Hellzine n°7 | Interview with Sirenia

Here is the original written version of our interview with Morten Veland from Sirenia who talks about the last album of the band, « Dim Days Of Dolor ». The translated version is published in our 7th Hellzine.

Hello Morten, we are really happy to have this interview with you for our Hellzine. So, here are a few questions about the new Sirenia’s album. Thank you for your time. First of all, how do you feel today, a few days before the release of “Dim Days Of Dolor” ? I feel very excited. It’s an album that I am very satisfied with, I think that all the songs on the album brings something worthy and nice to the table. In the past there were usually a few details or things that I wish was a bit better, especially when I see it in retrospect. With Dim Days of Dolor it feels like we were really able to reach what we hoped for. I am really happy with all that everyone contributed with on this album, and I am very curious to see what the fans thinks of it.

Did you work on this album all by yourself as usual for the music and the lyrics ? Could you please sum up the album’s creation process ? I think that the approach and the song writing process was the same as before. I have developed my ways and my techniques over the years, and I keep on fine tuning them and perfecting them as I go. I have my own studio here in Norway were I spend a lot of time working on my ideas, and all the compositions takes form here. I love working in my own studio because it is a very relaxed way for me to work. There is no worries about time and booking and budgets and such things that we really need to take into consideration when we work elsewhere. I really like to take all the time I need working out the songs, making sure that I get everything as good as possible. I really do not want the time factor to influence my songs in a negative way.

You said about this album that you reached new heights and that it’s the most diverse Sirenia’s album so far. Is it important for you as an artist to always push the limits of creativity ? Yes, absolutely. To me it is an obligation and an obvious thing that I owe to myself and the Sirenia fans to give them great albums and not disappoint. I work extremely hard to try to develop myself as a songwriter and make better and better albums with the years.

Could you please tell a bit more about the lyrics and the themes you decided to explore on this album ? My lyrics were always leaning towards a dark and melancholic expression. I admit that over the years it has become harder and harder to find interesting subjects to write about. After writing way more than 100 songs I guess that is a thing most songwriters might feel along the way. I have been writing a few songs inspired by Norse mythology on the two last albums. But most songs are still about the darker sides of life and mankind in general.

What inspires you the most when you create music in general ? My life is my biggest source of inspiration. The Norwegian winter and landscapes are a huge inspiration too, and sometimes a book, movie or music can inspre too.

The artwork is really beautiful but also really dark. Can you tell us a bit more about the artist who made it, Gyula ? It’s your second collaboration, why did you choose him ? It was our record company who recommended him to us on the previous album. We really liked his work so we decided to continue working with him. I really love his work of art, it triggers loads of emotions in everyone who lays their eyes on his art. I think he is the perfect designer for Sirenia, he really creates something special and magic that reflects the feelings in our music so well.

How do you work with him in general, do you give him a carte blanche ? Usually I have an idea that I present to him. Then he adds his ideas and start creating from there. Further he sent me sketches of the artwork and we both get new ideas for details etc. along the way. In the end we always ends up with an artwork that we both feel very happy with.

Emmanuelle Zoldan is now the lead vocalist on this album, how did you choose her ? The choice fell on Emmanuelle because she is such a diverse singer. She can handle all kinds of tchniques and styles. We have worked with her for more than a decade, but mostly with her being a part of the choir. I have always been a fan of her voice. I always loved her voice and felt sure that she would do a great job and fit well into the band. And as expected the recordings turned out fantastic, it was also a great learning experience for the both of us. So I feel sure that we will even improve our cooperation even more in the years to come. She added a lot of diversity to the album, she is making great variation with her singing which is a huge step forward for us. I am already excited about writing new material for Emmanuelle’s voice, now that I have learned even more about her strengths as a singer.

On another hand, you’re on the Metal scene for 20 years now, how do you feel when you think about those 20 years ? How I feel? I feel old. Haha… Yeah, it is hard to believe that it has been 20 years already. I wonder where all those years went, because my career feels way shorter. I have experinced a lot of ups and downs throughout those years. Most of the downs are forgotten and the ups cherished with all my heart.

You’re now on tour as headliner with Tyr and other bands. Is it still exciting to go on tour after 20 years ? Yes, going on tour is always exciting. Simply because every tour is different and you never really know what to expect. I love travelling and meeting new musicians and fans. Touring is a very special thing that everyone in the world should have experienced at least once in their life.

Also, you’ll play in Belgium in a little club called de Verlichte Geest. Do you prefer intimate shows or huge festivals ? I love both. It is two completely different experiences, both with their unique qualities. I find it really cool to get close up to the fans and connect with them like you can only do in those intimate clubs. And of course I love to play huge festivals with a great audience, big stage, lots of lights and just the whole magic of a big festival carries with it. It is a cool thing with so many metal fans in one place.

Do you already have things planned after the tour ? Yes, after the tour we have more touring planned. We really want to start touring a lot more now. In the past three years we had some problems that did hold us back as a band and we were not able to tour as much as we wanted. Now we are finally able to tour a lot again.

Do you have a few words for your Belgian fans to finish this interview ? Cheers to all our Belgian fans. Hope to see you along the road. Love you all !

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