Melo death band AMPLIFIED MEMORY have just released their latest effort ‘Vas Hermeticum’. Dave caught up with lead vocalist Wolfgang and keyboardist Simon to talk about it.
Dave: Thanks for giving up your time to speak to us, how you doing today?
Wolfgang: We’re fine, thanks! We have a new album and the way there was very hard at times, so we are all quite relieved that it is finally out.
You’ve just released Vas Hermeticum, what can we expect from it?
Simon: The album is quite different from our debut “The Ever Spinning Wheel”. While still basically keeping our original melodic death metal sound, you can expect a lot more progressive stuff on the new album, some unusual, experimental ideas. This always involves the danger of putting off some of our listeners, who liked us for a different sound. But it’s what we wanted to do and what felt right for us. Hopefully people will appreciate the music for what it is.
You talk a lot about dreams and reminisces in your music. How did that concept come about?
Wolfgang: As the concept of our first album was rather diffuse, but orientated towards something like “origin of the universe and the human part in it”, we considered something more precise rather early in the songwriting process of the second album, maybe to make a clearer point as we grew in our identity as a band. We also thought about what was moving our minds and maybe the minds of other people in these times and how we could condense these things in a concept that can be elaborated on an album. What we were thinking about were maybe old but still important questions: What is reality? What are we as observers? And how can you tell apart reality from illusion, as dreams are a good example for the complexity of this problem?
How did the name Amplified Memory come about?
Wolfgang: We didn’t know much about what the band will be in its lyrical and musical attitude. For the musical thing we knew “melodic death metal, but the old stuff” and for lyrical things we were similarly unprecise and just thought about “maybe psychological or philosophical stuff”. So, for these diffuse visions our keyboarder (guitarist back then) Simon proposed the name “Amplified Memory” as it is somehow about forgetting and therefore the imperfection of straight conscious reality and different layers of it. Because we participated in an event back then and were forced to choose a name for that, we handed in this name, but said that we could change it afterwards if something better comes up. But actually, we got quite happy with that band name and kept it.
What was your song writing process like for the album?
Simon: Although it’s generally quite unusual, that the keyboardist of a metal band is the main songwriter and arranger, it has always been like that in AMPLIFIED MEMORY. I started writing the first song for “Vas Hermeticum” (which was “Into the Shelter of a Mind”) even before our first album was released. The other ones followed from time to time, until at the end of 2015 all songs were finished.
When I write the songs for AMPLIFIED MEMORY, I often start from a single riff idea or something I come up with when playing the piano. From there I add a second guitar, bass, a suggestion for the drums and of course the keyboard tracks. When everything’s arranged, I show it to the others and we discuss, if the song is fine like that or if something needs to be changed. Then Wolfgang or I write lyrics for the song. Sometimes we finalize those things in our rehearsal room, though I do all the writing at home. Chris, our lead guitar player, also contributed some of the riffs and soli for the album, which is an immense help and also good for the songwriting, since it brings other influences and styles into the songs, which I wouldn’t come up with otherwise.
What was the recording process like?
Simon: Exhausting of course, but it was also a lot of fun. We booked Dreamsound Studios in Munich for about 2 weeks and recorded everything in this time, except for keyboards, which I did at home. For me it was very stressful, because as the only guy, who has all the song details in my head, I had to be present in the studio every single day in those two weeks to watch over the process, while the others just had to come in to record their parts and could go home afterwards. But we had a wonderful time. And Konst, who recorded our music in the studio, is a great guy and so working with him was totally relaxed.
Wolfgang: It is a nice feeling to work together on the album the entire day, which is so different to the usual daily routine of everyone. It gets somehow synchronized in this recording cave of the studio. It was also very nice to watch the album grow. But to be fair, “romantic” feelings like this might vanish a bit if you are really nonstop in the studios like Simon was.
You take a lot of influence from melodic death but you’ve expanded it. how would you describe yourselves to people who haven’t heard of you?
Simon: Basically, we’ve always been playing with a lot of elements from Gothenburg melodic death metal, like Dark Tranquillity and early In Flames. But over the years my taste in music shifted more to progressive and black metal, so of course this style influenced my writing for “Vas Hermeticum” a lot. It still is kind of this melodeath from our first album “The Ever Spinning Wheel”, but there are so many other elements and ideas, that you usually wouldn’t find in this genre, which make it a bit experimental in some moments. It’s hard to describe. I would suggest to you that you just listen to a few songs and you will see, if you like it or not. The songs are all very different from each other, so it’s very probable that even if you don’t like some parts of the album, there will be something else on it you can enjoy.
Are you planning on taking the album out on tour? What can we expect from your live shows?
Simon: We don’t have any concerts coming up in the next time, but we are already searching for shows in 2018, so I guess you’ll see us on the road sometime in the near future. In our live shows we will of course play many songs of our new album, but also some old ones. You can expect a cool stage show, we’ve been practicing and preparing a lot for that.
What do you do outside of performing?
Simon: Most of us are students. Wolfgang studies psychology. Our guitar player Eley and I are both students of chemistry, so together with Wolfgang’s field of study, you may get an idea, where the album concept and our outfits come from. Chris is studying geography, our drummer Felix is studying computer linguistics, and our bass player Michi is working as a software consultant.
Who’s on your stereo currently?
Simon: Too much stuff. I rarely only listen to one band or artist. In the last few weeks I have been listening a lot to the new Leprous album “Malina” and to “Finisterre” by Der Weg einer Freiheit.
Wolfgang: Depends on the situation. The last Album I listened to was the recent Rapid album, and apart from that I listened to bands like Wintersun, Hypocrisy or any other stuff that comes around like 2Pac or maybe some psy-trance music.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us in the last nine years, in whatever way. We would be happy if you remain faithful to us. To everyone who discovered us recently (or maybe with this interview): Listen to our new album “Vas Hermeticum”. We hope you’ll like it!
You can order ‘Vas Hermeticum’ here: https://amplified-memory.bandcamp.com/album/vas-hermeticum
You can keep up to date with all things ‘Amplified Memory’ here: https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedmemory/