say that the dubstep keyboard sound has a lot of interesting great, great ideas but I think, just like Elize says, the way that it was done only two years before I think it’s very dated. But there’s some really cool idea about the heaviness of the sounds, and this is something which we might or might not incorporate. It’s something that we all really, really dig.
What new music are you currently listening to?
Elize:There is a singer, a girl, her name is Lana Del Rey. I listen to her every night when I go to sleep. It makes me relax. The ‘Born to Die’ album, that’s my favourite at the moment.
Jake: I’ve been listening a lot of the new Avenge Sevenfold album at home. I don’t know what to say about it. Some stuff is really good and some stuff is like “this sounds like album they did before.”
Elize: Also of course we have been listening to the same two bands every day.
Elize: I don’t know which songs are from the new album. I think Smash only have one album out.
Elize: So that is a pretty good album
Jake: They’re going to break it in the UK I’m pretty sure. The audience are gonna love them today.
I look forward to hearing the new album and finding out how it turns out after all the hints . Thank you for your time. See you on stage!