JOHAN ANDREASSEN (Amaranthe): “I would rather have a hate reaction than no reaction“
Ever since its beginnings, Amaranthe provoked interest. They were equally loved by metal fans and those who have nothing to do with metal. On the other hand, there is a same amount of people that dislike them. A lot.
During their performance in Budapest on November 15th, they shoved just how much their music is strong live and how colorful is their audience. The concert hall was packed full – there was everybody – metalheads, goths, older businessmen, retired people, party people… All of them together sung in unison and were even louder than the band that’s fronted by three vocalists.
On that day I made an interview with the band’s bass player Johan Andreassen who spoke openly about the music he performs, the fans and the haters.
Interview: Martina Šestić | firstname.lastname@example.org
VENIA: Hi, Johan! How are you feeling?
JOHAN: Quite fine, we’ve been to Swedish Embassy today having coffee with the ambassador which was really nice and unexpected. A very strange thing to do before the show. Went there for what we call in Sweden fika – coffee, cinnamon bun and a chat.
VENIA: You’re almost at the end with the tour. How did you like it so far?
JOHAN: Been really good. A lot of people coming. In many places it has been more people than we expected which was quite a big surprise. Seems like every tour we do gets bigger and better. And that is what we like to see.
VENIA: Were your plans for the tour interrupted when your vocalist, Jake E, decided to leave the band?
JOHAN: No, not really. We knew for quite some time that he would take some time off. It wasn’t a big news for us. On this tour we’ve been using Chris Adam from Smash Into Pieces. So for us it’s not a game change.
VENIA: Did you had this (Jake E leaving) in mind already when making arrangements for your current album? Because Elize is kind of in the spotlight, having almost the main role on the album.
JOHAN: Yeah, I think that has been just a natural development and Jake E, he has a lot of other stuff that he wants to try out – acting, producing other bands and so on. To me it’s nothing strange.
VENIA: And you will continue as a three vocal band in the future?
JOHAN: Oh, fuck yes! We can’t stop now. I mean, some people would be pissed off.
VENIA: That’s true.
JOHAN: That’s what I can say for sure. Even though Jake E can’t tour with us anymore, we’ll still keep on doing exactly the same thing we’ve always done – bringing killer shows because we are most of all a live band. Records are really good but you should experience us live and we’re gonna continue doing that live.
VENIA: That’s what I hear about Amaranthe – that you are above all a live band and that a live show is the best way to experience your music.
JOHAN: Yeah, because what you don’t hear on the albums is vibe that we want to send out and it’s why we want to invite everybody to a big ass house party.
VENIA: How challenging it is to prepare a show like yours? With many musicians on stage, many things going on…
JOHAN: First of all we have to make sure that we have a good crew taking care of everything. We don’t have to do much, only take care of our own warm up and that could be like our drummer Morten – some practise for a while. My warm up is mostly just the sound-check to see if everything feels good. I don’t see why I should warm up any more. I think that goes pretty much the same for all of the guitar players. Then Elize, she has some vocal stuff and it’s important for her to get in the song. Me and Erik we just fool around and drink beers, joke with everybody, be rude and yeah… 🙂
JOHAN: Yes, obnoxious bastards 🙂
VENIA: I have to ask you… The opinions on Amaranthe are very polarised. People either really love the band or really hate the band.
JOHAN: Yeah, I know. It’s fucking lovely. But honestly, too be able to piss so many people of, piss them so much that they hate you , then you must be doing something right. I would rather have a hate reaction than no reaction.
VENIA: That’s some good attitude. The opinions polarised even more when you put out the new song That Song.
JOHAN: Yeah, That Song. People are of course entitled to think, express their feelings, but all the things that have been written on our Facebook, people accusing us of being a sell-out saying “no, I don’t want to buy this album, they’re sell-outs”.
Than also people complaining about us leaving our metal ground. Well, here’s the fuckin’ news flash for you guys – we’ve never been a metal band. We’ve been a music band and we do music that is metal mixed with pop and electronic.
VENIA: This is a really nice ting to hear from you, especially when people keep pushing you under the metal label…
JOHAN: Here is the thing, it is not us as a band who put us under the label. It’s people. And if anyone tells me how to explain our music… to put us in a genre. I can’t do that because I can’t really find a fitting genre nor a good way to describe us so I don’t see how anyone else could do it either stating that we are not true to metal anymore. Well we’ve never been a metal band so what the fuck are you complaining about.
VENIA: But, on the other hand, it’s interesting to see how well you fit with other metal bands on tours and mainly metal festivals.
JOHAN: The thing is that we have a bit of everything in our music. There is always something for everyone to like. Clearly due to the success of our current album and big shows we started doing, that is the proof that we’re doing something right. I think that we are probably one of the up and coming bands right now that have the widest range of fans. Everything from 7-yearolds to 70-yearolds. And it could be people that never listen to metal and than sometimes at our shows you can see people with corpse paint, stuff like that. I fuckin’ love it. It’s great.
VENIA: What do you see as the best feature of your music? Or maybe of you latest album?
JOHAN: I think it is in all our albums it’s the fact that we are not afraid of trying new things and we don’t care if there is something that doesn’t sound Amarantheish, or when they say this is too much pop and this too much metal. We don’t give a shit. We do it if we think it sounds good. We don’t confine ourselves within boundaries. We sort of erased all the boundaries from the beginning and just go for what we feel like. Especially on this new album.
VENIA: You decided to end it a popish way – a bit tender and romantic with Elize’s beautiful performance of Endlessly.
JOHAN: Well, you know, sometimes the greatest party ends with a cuddle. It felt natural to us. And it was great song so we decided to leave it for the end.
VENIA: Do you have any special expectation of the Hungarian audience? Because this not your first time here.
JOHAN: Actually this is our fourth time and third headlining show. Since we decided to come back for the fourth time…
VENIA: Did you arrange meet and greet with your fans?
JOHAN: Yes we do. Through our fan club. You could sort of win to meet us at the shows.
VENIA: Do you like these kind of events?
JOHAN: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It very depends on… if you’re having a bad day… we’re not more than humans, some days you just want to get up, do the show and go back to the bus and just do nothing. And you have to put that social happy face. Could be tricky sometimes but it also reminds us that thanks to these events and our fans, they are the ones who make us do this. Thanks to those people we are able to this today. It’s because of that that you have to dig out the thankfulness and realize that people really like this and remind yourself why are we doing this and it’s the fans that give us that possibility.
VENIA: Do you maybe see yourself doing something outside the music business?
JOHAN: Yes, not that I’m gonna try it out now, but I always liked acting and actually I studied acting at a very low level but that is something that I would really love to try out more professionally.
If there would be for me any kind of possibility to do this in the future, I would take that chance straight away because that is also something that I like to do.
VENIA: And for the end, do you have any message for you Croatian fans?
JOHAN: Buy the albums, buy the t-shirts, book us to any show or festival and we will come there and fuck you guys up. In a good way! 🙂