Amaranthe is back with a new album Helix released last autumn and is currently on tour with Powerwolf for a second time with more than ten dates in France. We took the opportunity of their escapade in Lille to talk with Olof the guitarist to learn more about the band, their new album and the tour: 

1) To begin, how are the feedbacks that you have received about your new album “Helix”? 

It has been really really good so far. I think the last album was a little bit more mixed of opinion if you know what I mean. Some fans really really love it, some fans think it’s a little bit different from the albums before. But for this one it seems to be really appreciated. And also we received so many good reviews like Metal Hammer in Germany and a lot of great scores. And especially mostly of the fans seem to really love it when we play the new songs.

2) It’s your first album with Nils on vocals, how went his integration into the band ? 

It’s been really really good, he played his first show in 2017, and already after a few months we asked him to join the band. Since the very first concert we did with him as a guest, he felt as a proper member of the band. So we are extremely happy with him. And he is a fantastic polyvalent singer, he can do a lot of different things and he has a really big range when he sings. And also he is a really good friend already.

3) You recorded this album in approximately four months, which is quite short, how did you manage to make it so fast ? 

I just think we were in an inspiring moment because the record label asked in the middle of 2017: “Do you want to record the album in the spring or in the fall? If you record it in the fall, you will have eight months to record the album.” But if we had realized the album later in 2018, we would have missed tours and a lot of opportunities in general. So I spoke to Elize about writing songs with me, and she just say: “Oh okay, we can do it.” So, we started to work on the album in the beginning of the last year in January and we went into the studio in March with more songs that we need actually. So I think we wrote many many albums together and we know what we want to hear and we talk about it as well so it was a really creative process.

4) What is you favorite song on “Helix” and why ? 

Too difficult to choose (laugh). But I want to say the song “Helix” has become my favorite. Because it was already my favorite when it was a demo track, I really liked it. But when I heard the final result, I was like: “It’s really better than what we expected”. And I think it has a lot of things of Amaranthe element there are pop, heaviness and a little bit of epic mess. And for me it’s just like a perfect Amaranthe song basically. 

5) I have the impression through and through your albums that your sound is even more advanced in the different genres you exploit. Do feel that you have a limit in your compositions ? 

I think it has a sort of limits, and we need to work with a certain framework on what consists an Amaranthe song. It would be strange… I don’t know… to be influenced by Power Metal or Black Metal. So, we have limits, but we try to keep an open mind. When we hear something in death metal song that we like, we can be influenced by that. When we hear something in pop song on the radio that we like, we can also integrate this as well. I think everyone in the band are really open minded and it’s one of our strength.

6) Amaranthe is celebrating its 10 years, will you make something special ? How do you feel about this longevity ? 

Interesting. It depends on when we count but I think it’s on October 1st actually so it’ll be ten years from the really first show. It’s quite incredible because it feels like it has been a short time since it. Because from the moment of 2009 when we started to play a lot of shows to now, we are 10 years later and we are still doing the same thing. And we are just like : “It goes really quickly”. But I think we just feel as a new and fresh concept if you know what I mean. Because 10 years, it’s a long time and there had a lot of tendencies in metal, it changes really rapidly these days. I think since we showed our ability. I can definitely know how to move on and how to be even more stronger for the next ten years now. And if we will do something special for the ten years : maybe (laugh).

7) And I think in 10 years there’s been some changes. Your music mix styles that are normally not into Metal music. But it’s becoming common and Metal become more open minded: 

Yes, I think it needs to be developed and evolved to be able to survive. Of course we all begin with classic Thrash Metal band, or however this kind of music. But we also need new things to not just repeat the same things over and over. 

8) I was wondering if you could tell me how Amaranth was born? 

I  have been playing in another band called Dragonland since 1999 and also in the band called Nightrage : a Death Metal band. Our drummer has also been playing in a lot of Death metal bands. Elize has been doing dance and musical shows,  something like that. So, in the beginning it was interesting to try to do something new. I think it was the idea at the beginning : to combine heavy guitars with something more catchy and more pop. We felt really really inspired and creative in general. And it was also to see how far we could push the limits. And it was really interesting for us to go to the first representation of the band, people actually really liked it. Because you don’t know when you do something new how people will react; people can also really hate it. The representation was really good but obviously there are always people that are more conservative and I think we go far in mixing the influences. I think, in general, people started to accept the fact that Amaranthe was really a band when they saw that we were touring a lot, doing sessions and we were really into the project. So, basically, it was to create an idea, and we just keep this ride.

9) Now let’s talk about the tour, you have been on tour with Powerwolf. It is the second time, how is it going so far ? 

It’s been really really good actually like you said we toured during four months last year with Powerwolf. It was really big shows and I think Powerwolf has the kind of audience for Amaranthe as well because the band has a humorist side so I think it’s open minded and maybe a little bit more traditional in general. But it was really really good to play shows in front of five or six thousands people on the last tour. The tour which started this year is a little bit smaller but we planned many shows in France for example. It has really good chemistry between the bands and also between the crews and everything. Especially because we already did a tour before and everybody knows each others. So we are only on the sixth show of the tour, I think, but we all already feel like we went into the tour for a long time. So it’s been really a really good tour so far.

10) The previous tour was almost sold out each date. This one seems to follow the same path. How do you feel about that ? 

Yes, I mean it’s amazing and like we said before it’s obviously Powerwolf crowd. It’s really a good feeling every time you come on stage to be faced with many people, you know. You can try to convince and hopefully they will like your music. It’s also the acceptance by the Powerwolf crowd and the fans it’s truly that awesome as well. So, some shows in some country are little bit half-hearted but I want to say that generally it’s fantastic.

11) And during this tour you have many dates in France. Are you proud to play there ? 

Absolutely!  I really like the France culture in general. I like everything : the language itself (sadly I don’t speak French) but also French food and French wine especially. It’s also great to have the chance to see the cities as well. For example : it’s my first time in Lille, I walked around before the show to see the beautiful architectures, the buildings. Yesterday we were in Poitiers it’s a small city with a beautiful architecture. There have been a lot places I could have seen here in France on this tour, we discover the country more and more and meet people from the country.  It’s a lot of fun it’s a little bit as a vacation combine with a tour.

12) You will also play this summer at the Knotfest in France, how do you feel to play there ? 

It’s going to be awesome. We are huge fans of Slipknot in our band especially our grunter Henrik, it’s maybe his favorite band. We hoped to play in the Hellfest the last ten years but unfortunately it just never happened because we were doing others festivals , other shows and it’s asking some time and some work. But finally we get a chance to be there even if it’s not the Hellfest and there’s a lot of great bands alongside of Slipknot, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

13) I leave you the final words to end this interview :

Well just like I said before: it’s fantastic to be back in France, to get experience into your beautiful country properly this time. And we expect to see everybody this summer at the Knotfest it would be awesome. 

Photo owner : Linnea-Frank

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