Amalthea – beautiful warm sounds in the cold Swedish woods
Amalthea worked on their record ‘In the Woods’ for the last two years . Finally it sees the light of day at the end of January. The album is big step forward and combines everything in between post-metal, post-rock and a bit of laid back music such as folk and relaxed jazz. The four guys in the band Simon, Erik, Per and Jeremias were eager enough to question my answers!
How’s life in Sweden in 2014?
Erik: Life in Sweden is interesting enough with the upcoming government elections and the scary uprise of the nationalistic/racist party SD (Swedish Democrats) gaining more and more foothold and keeping on growing. It’s gonna be a thriller this September come the elections.
Per: We have had a bourgeoise majority in the government for almost 8 years now and that has taken its toll on the Swedish welfare. In September we’ll see if Sweden will have a left-majority government again, other than that Gothenburg, which we all live in, is a small city but with lots of culture and music to sink your teeth into. A lot of good artist/bands actually stop by in Sweden even though it’s not a big spot on the world-map so it will probably be a good year here in Sweden for music at least.
Can you tell me a bit of history of Amalthea as you are new to our mostly Dutch audience? I am especially interested in the last years of the existence of the band…
Simon: Well we are actually celebrating our 10-year-anniversary together as a band.
Per: We started in 2004 as a screamo-band playing music inspired by bands like Yaphet Kotto, Orchid and Yage. We later started adding more post-rock elements to our music. After our first album in 2005 we had moved further towards a more post-metal sound which you can hear on our last EP in 2011. The last years were really a big step for us as a band. It started when we were booked for a tour which later got cancelled so we decided to go into a studio we found, which was in the middle of the woods of Småland, without any written material and see what would happen.
Simon: Turned out something happened!
Erik: I guess spending a week in the studio we went to, which was an isolated place in a forest, made it easier to just reflect and get consumed by the music. The only distraction was the studio dog.
Per: So at this time, at the end of 2011, was when we started something which resulted in the new album.
The reason that we still play together after ten years is that we are all enjoying playing music together without any predefined idea of what we should do.
When I was listening to your old work this week, there’s such a difference with the new work. When did you realize you want to play different music? Were you done with the old style and wanted to do something new or was it a sort of evolution?
Simon: We’ll we just got together over a coffee and said “hey, let’s do this style now”…haha… Well not really, along with us getting new experiences and getting to new places in our lives it’s reflected in the music we make. The reason that we still play together after ten years is that we are all enjoying playing music together without any predefined idea of what we should do.
Jeremias: We don’t really feel that we are going for any particular genre, scene or think of our music in relation to any expectations other than our own.
Per: I guess we just do what we feel comfortable with at the moment and blend musical elements to create something that sounds good to us and we are really flattered that people appreciate what we do.
On the EP “The World Ends with You” there is a riff used in ‘Skuggorna’ that sounds so much like Cult of Luna, especially when the vocals start to begin. Did you got comments and is it the reason the new album has a more own sound…?
Erik: well we haven’t got any comments about that, I mean we all like Cult of Luna so maybe that got through more on that song.
Simon: You often hear parts of songs from various bands that might remind you of some other band, everybody gets influences and I guess it’s a compliment to bands you like and inspire you. But it’s not something we have thought of.
Per: So in other words it hasn’t affected the process of writing the new album.
The new album is so diverse while everything also fits together. Are you proud of the result?
Jeremias: No comment…haha…no but seriously we are really proud of how it turned out.
Erik: We have put in a lot of time, thought and heart in the work towards finishing this record and the efforts everybody put into this is something we are all proud of even if it wouldn’t have made it to a release.
What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
Per: It varies but right now it’s “Rust” for me, the part in the middle of the song which is changes between a soft almost jazzy feel and a harsher heavier bit is something I really like.
Erik: I would say “Rain”, because it really reminds me of the time in the studio in the middle of nowhere, the early hours when recording with morning rain falling outside.
Jeremias: For me it’s “End”. I like the feeling and atmosphere of that song.
Simon: I like all of the songs very much but if I had to choose only one to be ever be written it would have to be “Rain”.
What do you want to achieve with the band now the new record is there?
Simon: Touring in some new places and meet new people. And get more chances to spend time with the guys at Moment of Collapse!
Per: Yeah and hopefully reach new people with our music.
Jeremias: And also tour some familiar places again.
There were no lyrics included when I did the review. Can you tell me something about them?
Per: Well they are all surrounding the title of the album in concept and using metaphors of the woods and the feeling of that first studio-time for the album. They are also much more personal this time around and deal with experiences from us and thoughts on our world.
We play in any scene as long as we feel comfortable in it and share the same values.
You worked with Moment of Collapse records again. How is the cooperation?
Per: We have known Basti and Jens from Moment of Collapse even before they started the label since we toured with them some years ago. We became good friends and are happy to work with them.
I asked the following question to other Moment of Collapse bands, so I hope you can give me also an original answer: if you were allowed to kidnap the guys of Moment of Collapse where are you going to hide them?
Simon: In my bed!
Per: Yeah I guess we all could hide out in Simon’s bed and keep warm cozy.
If you look to Amalthea as a band, which scenes are you part of and do you feel comfortable in these? Or you don’t care and just make music…
Erik: Simple answer is: we don’t think much about that and make music.
Jeremias: We play in any scene as long as we feel comfortable in it and share the same values.
2013 is over, what was your favorite album and show?
Simon: “Like Clockwork” by Queens of the Stone Age and Hunt‘s releaseparty in Gothenburg
Per: I agree with Simon, “Like Clockwork” and I think The Knife at Way Out West Festival was the best show.
Jeremias: The National – Trouble will find me and Bruce Springsteen in Stockholm.
Erik: Also The National – trouble will find me and best show was Horisont at truckstop Alaska in Gothenburg.
Future plans? Tours (hopefully you will visit the Netherlands)
Erik: Well, we are planning a tour.
Per: Yeah, there are plans for touring in the summer.
Simon: We have also started writing some new material.
Per: We will try to make it to the Netherlands.
SWNK: Thank you for your time guys!