Swedish singer Elize Ryd definitely stands out as an artist. Not only with her band Amaranthe, who makes an energetic mix of pop and metal, but also with her beautiful voice, her stage performance, her make-up and clothing style, not being afraid to be different. She is also known for her guest appearances with Kamelot, Gus G. and Timo Tolkki’s Avalon and it were KISS and ABBA that inspired her at a young age wanting to become an artist. HeadBangers LifeStyle hooks up with a very enthusiastic Elize for a beauty and lifestyle profile, talking about fashion, make-up behaviour, hair problems, recycling, hard times, tour life, positivity and of course the new, fourth Amaranthe CD `Maximalism’.
(Photo credit: Patric Ullaeus)
Do you consider yourself a fashion and/or make-up junkie?
,,I am absolutely a fashion junkie! Since I was a little kid I always look at other people’s clothing. That’s also why I became a Kiss fan in the first place. I loved their extreme look. When I saw `ABBA: The Movie’ their clothing definitely caught my eye and it was one of the reasons I wanted to become an artist. Obviously on stage you could wear whatever you feel like and being extreme without being strange. Fashion is such an interesting world and clothing divides and connects people. I have done a musical and theatre education and clothing are very important to support a character. I always had the dream to design my own clothes, but I am still working on that. I want it to be perfect and since I am a perfectionist it will probably take forever [laughing]. Although, actually the dress I am wearing on the cover of our first record `Amaranthe’ I made myself because I didn’t have any stage clothing back then.’’
Do you follow the latest fashion trends?
,,Yes, I always follow the latest trends and I have a huge interest in fashion designers, but I go for a budget limit. So I try to find the same kind of look for a price that suits me. When I was still in school I always wore pretty extreme clothes and people were always making fun of me, making jokes by asking if I was on my way to a party. And yeah it almost looked if I was going to a party because I thought that every day could be a party. Instead of being grey I felt it was fun to stand out.’’
What do we mainly find in your wardrobe?
,,First of all dresses. I think I own like a thousand dresses. Shoes! I looooove shoes, they are my second favourite item. High heels of course. And jackets. I have so many jackets. I also have bought a lot of stage clothing over the years. Unfortunately it turns out a lot I don’t wear because I realised they are not so comfortable after all. Or I haven’t found the right shoes for it yet. Or the quality is not good enough and the fabric gets wrinkly when I put them in a suitcase so they are going to look like shit. I made that mistake once!’’
Is a good appearance important to you?
,,Yes, it is and I try to inspire the guys in the band but they are not so interested. They just want to wear a t-shirt and a pair of jeans [laughing]. But it’s okay. I respect that. In the beginning of my career when we played in small clubs it didn’t feel right to show up with extreme stage clothing. Nowadays I always bring two sets of outfits so I have a choice, depending on what kind of stage we are on. I also noticed the bigger the stage you play, the bigger you can go with clothing. And that is an amazing feeling! I am really looking forward to go even more extreme with my outfit in the future.’’
What would you not wear on stage?
,,A short skirt if the audience is very close and they are able to look under it. I don’t wear leather pants, although I like them, because it feels warm, very uncomfortable and it is hard to kick with my legs with them. Tight clothing hinders me. On stage I want to feel free when I move and since we travel so much I prefer to bring small items. Once I had a stylist but I didn’t feel happy with it. I decided to be my own stylist because I know what I like and what looks best on me. I recently discovered the website dmretro.com and found exactly what I was looking for: dresses, who are almost like a swimsuit, of lace with flower applications and a cape. Something I wouldn’t dare to wear five years ago but now they are my favourite.’’
Where do you buy most of your clothing?
,,I buy a lot on EBay. I also Google specific catchwords when I know what I want and search for it until I find it. That’s how I found dmretro.com. They have really cool things and they are perfect on stage. Ordering online really saves a lot of energy and it is so easy. A while ago the owner of Hebicorsets.com from London contacted me. This girl makes here own corsets and she is very talented. She made me a customised corset, which I now wear on tour.’’
Which make-up products do you use?
,,I use concealer of Sheer Cover Studio every day and I also use it as a foundation on stage. It is an online shop and the first brand that made mineral make-up. For me it is the best make-up I ever tried in my life, because it doesn’t make my skin condition bad. My skin is sensitive and thin, so if I use the wrong make-up products it gets either dry or very bad with pimples.
