First “gig trip” in a loong while. It’s a strange situation for me, as I’m used to being out there on a regular basis checking out bands all over the planet. This year, however, I’ve had to restrict it for financial reasons, as I’ve chosen to go on the Monsters of Rock Cruise 2016, which is a bit more costly than my usual trips.
So anyhow, Gus G is in Scandinavia. He’s playing Oslo, Norway tonight and then continues on to Stockholm the day after. Oh yeah – the headliners are Kamelot, and the other guest act is Kobra and the Lotus. But you know me – I’ve been following Gus G’s work for several years now, so it’s not like I’m giving up on that anytime soon.
First stop was in Rodovre, Denmark, at the venue “Viften”.
I heard that there was a sound check in progress, and it was a pretty nice day so I just decided to hang outside for a while until I saw a familiar face. People were walking in and out of the stage door so it probably wouldn’t be long until someone would show. I could have texted, but there’s no point doing that when it’s obvious that everybody’s busy.
A guy on a motorbike drove up to me and said hello in such a friendly way that I asked him if we knew eachother. “No, but I recognize you. You’ve been to all the Gus-shows I’ve been to, at Rockmässan and [some other place I don’t remember]”.
Apparently I’m becoming a familiar face to Gus-fans, I can’t imagine how that happened. ;)
He was an Ozzy-collector and had bought a guitar lesson with Gus.
– I don’t actually play guitar. But I thought maybe he can inspire me to start!
That was the best motivation ever.
The guy drove off, said he had to take a shower so that he was nice and fresh for the lesson, haha! I went to the parking lot behind the venue, was trying to pick up a better WiFi signal, when I saw a familiar character all dressed in black, with sunglasses and everything. There was Gus, on his way to do a few errands. Talk about perfect timing.
After the quick errand-round, back to the venue and the sound check. It was really nice to see everbody again, although I think I suffer from tunnel-vision sometimes. Almost tripped over bassist “Strutter” and didn’t see it was him until he said “Hello Daniela!”
On the stage there was Jo (Nunez, drums), Markus (tech, merch) and Henning (Basse, vocals). Jo came down to have a quick chat, and also introduced me to his old Nightrage-buddy Bill Hudson, who is on this tour playing guitar with Kobra and the Lotus. You might also have seen him with Circle II Circle, TSO, JOP…)
I do know who he is very well though. Being in that whole Savatage-family, you tend to recognize people, even if you haven’t actually talked to them before. But what I remember the most about Bill, has nothing to do with his playing.
It’s something from the MySpace days, where he wrote this very intense diary/journal thing (this was before the word “blog” was used) about a transformation in his life, where he decided to make a big change, from something very negative and destructive, to something positive and more fulfilling.
It was so well written and so straight from the heart that I still remember it all these years later.
I was just sitting there watching the preparations and the sound check of Gus and Kobra and the Lotus, when I felt the smell of food. Catering-time for the bands. That’s usually my personal signal to get the hell out. If I’m not on the payroll, I have no business there when the bands are getting their dinner of the day. I rarely stick around for that – I did on the last tour, but then I was actually a part of the crew in a sense.
So I went outside. And I didn’t get back in until the doors opened for the public.
Kobra and the Lotus were first out. A very competent band, they know their craft, all the guys individually and collectively – and Kobra herself is a powerful front-woman. In all honesty, their music isn’t my cup of tea and it’s not what I personally would be listening to at home, but I did enjoy their performance and I think she is a genuine and charismatic band leader. Respect.
After a quick changeover, it was time for Gus G. It was cool to see that there had been some pretty big changes made in the setlist, which is awesome cause after seeing a zillion Gus-shows I know most of the little details and when they occur in the show. I couldn’t forsee anything this time and I loved it.
And the Belgian powerhouse Jo Nunez behind the drums has always impressed me, but the interesting thing is that he gets better every time. I remember when he first joined, he was a great drummer from the very beginning, but he was a talented boy who was pretty invisible behind his drumset. NOW – he’s this wild dude with the mohawk, SLAYING those drums with extreme, Swiss clockwork-precision! He’s absolutely amazing. :)
Gus himself has always impressed me. Watching his fingers during a solo can be almost hypnotic sometimes. I admire and have the highest respect for people who have practiced and sacrificed so much to become absolute wizards at what they do. Some of the stuff was new to me, haven’t heard it live before, so it was a treat to get to hear it “in action”.
