The Swedish heavy metal band, Amaranthe had a sold out show in Budapest at the end of October – before the kickass show we had an opportunity to do an exclusive interview with the wonderful Elize Ryd, the female voice of Amaranthe. Take a deep breath and read carefully.
-It’s not your first time in Budapest.
-Well, actually Budapest is one of my favorite cities in the world. I was here at the first time with Kamelot, we attended at Sziget Fesztivál. When we were coming over the bridge with the tour bus, I was amazed! I did not expect the city to be that beautiful.
Budapest has a special style of architecture, everything is very exotic and super beautiful, especially where the bridge is going over the river.
If I could do, I would just stand on the bridge and just at look all the houses – that’s something what I would really like! And after that I would go to a sports bar, it would be fun! And then I would go shopping. I have never been able to do things like that, because usually we don’t have so much time, unfortunately. Maybe I should came here to vacation, and I would be able to explore.
-Have you ever tried Hungarian cuisine?
-Oh, I can’t remember. Do you have a lot of different soups, right? And potatoes in different forms… (laughs) Actually we eat every time in the catering of the venue (Barba Negra), which is good, because the foods are very well made, there’s a lot of small, cute, nice things. (laughs) And it’s always home-made! (After the interview it turned out that she adores Hungarian tomato soup, therefore last time she packed it in a bottle and took it with herself.)
-How much is healthy lifestyle important to you?
-It’s the most important thing in my life, actually. I changed it, I used to have a 50% healthy lifestlye, but I realized that this number has to be 100%.
I abandoned alcohol fully, but I rarely allow myself a little red wine.
You know, sometimes we get gifts from Italy, and it’s usually a bottle of red wine, so of course I would like to taste it. It contains antioxidants, and Italians drink it every day, so one glass is okay I think, but I can’t allow more than that anymore.
For the tours I brought my own food from Sweden, like a rye bread – it has a lot of fibers in it – because on tour we usually can find white bread only. That’s the biggest issue for me, to get the food what I want or what my body needs, which contains a lot of vitamins, fibers. And I take extra vitamins, which takes a lot of place in my suitcase.
I try to avoid candy.
I used to eat lots of candies, but now I try to avoid.
I haven’t eaten pork for 8 years, and now I try to be vegan.
I perefer other kind of proteins, like beans or tofu, or other vegetarian or vegan choices. I like to live like that, it’s a lot more healthy.
I want to be vegan. Right now I am vegetarian, but I still cheat sometimes. But it’s very tough for the body too, to digest the meat. If I eat just a little bit of meat, I can feel that I get tired – and I can’t be tired if I’m gonna continue giving in those kind of energy at shows. So I have to think a lot about it, which takes a lot from my time actually.
-Everyone, who is familiar with Amaranthe, knows also that your dancing skills are outstanding. But it was a long way from the first dancing class to the stages of metal festivals and sold out concerts. How did it start?
-I took my first ballet class when I was 6 years old. That was something what I really wanted to do, because I loved to express myself – and dancing was the way of doing that. Then I started dancing again when I was 12, because I had taken a break. After that I was going to high-school for 3 years – there were dancing classes too, because it was like a musical school. Then I went to a professional school, which took 3 years, and there we were dancing 16 hours in a week.
After this education I could became a full-time dancer, or a dance teacher.
But also I loved so much to sing, so I was thinking all the time. ‘Should I be a dancer and focus on that 100%, or can I write songs and sing? Or maybe can I sing and dance at the same time?’
As a dancer I would retire earlier – so that’s why I finally chose to be a singer, because I’m a long-term thinker.
-But you did a very memorable belly-dancing at a Kamelot show a few years ago.
-It happened because the other girl couldn’t attend the show, and we had outfit and everything. I didn’t wanna say no.
I am not a belly dancer obviously, and some people, who saw the YouTube video, have made comments regarding that – when I read I was like ‘you are 100% right, I am not a belly dancer’. This was just a thing what I did just for the show. I got some advices from a real belly dancer – and I was like ‘okay, I get that, I have other dance styles in my vaines, so I can do other types’ – but it doesn’t mean that I’m professional in that.
I love challenges and I don’t think that you have to be perfect in everything, because life is not about perfection
– I mean, to not try things out, just because you are not professional in these things, is senseless.
-We can say that your family is full of artists. How much did they support you, when you also chose this path?
– They supported me at a 100%. I loved to sing, everytime it was a joy when we did music together. This was the most positive thing for me, and that’s why it was something for me what I would like to continue, that’s why I practiced all the time. Getting better and better, and I always had this dream, you know. Of course, everybody in my family love music. They love different kinds of music. For example my father gets crazy when he hears metal, and my brother was a metalhead too, and I love musicals. So, now I have everything: a little bit of musical, a little bit of pop, a little bit of everything, and a lot of metal, so… It’s interesting to look back now, and thinking about what I became, because in the begining I thought that I will do musicals, and maybe release solo albums.
