Amaranthe is a Swedish/Danish power/melodic/pop metal band that originates from Sweden and Denmark. Formed by Jake E. and Olof Morck, the project began taking shape when singers Elize Ryd and Andy Solvestrom signed on, as did drummer Morten Lowe. In April 2011 their debut album Amaranthe was released to worldwide acclaim, and they followed that up in March of this year with The Nexus, which has been one of the most buzzed-about releases of 2013. I caught up with a not-feeling-too-well Jake E before their show last Thursday night to see how they were enjoying this U.S. mini-run they’re on, and to see what they have in store for their fans next:
Amps: How are the shows going? I heard The Gramercy Theater in my hometown New York was pretty badass!
Jake E: The crowds have been fantastic, New York especially. Being here for the first time on our own headlining tour, you don’t really know what to expect. I’ve heard so many stories from some of our friends in bands like Hammerfall, Sabaton, and In Flames, bands who are doing great in Europe, but they come here and if you have 80 people a night, you’re really happy. We’ve been doing everything from 220 to 550 people, so it’s been really, really good.
Amps: Your sound is different from other bands of your ilk, you don’t fit into any one genre, and I think that’s really cool. How do you guys feel about people scrambling trying to figure you out?
Jake E: It’s really cool. I’ve never really understood why you should have to put everything in a box and label it. For me music is music, the only difference being good music and bad music, but the cool thing with that is if someone actually comes up with a good name for the music we play, then maybe we’re starting a new genre, eh? But still I haven’t seen any good names. I’ve seen Disney metal, pop metal to melodic symphonic, bosha-losha de dosha, they have so many names for it, so maybe we should start a competition for people and see what they wanna call it (laughs)!
Amps: My friend calls you Amaranthe, the “hot potato” band, because you never know who’s gonna sing next. That’s interesting because it hasn’t been done.
Jake E: Oh, hot potato (laughing), you never know which singer is gonna be singing the next line. Good one, I’ll tell the band that.
Amps: First thing I thought when I heard the harmonies was, “this is very ABBA-esque.” I’m a HUGE fan, how about you?
Jake E: All of us are big ABBA fans. They’ve been such a big presence in music in Sweden for 40 years, so to be actually be compared in the same sentence is a really good thing for all of us.
Jake E: It’s me, Olof, and Elize that write mostly. Me and Olof sit down with the music and Elize comes in with vocal melodies, and I write most of the lyrics. We’re collaborating a lot there, sometimes Elize sings a guitar riff, sometimes I play a guitar riff, and we’re all contributing.
Amps: This was just a short two week run. Any plans to do a longer U.S. tour, maybe later this year or next?
Jake E: It’s funny, we’re one of the most booked bands in all of Europe right now, something like 200 shows a year, so after The States we’re going to continue the summer festivals. We had a break in the middle, which is why we booked this U.S. run. We have 15 shows left in the summer festivals, and after that we’re gonna take a little vacation for about a month, probably head back to Japan, and another run in Europe before the year ends. Then the idea is to come back to the U.S. in the beginning of next year, and cover a lot of ground we missed this time like in the South, and other places.
Amps: I am a new fan, so I wanted to ask you this: If you were describing Amaranthe to the uninitiated, what would you say?
Jake E: It’s always hard, because you don’t know what someone would like to hear, but it’s heavy metal with a lot of pop influence from different genres. You could find everything from In Flames to ABBA in our sound, but the most important thing is that there are three different singers, which as you said, no one’s really done before.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the Amaranthe fans out there?
Jake E: I would like to say that the U.S. tour has been a fantastic memory for us. Everyone’s been taking such good care of us, and showed the greatest respect to us in different places, and we thank you so much all of you who bought a ticket so we can come back and do this again.
Amps: Jake, thanks for doing this. I know you’re not feeling great, go rest up and have a great show.
Jake E: Thank you, and say hi to your friend who said “Hot Potato” for me, ok (laughing)?
For a guy who wasn’t feeling good, he sure was in great spirits. Amaranthe went on to have one of THE best shows of the tour that night in Denver, I later heard from several people who were there. Maybe that’s the healing power of rock and roll…