For the entirety of the interview, you can listen it on the SoundCloud link below the text.
AV: So first off, since it’s been a few months since Maximalism came out, do you have a better idea on how the fans are reacting to it?
Olof: Yes definitely. Especially after we’ve done a full European tour, and now almost a full US tour, then you can see the reaction of the crowd which is the final judgement. People on Facebook might have opinions, people doing reviews might have opinions, but it’s a different thing altogether, especially with the most controversial song on the album which was our first single obviously, “That Song”, and when you see us perform it live and you see the reaction of the audience, it’s always one of the songs that work the best. So in my mind, that’s a very good judgement. Another good indicator is how things are rolling on Spotify and YouTube and things like that, and all the albums altogether are rolling like 270% what it’s ever been doing before so, it’s by far our biggest step up. So people are embracing it both in live situations and listening situations.
AV: Since Jake E’s departure, how is that going to affect the sound going forward?
Olof: I guess we’ll have to see with the next album. With the latest album and, in part, Massive Addictive… Me and Elize were a little bit more in charge of the creative direction, but at the same time, I also have the say – for me, I write all the guitars, all the bass, all the keyboards; Jake had some really good vocal lines and he’s a great great songwriter, and a great person in general as well, but when it comes to the actual “Metalness” on a previous album or a future album, it wasn’t really up to Elize or Jake, since I’m writing the music – It’s entirely up to me how Metal I make it. It depends on what kinda mood we’re in for the next album, creatively. Because with the latest album, it was going not only in the poppy direction, but some songs were maybe even more Metal than ever before. A couple of them atleast. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but of course there’s always a certain appetite for some real heavy stuff, and it will always be in our music.
AV: How do you decide who sings on what part? Is that something that you think in your mind while writing the song, or after the song is written you all kind of collaborate on that?
Olof: It’s always been quite natural. It’s not always obvious as you’re writing it, but when you’re sitting down and looking at it on who should sing what, most of the time it’s quite an obvious thing. It has to do with different ranges because Jake can go lower and more brutal and with more aggression, and it will very likely be the same with our future male singer, and Elize can go a lot higher, so that sort of decides a little bit. But it’s not something we usually over analyze or think too much about. It usually sorts itself out.
AV: What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened in your career so far, to you personally?
Olof: Most surprising thing was probably the initial breakthrough after releasing the first music video for “Hunger”. It was kind of an overnight thing. Because before that, we were obviously a debuting band, and I guess we’d played like 5 shows or something like that. And all of a sudden we were getting offers and we had record sales that vastly surpassed anything that I’d been doing for the last 10 years as a professional musician. So that was very surprising. Of course we had a lot of expectations, but those were definitely surpassed.
AV: The lyrical content of “Fury”, is that just pure joke and sarcasm?
Olof: Yeah it’s very tongue and cheek, of course. When Henrik is onstage, he sorta has this character, this beastly character. I would say that you can view the song lyrics as they have been written from Henrik’s character’s perspective. Not necessarily as Henrik the every day person. It’s the person that he becomes when he goes on stage, the so-called Growl God.
AV: Do you write more on the road or at home?
Olof: We only did write on the road once actually and that was for the Massive Addictive album, because of time pressure and things like that. I actually was a little bit skeptical of the idea at first, because there’s always a million other things to do on tour, but yeah it turned out to work really good, and you brought out a little of that raw energy from dirty backstage rooms and the energy of the crowd and whatever so yeah… I think it was a pretty cool thing and something we might try again in the future.
AV: Who have you not toured with that you would like to?
Olof: Metallica. I think they played in here, right? Actually. It wasn’t really that long ago.
AV: I think it was in December or something. We wanted to get tickets but they sold out IMMEDIATELY.
Olof: Or like, any sort of massive band, like Rammstein, or… I really love Muse. That would be a cool thing.
AV: Do you ever plan on collaborating with guest vocalists?
Olof: I mean, it’s something that we haven’t really done yet so far, but something we’re definitely open minded about. We have a lot of great singer friends in the business who would be really enthusiastic about collaborating so I guess we’ll see what happens. It’s that kind of thing we haven’t done before like we haven’t brought in any guest singers, we haven’t done any covers, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do it in the future.
AV: Speaking of covers, what are some possible covers you’d be interested in doing?
