Elize Ryd talks about the sound of the new album, Maximalism, which the band wanted to change to an organic sound and what their songs mean.
Formed as a project in 2007 by guitarist Olof MÃ¶rck and vocalist Jake E., Gothenburg, Sweden’s Amaranthe have carved their name into the annals of metal in capital letters. Band with an exceptional vision right from the outset, Amaranthe is an institution; trailblazers of a genre they almost single-handedly forged.
The new album expands their music and will be released via Spinefarm Records on October 21.
NRR: When did the group start writing new songs for the album?
Elize Ryd: We started at the end of December and we wrote most of the songs during January and February. You know the darkest months in Sweden and the most cold and depressing ones. And that’s why we have more of a positive vibe on this album (laughter) the more dark and depress it here at Sweden the more positive songs we come up with to lift up ourselves mostly and helps you think when it is quiet and dark. It’s the first time we write and album like this when we didn’t have so many shows and the time was reserved to write the songs.
So we had a lot of time to re-think, and the reflects on the album that we brought in new elements and change a few things, and that was because we more time to think through what can do different on this one and you know not doing the same kind of songs and just another album.
NRR: How many songs did the band write for this album and to choose from?
Elize Ryd: Oh, what I know we had sixteen songs I think and we put twelve on the record.
NRR: Listening to this album and is the band sound with no question and did you guys decided to change it up a little bit? It seems the sound is a bit lighter than the last album.
Elize Ryd: We spoke to few people now and went to a radio show for example at Finland and she said this album is heavier than the previous one. I am thinking all the time in what perspective do you mean heavy or light? The heavy part is that maybe Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson (Screams) drew more growls on this one the last one and brought in more of a rock influence that may appear heavier to some listeners. Maybe depends on the speakers you are listening too (laughter).
NRR: Yeah, (Laughter) and how the volume and equalizer are set. Is like you can take a song that sounds one way and keep that sound and have the same song and change the arrangements a little bit?
Elize Ryd: I guess the arraignment changed a little bit and also the mix change a little bit too. The previous person I talk said the harmonies were not as loud as they used to be and that I was thinking about when we were doing the mix. And maybe the lead melodies are straight? I don’t know how to explain that.
NRR: When a group brings out a new album, the sound can be same, but the texture is not the same.
Elize Ryd: I know what we changed. I wanted it to be more organic the wish I had for this album. Like you put dub on your vocals, you mix it a certain way. I am mostly vocals obviously, and why can’t we keep the vocals itself and not mix it out all the way like we used to do and would be a refreshing thing for this album? And you can hear the music more that is more organic, and if you listen and focus on the drums, you can hear them extremely good. And you hear the guitar and even the bass; you can follow all the instruments in what we did with the arraignment.
If you had spoken to Olof MÃ¶rck (Guitar, Keys) now, I guess he would have given you this answer: Yes, the instruments are made to be standing out by themselves more and not blurred together with the keyboards. We [remixed] a lot in a few songs because they were taking over and everybody is wondering where is the keyboard player when we are doing live shows.
It is Olof obviously (laughter) who can’t play guitar and keyboards at the same time. We were thinking a lot when we wrote the songs like as if we were playing these songs live, and also a nice change that we are not dependent on the keyboards or backing tracks we could pull off those songs make it sound very close to the album. And maybe that could be what you hear.
NRR: That is fine because you still have the band’s sound when you hear the first track you know it’s your band.
Elize Ryd: That’s good because we would never like to change so much that people suddenly say what happen to that band we liked a lot. But we still want to make a few changes, so it doesn’t get boring like your listening to the same album over again, that would not be so much fun.
Also for us being living creatures playing a couple of hundred shows every year is also nice for us to put in a little more diverse as the album is diverse that we felt we were missing on the previous ones and feel like we are bringing in something new into the show and to play live and so we don’t have ten “Drop Dead Cynical” songs.
NRR: There are few songs I want to talk you about. The first is “Boomer rang” the sound and the arraignment is similar to the 80’s new wave band Dead or Alive song “You Spin Me Around (Like a Record).”
Elize Ryd: No! Really? Do I know that song?
NRR: Go to YouTube and listen to that song and you will hear similarities. And it doses break the monotony of the songs and gives it dance flavor which is not a bad thing because it expands out to those who like to dance. I’ll ask Olof if used that song for a reference.
Elize Ryd: I never heard this song. That is amazing! I will contact Olof just for fun if he had heard it?
(Note: During the whole conversation and after She did contact Olof and he did respond that it was a reference for writing the song)
NRR: On this album there two ballads. One is “Limitless” which a poppy sound but Jake’ vocals are softer and is nice. He a has good soft vocal sound
Elize Ryd: Oh yes, that is also one idea we had to make it more personal and like the way we sing there is like the way you sing to someone before they go to bed or something. Is that we never put ourselves out there like that. We thought it would be nice we put one of those songs on to this record. I love Jake’s verse on the song; it’s amazing because we are humans and we focus on the digitalize and the futuristic, and here we get a little more personal.
