Interview with Olof Mörck


Only less that two weeks left to the anticipated release of Amaranthes new record ‘’Helix’’, I got to do this very awesome interview with guitarist and songwriter Olof Mörck! We talked about a lot of things, of course including the new album, the process of writing, changing singers and management! Read his answers down below!


‘’How are you doing so close to the release date of ‘’Helix’’?’’

Olof: ‘’Well, it’s a very exciting time to say the least. Especially considered that a lot of the songs were already written last year. It’s a very, very long waiting game, first to record them and then we wait more till the release date. It’s been ten months that we’ve been living with these songs and no one has heard them. So the exciting part is coming now, seeing the reactions and reviews that people write about ‘’Helix’’.’’


‘’I already got to listen to the album and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.’’

Olof: ‘’Cool! It’s a little bit different than last time. It’s slightly heavier than ‘’Maximalism.’’

 ‘’I agree on that, there seems to be more power/passion/fire on it. So what else is new on this album, obviously Nils is, did he change anything in the writing and/or recording process?’’

Olof: ‘’Nils is a different kind of singer than Jake, and obviously working with someone that has other influences than us is going to have its effect on our compositions. Nils didn’t necessarily compose or write any of the songs, but he was still very much part of the process. I sent Nils a lot of ideas that we were working on, because I know that he is an excellent songwriter, and then he gave me his feedback on the vocals. I think in general you get inspired when you get new band members, which also happened in 2014’s ‘’Massive Addictive’’ when Henrik joined. Back then it had influence on the writing as well. The recording process did change, because Nils was really, really quick in the studio. We are all used to taking quite a bit longer time, but he was super enthusiastic, he knew all his parts and was ready to start.’’

‘’I really like Nils’s voice on the album. If course I liked Jake too, but somehow I feel like Nils just belongs in (the current) Amaranthe.’’

Olof: ‘’It is comparing apples to oranges. Of course Jake’s vocals were a vital part of Amaranthes sound, the band was mostly formed around him (and me). I think when we started to look for a new singer after Jake left, we wanted somebody who was in the same direction, but has its own personality, his own kind of voice. When I first listened I thought ‘’Wow, this is different’’, then I gave it some time, listened a bit more and came to the conclusion that it sounded even more Amaranthe than what I’ve hoped for. His voice really fits perfectly.’’


‘’It’s hard to explain that feeling, but it definitely sounds even more Amaranthe!’’

Olof: ‘’Exactly! It is what the core of Amaranthe should sound like and he really fits into that context. That is also why we never really considered another singer, because as soon as we heard him in Dynazty we realised that. It was a really easy choice.’’

‘’So if Nils didn’t write or compose any of the songs, who did?’’

Olof: ‘’For a while it has just been me and Elize. Previously I only worked with the two singers separately, and then we fit both of their ideas in one song. So when Jake left there was a different dynamic, and before that he had some really different ideas. Where me and Elize were still pretty much on the same page, Jake had somewhat evolved when it came to the songwriting, the sound and the general direction. So when Elize and me started writing for ‘’Helix’’, we not only noticed that we work perfectly together, but there was no friction at all (but friction can create amazing ideas too). There was no one who held us back in that, and I think that is why ‘’Helix’’ became a bit more of a coherent album.’’


‘’How did you came up with the album name, ‘’Helix’’?’’

Olof: ‘’Well, I think especially with the two latest albums we’ve had very distinct and obvious titles, you could not misinterpret it. But with this album we wanted that both in the lyrics and in the album in general was a little bit more mysterious. It is a title that can mean different things, I would say that part of my definition is that a helix is a spiral, it’s part of the DNA sequence, so I think that it is us trying to represent the core, the DNA, of Amaranthe. Because the last couple of albums were a bit more experimental, I would say that this is not only back to the roots but taking those roots to the next level.’’

‘’What is your favourite song of ‘’Helix’’?’’

Olof: ‘’It kind of depends on my mood. But as a proud parent, I’d say the song ‘’Helix’’. Because it represents what Amaranthe is and always has been about. It’s a heavy song, not necessarily as happy and uptempo as some other Amaranthe songs, but all the elements are there. Actually, it’s the song that I listened to quite a lot myself, and that usually doesn’t happen that much, haha.’’


‘’Wait, you never listen to your own music?’’

Olof: ‘’I do occasionally but you spend so much time with this music that you sometimes become a little bit tired of it. Some I’ve heard for over thousand, if not more, times. You play them at every live show, so some songs you hear hundred days in a row. Obviously listening and playing the songs is different but if you love what you write, you will enjoy it more later on as well. Lately I’ve been running a lot and it turns out ‘’Helix’’ is perfect for that.’’

 ‘’So, the track GG6 is a bit more experimental towards the rap genre, how did you came up with this song?’’

