Founding member Morten Veland and Emmanuelle Zoldan talks about the bands new album released on the 11th of November 2016 by Napalm Records and will be touring North America the first time and as a headliner for 2017.
The current line up is now: Morten Veland (guitars and vocals), Jonathan A. Perez (drums) and Jan Erik Soltvedt (guitars).
Interview by Craig Newman
CN: Hi Emmanuelle, thanks for your time to answer questions for the new album and new tour. : First with Ailyn leaving the band on good terms. I am listening to the album; your vocals are a smooth transition for taking over for Ailyn vocals. Was that a concern recording the new album? That your vocal sounds like hers and to keep the bands consistent sound?
EZ: Well…I think you’re the first one to find similarities between my voice and Ailyn’s!! She’s a soprano and I’m a mezzo, for those reasons our voices are very different in the range, in the texture, and also in the way of using it technically… We both have our vocal signature and I’m absolutely not trying to sing like her; if it was the case it would be absolutely not interesting musically, trying to imitate someone else doesn’t bring nothing more to a band… The interest of a new collaboration is to find another sound… But, if you don’t hear it so easily, the reason may be because when I joined the band to record the album, this one album was already written for Ailyn’s voice, who has a higher range than mine, so I had to adapt for this album, that’s maybe why your ear wants absolutely to hear Ailyn in the songs. The next songs will be composed for my range, so the contrast surely will be more evident.
CN: Did you have to audition to be the new singer though you have sang backup for the band? Though you did some lead vocals for the bands EP Sirenian Shores, singing a cover version of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘‘First we take Manhattan’’. So there was no need to audition for the band and did the band audition other female singers?
EZ: Yes I recorded lead vocals on « First we take Manhattan » some years ago, but I also have sung the female choir parts since 2004. Morten knew well my vocal capacities, for having worked with me many times, and for having heard my lead vocals’ job on other metal albums like “Trail of Tears”, “Turisa”. He just asked me naturally to join the band.
CN: When did the band starting writing new songs and start recording?
MV: Writing new songs is an ever ongoing process for me. Some of the songs on this new album was Already in the works before our previous album The Seventh Life Path was released. But I guess that we spent around 2 years more or less on writing the songs, this is more or less the amount of time we spend for every album. The first recording sessions for this album began in May at Sound Suite Studios in France; afterwards we continued the recordings in my own studios in Norway. And the mixing and mastering was done in Hansen Studios in Denmark in September.
CN: Who decided on the album title and what does it mean?
MV: I decided on the album title, I always try to come up with a title that represents the the songmaterial in a best possible way. By just reading the album title I want the listeners to already get an idea of what the album will sound like. I never liked explaining or reviewing my own work that always felt very wrong for me to do. I always thought it is the listener’s task to review and make up their mind about the words and the music.
CN: How many songs were written for the album and did the group decided which ones to be on the album?
MV: I don’t remember how many songs were written for the album, I always write a lot of songs and sometimes it can be difficult to pick the right ones. I did my best to pick songs that were strong and I wanted to have songs with individual expressions so that the album would turn out very diverse and interesting.
CN: The artwork by Gyula Havancsák, is saying the dead is burring the dead?
EZ: I think everyone can have his own interpretation of Artworks in general; it’s Art and Art has not one and only one way of interpreting (and that what is interesting!). Art speaks the soul and every soul has a different language. Everyone, with his own sensibility, imagination, can read something different. My personal interpretation is those four skeletons are burring an ideal of beauty and youth that is fading away.
CN: The recording sessions in Sound Suite Studios in Marseille, France then back in Norway to continue the recordings. Why not do both at one location or was the band also needing to relax while working on the new songs?
MV: We have found out that it works very well for us to use different studios for the recording sessions. I find it very convenient to make recordings in my own studio. It is very relaxing and no stress, no time limits and no big costs attached to it. However there is some things that is better to record in other studios, so it came natural for us to do some recordings in France too. When it comes to mixing and mastering we have been working with a lot of different studios over the years, and that has been an interesting thing also. It also has given our albums different sounds, so it seems it has been a way to change and renew our sound too.
CN: The violins played live or from a synthesizer?
EZ: The violins are programmed
MV: Yes, on this album the violins have been programmed.
CN: About all the songs on this album are mainly about Norwegian myths, folklore, battles, power, reflections on life, death, love, hate, paranoia, anxiety, mental decline in general and relationships? Like the songs: “Treasure N’ Treason”, “Elusive Sun” and “Veil Of Winter”?
MV: In the last years I have been writing some songs about Norse mythology. Usually when I start writing a song it feels very natural for me to focus on the darker aspects of life and mankind, it tends to combine very well with the atmosphere in my music. But I find it necessary to renew myself and also find new subjects to write about. At this point I have written hundreds of songs and I find it harder and harder to find new subjects that I can relate to.
CN: Is Goddess of The Sea about a pirate queen or mermaid or ruler of the ocean life?
MV: The song is about the goddess Ran from Norse mythology.
CN: What is Dim Days of Dolor about and why the album title?
MV: All the songs on the album were written individually so tit is no concept album in any way. My lyrics were always leaning towards a dark and melancholic expression though, so there is a red thread throughout the album though. With way more than hundred songs under my belt by now I admit it gets harder and harder to find subjects to write about in order to renew myself. I have written a couple of songs with references to Norse mythology lately. I always was very fascinated by mytology, especially Norse and Greek. When it comes to the album title, I always try to find a title that represents the album in a best possible way. I want the listeners to get a feeling of what the album is about by just looking at the artwork and reading the title.
CN: The band finished shooting a video that song with producer Owe Lingwal? When should that be done?
EZ: The video was released in November (8th)
CN: The 12th Hour is on those who are active when it’s dark and stay out the light like nocturnal animals, bats and Vampires? And looking for prey and companionship?
MV: I never liked reviewing or explaining my work, I always felt that would ruin the magic of the songs. It is much better to leave that up to the listeners so they can make up their minds about the songs and interpret them in their own way.
CN: “Aeon’s Embrace” the last track on the that brings that slows the pulse of energetic songs on the album is about relationship that didn’t work and a couple devoted to each other?
EZ: In my opinion the song is about a deep sadness felt because of a lost love, and the death that comes to end this suffering
CN: What song or songs the band really enjoys performing live and the fans response to keep performing?
EZ: During the European tour, with the set list we had, I noticed that the fans love to hear some ancient titles like “Meridian” (from the first Sirenia Album), the most popular songs like “Path To Decay” or
“The Other Side”, songs they sing with us during the show, but also the new songs from the new album. Dim day of Dolor. For example is a catchy song they seem to be happy to hear live.
CN: For the new tour, which the band has shows for November for Europe How many songs from the new album will be performed and which other songs will not be performed from the previous albums?
EZ: The set list for the European tour was made with a great variety of Sirenia’s songs, from the very beginning of the band, to the last album. We played 3 songs from the new album: “Dim Days Of Dolor”, “Ashes to Ashes” and “Goddess Of The Sea”. Of course it’s impossible to play all the song in one show, because of the timing, so we have to choose. There is some songs, too high for my Mezzo range, like « seven widows weep » for example, that we don’t play.
CN: There will be more shows next year for Europe, Asia, Latin America and plans for the United States?
EZ: Yes, it seems that 2017 will be a great year of touring for us, South and North America are concerned, we are really happy and excited of that!
CN: The album is energetic and captivating as the other albums and new chapter for the band. Thanks for your time
EZ: Thank you!