Living in the 21st century, to come up with a band that simply blows people’s minds and differs from a whole heap of identically sounding bands can be rather challenging. However, this doesn’t apply to Amaranthe - modern melodic metal band originated in Sweden/Denmark. They are not afraid of either pushing the boundaries or mixing controversial musical genres. The combination of metal with pop elements and outstanding vocal trio that has no competition helped the band get to this point – they're about to release their fourth studio album Maximalism. You can now dive into its (and the band's) philosophy and more interesting stuff in the following interview with lead vocalist Elize Ryd. Enjoy the following lines and if you´re not familiar with this spectacular band make sure you give them a listen. Loads of energy, uniqueness and massive addiction are guaranteed.
I don’t find it very pleasant for musicians to label their bands, but for our readers who have never heard your music, can you describe Amaranthe and your sound in 5 words?
Thank you, no, it's always a bit hard, especially if you don't focus on the label while you write the music. But actually we have metal in the bottom and then we add euro-disco, pop, rock and death metal. That´s 5 words, I guess. ;p Kidding, here they come: energetic, heavy, uplifting, theatrical and futuristic.
Let’s start off by talking about your new album. ‘Maximalism’ comes out October 21st via Spinefarm Records. Can you compare ‘Maximalism’ to your previous albums?
Ehm, it might remind some of our second album The Nexus, but on the other hand we brought in some new elements like old school rock, which is very new for being Amaranthe. It's our most diverse album so far. Some who have heard it already are saying that it's the most poppy album we made and some say it's the heaviest. So I guess it's individual how you measure the amount of something in music. It's gonna be very interesting to see how people are gonna receive it. :) Our goal was anyway to make a more diverse and organic album that stands out and brings people to the fun!
I’m not asking which new song is your favorite, but if you had to choose only one song from ‘Maximalism’ that is the most outstanding one for you personally, which one would it be and why?
'On The Rocks', because it's about having fun and it's not like any other Amaranthe song.
So far, you have released one single called ‘That Song’. I have to admit that my first reaction was: Is that Elize or Rihanna singing? Judging from the reactions I´ve read, I am not the only one who can hear this similarity. Was it your intention with this song? It seems like you’re not afraid to experiment at all.
Haha, no, but when I sing that kind of melodies, in that voice mode I guess I sound like Rihanna. I did hear that the first time when I was 16 years old. We haven't written any melodies like that before and that was intentional of course. To bring in some blues. I'm surprised this is the first time people think I sound different. :) It's fun to experiment and no, I or we are not afraid of anything.
Do you already know which song will be released as a next single? Within your band, is it hard to agree on one particular song which will get more public attention than the others? Or is it up to your record company to pick one?
The first single is up to the record company to pick. On the last three albums the band has gotten very surprised by their choice. But now we trust them a 100%, because so far, they have obviously done great, picked songs that really helped the band grow. So we are very grateful and happy with their work. Within the band we try always to keep a positive vibe by involving everyone and their thoughts. On this album it's gonna be hard to decide on the third and fourth single since it's very diverse. The band has a big say in those ones. I have 3 songs I believe in a lot, one of them we just released as the second single. It's called Fury.
I haven’t heard ‘Maximalism’ yet, but there's one song that caught my eye. It´s called ‘Limitless’. What‘s the meaning behind this song? As a band, do you feel limitless?
As a band and as people. Yes, that's a very beautiful song and the message is to feel limitless in life, no matter gender, sexuality, music, style, background. As a band together with our fans, we want to tell them that we feel and we're allowed to feel limitless. That's what we believe in, what we allow ourselves and what we make others to feel. It's part of our religion "Maximalism".
Overall, your songs are full of energy and life. Besides a few ballads, you write mainly fast and catchy tracks people can dance and jump to and in general they can go wild. Where does all the energy come from?
Within, haha, I love energy. I always loved energy. The energy represents a lot who we are and our philosophy of happiness. You don't need a lot, positive energy is everything. At least, that's what carried me forward and made me survive all hard times in life. So among all things we can give, that's what we love sharing the most with our audience. A little bit of energy creates more energy. It's like a domino, so once you started the sharing it won't stop until you do.
Your Maximalism European tour with Sonic Syndicate and Smash Into Pieces starts in a few weeks. I believe you will play a bunch of new songs. Are you nervous to play new material?
Yes, I'm always nervous starting off a new tour. It's like starting over again every time. And once we started, this is the show we are gonna live with the next 1,5 or 2 years. But it's, of course, mostly very exciting and fun!
Since you tour a lot, I believe that playing new songs has to be a truly refreshing feeling. What new songs are you really excited to play live?
I can't wait to play Boomerang! That song makes me wanna jump and smile. It's about stubbornness, never giving up.
Before embarking on tour, what are your rehearsals generally like?
Usually we rehearse 1 day before. But for this tour we are gonna rehearse 2 days because we have a completely new production. The live show is gonna be more diverse and well planned than ever before.
Do you make mistakes during live performances? How do you handle them?
Yes, I do. In Tokyo I sang the wrong lyrics on "That song" live on the radio with a couple of million listeners. I'm very bad at handling mistakes. I think about it a lot and punish myself in my head until I just get too tired of thinking about it. It can take weeks, sometimes months. But one good thing is to just do it perfect the next time. :) Even though it might be a while until we visit that radio show again.
Is there a particular song that never fails to move you emotionally? You can choose any band or artist.
Oh, "Total eclipse of the heart" is one of my favorite songs, I've been crying a lot to it. It's very powerful and it moves me a lot. Also I have to mention "Who wants to live forever" by Queen.
