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AMARANTHE (AUGUST 10, 2020)


TYPE:
INTERVIEW
GENRE:
MELODIC METAL

While in Paris, Amaranthe was able to share with us their impressions on the current situation, Spotify, the new album and their possible evolution.
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Amaranthe is a group that does not leave you indifferent: either you love or hate. Perhaps the fault lies with titles that are too formatted, too clean and risky sound choices. Anyway, the band continues its progression and counts more and more fans. The new album could raise the esteem of the band thanks to a heavier orientation. We were able to meet the fiery Elize and the laid-back Olof.


We are currently in a period of uncertainty regarding this pandemic, how do you confront the release of this album, this promo with the current situation? Have you thought about postponing the release because you can't do live shows (editor's note: the American tour has been cancelled and the European tour has been postponed to 2021) ? 

Olof: We want to be energetic and positive, we try to encourage each other as much as we can. I think there's a greater need for music now. I know a lot of bands have postponed their releases and tours until 2021 and not being able to promote it is a tear but I think music should also be able to speak for itself sometimes. 

We don't always have to talk about it a lot and go through a big promotion period even though we like to do it, of course. In our case most of the promotion will be done: especially today we made this little trip. We only made very short direct flights to the different places. It is not really different from taking a bus to go to work. As everyone does it, it is not as if the contagion is spread more by plane than by bus. So we feel comfortable enough to do this interview. So of course it's also normal to feel some frustration because the life we knew was less stressful, more free. We wondered if it was okay to express ourselves on the new album in these troubled times and at the same time with the new label, we had a lot of things planned. We were supposed to release the album in October, but then I thought it's important that the album comes out when we go to the States, and it was supposed to be on August 28th. So with the pandemic we pushed it back a few weeks. We went back to the original communication plans.




Between "Helix" and "The Manifest", you signed at Nuclear Blast, what does this signature change for you? Does it put some pressure on you? 

Elize: I don't think this signature is synonymous with pressure for us. What's cool with Nuclear is that they didn't even ask for demos beforehand for the new album, which I think is fantastic. They had hope and they trust in us. This kind of event is more a responsibility than a pressure. Responsibility is when people allow you to do your own thing and trust you to do something good, pressure is when people tell you and threaten you to do things they want. So I think it's been really great too because when you feel that you are respected and treated very well by the team around you, you want to make them proud. Pride, that's what I felt. Like I was going to have a new family where I was loved and wanted to make them proud of me. So I wanted to do my best to compose.


You sustain a steady rhythm of an album almost every 2 years, what explains this great creativity? Is it to satisfy the label that asks you a lot ? 

Elize : It's something that comes very naturally to us. The fact is that between 2 album releases we're constantly on tour, we don't really have a lot of opportunities to write. But we're constantly thinking about music. 

Olof: As Elize said, we're constantly creating at the times when we can, but it's only at specific moments that we have time to sit down together and write a proper Amaranth album.


Perhaps this rhythm is also due to the statements made by Soptify's CEO, who explains that for artists to earn more they have to be more productive? 

Olof: It's a difficult conflict between creation and production. Yes, productivity (annoyed)? It really depends on the way you look at things, a matter of perspective. I think people understood a little bit or misunderstood what he was trying to say because Spotify didn't create those rules. That's how people consume music today, at a time when a lot of people are able to get their music heard because music production has now become completely democratic, anyone who has a computer can make music. 

Anyone can make music and I can't see that as a bad thing. I think a lot of artists have not become lazy, but maybe they have to realize that everybody wants to be part of the creative process now. If you take Bach or Mozart, for example, they produced the equivalent of 80 or 90 records in 15-20 years. If you want to be productive, you can be productive. You don't have to wait six years to record something. That's just my opinion. 


During several interviews you said you love the covers where the members appear, it was the case for "Helix", now it's a kind of Batman-like Halo on the cover, is it a will for you to put the band (more than individuals) forward this time ? 

Elize : I think the cover of "Helix" was a little bit like that because it almost looks like a Marvel movie and I think that even if this album cover is very different from the "Helix" cover, it's still a little bit in the same universe. The guy who created this good cover is Emanuel Shoe. He did concept art for "Game of Thrones" and Cloud Atlas in 2014. So it was obvious that he was going to create something very cinematic, which is exactly what we want. We're still on the album cover, as a little kid it's me on a jet ski (Laughs).


  

For the previous album, Nils had joined the band 6 months before the release and perhaps had not been able to participate in its writing, for this new album "Manifest" what was his contribution, you (Elize and Olof) who said at the time that you were comfortable composing together, it was easy to change your habits a little in this case ? 

