Interview by Si Smith
From the retro feel of Girlschool to the heavier riffage of Kittie, all-girl bands are slowly becoming more prevalent in the metal scene. More and more we are seeing the aggressive side of metal being represented with vocalists like Angela Gossow and Morgan Lander flying the flag for feminine brutality. Crashing into the scene like a juggernaut come Frantic Amber, a true international phenomena with members from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan. Vocalist Elizabeth took some time off screaming at the mike to tell Femme Metal more about the band…..
Firstly I would like to welcome you to the Femme Metal webzine and thank you for speaking with us about the band.
Thank you, it’s my pleasure!
Casting your mind back to 2008, how did the band start and how did your involvement with the band begin?
Well Frantic Amber was a project Mary started in 2008 and went from project to band march 2010 where we completed the full line-up. I joined forces with Mary in fall 2010 where we recorded the first demos of “Bloodlust” and “Unbreakable”. With the new demos we started looking for new band members and I must say that I feel lucky to be in Frantic Amber with these wonderful girls!
The encyclopedia tells me that “Amber warning lights provide effective illumination in the darkness, and are known for providing bright, powerful beams that are still easy on the eyes”. The similarities speak for themselves! If you could convey a message to the world through Frantic Amber, what would it be?
Be yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can! You can do whatever you put your mind to!
You describe your music as “Brutal female metal from Sweden”. Is being an all-girl band important to you and your mission?
Yes, no boys allowed! *laughs* Well it’s what we decided to do at the beginning of Frantic Amber and we just have so much fun together! We want to be an inspiration for other girls to play heavier music.
There seems to be much vodka and “Red Devil” involved…..It went really great!! We loved Russia and the fans there where totally and wonderfully crazy!*laughs* Yes Russians love their vodka and are very keen to toast! Sandra especially enjoyed the Red Devil drinks and it even matched her hair 😀 I don’t drink much or often but I did get to party a bit on the last day after all the gigs and it was so much fun!
You guys seemed to get on well with your tourmates Hysterica. Is this a relationship that will continue in the future? Are there any other bands you have enjoyed playing alongside?
Yes, definitely! They are our sisters in metal and we really had fun together! We will of course continue our friendship and we hope to stir up more trouble in the future!
On your band page Emlee is listed as drummer – yet we see you borrowing drummers for your live gigs – what is the deal with the drummer situation?
Emlee left Frantic Amber so the seat of the drummer is vacant at the moment. We work with live and session drummers now to gain experience and keep on gigging. It’s been great to work with both Jocke Wallgren (Valkyria) and Erik Röjås (Decadence, Netherbird) while looking for our match in a girl drummer!
The EP now out is entitled “Wrath of Judgement” .Do you remember the first song the band ever wrote and worked on? How did the process develop until the finished song?
Yes of course! The first song ever to be made in Frantic Amber was “Bloodlust” and was also the first lyrics I wrote for the band. This was the track that Mary sent me to audition in the first place. I remember I was impressed by the musical skills so I was really nervous when I met her and the former bassist to show my work. The first edition of “Bloodlust” was mostly clean vocals with only a little bit of growl so Mary asked me if I could do it only with growl vocals instead and I was very doubtful at first! But I then went home to research growling and started experimenting with my voice and then “Bloodlust” became what it is today. I’m still continuing to develop my vocal technique and I’m proud to see that we are all evolving together as musicians, as friends and as a band. Since we became a full line-up the music now gets written faster than ever. Someone comes with a riff or an idea and then it gets worked on. Sometimes it’s even a full song. We all give each other feedback and continue to work with the track until we feels it’s done and then I get it to write the lyrics. I write from my own personal experiences, feelings, thoughts, themes and stuff that comes to my mind. – Therefore our songs are very close to my heart and on stage the feelings just wash me over! Once I’ve finished the lyrics I bring them to the band, do a fun mini performance and they give their feedback. So as you can see we all pitch in, we all give constructive feedback so we can get better. The track is officially done when we all are satisfied with the outcome!
Immediately in the first track (also the title track) it is clear that Frantic Amber is no “ordinary” metal phenomena. “I do what I want…..I make my own way…I will not change”. These are very self-empowering lyrics. As singer do you always feel this way when you get on stage and sing the lyrics? How would you like to affect those who listen to your music?