You’ve come a long way since your beginning. What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
To stay out of drama. :)
Besides Amaranthe, do you have any side projects you’ve been working on recently?
I have only been co-writing with different songwriters and producers in Stockholm for other artists a few times. "Maximalism" has been main priority since December last year, so I haven't had any time to focus on any guest or solo performances. I´ve been rehearsing a little bit Christmas songs for the upcoming Christmas shows I'm doing with Raskasta Joulua in Finland straight after the European Tour.
Any last words for your fans and our readers?
Yeah, I really hope to see you on the road! Remember that you are what creates the fun, thanks a lot for all the inspiration. Together we are Limitless! ;) We love you!
Thank you for your time and best of luck with ‘Maximalism’ and the tour!
Thank you very much, Veronika!
Interview by Veronika Valachová
Amaranthe's new album 'Maximalism' will release tomorrow!
Heavy music deserves a heavier message, and that’s what Fire From The Gods, consisting of AJ Channer (vocals), Jameson Teat (guitar), Drew Walker (guitar), Bonner Baker (bass), and Richard Wicander (drums), deliver on their debut album Narrative via Rise Records.
We were lucky enough to catch up with AJ Channer and chat about how Fire From The Gods got their band name, the lyrical meaning to one of their songs, how it was creating their new album Narrative, and more. Check out the interview below!
1. What inspired the band name Fire From The Gods?
First off thank you for taking the time to interview us. The original line up got it from the movie "The Wizard." There's a line in the film describing the Nintendo Power glove as "The Fire From the Gods." It isn't referencing the old Greek mythology story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man or anything like that. Although we do plan to make reference to that some time in the future.
2. When did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue?
I personally decided that I wanted to be a musician early in life. I made a few pit stops on the way but I am exactly where I need to be right now. This is the most comfortable I have been with my decision to be a musician. I believe the same goes for the rest of the band. We pretty much started pursuing music from early ages and we are still going.
3. Some may describe your music as rap-metal, which we found interesting! To us, that makes you guys stand out. Do you agree with that genre label? Why or why not?
When it comes to genres and labels I find that in order for listeners to relate to your music they have to familiarize it with something they have heard before. Hearing "Excuse Me" one would immediately say this is a rap metal band. But listening to "Inspite of Doubt" you would get the vibe that we are a metalcore band. And further listening to songs like "End Transmission" and "Lifeline" you would get the vibe that we are a melodic hard rock band.
So to answer your question we are flattered that folks have made compared us to rap metal bands especially some of the good ones. I don't think we are a rap metal band. We are influenced by hip hop as well as so much more, which I think helps us really stand out.
4. Congratulations on your debut album Narrative! What were the hardest and easiest parts of creating the album?
Thank you again. Narrative was a difficult record for the simple fact that we were on a bit of a time crunch. The opportunity to record with David Bendeth came about through a series of fortunate circumstances the only catch was we had to finish writing record and track the record 40 days. So we had our work cut out for us. The cliche goes there is nothing easy about recording music but I think the way the writing process flowed was probably the easiest thing about creating Narrative.
5. In the song “Excuse Me” off the album, some of the lyrics such as, “Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, equality and justice for all. Now you know you lying,” seem to be describing equal freedom. What inspired you to write such a powerful song and what do those lyrics mean to you? (Or just sing if you didn’t write it.)
I did write it to clarify. FFTG (Fire From The Gods) writes all our music. We collaborate with a producer but we write our music. To touch on the lyrics in "Excuse Me", we live in very turbulent times here in the States. Narrative touches on a lot of those issues. "Excuse Me" in particular talks directly about the prison industrial complex, racism, police brutality, and an antiquated justice system. Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are supposed to be basic human rights especially in our country. I feel some people are being robbed of that no matter your sexual orientation, race, social standing or religion. That's where those lyrics and most of Narrative comes from.
6. Which lyrics from that song mean the most to you and why?
The bridge where I'm saying "Excuse me Mr Officer....." as well as the following verse. We wanted to also portray and support unity. Non violence but making a statement that we are fed up with the system.
7. If you could sing with anyone on your next album, who would it be and why?
That's a very difficult one there are so many artists I would want to collaborate with. Maynard from Tool. He has one of the best voices in rock and metal. Probably Scott Vogel from Terror. He is a dude I have always looked up to.
8. We heard you’re going on tour with We Came As Romans and Counterparts! What songs could we expect to hear at those shows? Do you have a favorite? If so, why?
All new joints off of Narrative. I like "Diversion" the best live. Its pure energy start to finish and any one that has seen FFTG knows we put on a very energetic show. Diversion has everything you want a bit of a hardcore sound as well as a ton of groove.
9. What would you say makes you stand out from other bands when it comes to your live performances?
There are a lot of bands out there that put on super high energy shows and we do as well. But in our case we are a very dynamic band so there are just as many lows as there are highs. We try to keep that balance throughout the set in an effort to create a very good live show.
10. What are some of the most rewarding things a fan has told you when it came to your music? (If any, or multiple fans).
Touching back on some of the things I said earlier about our influences and how people have received FFTG the most rewarding things folks say is you remind us of a certain band. Well like hearing that because it is most likely a band that influenced us. Also those fans that write us and tell us that the music had a profound effect on their lives. As a band you strive to impact your listeners and Narrative seems to be doing just that.
11. Do you have any advice for your fans who want to pursue a career in the music industry?
Be smart and do want you want. Work hard. Do not try and take the easy route because it doesn't exist. What you might think or perceive to be success might not actually be success. Write music, tour and sell your music. PEACE!
Interview by Melanie Gomez
Check out Fire From The God's video for "Excuse Me" below:
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