AMARANTHE (2013 - English version) - Jake E (vocals)

While going to see Amaranthe live in Lyon during their Nexus of the Nemesis tour, why not doin an interview with Jake E to know a bit more the behind the scenes of the band. Are you ready to what that friendly guy told us?

Your first album ‘Amaranthe’ was released two years ago and was a big success. Did you expect all these good feedbacks, or more, when you started the adventure?

Not really. We started this project as a project because I and the guitar player Olof are playing in others bands. I was in Dreamland and he was in Dragonland, two power metal bands which were sharing the same rehearsal place, so we were hanging out together and one day at my place we were sitting down and playing with the guitars and we were like, well just try a song together. After one or two songs we thought about may be starting a project were we should involve friends from In Flames, Hammerfall, Evergrey etc because you know, Gothenburg is a really small town and we’ve been playing music for fifteen years now.
So we started it, we had a some guys in the band who were into it but the first guy we had on tape was Rikard Sanders from Evergrey and Peter Iwers from In Flames, and then we had Andy with some growls on one song. I was meant I should sing more or less than everything, and we must have guest for guitars, some vocals part here and there. Then Elize put her voice too. And we just realized that we must do a band.
We put the songs on myspace and we got a record deal and still there we were thinking this is a project, even if it was a band. And to answer to your question, we had no anticipation about what’s gonna happen. We were like “ok, we got a deal with a great record company, let’s try to see if it’s sticks on the wall”

So what are the differences between the other bands you were in: Dreamland, Dragonland. How can you explain that difference and the success you got with Amaranthe?

The difference is that we are playing with bands for years and you do a lot of mistakes: you sign the wrong contract, you meet the wrong people, you do business like it not supposed to be done and stuff like that. So for Amaranthe we had in mind what we’ve done before and we tried not to do these mistakes again. And I think that’s the biggest difference. When we get the first deal, if it was ten years ago we signed it, but we threw it away waiting for the next one. And now we can survive with our own music and that’s the only thing we do compared than playing on Friday and Saturday on local pubs in Gothenburg like other bands; or maybe two or three times a year going to London and play a show, or Holland.
But I’ve also been doing on the road for ten years, as a technician for bands or guitar tech. I’ve been touring around with In Flames, Beyoncé, Guns and Roses, a lot of bands. I already knew the life on road and I can tell you it’s ten times more fun to do it with your own band.

Recently your first single “Hunger” gets gold in Sweden. How’s the feeling?

It was amazing. You know in a band you have different tasks that are up to you, and in Sweden I’m the guy who’s in contact with the label, with Universal Music, our label there. They had to tell me the single was gold three weeks before the band knew about it. Because we needed to cooperate. They needed the singles from because they didn’t had some left, so I had to give them some you know, to make that gold frame. So the hardest thing was first to realize that it was real, and realize that it became a business situation, because I was not really happy yet till that point. And I had to hide that feeling not to make the other guys understand that something was happening. I had to suppress it (ndlr: that feeling) for three weeks and not tell them. So that was a weird feeling (laughs). And finally we got it in our hands, and that was a cool feeling. You know we were thinking about having gold albums hanging on our walls and somewhere in our head we were thinking it will never happen.

For the first album you are touring as opening act, and now, for the second album you’re touring as co-headliner with Stratovarius. Another big step forward.

It is! It’s a weird feeling you know. We started with Kamelot being the very first opener, we did Kamelot again being the second opener, we did Hammerfall being the third opener, and now we do this as headliner. And that’s also a weird feeling because we’re not so big in France. That’s the only country where we feel that we’re not so big as Stratovarius, otherwise it’s been fifty fifty. In Paris for example the crowd was fantastic. In Strasbourg in the other hand, they were listening. Of course Stratovarius is still a bigger band than us but you can see at most of the shows that half of the people bought tickets for us, and the other half bought tickets for Stratovarius. So it’s really cool. I really hope we continue to grow and to do it by our self by the end of the year. That’s pretty cool to just being a band for three years.

A few weeks ago you released the first single of your new album “The Nexus” and in about two or three weeks it reached 1.5 million views. That’s crazy!

It’s so funny how you can be speed blind, I mean you know when you’re driving fast in a car and then you slow down for ten minutes you think you’re stopped. The first day we only had 15.000 views. You have to write that I said that with a smile. You know, I’ve seen bigger bands having 15.000 views in two weeks. And then one night I look at it and we had 300.000 views on the video and I was like what’s happening?! And now we got 1.5 million views after a month or something. That’s also thanks to Patrik Ullaeus the director of the video who’s doing the screenplay. I’m working with him to give my vision because I wanna make the video in order to make you want to watch it again. Doesn’t matter if the song sucks, and I’m not saying that The Nexus sucks ‘coz I love that song, but I say that you see a video so amazing that you wanna see it again even if the song sucks. So you can turn the volume down and watch it and enjoy it again. I wanna create stuff that you wanna see again and listen again of course.
If you just record a video with the band standing with a white background, then you download the song, or buy it. So that’s why the views are there ‘coz people want to see the video again ‘coz they think it’s cool.