Olof : We didn't change anything, we were very concentrated as we did for so many albums. So I think we knew where we wanted to go like we always do. Everything was in our head, the arrangements, the vocal melodies and the lyrical themes. The only difference now is that I had a clearer voice to manage and include in our compositions.

Elize: Because like you said before, we had written the songs and then it happened: we realized when we were in the studio that some songs might not be good for his voice and that's why I had to sing a little bit more on a few songs. With this album, we tamed his voice and were able to adapt. 


The album is certainly the most powerful album you've made and I think about the titles 'Scream My Name' or 'Boom !1' which is close to rapcore. Was it totally conscious to give this color to an album called "The Manifest" which maybe evokes a social revolution ?


Olof : I'm not really calling for a social revolution, but we want to touch people in a positive way. I think it's the work of artists, for several hundred years, to influence society in a certain direction, but it's not so much about them as about influencing someone's political opinion. Rather, it is about giving them power, or more precisely, a feeling. So if we can be a small part of that, all the better, it's something that's almost central to us. So you can see that there's a lot of depression these days, people are depressed. When you look at social media and traditional media, it makes you want to shoot yourself and makes people feel scared. So I think it's more important than ever to try to take responsibility in using and looking at these media to try to bring a little bit of positive. 



 

And what exactly is the role of an artist? Is it really your role to raise such issues, especially in an increasingly dark society, in terms of the environment for example, do you have an aura that can influence your fans?

Elize: I like giving my opinion. I really need to express that, and I think the best way to do that is to be creative; it doesn't mean that I force others to listen to what I think, but on the other hand, if I express it in song, then that's the case. So we try to integrate it into our creative process. However, that doesn't mean I've become a politician (laughs). I've talked to fans who told me they were already depressed and since they listen to our music, they're not anymore. It's rewarding. 


Is this rebalancing, this even more metal orientation is there to silence some critics who consider you as a more pop band? The famous criticism: too pop for metal, too metal for pop... 


Elize : A little bit, we wanted to try to fill a gap. But after saying that, you know, people have strong opinions about music. From the beginning I wondered why we couldn't do something that includes a lot of styles, so that everybody can have what they want in the same album. So, you know, it's really originally just a reflection anyway. It's nothing serious, it's just music, so it's all based on the same chords, the same melodies and everything is just different sounds.


The fact that you plan in advance not to make the same album one after the other doesn't make you afraid of losing your spontaneity, your naturalness and losing a bit of freshness? 

Olof : I see exactly what you mean and I think that can be basically a problem for bands, but I think we've never really been like that. So maybe for the lyrics but not for the music. We are looking for emotions that are very often spontaneous. For each album, we spend less and less time thinking too much about what we should do and where we should go. That's basically what the title means, that we are manifesting the music as such. 




Yet I have the impression that when you are a young band you don't ask yourself too many questions, you go for it and generally you think more after a few albums? 

Olof : I think it's the opposite actually because on the musical side, on the arrangements side, let's say, I'm going to spend a lot more time thinking about the process of what the sound should bring compared to the first album.

Elize: At the beginning there was a lot of thinking, but I think the further we went, the more we opened ourselves up to creativity. We now know what we should do and we do it very spontaneously. I agree one hundred percent with Olof. I also agree with you that one of the worst things that can happen is to lose that spontaneity. That's not going to happen because I'm very spontaneous (Laughter).


One of your known peculiarities is to be 3 on vocals, which gives your music a particular and singular relief, everyone has a well defined role, why not push the concept a bit further by accentuating the theatrical aspect a bit like an Ayreon and propose a kind of concept album Metal, Dance, Pop and prog with bigger developments ? 

Elize : We already do it in our video clips, we work our acting in the videos.

Olof: I think in terms of song structures, that's something we will always see. Let's see how they evolve and try to find new perspectives. Right now, we're really happy with what we've done but that doesn't stop us from doing completely different things, like on this album. All this also contributes to the live atmosphere which can be changed. The singers have sometimes different interpretations from the studio, there's always something new going on and so yes, there's absolutely more to explore, that's for sure. 


The time is running out, we leave you the last word to our readers ...

Olof: We just want to say thank you very much for listening to Amaranthe (Laughs).

Elize: Stay optimistic, we'll be back in the very near future and above all take care of you. Thank you for your support. 




More informations on https://www.facebook.com/amarantheband/
 
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Manifest (2020)
Amaranthe progresses with "Manifest", heavier, energetic and very accessible with its pop-metal side. Read all reviews regarding AMARANTHE
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