After his show, I went outside again, and just sat in the cafe, they had pretty comfy fake-leather chairs. I was tired as f**k, had been up since 4 that morning and there was some personal crap going on that just made me feel a bit “off”. I met a few familiar faces, Maj-Louise and photographer John, but all in all I felt like I was in my own little “bubble” and not quite in a “party rock’n’roll” type of mood.
However, figured I’d stick around till Gus had finished his signing-session at the merch, take a few pics of that and then head back home to get some sleep before driving to Gothenburg the next day.
Gus came out, posed with some fans, signed some stuff and all that. I told him that I was leaving, said bye to Jo, and drove back home. Didn’t even say hello or anything to Markus in the merch, felt like a total ass, don’t know where my head was at.
And no, I didn’t see Kamelot – I heard them from outside. Never been my thing at all. They are a visually impressive live band to watch and everything is very professional and well executed, but it’s not my “thang”.
Got a few hours of sleep – then drove off with destination GOTHENBURG (Göteborg) the next morning.
I love driving, it’s the most relaxing thing there is (well… if you don’t count my roadrage outbursts…)
You get to listen to either good music REALLY loud without bothering anyone, you can sing your heart out, you can just let your mind wander – and you just see a road, heading to your destination. Always loved driving.
When I got to Gothenburg, it was around 1.30 PM, a beautiful, sunny day. There are only about 5 parking spaces right in front of the venue, so getting there early is the key. I got the BEST spot. :)
Took a little walk around the beautiful garden in the back.
Went back to see if there was anyone outside the buses that were parked on the side, but didn’t see anyone. A guy asked me if I could take a photo of him and Linnéa, the female voice in Kamelot. So I talked a bit with him. He was on sick leave and was in what they call “work training” here in Sweden. His income per month was a little over 1000 Swedish krona. I thought he was just bullshitting me, this is Sweden, you can’t live off of that. That’s not even enough for a month’s worth of food?
He said he has been living on pasta – without anything on it, gruel and crispbread. His friends and parents have helped him with money. Crazy, I didn’t think that was possible. He so wanted to see the show, he was a big Kamelot-fan and collector, but since it cost more than he could afford to even get to Gothenburg from where he lived, he couldn’t buy a ticket. I was so pleased to see that he got in anyway. Somebody must have put him on the guest list.
I offered him a Gus G poster cause I still had a few left from the last tour in the car. He asked if I had a few to spare for his friends, so I gave him a bunch and he was a happy camper when he got it all signed by the whole band. :)
Once again Gus showed up – on the parking lot (here we go again…!) and recognized my car. He’s been driven around Malmo in that very car when he was at Rockmässan a while ago. :D
So we went inside, another sound check thing going on.
I said I was perfectly fine hanging out somewhere where I could make myself invisible, while watching the preparations. And that’s the thing, I think that’s relaxing in a weird sort of way – watching the building of a stage, everbody running back and forth with amps, cables, a snare here, a cymbal there – lights, rolls of gaffer tape, backdrops… Just all the bits and pieces that need to be put together before a show can even take place.
I love that shit. Call me crazy but I’m perfectly content just watching that, like some people enjoy watching an ant-heap. I’m sure some were wondering who the hell “that chick over there” was or what my business was there in the first place. I just figure, if someone wants to know, they will ask. If not, it’s not my problem what anyone thinks. :)
While I was sitting there, one of the guys, in a red baseball cap and glasses, who was working with Kamelot, walks up to me and goes: “What, are we not friends anymore??”
I hadn’t even seen his face under that cap, so I said “I should know you, shouldn’t I?” because he kinda reminded me of a guy who used to work with Jon Oliva. I wasn’t sure though, cause it’s been a while, so I was waiting for him to say something, give me a hint.
He said something I didn’t hear and took off, then never came back. So, I’m still wondering if I either offended the guy or if he thought I was somebody else. :) When you see people outside of their original context, it sometimes takes a few moments to remember, and I’ve always sucked at it.