NRR: The last song on the album is “Endlessly” which is love ballad song that can be used for a soundtrack and is a nice change for the album and your vocals stand out more. Was this intentional to put this song on the album?
Elize Ryd: We wrote the song on a dark and depressing night (Laughter) because it makes us think a lot and feel a lot. I remember we very emotional, both me and Olof we felt let’s write a ballad and I felt like that was the day to write. And we always write based on the mood at the moment and what we need. I said is it ok to write a ballad today? I have so many emotions to get out so I had to paint a picture how I like this ballad to be and I started to sing a little bit, and Olof put his chords on the piano, and I think it took us like one hour or less to write this song.
And the lyrics were there also and this was the first idea we had and represents the mood and we have changed a lot of the things, it would not be as honest because it was taken from the moment completely. And we talked about it and should there be growls on this song? Should Jake sing the second verse? And then we recorded it and played it for Hendrick, and he said, “Why should we change the song? It’s good as it is and has a lot of diversity.” I don’t think I need to be there and I don’t think Jake should be singing it because it won’t be the same song.
And thinking it shouldn’t be on the album and save it for myself another time. In the end, we felt it should be and it’s the fourth album and we would never out a song like that on our previous albums because we weren’t ready for something like that. With four albums and over forty songs sounding the same way it could be very nice for a change.
NRR: This song could be used for soundtrack for movies and television shows for romantic stuff.
Elize Ryd: I hope they will do that. Thank You. And the strings on it are real strings and composed by a friend of mine who won a Grammy award in the US last year worked on Taylor Swift’s album and composed strings for many metal bands. He lives here at Gothenburg and sent him a message on Facebook saying maybe you like to play strings on it and we responded immediately that it would be a fun and easy job to do an arraignment completely. First of all, it is the first time we did string arraignments.
We have string arrangements maybe on other tracks, but they are keyboard strings. Not so clear, not obvious. It is the first time we used real strings. I never mention this did this before, but we were inspired by the song “Sounds Of Silence.”
NRR: By Simon and Garfunkel
Elize Ryd: Yeah, but by the rock band did “Sound Of Silence” by Disturbed. I saw them on television program with a real orchestra with strings, and it was amazing. It’s a story telling a story and very organic.
NRR: The other song “21” is that about drinking booze and having fun is how I was taking it?
Elize Ryd: This is so much fun that was not the idea at all. It was called “Let it Run” at first then Olof the day before the mix said we should change it to 21. He had strong will about that, and we like ok and change the last line to Let it run, let it run it’s 21. It’s the highest number. The idea about that is the highest, the best number when you’re having fun and want to reach the highest point of the night or life. It’s the highest score you can get.
Then Morton (drummer) came and told Olof said these are really bad lyrics. We were like, “What the fuck are you talking about (lLaughter)?” He was saying you can’t sing about turning 21 and parting and we were like what? I didn’t think about it; Olof didn’t think about it. The song is no way about buy alcohol.
NRR: For the new tour, how many songs to be performed from the album?
Elize Ryd: Well,we are discussing the set list at this moment that which seems a little late and is not completely done yet. When we started, I put in eight and everybody said it was too much and I agree. We cut it down to seven and might even include two older songs and when the album comes out we might add a few. When we are done with the discussion it will be at least five or probably six (laughter).
NRR: You might put “Endlessly” on there?
Elize Ryd: You know what, it might be on there.
NRR: This song is powerful and an emotional song where can be sung as a duet with Jake while hugging him or if you brought somebody or a couple on stage and if guy wants to propose to his partner. You can sit down on a chair or the drum riser when singing it. But it has to be during the middle of the set.
Elize Ryd: Wow! You have a lot of ideas for that song.
NRR: What are the topics of the songs or based on when you write them?
Elize Ryd: Emotions, messages since we since we have the opportunity to write music and to get hear and emotions we want people to feel when they listen to these. What do we want to encourage people to do and obviously not so much negativity but bring positive energy like to someone you like, you want to say something to someone you really like, don’t care about those people who bring you down. We are limitless; you have all the opportunities in life. You can be exactly who you are and its ok and never change yourself because of some weird rules about stuff. Like there are these unwritten rules and laws and stuff that can make people feel exclude or exclusion.
NRR: Will you consider having a guest musician or vocalist on your next albums?
Elize Ryd: Well, since we are so many and a lot of people in the band and to bring another guest vocalist, I think that would be amazing. For example to bring Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) for the growls I have had that idea for a long time. And we can already do that since we have three vocalists.
On the other hand, we are so many do we don’t need to bring other influences to make the music interesting. I wouldn’t close any doors to bring in guest vocalist or guest musicians. To be honest, I love Lindsey Stirling, and I try or we try, get her to play the electronic parts in “Limitless.” We got inspired by her after we wrote the song and the song was done we realized she would be perfect as a guest. And if she had said yes we would probably have her but we didn’t hear back from her so now it’s only us (laughter).
NRR: Good to know I ask questions that the others didn’t ask or know that they didn’t ask.
Elize Ryd: It was fun for me to have diversity also in the interviews.
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