I never use powder, I don’t think it looks good because it makes my skin look very dry. My favourite blush is from Body Shop. I also find it very important to buy animal friendly and biological make-up products. My favourite eyebrow pen is from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I don’t use mascara that much, only sometimes when I go out. I have tried many, many different mascara’s but my number one is 2000 Calorie by Max Factor. On stage I prefer false eye lashes because there is not much water on a tour bus available to clean my face, so I just rip them off. I also don’t use lipstick that much because of the microphone. When I use lipstick it is from the brand Artdeco. I also use their nail polish. I barely, rarely, never use eye shadow actually, but I like to buy a lot of eye shadows in different colours because I believe I will use them. But when I use them it just makes me look like a clown. I don’t know what to match; the skin, the eyebrows or the hair? I am just not so good at it. If I use eye shadow I now go for natural, beige or light brown tones. I think that is what suits me best. Sometimes I us a little bit of glitter but I like to use as less make-up as possible. Mostly because I play 25 shows in 30 days and I don’t want to wear out my skin too much. I try to keep my skin fresh.’’
How do you deal with a make-up hangover after long tours, late nights and video and photo shoots?
,,I am very careful with cleaning my face. I’ll make sure I always clean my skin, even if it is late. I don’t use make-up between the tours so my skin can rest. I just use some concealer, an eyebrow pencil and a little bit of blush to make me look alive. I use a lot of hydrating masks and put on a facial cream before I go to sleep and let the skin rest. I can also recommend a deep skin cleaning.’’
Has your make-up behaviour changed over the years?
,,Yes! A lot! I was like a make-up freak and always put a lot of make-up on. And I had so much make-up, I didn’t even know when to stop. I also bought all these different shading, highlighting and contour powders. I now only use a little bit of that on stage. One of the reasons I use concealer is because I get very red in my face when I sing and I don’t want to look like a tomato on every photo [laughing]. I stopped using so much make-up on stage, because I get very sweaty during a 90-minute show. I just don’t like the way my make-up turns out during a show, like my eye make-up ending up on my cheekbones. Also because we tour so much I don’t want to spend too much time every night putting make-up on. Now it only takes me maximum 20 minutes to get myself ready for a show.’’
(Photo credit: Patric Ullaeus)
You have hair to die for. How do you keep it in a good condition?
,,Most hairdressers say you should stick to the same products but I believe as the weather changes, so does the hair and you should change hair products. But honestly, I use a small amount of shampoo, only in the tips of my hair. That is my best advise, because shampoo makes the hair dry. I treat the rest of my hair with conditioner, which means I use three times more conditioner than shampoo. I wash my hair not more than once a week and when my hair feels greasy I use dry shampoo. I also use a lot of Moroccanoil and `Structure Repair: Leave In Cream’ of Maria Nila, a Swedish brand, also organic. My tip is not to brush your hair, it will solve itself. So I just use my fingers to take out the tangles, because if I use a hairbrush it rips off my hair.’’
How do you deal with a bad hair day?
,,I use dry shampoo. I also started to wear a ponytail on stage because it gets so freaky warm during a show. It feels like having a fur on your back [laughing]. But also when I head bang and I am sweaty, my hair gets stuck on my face or in my clothes. Or even in one of the guitars. I have ripped off so much hair during shows in the past. Seeing a big piece of my hair hanging on the guitar. For me wearing a ponytail is the safest way.’’
Who is Elize Ryd on stage?
,,I am a very, very strong woman. A warrior who has no limits and no fear. I am just extremely confident and powerful.’’
How do you prepare for a show?
,,I try to save my energy by being extremely boring, sitting still, drinking coffee and not being too excited. I try to gain as much energy as I can and not wasting energy on anything. I only do a few puffing exercises to make sure that I am awake in my body and to prepare my brain for singing. I never warm up my vocal chords with sounds because I also believe that is a waste of energy. I have my own way of doing that, which maybe goes against all the official rules but it works for me. And if I can, I take a power nap for about 2 hours, although it is sometimes hard to fall asleep because of the noise around me.’’
What gives you the adrenaline rush and the satisfaction, being part of Amaranthe?
,,It is always the audience. As soon as I see them the adrenaline kicks in. And when I hear the intro of our show, because that music is very energetic. I always get excited to play live.’’
Who inspires you as an artist?
,,Freddie Mercury of Queen and Madonna. I love the way Madonna use here sexuality, she never seems to fail, she is extremely open, not afraid of being judged and therefor very inspiring for other women. Because my father loved AC/DC and KISS I learnt about KISS. ABBA was also my favourite band when I was a kid and I also listened a lot to Cher with my mother. I loved her clothing style too.’’
What is the new Amaranthe CD `Maximalism’ all about?