Also, being in your own corner works best for me. I’m not in anyone’s way. After all, it’s a workplace. If anyone has a few minutes to spare, they will come over and talk, but I’m not chasing anyone around in that environment.
Stage was done, sound check was done when doors opened. The first one I saw running towards the stage to get his front row spot, was the Kamelot fan that I had met outside earlier. I smiled to myself, I thought he deserved to get in, he was such a passionate fan. People like that should be treated well. :)
Shows commenced, like the evening before – same comments from me there. The crowds were great in Denmark and Sweden, ten points for that!
After Kamelot’s gig, everybody gathered at the merch stand again so I just hung out for a little while, feeling bummed that it was over ALREADY. I’m not used to just going home after one or two shows, I’m usually the one who has a whole TOUR planned ahead! So, getting in the car, driving back home after just 2 shows sucks. Was invited to come hang on the bus for a while before they left, but I had a long drive home in the middle of the night, so I left early. There will be other, better opportunities.
That was that. Well – things will look different next year. :)
QUOTES HEARD AFTER THE SHOW IN GOTHENBURG:
Fan to Gus G: “Man, you played GREAT!”
Gus: “Thanks. I’ve been practicing”
Fan to Henning Basse: “OMG! It’s you! Metalium! [does the Wayne’s World “we’re not worthy“-bow]
Henning [after a few seconds of being speechless]: “That’s embarrassing!”
Bang Your Head-weekend in Balingen, Germany, is over. It’s been two interesting days. Part one has been published in the Firewind-blog here.It’s not every day that you see Venom in the catering or Cronos walking around in his stage outfit in broad daylight (or have the dressing room across from the ladies room for that matter).
Swedish sleaze/glammers Crash Diet were like glued to their chairs in the backstage area all day on Friday. The only time they moved was when it started pissing down in the evening, and theyhad to move inside. After that, they didn’t move from the catering tent until god knows when. When I left after Venom on Friday night, they were still sitting there.
I forgot that Elize Ryd from Amaranthe was with Kamelot. She walked into the catering as well, right after Kamelot finished their set, being very particular with what was on the menu and what she could eat. :)Another piece of entertainment was seeing a few half-naked musicians both days when going to and from the ladies room (not my fault it was in the dressing room area, lol…!).
Some guys who were working at the indoors-stage were staying at the same hotel as Anett and me and one morning, at breakfast I heard them talking, in German (I can pick up on a lot of German as long as they don’t speak too fast or at the same time). One guy was somewhat upset about what had taken place the night before.
– I couldn’t believe it…! Four girls in the front row called EXODUS singer to come over, and when he went there, ALL FOUR of them FLASHED their tits in his face! What the fuck! This is a THRASH-concert, it’s not a fuckin’ STEEL PANTHER-show!
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a guy complain about chicks flashing their boobs, but this guy certainly didn’t like it, lol! :-)
I could enjoy listening to a “private show” on the stage right after Firewind, when Armored Saint‘s singer John Bush was warming up. Usually you hear singers warm up with scales, but he was singing at the top of his lungs, as if he was already on stage. Pretty cool. :)
Walked into the indoors arena on Friday afternoon, as they had signing sessions there during the day. Arch Enemy had a looooong line of fans standing in line to meet “Barbie of death” Angela Gossow and the guys.
Some fans were so taken by the situation that they just stood there like paralyzed staring at Angela and wouldn’t move. There were cameras and people everywhere. I left, couldn’t see much but could establish that the band was as popular off stage as onstage. :)
When Thin Lizzy hit the stage, it was raining again. The festivals this year have been haunted by bad weather. Ricky Warwick walked out on the runway, fearless of the rain and stated: Here’s the deal. YOU get wet – WE get wet! He stood by his word.
It was guitarist Damon Johnson‘s birthday that day and he looked like a happy kid in a candy store when looking out over the crowd. :-) Excellent show!