Olof: ‘’Well I think this is interesting, because you are one of the first people to point that out! Henrik has a lot of potential and ability when it comes to using this voice. The growls they used to be really straightforward and predictable, but when Henrik joined in 2014 for ‘’Massive Addictive’’ we wrote a bit more interesting lines for him, with a bit more groove in it, and that developed on ‘’Maximalism’’ . So for ‘’Helix’’, Henrik and me really wanted to take it to the next level because why not? I wrote all the compositions and lyrics and to be honest, it was one of the more fun things to do on this album! Like you said, it’s typical rap lyrics, in the sense that this song is only about how badass he his as a growler, compared to the rest of the album that has a bit more psychological and personal undertones. It’s humoristic, a bit of comic relief on the album if you will. We listened to a lot of hip hop to figure out their patterns, and it was a lot of fun to put those patterns into the Amaranthe context. It is a bit different but it is still recognisable as Amaranthe.’’

‘’It is a very original idea, you don’t hear that a lot in metal and you just went for it. It sets Amaranthe apart, once more.’’

Olof: ‘’Once more indeed! Yeah, it is fun, and nobody else has done it before.’’


‘’Rap is a big part of pop music as well, and for as Amaranthe is pop metal, to me rap is a logical step.’’

Olof: ‘’Exactly! There are also rap elements in ‘’Dream’’ which starts out as a semi-ballad, but when the growls come in they somewhat give it that rap element. But obviously when you growl the raps, it is no longer hip hop. If he wouldn’t growl it it would stand out a lot more (and maybe even upset some fans), but I’d say we created something quite new.’’


‘’Amaranthe is very innovative and new, instead of putting in the same elements in the songs over and over, especially with the electronic parts.’’

Olof: ‘’Interesting you point that out as well, usually typical metalheads don’t understand that in that kind of view, they might understand symphonic parts a lot better. But to produce these kinds of more ‘’pop keyboards’’ requires a LOT of effort, skill and knowledge and I had to sort of learn that the brutal way. Because on the first two albums I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but I figured out a lot by just listening, adjusting and tweaking. After ‘’Massive Addictive’’ I started to study it a bit more, learning how to create the sounds, how to mix them and how to work them into the context of a song. To be honest, it created a lot of more respect on my side towards the pop music songwriters. Because it is easy to assume that one is just pressing a button, bringing in a pretty girl and let her sing over it, but it’s a lot of skill and effort that go into it.’’

‘’It is just made differently, but it doesn’t necessarily make it any less.’’

Olof: ‘’Yeah exactly! I think that it is that pop music can sometimes be a bit more shallow in the lyrics and video but still the craftsmanship that goes into the music itself is impressive.’’


We kind of just rambled on there how it does indeed set Amaranthe apart from the rest in metal. Olof compared it to be the weird kid in the class, where as I said it was the cool kid in the class. We agreed on it being both the weird kid but still cooler than anybody else.


‘’You recently announced Angela Gossow as Amaranthes new manager, how did that happen?’’

Olof: ‘’It was kind of a spontaneous thing really, I have known her for a few years and always looked up to her. Not only as a strong woman in the scene or a musician but also from the management side. Because in 2014 when Alissa became the new vocalist, Angela stepped down and actually became Arch Enemy’s manager and the band grew immensely from there. She really had a vision for it, had a plan and a strategy and so many contacts in the business. Angela knows how things should operate and she has a very ‘’German’’ approach to things. Everything is straight, direct and effective and that is exactly what we needed after we broke with our old management. Basically it went down like this: I got off the phone with Angela and she said she is ready to take on new challenges, because Arch Enemy is already a well oiled machine, so I called Elize, we had a phone meeting and Angela already started to make plans. We sat down at Wacken for a small meeting and after a few hours and it was clear that we share the same vision. Since then, we all call each other multiple times a day and sending hundreds of emails back and forth, things are finally working the way they should. It’s extremely exciting!’’

‘’So you got a new vocalist, a new concept and a new management, you’ve got a fresh start!’’

Olof: ‘’That was actually one of the ideas we got after ‘’Maximalism’’, because so many things changed since then. We really needed that fresh start to reinvent ourselves, instead of releasing just another album, we really went back to the roots to this time.’’


‘’It sounds so exciting, I am so happy for you guys!’’

Olof: ‘’Thank you very much!’’


‘’And now our famous last question: do you have any kind of life advice for us and our readers?’’

Olof: ’’Hmm… that is a very philosophical and interesting question! It’s not very often I get asked these things. Lately I have been reading a lot of ancient philosophy and I think that in our current, modern society, we’re getting a little bit lost in the sense that we think that speaking the truth doesn’t really matter, or to be faithful. These things seem to have taken the backseat in comparison to technology. So my advice is, come down, turn of your screen, try to speak the truth and be true to yourself. And that is a lot more difficult than you might think. I really believe that karma works, but not in a supernatural way. I think your actions really reflect back on you 100%. Basically, if you act like an asshole, people will act like assholes back to you. Just be nice!’’

‘’Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today!’’

Olof: ‘’Thank you very much for the interesting questions, Tamar. We’ll speak again soon!’’


Read the review about Amaranthes ‘’Helix’’ here!


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By Tamar