,,Since we already released three albums, we really questioned ourselves what we wanted to do with this new CD. We decided we wanted to be more clear with the genres, because that has been a big question for a lot of people. I mean, we have our own style obviously, which is a big mixture of different genres. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves so we brought some new elements into the music, like old rock influences. We wanted to make a more divers album and not being so obvious the way we share the vocals in the songs for instance. All the songs have a story to tell. It is a very positive album, and we hope this vibe will make people believe in good will. It is much easier to go through life and fight a bad situation if you stay positive. Positivity is what the enemy hurts the most. I believe our fans are open-minded and have the same taste as I do and therefor are going to like this album. When we were writing the songs, extremely negative things happened in the world. We were very down and that made us even more wanting to be positive, which is our way to fight those negative energies.’’
What are you most proud of what you have accomplished so far?
,,The way that I dare to be honest in the lyrics that we wrote. That I dare to also show my voice in a different perspective, something I haven’t been able to do before for different reasons. And that we as a band are brave enough to dare to be different, dare to stand out and dare to do so without following `normal roads’.
As a person I have always questioned myself `who am I’? Am I a metal girl, a musical artist or a businesswoman? It is always very hard because I have a lot of different personalities. With Amaranthe all of that gets represented. As a band we are very business minded. I am an entrepreneur and I have my own business. I am a singer and I like to perform. I love theatre and I like to make videos. I love clothing and make-up. But it is also very important to me to feel healthy and I know positive energy is good for your health. In the past I have been extremely depressed, negative about everything and I went through hard times. My brother passed away, which was extremely hard, but music helped me to get through this. The band was my most important way out because I could express myself and I felt I belong in the world we created as a band where we accept each other for who we are and our differences. Our fans seem to understand that and feel connected with us. With our stable fan base it feels like I have thousands of friends. I really love our fans. They are so cute, nice, cool, energetic and positive.’’
How do you like to spend your free time?
,,Actually I hate to have free time [laughing]. I get very nervous and very insecure because I don’t know what to do. I don’t know even how to spend the days. When we are on the road there is always so much happening, I get so much impressions, so when I am home I actually like to stay inside. Just watch TV, be on the Internet or social media. I like to walk around in my bathrobe not worrying about what to wear and be lazy. Take a hot bath, take care of my hair and doing facial masks, drink coffee and eating junk food, Swedish candy and ordering Thai food or something [laughing]. I also like to spend some time with my mom and her dogs. Also when you come home from a tour and take off your shoes it makes you realize you wear shoes all the time. I now appreciate to be able to walk around at home without shoes. I guess not a lot of people realize that.’’
Are you a sporty girl?
,,I work with a personal trainer but I don’t really like work outs because it is very painful. Though it makes you feel good afterwards. It always surprises me how good I can feel about something I hate so much.’’
(Photo credit: Lars Johnson)
How is your relationship with food?
,,I have a very bad immune system and I used to be very sick. I didn’t eat enough and I was very rough towards myself as a teenager. I believe because I used to have very negative thoughts in the past, I got myself sick all the time. My family is vegan. I never eat meat except maybe a small piece of local biological meat sometimes when I am home in Sweden. It is important to be aware of what you eat because things like sugar and meat can make you very sick. Also if you are clean from the inside, it shows on the outside, on your skin. I eat a lot of vitamins and I always bring my pots with my favourite dry frozen vegetables, fruit and berries in capsules on the road. They are from the organic and biological brand Juice Plus+. Extremely expensive but it is worth it. Now I don’t have to run around to fruit and veggie store when I travel. I also try to be nice to nature, by hardly eating meat and not poisoning the water with bad shampoo for instance. I think that is really important. I recycle my thrash, I buy good products as much as possible and try not to over consume.’’
Is your personal Instagram a realistic reflection of you and your life?
,,I try to be realistic and I always try to reflect the real me somehow. I keep it personal but to a certain limit. A selfie shot is usually quickly taken but I am very addicted to the filters and I have to use them because they are awesome. My band mates are bullying me sometimes with it, because yes it can take me a couple of hours, and I am not kidding, before I finally post that photo. I just can’t stop before I am a hundred per cent satisfied [laughing]. But there is a lot of hours waiting on tour so I can actually spend half a day or night on editing a picture.’’
What is your motto in life?
,,Try to be nice to other people. Be happy, spread happiness and stay positive. Enjoy life, try to focus on the good things and try to make changes. Try to enjoy being healthy and appreciate the small things in life. With Amaranthe I also want to inspire other women to join the metal scene. In some countries female musicians don’t get the same promotion as male musicians because they are women. I think that is extremely terrible. Therefor I try to support other female musicians as much as possible.’’
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Header photo credit: Nat Enemede Photography