Went to the VIP tent after Thin Lizzy because the rain kept getting worse. But shortly after there was a loud bang and it was the beginning of Venom’s show. The rain was really pissing down at this point. When I came to the stage I was surprised – it was almost empty. I could easily walk to the front of the stage. There were fireworks and fire and god knows what else in Venom’s show but… the crowds were gone.
DAY 2. (Axxis, Primal Fear, Primordial, Sabaton, Gotthard, Pain)……….. coming up.
I sat down last night to write a summary of my year 2011. I was amazed to find how just one year, can feel like ten. 2011 has been a fantastic and memorable year for me.
I have travelled all over Europe, squeezing in a short visit to the States as well. I took the interviewing to a new level, by introducing video-interviews for this blog.
Speaking of the blog – it’s hard to believe that I launched it in February 2011, less than a year ago. Since then, it has established itself faster than I thought was possible.
Maybe because some readers who have followed me online since 1996 continued to follow my scribblings here, and it kind of went from there.
The past few months, I’ve ended up on Blabbermouth several times, which automatically drew a few thousand readers more than usual.
But, here’s how I remember my rockin’ year of 2011:
New Years Day 2011. I was browsing the web for info on gigs w. Gus G, who I had seen with Ozzy at Madison Square Garden in NYC a few weeks earlier. He totally blew me away. I found his MySpace-page and saw that Firewind had a gig in London only 7 days later.
FIREWIND in London – first gig of 2011
I found myself taking off to a rainy London a few days later, for the first gig of 2011. It was great, and also what started the Gus G/Ozzy/Firewind-galore of 2011, where I deliberately, and undeliberately, ended up seeing mentioned super-guitarist no less than 19 times… All of which could be followed in the separate blog Setting The World On Fire.
[Front row, Relentless Garage, London, UK – some blonde girl (=me), and a bunch of dark-haired guys…!]
TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) & JON OLIVA – no goMarch included a few concerts, but also a planned but missed one. I was supposed to go to Zurich to see the TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra)-gig because Jon Oliva was going to be a part of that tour, and as JOP (Jon Oliva’s Pain) hadn’t toured since the fall 2010, I wanted to see him. Was curious to see the US-phenomenon TSO at the same time, on their first tour to Europe. Due to personal issues, Jon couldn’t make it and I decided not to go either – money spent on the flight ticket went down the drain, but shit happens.
BAD HABIT – the first video interview for In The Rearview Mirror
One of the best classic AOR-bands in Sweden, Bad Habit, announced a release-party and gig at Club Stairway To Heaven in Malmö. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since 1987, so I called the “band boss” Hal Marabel to set up a time for a video interview.
I’ve done TV-hosting, but video-interviews for the web was completely new to me.
My friend Henrik Hansson, former bassplayer of the band Hollywood, is good at filming and editing, so I asked him if he was in. He took it as a new challenge that he was happy to take on. Since this first “test-round” with Bad Habit, we have continued doing more and better video interviews throughout 2011.
Bad Habit kicked it all off, and they played a great gig that night, on the 11th of March 2011.
MEGADETH & SLAYER – Aarhus, Denmark
I took the day off to go to Aarhus, Denmark, a three hour long train-ride, to see Megadeth on March 21. Oh, headliners were Slayer, but I must be the only person on the planet who isn’t a huge fan of Slayer. I LOVED Megadeth’s performance, they kicked ass, had so much energy, it was just top notch. When Slayer went onstage I stayed for one song, then I had more than enough and went down to the train station to catch the night train back to work…REVIEW HERE.
MIKE TRAMP – I remember you (interview and release party at The Rock, Copenhagen)
Only a few days after the Megadeth-gig, it was time to head back to Denmark to meet Mike Tramp, former singer of White Lion. Before the interview, I had e-mailed a photo taken at the last interview I had done with him in The tivoli in Helsingborg, Sweden, a few years before.
Funny enough, he remembered me. So, he took time to do the video interview during sound check the day of his release party for his new album “Stand Your Ground” on the 24th of March.