Olof: I mean it would have to be something that’s quite far away from our genre. I guess what everybody is expecting is that we take a pop song and turn it into an Amaranthe song, which would be pretty simple to do. Just add some killer riffs and whatever, but that would be a fun idea. Maybe we’ll choose to go the other way and choose like a really Metal song and just Amaranthe-ify that instead. It might be any of the two. As soon as we find something that we’re enthusiastic enough about and we have the opportunity to do it, we will.
AV: What song from Maximalism have you enjoyed playing the most on tour, so far?
Olof: I would probably say the opening track, “Maximize”, because it was really composed as an opening track, to be an opener of a show. So it was like you have that specific sort of build up, a specific kind of tempo. I guess it’s one of the most exciting moments of the whole show, is of course walking out on stage and just start to play and feel the immediate reaction of the crowd.
AV: What is the largest crowd that you’ve played to, so far?
Olof: Wow that’s a good question. I think it might’ve been Masters of Rock this summer, I think somewhere on the main stage it was in the vicinity of like 30-35,000, but I’m not sure actually. We played some really big crowds at Graspop and Wacken, where we didn’t really see the figures, so I’d probably suspect Masters of Rock. Kick ass experience. There’s a professionally filmed clip on YouTube, not the best audio, but it was really really cool with multiple cameras for “Drop Dead cynical”.
AV: If we were to visit Sweden, what are some local spots that you would suggest that we check out, whether it be food or music?
Olof: Well I’m from Gothenburg, which is of course the Metal capital of the world. That gives you a good reason to go there and enjoy our numerous rock bars. I think we have like 6 or 7 of them and they’re all pretty good. Of course there’s always a lot of good metal shows going on there as well. But in terms of tourism, I would certainly recommend Stockholm. It’s a beautiful city, especially in the old town, which is like a perfectly preserved medival town. I think you’d really enjoy that.
AV: What was it like creating a ballad like “Endlessly”, like what were you feeling as you wrote it?
Olof: We had been wanting to write a super classic ballad like that for a long time, just for the fact that not a whole lot of people do that anymore. And for us, it’s always fun to do something a little bit different and outside the box. So when we started to write on what was going to be a sort of ballad, everything we were writing was coming out as something a little Hallowed-esque, a little bit 90’s sort of, epic movie score kinda ballad. Which was fun, then we just decided to go all the way with it with real strings – Which was exciting, it was the first time we used real strings and the first time we did that kind of song. It really carries a lot of genuine emotion, instead of just writing words that fits into there. Me and Elize were really channeled up on our previous experiences to really infuse the song with proper emotion.
AV: What’s on your playlist right now?
Olof: There’s been a lot of weird stuff going on on the bus. There’s been a lot of Michael Jackson. If I’m talking playlists, because I don’t listen to music privately because we’re just listening to music on the bus… currently… so there’s been anything from Chopin, to Michael Jackson, to some Cannibal Corpse and Cryptopsy, so as you can see it’s very diverse. And of course there’s a bit of obnoxious pop music. I think as I was leaving the bus yesterday, somebody had popped on some Avril Lavigne as well, which freaked me out a little bit, but oh well. I will not judge.
AV: Aside from music being your career/hobby, what else do you enjoy doing, non-music related?
Olof: Since I’m in this profression, I do travel a lot. All the time. So what I really try to take the time to do is what you guys have been doing recently is to really try to get out there and see the locations that we go to. Everybody is complaining that they’ve traveled the World but all they’ve seen is the backstage room… Yeah but, you have interviews, you have soundcheck, and you have the show, and it’s not that much more. So if you don’t stay up all night drinking, then you’ll always have the opportunity to go out downtown. And that’s a little bit of a bummer because for the last week and a half it’s been like really cold so it’s not very encouraging to go out. But every single time I’ve been to Prague, or Vienna, or Rome, or Madrid, or whatever, I’ve always taken the opportunity to go out and to try and see something new everytime. Besides that. I really fucking miss cooking. That’s one of my main hobbies.
AV: What do you like to cook?
Olof: Italian, mainly, and French.
AV: Are you in any other bands or projects at the moment, or are you just strictly Amaranthe?
Olof: I’m still in a band called Dragonland, which was my first band. It’s not a super active band, but it’s not an inactive band either. We do our bi-annual shows, and like a year and a half ago we played Prog Power and I think we’re scheduled to play another show now in May, in Sweden. At some point we’ll also release a new album with that band, but it takes its time.
AV: What else can we expect this year from Amaranthe?
Olof: Same thing as always. A massive amount of touring, and hopefully not before long, a bit more obnoxious music to piss the entire scene off. That’s our plan.
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