Elize Ryd – Amaranthe

Interview by Alessandra Cognetta

Many of you remember her from Kamelot, but Elize Ryd‘s career is so rich I don’t think I can fit it all in an introduction. A talented artist and a really sweet person, she agreed to answer some questions for us about her latest effort with the unique band Amaranthe (their second album “The Nexus” will be in stores by the end of March, check their website to see when it’s out in your country!). You’re going to read about music, dancing, Eurovision (?!), bizarre incidents on tour and, well, I’m not gonna spoil anything, see for yourselves, you’re in for a truly interesting interview!
 
Hello and welcome once again to Femme Metal, Elize! It’s always a pleasure to have you with us at the ‘zine. Amaranthe‘s new album is about to be released, and the band has a world live premiere planned for March 2nd in Sweden. How’s it going with the preparations for the event? What can we expect to see?

Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure for me as well! It is going great, on Monday the band are gonna meet in Gothenburg and start to rehears of the new songs. You will see Amaranthe in full and healthy shape, we all have had some time of the scene so it will be extremely fun to gather again and start this what will be an extremely intense and exiting year

Shortly after the world premiere, Amaranthe will set off for a European tour (on March 8th, go get your tickets, everyone!) with Stratovarius. How is it, touring with such important and recognized partners? Are there any places you’re glad to go back to or sad you won’t be able to visit (and why, of course)?

It’s off course a big honor for us, as newcomers it’s the best credit you can get. In that way we get the chance to show a lot of new people who we are. And also hopefully we can gather some new fans for Stratovarius as well. 😉 We are not coming to England on this tour, but we will make sure we go there on our own.

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to “The Nexus” before writing this interview and I find it’s a definitively solid statement of how all the different singing styles and genres that Amaranthe mixes keep working better and better together. I’m not going to spoil it for the readers, but it’s a really, really good (and surprising, if you will) release. How would you convince someone who’s never listened to Amaranthe music to give the new album a try?

Thank you, I am very happy to hear that. I think that we also in the band feels that we really got it together on this second album. We have a great mix of songs, and they all sound like Amaranthe without be to alike. Amaranthe is a mix of different genres, I would call it Dance-metal with a taste of death and modern/melodic metal. It’s very rare, I don’t think you have ever seen this collaboration of musicians ever before since we are the only band that exists within this genre. Amaranthe has three singers – Growls, clean male and female vocals. We focus on positive energy, with our music we want to open up minds, give passion, strength and love. We blast barriers and smooth out gaps. Everybody, no matter who you are or where you from you can join our show. We value every person and our goal is to bring new energy into people’s lives.

Speaking of “The Nexus”, Elize, this is your second album as an active singer and composer. What changed, compared to your previous experiences in the studio? What was the biggest challenge you had to face during the songwriting process?

That was to write songs where I could get the chance to express my inner thoughts. And to continue to create catchy melodies. It went more fast and I got more creative than I ever been before. With all the great feedback from the first album I felt more confident as a composer.

Let’s take a little break (kinda) from the “musical” side of your amazing career, Elize. Because you’re not just a talented singer and performer, but also a talented dancer! I’m sure a lot of Kamelot gigs wouldn’t be as iconic without your belly dancing, which is also somehow surprising, as belly dance isn’t something one would usually link with metal music. So, how was your passion for (belly) dance born? What pros and cons would you present to someone who’s interested in taking up belly dance?

I must confess that I have never done belly dancing before I did it on stage with Kamelot. So therefore I cannot consider myself being a real belly dancer unfortunately. But I wish I was an expert. I have not had the time to learn belly dancing more than one hour. I love dancing in general. I am a professional ballet, modern and jazz -dancer, and all dancing technique comes from ballet so If you know the grounds it makes it very easy for you to catch up other styles. Dancing is all about expression and showing emotions with your body. I really recommend every single person to start take dance classes, it’s an awesome way to exercise and it touches your mind at the same time.

While wandering around on YouTube I stumbled upon a video of you singing Loreen‘s “Euphoria” on TV. First of all, it’s great! I love the song and I loved your bright interpretation. Sweden is hosting this year’s Eurovision, as it was the winner of last year’s edition. Do you (or will you) follow it? What do you think of the show and the competition, is it something you’d like to be part of, in the future?

I like the Eurovision song contest, I think it’s very entertaining to watch. But there is always a plan behind, to join is more about doing promotion than to actually compete in who wrote the best song these days. I would gladly participate if I got a really great song, or If I wrote one myself I feel represents me in the perfect way. If I ever do that though I have to be ready to get a bad placement and be aware of that it could affect my career in a negative way. So, so far I am not ready to take that challenge, but maybe in the future – I do still believe it’s very important to dare taking risks in life.

You’re very active on your Facebook page and have a very responsive and humble attitude towards your fans, which is something rare and that I really respect and value in an artist. So, what do you think of fans in general? Aren’t you afraid (or has it ever happened to you) that being open with them could eventually backlash?