He is a very easy guy to interview, talks a lot, is very open and easygoing, every journalist’s dream. He is also a skilled artist and frontman, definitely enjoyed the gig later that evening.Funny enough, I enjoyed the slightly “different” in-store gig that he did in a record store in central Copenhagen two days later, even more. More about that in the blog from that day: http://lita77777.posterous.com/in-store-gig-the-way-music-is-supposed-to-be
DORO – The Metal Queen visited Malmö
April was a pretty slow month by my standards. One of the highlights was Doro visiting Malmö on April 9, for an acclaimed concert at KB (Kulturbolaget).
Was also glad to see Chris, the merch guy, there. I first met him on tour with Jon Oliva, then with W.A.S.P and now with Doro. He was going out on the road with Arch Enemy as well but I never met him on that tour. Always nice to meet people you know, he’s a really cool guy.
There wasn’t enough time to set up an interview with Doro, but her record company and management were nice to deal with, so hopefully it can be arranged next time she comes to this part of the world. :-)
REVIEW & VIDEO HERE.
K.K Downing left Judas Priest
April was the month when one of the legends in the world of metal, announced that he was calling it quits. K.K Downing left Judas Priest under the most strange excuses and curcumstances. I got the news on Facebook April 20th… It was just two months before their Farewell tour was supposed to start, and I for one was shocked and pissed off all at the same time. The frustration didn’t go away until I actually saw Richie Faulkner on stage with Priest, and got a chance to ask him a thing or two at the press conference at Sweden Rock. But more about that later….
Matt LaPorte – guitarist of JOP, R.I.P……
Terrible news reached me on April 21st. A friend from the band (JOP) sent me a message so that I wouldn’t have to hear about it online. Matt LaPorte, guitarist with Jon Oliva’s Pain, and an important part of the “JOP-family” that I have so often described, had passed away in his sleep.Nobody knew at that point what had happened, his room-mate found him when he came home, nothing more was ever mentioned. It suppose that the details didn’t really matter, it was sad news. He was my age, a life ahead of him and a very talented musician.
But, something positive comes out of even the most tragic situations. A tribute-concert was held for him in July, which gave his friends and bandmates a chance to get together and remember…. R.I.P Matt.
Blogs about Matt: Matt 1 — Matt 2 — Matt 3
AMARANTHE – best debut of 2011
I was sent to interview this band in Gothenburg for Sweden Rock Magazine, but the article ended up being so short and isignificant in the mag, that I decided to give them the exposure they deserved elsewhere – on YouTube.
The first time I saw them was when I went to meet up with my friend Hanneke, light tech for JOP who was out with Kamelot (or possibly with the other act on the tour, Leave’s eyes) in Gothenburg. (Mentioned HERE)They played Trädgår’n and it’s one of the few times that an unknown opening act gets my attention. Amaranthe were amazing. I’ve never seen such perfectionism on a stage by a “debut band”. I didn’t know at the time that the members were anything but new in the business.
Henrik and I drove to Copenhagen and Amager Bio on May 15th, to talk to this kick-ass band (whose debut album had pretty much just been released. I wrote a very positive review in SRM, which guitarist Olof later on mentioned had helped a lot in the initial stage of promoting the band).
I predicted a very bright future for this band, and it turns out that I was right. In a very short time, they have definitely gotten a LOT of exposure for their deathmetal pop. 2011 was Amaranthe’s year and I’m really happy to see that they have done so well. Not only are they talented, they are also damn nice people, so – thumbs up and the best of luck in 2012 too guys!
ARTICLE AND VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE.
HELIX – Brian Vollmer talks about the ups and downs of stardom
My Canadian friend Sean e-mailed me one day and asked if I would be interested in doing an interview with Canadian band Helix. They had a few things going on, so I figured why not. Just like most rockers out there, I only associate the band with “Rock You” and “Heavy Metal Love”. As it turned out, there was a lot more than that to this band. It was published in this blog May 14th and can be found HERE.
JUNE was a crazy month. That’s when the ball REALLY started rolling. So, I’ll stop right here and continue this New Year’s blog 2011 with a part 2 – stick around! :-)
Camera guy Henrik and I went to Copenhagen a few days ago to hook up with AMARANTHE, the new Swedish/Danish band whose CD has been on repeat in my car stereo for two weeks now. I simply love their sound. I get a kick from the unique concept and from the very high quality of their work, all the way from musicianship to production.When they go onstage, you don’t only get one charismatic frontman, you get three. Well, two frontmen and one frontwoman. Seeing them on stage is like an explosion of energy – they all give everything they’ve got – and with all those different personalities, it works so damn well. Though time was very limited, I managed to catch them for a short chat. They had just finished their set and it was the last day of the tour.