My father was in the army and now he is an engineer. And most people – beside they love music – do brain surgeries and high education things too. So I thought, that I could do something like that, but now I don’t want to, because with music you can help people too. And this is also helping me to become a much happier person, because I can do what I love and I can meet so many people. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I had other kind of profession, and I want to continue doing this as long as I can. And maybe later I can do some criminology or something like that. (laugh)
-Stay a little bit at your childhood’s memories: when you were a little girl you were inspired by Disney cartoons. If you would be a Disney character which would you be and why?
-I would be Pocahontas! She cares about the nature as much as I do, and I would wanna do the things what she did too. I wanna climb up on a liane – that was also one thing I was thinking about. (laugh) You know, you can protect rain forests by just sitting on some tree or something, or like fight with the bad guys who are coming. (laugh)
-When Tarja Turunen had left Nightwish, you auditioned for her position. You didn’t end up in the finnish band, because the guys chose Anette Olzon over you. Do you mind that it happened in that way?
-In fact, I had two best friends in that time, who had recordings of me because I was singing on their previous band’s album, and they were like
’oh my God, she would be so perfect for Nightwish!’
So, they sent the demo, even without asking me. It wasn’t my choice, but I think the intention was really cute.
Then I got called up and I had to send in demos.
I wasn’t so hurt, I was encouraged by it. I don’t know the exact position where I ended up, but I heard some rumours that I was in the last 5 or something. But I was very young, I was only 18, and I didn’t have so much experience, so I didn’t think that I wasn’t good enough. I just tought obviously I am good enough, so I got more hunger from it. And after that I tought ‘I wanna be collegues to them’. That was when I thought:
‘if we (with Olof Mörck) will have a band, then maybe we can tour with them someday. It shouldn’t be the same thing, it could be our thing, we could write the songs’.
And I think it turned out to be much better, because I would probably get bored of singing someone else’s song. So it’s very important for me to being a part of a creative process.
-But you had a show with Nightwish.
-Yeah, because when I was on tour with Kamelot, Anette had to cancel one show, and the guys in Nightwish didn’t want to cancel the whole show, so they asked me, you know, to try to sing their songs. Of course I was like ‘yeah, finally!’ (laugh). I kind of knew them, and knew the melody for almost every songs, but I didn’t know all the lyrics. So I was in, but I told them, they should ask the audience first – and they asked that ‘is it okay if we bring in Elize and Alissa from Kamelot?’ And the audience were in too, so. They were very supportive, because they came to see playing the band in live.
The situation was very caothic and a little bit depressing because of the circumstances, because Anette felt so bad, because she couldn’t attend to the show, but I think that was a breaking point, where the guys decided to bring in Floor, so that was like we were in the middle of that.
But I love Nightwish, they are one of my favorite bands. I love their music, it’s very amazing! I was inspired by such good music, and I just don’t want to do anything else, just this kind of music, even tough we do a little bit different music, because we don’t use so much symphonic things but I still like the power of it! And also combined with the female voice. Amy Lee and Tarja were my biggest inspirations. First was Evanescence, but when I heard Nightwish, I was stuck. So, I thought I have a place here. Because ‘if she can do it, I can do it too’.
-Amaranthe’s last album, Maximalism was a huge success. Are you already working on the new material?
We are working on our 6th album, and it’s hard!
We made big changes to album to album, and now I think we have collected everything what we wanted to achieve with our sound. And now, we realized that we did everything from our first album to Maximalism. And what should we do then? I think now we will pick our favorites from each album, and create similar songs to them. But we can’t change the sound so much anymore, this is how we feel now. Because Maximalism was the ‘max’, because it was the top of our sound.
That was the limit. That’s why it’s called Maximalism.
Now we have to go back in time a little bit. Maybe it’s gonna be more similar in sounds like our first album, or Nexus or… You know, stuff like that. Actually now I feel like it’s hard to decide what we will do in the next album. Actually this is where we at now: deciding the theme. I have a lot of ideas, and I think – like always – it’s gonna be something different.
We don’t want to repeat ourselves too much. The proccess has already started.
Dynazty singer, Nils Molin joined Amaranthe after Jake E left the band this year. The swedish singer fell into music when he bought his first KISS album when he was only 9. “I played guitar for many years, but discovered that I had a strong singing voice as a teenager. I put down the guitar and decided to make singing my call. Singing, performing and writing music has been my life ever since” – quoted Nils the offical site of Dnyazty. Is it a new era of Amaranthe? Soon it’s gonna turn out certainly – and Amaranthe is on a new, exciting road, that’s for sure too.
Photos: Péter Tepliczky
Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
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