With a solid background, Swedish metal sextet Amaranthe has no doubt about who they are and what their purpose is. Their upcoming album “Manifest” is their first release through Nuclear Blast, which will be released on October 2nd. “Do Or Die”, “Viral”, “Strong” and “Archangel” are samples of what is to come, an example of the clear and honest side the band wants to show with their next album. We talked with the vocalist and composer Elize Ryd about positivism within what is happening around the world and what they want to manifest. Stronger than ever, Amaranthe state that they are here to stay.
MG: Hello, Elize. Thanks for speaking to Metal Goddesses. How are you?
Elize: Hello, nice talking with you. I am doing good. Currently enjoying our previous releases “Viral”, “Strong” and “Archangel”. The response so far has been massive, and that makes me very happy.
MG: Let’s dive into your new album “Manifest”. Amaranthe has always shown a message of strength, overcoming and not giving up with their music. But it seems that with “Manifest” this is even more obvious than ever with songs like “Fearless”, “Make It Better”, “Strong”, “Boom”, “Adrenaline”…
Elize: Correct, we have a stronger belief in that these messages really do make an impact on our surroundings and therefore our confidence has grown. And even though we have presented other topics through our music, we wanted to manifest what is most important to us and our fans. So that was the inspiration since the beginning and still is. We felt it was about time to state that out clear once and again in an even stronger format than before.
MG: I think the lyrics of ballads from previous records like “Dream”, “Breakdown and Cry”, “Over and Done” can be read from different perspectives but I feel “Strong” has a very clear meaning of feeling strong even if things are going difficult. Also, the music fits very good with the energy and the message of the song. Not to mention your vocal partner Noora Louhimo, who has one of the most powerful and strongest voices in the scene. How was working with her on such a grand song?
Elize: Fantastic, you are right about that. And this song was inspired by exactly that. Being on point, honest and completely without filters – which to me takes a lot of strength. Noora was perfect for the song since she is, like you said strong, both in her persona and vocals. I enjoyed collaborating with another female vocalist and share the message with her, from a purely female perspective. We were supposed to be on a U.S tour together right now and I was looking forward to performing the song live alongside Noora.
MG: This record has probably some of the most aggressive, fastest and heaviest songs from your whole catalogue. Why did you decide to follow this path? Was it something you just felt you want to do?
Elize: Correct, we didn’t want to leave any strong emotions out, also musically, since we know our own capability but have sometimes maybe not been brave enough to go “all in” before so to speak. It was important to do so since we wanted to manifest every aspect and influence of Amaranthe as a phenomenon. It’s part of the truthfulness we want to present with this album.
MG: You talk about more serious topics on “Manifest”. Did you think about the possibility that the new songs would not bring that much positivity or fun while listening to them or at live concerts, compared to Amaranthe’s previous material? Weren’t you afraid of losing that?
Elize: The reason for the more serious topics on “Manifest” is simply because that’s how the climate around the world has changed us lately. In most songs, like “Make It Better”, “Boom” and “Adrenaline”, we still keep the fun and uplifting vocal lines because it’s in our hearts and the light the society tries to close can never be faded out completely as long as you embrace the positivism. Achieving a feeling of straight happiness in hard times doesn’t take away the fact that we take things extremely seriously. This is what’s wrong with, for example, social media. We can not get lost in battles through a crisis – we need love, happiness and joy to feel alive – and that’s what we fight for, that’s what we want to manifest without any excuses for better or worse.
MG: You’re a versatile singer and your career so far shows that you can perform all kinds of songs. With the previous album, you said that the songs had very high notes, especially to perform live. Was this a reason to sing in a lower key on “Manifest”, so you could feel more comfortable while performing on stage?
Elize: No, the reason was mainly to make Nils shine.
MG: This is your second album with Nils on vocals. Now that you know him more musically and personally, how was working with him on this record?
Elize: It was easier, more fun and better in every way. Last recordings went great as well, but it all flowed more naturally and with more confidence than last time, I think. Creativity is a personal thing and when you know your members better it automatically makes us more united both, mentally and vocally.
MG: You’ve made a lot of collaborations with different artists as a vocalist. How was to add new artists to Amaranthe instead of you being the one who collaborates? Also, weren’t Nils and Henrik a little jealous that you get to do songs with Noora and Angela?
Elize: Hihi, good point. It felt really awesome to get some of that love and passion back into songs I put my heart and soul into writing. They were of course, and therefore we have a version of “Do Or Die” with Henrik and Nils on the album, and a bonus version with me and Nils singing “Strong” together. It turned out awesome!
MG: Although making an album is a positive thing, there was a lot of bad and sad news around the world. How did you manage the mix of good and bad feelings? How did it affect the process of writing and recording the album?
Elize: Good question. Since my grandmother passed during the recording it brought out a lot of sadness and anger I could use while recording my vocals. It was real. And of course, I could truly connect to the emotions of others around the world. It wasn’t like we were any near happy and in an isolated dreamworld being able to record an album, it was terrifying. I also feel that no matter how much you suffer, we have to think positive. I wanted to write a song for my grandmother witch turned out to be “Crystalline”, a love song to a relative or a loved one, as for Olof, who missed his wife dearly each day during the 2,5 months they had to be separated. It was terrible knowing the whole world is against you and you lost your freedom and safety over one night.
MG: You’ve made a lot of live streaming throughout these months with Olof. Thank you for keeping us entertained in these weird times. What was your motivation for doing these streams considering that you were in the middle of the recording of an album?
Elize: Lol, well thank you for watching. It was just my survival instinct kicking in. I have a tendency to overreact, especially through a life crisis and when total sadness or fear is trying to take over, I want to compensate by expressing the opposite. I felt the need to give a lot of myself to the people I care for and at least try to bring a smile on their faces. It’s an instinct if you look through history most of the creative changes were made during world depression.
If I can make one person smile, it brightens up my day. And that’s how I feel I did something good. Not by complaining and sharing my negativity which, anyways, a lot of other people do. To spread and receive positivity has always been our main motivation, and our followers have always been spot on when it comes to that. Being able to stay connected was very much needed at the time. It really helped us both stay sane.
MG: You previously worked with Patric Ullaeus on your music videos but you’ve moved the shooting to Poland this time around and I absolutely love what you guys did with “Archangel”. What was the reason for this change? Locations, the team…?
Elize: One of the main reasons was, of course, the corona. Like I said, it’s important to stay positive, and one thing we were able to do this time around was to actually look for directors abroad that we haven’t worked with in the past. Try our wings and find other talents. We are very pleased with Grupa 13, so pleased that we decided to make another two videos with them. It doesn’t take away the fact that we love working with Patric, and soon enough we will collaborate again, I’m sure.
MG: You’ve come a long way with the band. Is there something you miss about those early years of Amaranthe?
Elize: I miss my energy. Haha! I am obviously 12 years older now, and my lifestyle has taken its toll. Besides that, I don’t miss anything. Life is better now.
MG: Elize, thank you for your time. All the best with the album and hope to see you on stage next year.
Elize: Thank you for the interview! I hope so as well, we can’t wait to get back on the road and meet you all! Take care and stay safe. Lot’s of love!
Stay in touch with Amaranthe
-Interview by Beatriz Gamarra