JAKE E. – clean vocals (in this intervew “J“)
ELIZE RYD – female vocals (in this intervew “E“)
ANDY SOLVESTROM – growl
OLOF MÖRCK – guitars & keyboards (in this intervew “O“)
JOHAN ANDREASSEN – bass (in this intervew “J.A“)
MORTEN LOVE SORENSEN – drums
D: You’re new in this constellation but you’ve been in the business in other bands before. What’s your background?O: I’ve been playing with a band called Dragonland for the past 10 years. I’ve also been playing with Nightrage for 4-5 years and done a million other things. Collaborating with these two in other constallations. J: Yeah. I originate from Dreamland. Did albums with Dignity, guesting on Dragonland, Hammerfall, was part of Dream Evil for a short while and a lot of guest stuff… E: I’m educated in singing and dancing. Not exactly musical but it’s very similar, at a performing arts school in Gothenburg. So my plan was to work, in some way, in showbusiness. I worked two years as a cabaret artist in Gothenburg, and in 2003 I met these guys, Jake and Olof. I was guest vocalist on their album. D: Which one was that? J: The first Dreamland album.
E: That was before I started my education actually. My brothers played in metal bands.
It inspired me very much and there’s been metal in the house since I was 1 year old.
The singer of Falconer came to my school and asked the teachers if they knew someone who could sing on their album and so I auditioned for them. That was the first studio job as a professional.
D: What you do is pretty unique and different from other bands. How did that whole thing even happen? O: It was kind of a coincidence, because when Jake and I started working on the project, we had the idea of doing some kind of All Star-project together with some people from the music business in Gothenburg. Basically we were talking to people from In Flames, Hammerfall and Evergrey, and they really liked the stuff that we showed them. The idea was to do some kind of Gothenburg version of Avantasia, with Jake as the lead singer. The first we tried out was Elize and Andy and we got these different voices on one song. We sat down and listened to it – and we realized that this was something quite special and unique. The idea took off from there. We made Amaranthe a priority band instead of just a project. That was basically the beginning… J: It’s funny cause now we’re on tour with Evergrey, and Rikard Zander, their keyboard player, was on the project for quite a while. He actually played on Leave Everything Behind, the first demo we did. And now we’re on the same tour. It’s a pretty small world. D: So this is a band that’s gonna stick around for a while? You’re not just gonna do this and then go back to your other bands? J: Of course, we still have our other bands, but the main focus is Amaranthe. O: Yeah, it started as a side project but now it’s the main project. J: Andy, for example, is still with Within Y. So far it works. We’ve been doing this for about two years, and as long as everything is working out, we can still play with our other bands.
We love to play music – that’s why we’re in the business.
D: How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard you before? O: I think you came up with a pretty good term in your review from Sweden Rock Magazine, I think you called it deathmetal pop? I think that’s kind of funny… I mean, we don’t really see ourselves as some kind of pop band at all, but there are some influences from that kind of music. I just find the term quite funny because it’s sure to piss off a lot of people.
In the foundation there’s definitely melodic death metal, but then we just add a lot of melodic vocals and catchy choruses and stuff like that. There’s definitely a lot of inspiration from bands like Soilwork or In Flames but then on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, you’ve got… J: Joey Tempest! Haha! O: Yeah, Joey Tempest! I mean, anyone who can write a really good song… for me personally, I think that Amaranthe is a tribute to songwriting. We’re not in the business to impress some guitarist.
