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Amaranthe is about to release its fourth full length album. With a band like this it is always exciting to see what the songs have become. The only thing that might be a steady factor is that we can expect something extreme within the genre. But what choices are made this time and why? It is time to confront the band with some questions. Bass player Johan is the one answering my questions and speaks his heart out.

By: William Pezy | Archive under heavy / power metal

Last time we spoke ‘Massive Addictive’ was just released. It turned out to be the big next step and a huge success. How do you look back at the last eighteen months?
Since the release of ‘Massive Addictive’ a lot has happened! It’s very hard to explain the feeling around it. I guess it’s difficult to see when you’re in the middle of it as we are and has been. Of course there has been a big change regarding our shows. Bigger, longer and better and we really feel very welcome where ever we go. But also perhaps a bit boring aspect of it for you guys but a big game changer for us is that we now have the possibility of having a proper touring crew and also that we can travel a little bit more comfortable. Not talking about 1st class flights and five star hotels but the small things that makes a big different at the end of the day!

The new album ‘Maximalism’ is about to be released. What is the story behind the title of the album?
The title ‘Maximalism’ pretty much speaks of our feeling behind and around this album. Take it further, pushing the limits and try out new unmarked territories for Amaranthe! The title tells you what we are all about, we do it just a little too much but enough for you to love it!

Amaranthe is known for its contrast in music. With this album you went even more extreme. For example songs like ‘That Song’, ‘On The Rocks’ or ‘Endlessly’ are songs like we have never heard before. How are the new songs born?
The songs are created as they always have. Jake Olof and Elize co-write it and puzzle their ideas together. There is a lot of audio files being sent back and forth between all of us so we all have a saying in everything but it is them three who are the mastermind behind it all. Or the guilty ones if you prefer that hahaha.

The song ‘That Song’ brings shows elements of Queens ‘We Will Rock You’ and reminds me just like the song ‘On The Rocks’ of artists like Pink and Beyonce. Even the video shows this. What is the idea behind these two songs?
It’s us showing diversity of what we can do and that we can change the sound but still stay within the boundaries that makes up Amaranthe. ‘That Song’ you could view as a homage to the great late Mr. Mercury, he would have turned 70 this year and also 2016 marks that it was 25 years since he passed away. I’m not saying that that is the story behind it, just that perhaps it could be. Let that be mystified… But to ‘On The Rocks’ I must say that I don’t hear the similarity to Pink or Beyoncé, perhaps that cool raw attitude the Pink possesses.

The song ‘Endlessly’ ends the album and is quite distinctive. The vocal parts are like of a musical song, at the same time I think these are the most beautiful vocal lines I have heard Elize sing. It leaves me thinking whether this is a sign of the big contrast in Amaranthe’s songwriting or does it shows another passion of Elize?
I have to agree with you on this one. Elize sings her heart out and shows us all what she is capable of doing! It’s an amazing song and very beautiful! And yes, it is a sign on how diverse and full of contrast we are, but also that we don’t put ourselves within a genre and let the confine us. I know that it is a big passion of Elize to sing musical and I think it shows pretty well with the song ‘Endlessly’!

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You are a musician, so it is obvious a lot of well-known artists inspired you to start to pick up an instrument yourself. Which other musicians do you admire?
Oooh, I think that is where we are the most different since we spawn from different musical backgrounds! Me personally am a big fan of Dave Grohl, Pearl Jam and that whole era. There is a lot of musicians and artist that I do admire a great deal and it’s more or less impossible to pin point one or a few down because I admire them for different reasons! Everything from how to handle their instrument to how to handle a crowd! And how they express themselves through the music.

Who is still on you wish-list to play music with and why?
The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Dave Grohl, the list can be made longer then a list of crashed Hollywood marriages and for just as many reasons!

Knowing there are a lot of bands and that relatively just a few stand out, what new band do you think stand out ?
From the first in mind that would be Attila! They simply don’t fuck around. It’s straight on in your face, smashed with a bag of hammers and no excuses to follow! It’s actually one of those bands that we sometimes actually listen to before a show to get pumped up! But in today’s music climate and how the music business has developed into treating the artist like a mindless sheep, I think that every band that managed to put out four albums or more and still staying together stands out more than a face tattoo or satanic believes! Abandon all hope ye who enters hahaha.

Having three singers I am still waiting for a ‘over six minutes’ song that shows all three compete at their maximum. Yet almost all songs are three minute something. Can I expect something like that in the future?
Hahaha... I doubt that you, me or anyone with at least half a brain alive on this rotating ball would be able to handle that sort of egomaniac warfare! I doubt that that is something you will hear from Amaranthe. Just too far out from what is us, but since we are talking about Amaranthe: never say never!

What are the current future plans for the band?
The usually. World Domination and aiming for having Iron Maiden opening for us! But before that we’re gonna go for a little European Tour starting in Hamburg I think on the 25th of October and ending on the 20th of November in Vienna! Then a little Christmas R & R with the families before we fire off 2017 with the 70.000 Tons of Metal cruise. And from there on the mayhem continues with some tours and festivals and a shit load of fun all over the world!

Alright, this wraps it up for now. Thanks a lot for answering my questions. If there is something you like to add to this interview, please feel free to do so…
Thank you for letting this ol’ bastard of a bass man blow some fuses and answer from his heart and own twisted mind! Looking forward seeing all of you at a Amaranthe show in the future! Take care of yourself and each other!

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