Off stage, no I don’t always feel that way but when I go on stage I become what I sing. I project the feelings I had when I wrote the song and I stand behind every word. I would like the listener to gain strength from “Wrath of Judgement” and understand that it’s ok to just be yourself. Growing up I had a hard time finding my place and I’m still all confused and young but I never want to be anyone else but rather get to know myself and discover who I am. I would like to inspire people to stop caring about what everybody else thinks and stop just doing whatever is expected of you. Be yourself and keep growing as a human being finding your own way in life.
On all tracks of the EP I must say that you manage to sound brutal yet also understandable! It is rare to find a brutal vocalist with such a clear diction, it is great to be able to hear and understand what is being sung. And you sing it with such passion! Did you have any musical training? Are there any particular exercises you do to keep your voice able to produce the sounds you need?
Thank you! That really means so much to me!! Well I have a history of music mostly in classical and jazz. When I lived back home in Denmark I was a part of the local music schools “talent-program” where I had piano as my major and the saxophone as my minor instrument. Later I also took some singing lessons but I continued to develop on my own. My growling is self taught though. I’ve been singing my whole life naturally just because I love it but when I got more into metal I started experimenting more with my voice and that’s where I found my growl. I still have fun finding new ways to sing and will probably never stop evolving my skills. To keep up my growl it’s important that I practise and keep getting stronger because it takes a lot of physical endurance and strength to use vocals like this. Support and correct placement of the voice box is crucial to not getting hurt. I enjoy to do Melissa Cross’s warm ups and making up my own stuff as I go along.
In “The Awakening” you sing “There’s something inside of me raging to get out” – what is it inside of you that drives you to sing and/or write the way that you do? Do you ever want to sing a nice gentle ballad about love and peace?
Sometimes there are just too many feelings going on inside of me and it really feels like they are raging and I don’t know where to place them or what to do about them. In “The Awakening” I describe them as a beast because it feels like it is clawing and ripping me apart. As you may guess these feelings are not of the positive kind but filled with rage, hatred and aggression. *laughs* Sure! I would love to sing a nice ballad, there are always two sides of a person and even I have a soft and nice little girl somewhere in there as well! Though I don’t know if it would suit with ballads about love and peace but that’s why I make a lot of music on my own as solo projects. I have a very broad spectre in music and like everything from classical to the hardest black metal! In my opinion there are two kinds of music: Good music and bad music, period! So for me it doesn’t matter which genre it is but rather how good it is!
The final song on the EP is “Doomed to Walk this Earth” which seems to be brimming with social and political comment. Would you like to take us through the rationale behind this song?
This song is based on the theme of war. It’s everywhere, has always been there and will probably continue to exist as long as humans roam this planet. I don’t know why is has to be like this and I don’t like that people get hurt and killed for stupid reasons as politics, money or power! Of course world peace would be nice but also very unrealistic so as I express in the lyrics of “Eternal War”, pointless bloodshed is always going to be here but that doesn’t mean that I like it!
As well as producing quality metal, your mission statement includes the vision of “building an army”. You certainly seemed to get lots of positive comments from your Russian gigs in your guestbook! How have listeners been responding to the music in general? What is the best way for fans to communicate with Frantic Amber?
We create music and want to share it with the world and hopefully inspire some along the way! We are all very grateful for all the loving support we’ve been getting and it really warms my heart when people come up to me after a show with big excited eyes expressing their appreciation. I think the best way would be to come to one of our concerts! – From home the fans can also find us on Facebook and MySpace.
Finally, what is the next stage for Frantic Amber? Now Russia is conquered, have you any plans on how to conquer the rest of the world?
Oh yes! We will continue on our path to world domination! *laughs* We plan to play live around Stockholm in April, record our next demo/EP in May and then see what happens during the summertime. We are all hungry for development and we intend to keep up our tempo! Hopefully there will soon be more international tours to come!
Thank you so much for talking to us at Femme Metal, Elizabeth, we wish Frantic Amber great success in their attempts at world domination!! Any last words?
You are very welcome and thank you!I would also like to thank all of our fans out there for the amazing support and I want each and every one of you to know that you are highly appreciated and I hope to see more new faces in the crowd! Stay metal!