J: Yeah, some call us ABBAranthe. But ABBA has the most Top Ten singles on the American charts, so… We love them. They were the kings of making great choruses. E: For me they were the first big idols. I always wanted to be one of the ABBA girls. They inspired me to want to become a singer. D: You kind of stirred up a whole lot of emotions in the business. People can’t make out what you are, are you pop or are you death, then they end up hating you? J: We still consider ourselves a metal band. That’s what we are. We have our influences from a lot of stuff but mention one band today that doesn¨t have influences from other stuff. D: Has people’s attitude changed now that you’ve been out playing? Before you left, there was a lot of stuff being said on the internet… J: It’s still like that. People still think it’s either shit or the greatest thing. Me and Olof said that from the very beginning, that either you hate us – or you love us. There’s a thin line there. There’s a lot of people who really want to have an opinion just to have an opinion. I think that is cool.
O: As long as they have an opinion, they actually care. I was talking about this yesterday in a different interview… One thing that’s very important is that – people could be giving us some pretty fantastic reviews, and the comments would say the same if you went to our youtube videos but… For us it’s very divided, and that means that people who don’t like us, still care. That’s definitelty a big step up. You know that you started to matter. There have been some pretty extreme discussions on internet sites, like on Last FM for instance. There’s a lot of bitching back and forth. People have very strong opinions. I think we had over 2000 comments on Last FM in only a few weeks. People from the site basically had to tell people to shut the [beeep] up. “If you’re gonna continue this conversation, please start a forum for it”.
J: What I’m saying is that it’s so amazing to stir up that kind of emotions. It means that you’re affecting people. We’ve got our own hardcore fans. We love these fans and for everyone else that doesn’t like it… well, listen to something else!
E: What I’ve heard so far is that they hear us and… like my family for example, friends… they’re like “I don’t like the screaming…” whereas the metal fans are like: “we don’t like the chick“. “Can you remove her or remove the keyboards…?” But – that’s our thing! We are three different characters. Actually, most of them start to like it after a while. They say “I was a little bit sceptical in the beginning but now I love it”. I don’t think that you have to either like us or not like us. I think you can also start liking us – if you like music. D: But how do you handle stuff, I mean, I’ve seen some pretty degrading comments about you. How do you take that? E: In the beginning I cared a little bit but… Now I realize that there’s no point to care about it. J: But that’s like what we were talking about in our last interview as well [we met in Gothenburg a little while ago for another interview]… If this would have been our first album ever, and we had been 20 years old, and people said negative things about us, we would want to send an e-mail to these guys telling them to shut the fuck up. But now, we’ve all done like 10 CD’s each and you just don’t care as much. Like the comment I told you about last time, “Kill the guy with the dreads – other than that it’s a great band“. You know, I don’t care.
O: At the end of the day, I think that the negative voices are always gonna be there. If you look at the youtube video for Hunger for example, there’s like a 50% ratio of negative comments, people have very strong opinions. “Is this pop, is it mainstream?“, etcetera etcetera… But if you look at the staple measuring how many people actually liked it, there are maybe 2700 people whereas the dislike is maybe 150!
That means that everybody who didn’t like it actually commented on it, cause they feel so strongly about us – and to me that’s even more amazing than for us just getting straight A’s in every review. But on this tour, we’ve definitely been feeling the love from the audience. It’s quite amazing. Even in distant countries…. like for instance in Krakow, there was a phenomenal response in Krakow, they knew the songs, sang along… So, even if you had some negative comments, it’s quite mindblowing to see the response from the crowd.
E: (gets ready to leave) I have to go, I’m doing a show with Kamelot [Elize sings backing vocals for Kamelot as well]. The show starts in five minutes!
I just want to say before I go, that I really like our fans and I’m really happy about that. You need to be very open minded. Some people are like “we don’t recognize this style” or it doesn’t fit in this box or that box, But there has to be an opportunity to create new things and that’s what we wanted to do. That’s what we’ve done and our fans are open minded.