Another good thing for The Nexus album: you reached #1 in the Itunes metal charts in the USA, #4 in Finland, #6 in Sweden and #1 in Swedish rock charts…

Yes! And we are #1 in rock charts in Finland, #57 in rock charts in the USA, and #37 on HMV in Japan on the first week as well. That’s fantastic. In Sweden for example we’re now competing and beating bands like Iron Maiden which are #2. So we are beating our own idols, which is pretty cool.

Let’s talk properly about the new album right now. You got a lot of different kind or style of songs on the new album. Like “The Nexus” which is made to be a single, but you got some UFOs like “Razorblade” or “Electroheart” which are more like pop dance metal. And they remind me another Swedish band more dance oriented like E-Type.

Just take the song “Call out my name” on the first album. The song was actually written to have E-Type as a guest artist on it when we wrote it. And E-type is a friend of mine ‘coz I’ve been working with him. So we were discussing about it over, and over again, then we signed on Universal and we make something else. But we still have these influences and we made that song. For “Electroheart” I’ve been doing the vocal lines for the chorus or the verse. I’m not really a fan of that song to be honest ‘coz I think it crosses the boundaries a bit too much. It’s a bit too… over the edge for me. But the fans love it. And it’s really awesome that we have such a diverse fan base, seeing them waiting at the gates. And a girl that is listening to Britney Spears can listen to us and that’s the cool thing. But I think that also upset a lot of people.
“Call out my name” is a song that works so good live. We always play it before the encore. And the audience always jumps, it works everywhere; even in the USA it worked and I never thought about it.

You also got powerful songs like “Invincible” or “Stardust”…

That’s interesting ‘coz you said that “The Nexus” was made to be a single. In the beginning we were thinking about having “Invincible” as the first single because we were thinking that “The Nexus” was a bit too close to “Hunger”. But the record company told us that “The Nexus” is the single and they were right.

It could be the second one?

May be. It’s not gonna be the second one but…

So you already done the second one?

Yes. The video is done and everything is ready so.

Can we have the name?

No, it’s a secret (laughs)

So, how’s the writing process? I mean, you are three singers!

It’s usually I and Olof who work together and we send stuff to each other, or we seat down and sing melodies, writing some kind of lyrics. I’m usually recording the whole song even the growls even if it’s wrong. Elize is better on the growls than me. Then we just listen to it and try different things. After a while we got a way to work, and we’re like ok, that song we start with Elize, this song we start with me or with Andy. The good things are that we’re not doing songs in the rehearsal room, we’re doing that in the studio, I mean in our home studios. So if it doesn’t feet on the first verse with my voice we just move to the second verse. Everything is digital, so that takes one minute to do it. We just seat, and see what song’s best.

How about the lyrics. What is your inspiration?

I’m not the main writer when it comes to the final lyrics. But it’s always I and Olof. We’re throwing a ball between us to see the ideas of each others. For Amaranthe it’s like writing a book, ‘coz we have a storyline that we are following but it’s not a concept album ‘coz we’re not telling anyone what the songs are about but you can see in the videos that there is something with the storyline. And the videos are directly from the whole album. Like the videos from “Hunger” or “The Nexus” are not connected to the lyrics of the songs but from the meaning of the all album. It’s more like fiction. Of course you get inspired by life everyday but of course I’m inspired by TV and movies. And you can see it in the videos. It’s more like a Hollywood thing.
I really want to win some kind of video award, or being nominated for the best video somehow. We’ll see.

Any plans made after this tour?

After this tour we go home for four days, then we go to Russia for a couple of shows, then we go home. Then we were supposed to go to the USA, but we’ll stay at home for two weeks. Then we’ll fly to Japan, to China and back to Sweden doing some shows there. Then we got the summer festivals, probably a headline tour in the USA for two weeks, come back for the summer festivals. After the summer festivals we’re back to Japan again, USA again and Europe. We gonna do this touring circle till the end of the year.
And probably after the end of the year we will continue touring again. If you check the schedule of the last two years, we’re one of the most booked bands right now. We tour more than anyone else which is kinda cool.

Don’t you miss home sometimes?

Well I got a ring on my finger as you can see (laughs). Instead of going back to see my fiancée, I brought her to Paris for example for a couple of days or when we have some off days and stuff like that. Of course it’s hard sometimes and I miss her. But we’re doing it because we’re fighting for something we were fighting for our all life. Of course we cannot do it for ten years but we need to go one more step forward so we can secure our position in the business and we can slow down a little bit.

We reached the end of the interview. Thank you and feel free to conclude.

I want to say Hi! to the French fans. It’s been awesome to do these three shows in France even if we haven’t done the one today but I’m sure it’s gonna be awesome. We’re looking forward to come back on our own tour. And thank you !
Critique : Lionel
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