“We wanted more intensity…” - hmv.com talks to Swedish metallers Amaranthe
Swedish metallers Amaranthe don’t do anything by halves.
Formed in 2008, the six-piece blend sweeping classic rock, electronica and symphonic metal to make enormous tracks, each one powered by their three lead vocalists.
They return this week with new album Helix, and, as the album hits shelves, we spoke to keyboardist and songwriter Olof Mörck about how it all came together...
Did you have a goal in mind about how you wanted this album to move on from what you’ve done in the past?
“We had a very clear vision with this album. You can write songs and you can see where they take you creatively, that can be fun. But we wanted to take what we’d done on our previous four records and really find what the DNA of Amaranthe is.”
How did you set about finding out?
“We tried a few different things. The first two albums were quite technical and we wanted to bring that back, but we also wanted more intensity. We wanted to delve into our past, but without being nostalgic. The final result is very close to that.”
You did the album with Jacob Hansen once again, why do you keep coming back to him?
“He’s best metal producer in Europe. He’s got tremendous musicality and he understands where we want to go and how we want to sound. We don’t have to spend hours fiddling around the mixing, he knows how to make us sound great. We’ve worked together for years now and he really understands us.”
Did you ever consider changing it up and getting in a new producer?
“We’ve changed a lot within the band already, new singer, new management and you can’t change too much. It’s also a big risk with a producer, we have a great relationship with Jacob and we might not find that with somebody else. But you never know for the future, we could find someone who makes us really excited, but we didn’t consider that for this album.”
As you say, it’s a different line-up for you this time, you’ve got Nils Molin now on vocals, what did he bring to the process of making this album?
“Nils is great, he’s much more of a classic rock singer, Jake (Lundberg, former vocalist) was a more modern singer, more power metal. Nils brings more flair and he’s a really great songwriter. He didn’t get a chance to compose much for this album, but he brought a lot of ideas and comment. A band is such a tight-knit family and any new member gives you a boost, a new atmosphere and inspiration.”
When it comes to recording, are you able to work as a six? Or do people come and go a lot?
“To be perfectly honest, we’ve been doing this for a long time. It tends to be me and Elize there the whole time and the others would just come, record their parts and then go home. We had two days as a six, but it was mostly just ones and twos. We played a show earlier this week in Israel and that was the first time the six of us have played the songs together.”
Was there a song on the album that took a long time to get right?
“It’s a ballad called ‘Unified’. We did a few different versions of that song and it took us a while before we gave it to Nils and put him front and centre. We knew we wanted a ballad, but it took us a month to get there with that one.”
Conversely, was there a song that came together quickly?
“Most of the songs on this album. Normally we take six to eight months to write an album. This time we had the option of recording in October for a 2019 release, or work quickly at the start of 2018 to put it out now. We wrote three or four songs quickly and then we knew we could do it. I liked working that, being in such a condensed period of time meant you stayed within the vision of the album.”
When did you settle on Helix for the album title?
“It was a title I’ve had for a while. I wanted something mysterious. Last time we went with Maximalism and before that Massive Addictive, so I wanted something less on the nose and not as bombastic. A title with deeper layers and more meanings.”
What kind of record is it lyrically? Is there a concept?
“There’s more of an atmosphere, I wouldn’t call it a concept. It’s more grounded in personal experiences and our own perspectives on the world. There are more songs about relationships and more about our experiences as a band, how playing hundreds of shows a year affects you. It’s a very multi-layered record.”
Finally, how’s your live set coming together? You’re five records deep now…
“I’m battling that right now. We have a general idea of what to play, but we have 18 singles now. That’s a whole set and we don’t only want to play singles, we want a few surprises and to make sure we don’t get in too many ballads. It’s a challenge, but it is one I like having.”