We love them! They’re awesome! D: You’ve been on tour for a while now – what are some of the highlights? J.A: I can’t pick out a specific moment, but the highlight has been the people on the tour. We’ve been getting along so good with everyone. No arguments, no nothing. Everybody’s been good friends. There haven’t been any problems at all. J: I also must say that… Evergrey have been touring around for 15 years and we shared the same bus with them. At first you’re thinking: “Okay, this is a big band“… You don’t know what to expect, but they treated us like we were in the same band. J.A: We’re equals. J: Yeah. On the bus, we’re the same guys, we shared the same catering, the same dressing room, everyone’s been great all the time. O: Obviously, we’ve been touring with Kamelot before, and they’re totally like brothers. The help and support that we’ve gotten from them on the last tour and this one has been just amazing. D: It’s gonna be really hard for you guys to go back to normality…. What are you going to be doing in a few days, Johan…? J.A: Well… I’m gonna go to work! I’m going to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, and I’m gonna get off work approximately at the same time as I used to get out of bed on the tour! So it’s gonna be quite a big changeover. So I’m probably gonna be totally fucked up for a week. J: For me and Olof it’s a bit better cause we can and we’re gonna sleep for a week probably! D: What are your plans for the rest of the year? J.A: Quick answer! World domination and Iron Maiden opening for us! That’s the first plan! O: The schedule is really full at the moment, for example, we just booked our first show in Japan, on the 1st of July, and we’re gonna play at Metaltown, Bloodstock and a lot of different festivals throughout the summer. And in the fall we will probably, most likely, do another European tour. We’re playing a lot of gigs in Finland as well. D: Headlining? J: Yeah. A few headline shows in Finland and probably around Sweden and Norway. And also, you’ll be the first ones to know that last week we were the 83rd most listened album on Spotify. Not in the metal category, but of all categories! J.A: We’re going for world domination! So Kenya, here we come! Yeah! Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris are gonna call us and say “Please can you let us open for you!“ J: Yeah, Bruce is always calling me. D: I’ll let you guys go, I know you’re dying to watch the hockey… J: Yeah, Sweden is gonna beat Finland! J.A: I know the current score! 1-0 to Sweden! Yeeeeeeeeeaah! We love Finland. [For the record – Sweden lost to Finland 1-6 in that game…..]
Here’s a band you should definitely check out: Amaranthe, a fairly new band that plays…. well, it’s kind of difficult to categorize what they do, maybe deathpop/technometal – or make up your own word for it.
I don’t think there is a typical category for this band and that is exactly what I love about them.
The first time I heard Amaranthe was when I went to Gothenburg last year to say hi to my friend Hanneke, the light tech, she was out on the Kamelot-tour. She was doing lights for Amaranthe as well that night, and I remember how I was standing there thinking “oh well, some opening act… Opening acts usually suck…”
But it didn’t take more than a few minutes before the band had my full attention.
I was blown away by Elize, she had one HELL of a voice, it could blow off the roof!
Very few people can sing like that live and hit every single note, crystal clear.
She was amazing, no doubt about it. I loved the unique concept of three vocalists that are total contrasts, yet it works perfectly.
[My highly illegal footage from that show ;P Maybe not the best song but the best clip qualitywise]
Jake’s clean vocals, Andy’s growl, and Elize’s strong clear voice, each and every one makes a perfect fit in every song… – needless to say, I was floored! The songs were great, the quality of the vocalists and the musicians was high, and they dared to bring something new and unique to the table.
After that, I went straight to their MySpace-page and added them (http://www.myspace.com/amaranthemetal ).Now – a year later, they just released their self titled debut album. That was only a few months ago – and it freaking ROCKS!
I went to Gothenburg to do an interview with the band for Sweden Rock Magazine not too long ago. Had a really good talk, damn nice guys – I probably would have stayed there a lot longer if it hadn’t been for the fact that my sister was there too and I didn’t want to bore her (she’s not a metalhead).
Got a great interview but the deadline for the article was the next day and what ended up in the mag was next to nothing, which was total bad luck, but it happens.
People love to hate this band, the old school metalheads have a hard time accepting this kind of crossover style, just the way everybody hated Van Halen’s “Jump” when it first came out. Today, it’s a classic. Somebody had to be first.I think it’s brave and damn cocky to do this and then handle the critics with a smile. Very cool in my book. *horns up* Amaranthe are now out on the road with Kamelot again, so if you’re out in Europe somewhere wondering if it’s worth checking out – it IS.
And hopefully, if it can be arranged, I’m hoping to do a video interview with the band, cause I think that their journey has only just begun. We’ll see what happens.
And now – check them out: