Former AMARANTHE, IN FLAMES Members Launch New Band CYHRA
March 12, 2017, a year ago
By Carl Begai
"Life is too short to wonder 'What would have happened if I'd done something else?'"
So says former Amaranthe vocalist Jake E., who announced back in February that he was leaving the band he co-founded in 2008 after nine years and four albums. His departure boiled down to being unhappy with Amaranthe's current musical direction, and following a great deal of soul searching Jake decided to call it quits in the interest of devoting his energy to family life and an assortment of projects. One such project became Cyhra, which began as a collaboration with an old friend and evolved into a band with a future.
"I formed Cyhra with a guitar hero of mine, Jesper Strömblad of In Flames," Jake begins. "Peter Iwers (bass) recently left In Flames and is also part of this, and on drums we have Alexander Landenberg from Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. The music is written straight from the heart and it's a lot of fun. It's an amazing feeling but it's also a little bit weird to start over."
"I think I had the idea of starting a new band for a long time," he continues, "but when you're in a band it's like being in a relationship. If it's bad you're thinking 'Things will get better...' but you get to a point where you have to move on. It was the Amaranthe fans that kept me from doing this earlier; playing the shows, meeting the fans afterwards and seeing how happy they are, I had a bad conscience about the situation. There is a sentimental value to it which is what prevented me from leaving earlier because without the fans I'd still be working at a bar. Without the fans I would be nothing."
Cyhra's origins are simple and pure, its foundation based on friendship and a shared drive to make music.
"Me and Jesper have been friends for many years," says Jake. "We're from the same city and I used to do pyrotechnics for In Flames way back in the day, so we became friends when we were on tour. At the end of 2015, beginning of 2016 we met at a bar and I told Jesper I was thinking about doing a solo album. He told me that he had also wanted to do a solo album and asked if I would sing on it. I suggested he play guitar on my solo album, and that's when Jesper had the idea that we should do something together."
"We started to write songs just for fun; no timeframe, no plans to release anything. Later in the year I mentioned to Alexander Landenberg that me and Jesper were working together and suggested he come in to play drums because I thought he really fit the project. A few months later we had four songs done and decided it wasn't just a project, that Cyhra would be a band. And then, out of the blue, Peter told us that he'd love to play bass on the new material (laughs). He decided to leave In Flames a short time later and that's when things came together. At that point we decided to look for a record label to make this band a reality."
Asked to describe Cyhra's sound to Amaranthe fans and worshippers of the Strömblad-era of In Flames, Jake doesn't mince words. Elements of both bands exist in Cyhra but this is a different animal entirely.
"You can immediately hear that Jesper is involved. It's not old In Flames or anything like that. The music is modern metal but you hear straight away that Jesper is a part of it; you hear his melodies and that's what makes working with him so interesting. It's like Slash.... you know directly that it's Slash playing when you hear him, and it's the same thing with Jesper. When it comes to Amaranthe fans hearing Cyhra, the hooklines, the melodies, the choruses that stick to your brain, that's how they'll know I'm a part of this. It's a combination of Jesper's style from old melodic In Flames and my vocal melodies. It's a good mixture. Our intention is that both Amaranthe fans and In Flames fans will at least have a listen to Cyhra and hopefully like what we're doing."
Looking back, Jake cites Amaranthe's first two albums (self-titled debut and The Nexus) as being "exactly what I wanted the band to sound like; a mix between those Soilwork-like guitars and melodic Bon Jovi-type vocals." It seems likely that Cyhra would follow a similar path given Jake left Amaranthe when those elements became stifled.
"In one way, yes," he agrees. "You can hear that Cyhra is metal but over the eight years that I was with Amaranthe, I became really inspired by bands like Bring Me The Horizon, 30 Seconds To Mars, SIXX:A.M. and bands like that. There are heavy guitars, heavy drums, heavy bass, but you also have a bit more of this melancholic feeling in some of the Cyhra songs. That's why I said the music sounds a bit more modern. As you get older you evolve as a songwriter and Cyhra is the result of that."
Once Cyhra's debut album is released (through Spinefarm/Universal) the next order of business will be touring, which Jake assures the fans will happen. This begs the question: will the band pull out an old Amaranthe or In Flames song as part of their live set?
"That's a really interesting question," Jake laughs. "I hadn't even thought about that doing that. I can't say yes or no, but it would definitely be fun. It would be really cool. I wonder how it would sound with me on an In Flames song.... maybe something like Bon Jovi singing Slayer (laughs)."www.cyhra.com