AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Elize Ryd of Amaranthe (Sweden) talks about new album Massive Addictive and sexism in the industry.

One can’t help but feel good listening to Amaranthe, after all the European sextet is all about creating positive energy. Less than two years since the release of The Nexus, whose single of the same name has had over six million views on YouTube, modern metal’s hottest act is back with a new album.

Massive Addictive is brimming with catchy compositions, seamlessly fusing dance music with melodic and death metal. Three distinct vocalists complete Amaranthe’s unique synthesis, one of which is Swedish soprano Elize Ryd, named by Revolver Magazine as one of 2014’s Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock. Ryd spoke to Maria Nayef about Massive Addictive and her right to shine as an artist in a male dominated genre without being objectified for being a woman.

Amaranthe are on tour in North America with Within Temptation at the moment, how is that going?

It’s been great! I had a day off today and I’m in a restaurant right now. I just had a very nice dinner and I’m now talking to Australia – it’s the first time I’m talking with Australia!

Really? Great! Well I’m very happy to be talking to you about your new album Massive Addictive. I have been listening to it for a few days now and I love it. How would you describe it?

I would describe it as being more updated. It’s fresh, new, massive – and addictive! (laughs)

I’ve read that fans have been responding well to the new songs you are currently playing on tour, especially the first single, Drop Dead Cynical.

Oh yes, definitely! It has been amazing. I was shocked the other day playing in Montreal because the audience was going totally crazy. I had never heard an audience scream that loud. Everyone seems to like it a lot. It just shows that we have made the right decisions to develop in the directions we chose to, just go all in and make it even catchier, so we’re really happy.

The first track Dynamite is a great song that I think sums up what Amaranthe is all about. That’s definitely one of my favourite tracks off the album. What’s yours?

Great, it’s my favourite too. I love that one.

What was your input on the record aside from vocals, within regards to lyrics and music?

Me, personally I contributed the vocal melodies. I also contributed lyrics, especially the themes of the songs, like what I personally wanted to express to the world and those listening.

Your vocals seem even more diverse on this record, how did that come about?

Oh, thank you! Well, I listened to The Nexus album a lot and I compared that to the live performances and I just felt like: ‘Oh my God, I could have done so much more in the studio!’ Also, when it comes to the vocal lines, I like to do vocal gymnastics with the voice (laughs) so I felt that on this album I really, really wanted to make it feel more live.

You do seem to hit higher notes on Massive Addictive…

Yes, and I thought, since I can sing that, I wanted to break free and use my full range, and I feel very confident the way the vocal melodies came out on this album. So thank you very much for noticing.

You are a soprano – how do you look after your voice when you are on tour?

I don’t drink alcohol; that would not be possible for me. I try to sleep as much as I can, I think that’s the best medicine for a sore throat, or if you feel tired. And I try to eat healthy also, so trying to stay healthy is the focus I have when I’m on tour.

When I interviewed Floor Jansen of Nightwish I asked her about the pros and cons of being the only woman in an all-male band and she said she didn’t consider herself any different from the men and didn’t feel pressure about the way she looked. Being the only woman in Amaranthe, what’s your take on it?

Well, within the band it’s fine, because they see me as their sister, you know? But sometimes we are very different because I like to do different things than the guys do, so sometimes I feel very alone. And also, I feel that the women in metal always get objectified in a different way than the guys, and I think it’s very unfair. I’m definitely a feminist in that perspective. It’s usually the haters that write bad things about the women, and I think it’s just wrong.

Also, it’s different for me than Floor because I am one of three singers in the band, and usually, when someone has a bad comment about the band or the sound, they usually put the focus on me, even though there are five other guys they could have criticised. I also read very, very, disrespectful comments that are focused towards me because I’m a woman­ ­­– not because I’m an artist just like the other guys – so there is a difference. But I also get a lot of good critique. Mostly it’s love.

Recently on your blog you decided to name and shame someone who had written some disrespectful and sexist comments about you on your official Facebook page, and I thought that was fantastic.

Oh thank you so much. I appreciate hearing that. I actually got a lot of emails about that from women who wrote that they had been treated very bad and had lived with this kind of hate, and they really appreciated it – and they feel better when they hear that it also happens to me. You should not take it personally, but it’s very hard sometimes not to. My wish is that there is going to be a change in that perspective of not saying certain things to women.

How do you stay positive in this business?

I stay positive thanks to all the positive critique I get, and the love I get from so many fans. I have so many fans who I feel the most amazing love from, so it’s thanks to them I get more and more strong. It’s definitely the good responses that I’m sucking in, and all the bad stuff, I try to keep it outside my life. I still think it’s very important to actually point at people who are disrespecting you because you are a female ­– I don’t have any patience or acceptance for it.

Any plans for Amaranthe to tour Australia?

Aha! Well, I actually heard that our booking agent is working on it.

It would be fantastic to finally see Amaranthe live! Have you ever been to Australia?

Never! I would love to come there. I have so many friends from Sweden who have visited Australia and everybody loves it. It would be a dream come true to travel there. Hopefully it will happen next year.

Finally, why should everyone get a copy of Massive Addictive? Why do people need Amaranthe in their lives?

(Laughs) Well, I think because it brings you energy, no doubt about it. You can listen to it when you wake up in the morning, or if you’re having a party, or if you’re going to the gym.

Well thanks so much for your time Elize, it was very cool to talk to you and hopefully we will see Amaranthe in Australia soon.

Thank you so much. And I hope that we will see you soon and that we can come there, it will be amazing.

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Massive Addictive is available now.