Thank you, I love my fans, I think they are absolutely adorable. I know what you are talking about, and I don’t share any too private information. As long as I have time to show my appreciation I will keep on doing that. It may come a time when social media is not gonna be as popular as it is today, so I take the chance now. So far I have only got a few negative comments from fans on my official page, and If I notice that there is a person there who doesn’t like me, who just wants to harm, I block them. I don’t like negativity or hate in any way, I really hope I always will have the power to keep that away from my private life.

Elize, you’ve recently been a guest at Radiocity Trieste, an Italy-based radio station. Could you share with non-Italian readers some information about what happened during the broadcast? What did we miss?

Hihi, you missed a surprising and very spontaneous broadcast. I had been away over the weekend and at around 8 in the evening I read a mail that invited me to the show at 9. So I answered Massimo’s mail right away and told I was ready. So they called me on Skype like 30 minutes later and we had a very funny chat. We talked about the video recording of the video “Hunger”, about the new album “The Nexus”, and much more. I think it will come out as a link on their web page so it is possible to listen to it again.

This leads to the obvious question about whether or not you like Italy. But I’d like to go a bit further than that and ask you if there are any Italian musicians you appreciate in general and what is, in your opinion, the contribution Italy can bring to the (female-fronted, but not necessarily) metal scene.

I really like Italy, I like the people, the environment and the food. My father lived there for three years, so actually my two youngest siblings can speak fluent Italian. 😀 I will go there on a food trip someday together with my boyfriend when I have some holidays. I can only mention Fabio Lione since I been working with him, and he is just great! For me Italy is most known for their Opera singers, I really like the passion and the temperament the Italians can show with their voices, and outside the music as well.

Everyone here surely remembers about what happened during the Kamelot tour with Nightwish, when you and Alissa White-Gluz stepped in for Anette, who had been hospitalized. I think it was really brave and admirable for both of you to go on stage and face a possibly disappointed crowd (which, in the end, wasn’t the case), perform songs you didn’t have time to properly rehearse and help your colleagues in such an unexpected predicament. How has that evening been, from your point of view? What were the feelings you experienced from receiving the news until the end of the concert?

I was scared, and at first I felt really sorry for the fans. I could really feel the disappointment. But then Tuomas asked the audience if they wanted to see the show anyways without Anette and instead having me and Alissa as guest, and everybody cheered the highest cheer I have ever heard, there was no doubt. As I mentioned before, bravery is one of the most important things in my life – I don’t ever wanna feel like I didn’t take every chance I got, even though I am always afraid to fail. I only felt love and It surprised me and made me so happy to see that the people didn’t get mad or gave up on Nightwish. Afterwards I wish I had gotten the chance to prepare and rehearse, but If I did It would never turn out the way it did. That evening is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

While we’re at it, have you ever stumbled upon any other sudden occurrences on tour?

I remember two at the moment, one was when Tommy in Kamelot fell of the stage during a song, and I got really chocked by seeing him disappear from the stage. I stopped singing and I thought oki, we have to cancel the rest of this show. But, he went back up and continued like nothing happened – very impressive. Also when we, Amaranthe, played at Prog Power in Atlanta our backing track machine and our stage clothing’s disappeared on the way from Germany, so we had to improvise a lot, and I read on YouTube a lot of people thought we were drunk on stage, but the truth is at on top of being totally lost without the right backing tracks I also had a really bad infection in my leg that I got in Mexico a couple of days before, so I was on really strong medication. But we have never canceled any of our shows with Amaranthe so far. There is a lot more things that have happened, but I am starting to run out of paper so let’s talk some other time… 😉

After watching all the videos Amaranthe has released up to now I wondered: when is the movie coming out? I really enjoyed how you manage to keep the action tied to a progressing story, and the visuals are tastefully linked to the music. The video for your first single “The Nexus” has also received an overwhelming feedback with half a million views and counting. Can you tell us a bit more about it? 

Lol, thank you! Well, yes, It was very expensive to make because of all the statists we hired and the location. Patric Ullaeus the producer and Jake wrote the scenery together. Since our songs is a lot about fighting and surviving the bad, it feels like the right thing to do an action-ish music video. The next one is also gonna be produced by Patric and that is a Ballad so it will probably be less action.

I’m sure it was both fun and challenging shooting such action-packed sequences. Are there any behind-the-scenes bits you can share with us?

Yes, It is always super fun to record music videos I think, I really enjoy it. Oki, well I can tell you that my fighting scene is filmed in one take, and when I jump down over the enemy I stepped really hard on one of his fingers so he was In a lot of pain because of that for the rest of the shooting, pretty embarrassing for me. But he was a strong guy so he survived it.

At last, we reached the end of this interview! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Elize, I hope you enjoyed being with us for the second time and I wish you and Amaranthe all the best for what’s to come! If you have any words of wisdom or even just greetings for fans and readers, this is the place.

Thank you! I appreciate your enthusiastic questions and love for female metal musicians. Stay strong and be brave! Lots of Love to you all.

 

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Photos by Ville Juurikkala

 

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