As a matter of fact Dim Days of Dolores is a brand new issue coming from Norway based Sirenia one of the best bands. The new album brings some fresh moments that Sirenia has just needed. Of course, the most important detail is the change of the vocalist so now we have a new one Emmanuele Zoldan. There are some changes in the dynamics and the music as well, so we have spoken with Sirenia’s mastermind Veland Morten to unveil some secrets…
As a matter of fact Sirenia has a brand new record out Dim Days of Dolor so please could you present your latest album to our readers from your point of view?
Most of the album was recorded in my own studios, like we have done on the last 5 albums. We also recorded some parts in Sound Suite Studios in France, like we have done on every Sirenia album. I still write about a lot of the same things as before, however I try to renew myself from album to album in the way that I write the lyrics. After writing more than 100 songs over the years it gets harder and harder to find new things to write about. I have been writing a few songs about Norse mythology lately and that’s something that I did not write about in the past. We have done som remarkable changes with this new album. The most obvious difference if ofcourse the change of singer, Emmanuelle has added a new sound and touch to Sirenia’s music. The diversity is bigger than before, and I also think that the performance level has been raised a lot. Furthermore we have changed mixing and mastering engineer for this album. We have worked with Danish producer Jacob Hansen for the first time. I think that he has really perfected our sound and taken the band to new heights as well. Furthermore I also think that the song material is really strong and diverse, and there is some cool new elements on the album that have not been done in the past. I feel quite sure that the Sirenia fans will really appreciate this album as soon as they listen to it a few times.
Sirenia also has a new leading vocalist (Emmanuelle Zoltan) so could you tell us few words about her and present your new vocalist to fans of the band? In fact, she has a background as professional opera singer if I am correct.
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 strenghts as a singer.
Dim Days of Dolor sounds like a new beginning for Sirenia, not just because of the new vocalist, but also the style is a sort of different comparing to previous records, some would notice more modern, but actually there are lots of classic Sirenia’s moments as well.
Yes, I always work hard to try to renew myself from album to album, at the same time it is very important for me to still sound like Sirenia. So I try to balance out the two things in a best possible way, evolution and shilding our musical concept. I think there is a good portion of new elements on this album, and there should be a good amount of typical Sirenia stuff as well. I think that we have been able to raise the bar as far as the technical performances are concerned as well. So personally I think that we have grown a lot with this album, in many different ways.
New songs and a new record in all has quite dynamic songs , with catchy refrains, pieces and melodies that it’s easier to remember. So, I guess this is a new step for Sirenia.
Well, all of these things have always been important to me as a songwriter, but maybe we’ve been able to really take it to the next level with this album. This is always our intention though, and we got a lot of indications from fans and press that we have succeeded with that this time.
Let’s for a moment speak about the new songs. Do you have any personal favorite? I guess that some of the songs have become already quite a popular like Dim Days of Dolor or The 12th Hour.
I love all the songs on the album, I think that each and every one of them has really earned their place on the album. Naming just one favourite is quite difficult, but songs like Treasure n’ Treason, Goddess of the Sea and Dim Days of Dolor are certainly among the favourites. It seems as the fans really likes our two first singles, Dim Days and The 12th Hour. The video for the title track really got a lot of views in a very short period of time. During our European tour in November we also noticed the great response we got from Dim Days, it is a very energetic song that works very well live.
You’ve already done one video for The 12th Hour, one of the songs that has the most impact on the audience, so could you tell us something about the video concept done for the video?
We only did a lyric video for The 12th Hour. But I think it turned out really cool for just a lyric video though. I think it is a nice song to represent the album, because it has all of the typical Sirenia ingredients. My impression is also that the fans got into this song very quickly.
Could you tell us now something about the lyrical background that you have done for a brand new record? Could we say that Dim Days of Dolor has one concept story that follows each songs on the record?
All the songs on the album were written individually so there is no specific theme or concept behind them. 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.
Finally you are doing more shows and you are touring Europe. Do you think that you can start to have more shows with the band in the future and to have some larger tours and some more festivals shows in the future. Do you think that time has come for the band to become a leading one?
Yes, it feels great to finally be able to tour a lot again, after all the problems we went through the last three years. We just finished a European tour and we have lots of plans for next year already. In march we will make an extensive tour over Central and South America and in May we will most likely do our first North American tour ever, which we naturally look forward to a lot. The plan is to do another European tour in the autumn of 2017. We hope to do several festivals this summer as well, Metal Fest in Czech Republic just got confirmed.
Through all these years Sirenia has become quite a popular act and, in fact, the entire female fronted genre has become very popular, but your music is, at least, a bit different from others. But, never the less, how do you film since there are millions and millions just on YouTube on various Sirenia’s songs and videos?
Not sure if I have understood this question correctly though, but we have been working with several directors over the years. Some videoes werre shot in Belgrade with the company Icode, some in Gothenburg with Revolver. The last video we shot for Dim Days of Dolor were shot in Stockholm with director Owe Lingwall. All three companies are great and ahve produced cool videos for us, most of them got a nice amount of views on youtube. I think the song The path to Decay got the most views with more than 16.000.000 views, which is not bad at all, especially not for a metal band.
Since you have delivered so many records with Sirenia so far do you have any favorite album. It seems that each album has important role in your discography. First two albums were very important since you wanted to promote your new band, then later came some records with where you wanted to established and promote some new singers at that time…
I like all our albums, and I stand for them a hundred percent, maybe with exception of the previous one which I am not satisfied with the mix and some of the performances, no names mentioned. But I think that all albums represent Sirenia were we were musically at each given time period. It is interesting to see the evolution over the years, and looking back I find it quite amusing that we actually recorded 8 fullenght studio albums already. It is a lot of music, and a lot of hard work that went into all that. Personally I think that Dim Days of Dolor is our best work so far.
Could you recall the days with Tristania? Although that it has passed almost 20 years from now first two records, where you were quite involved, were very important for your later career. Could you recall the times and some memories where you were recording and releasing Widow’s Weeds and Beyond the Veil. Some would say that these two record has stood the test of time and have become a classics when it comes to Gothic Metal in general.
Yes, I still remember a lot from that period. It was a very exciting period of my life. We landed a record deal in 1997 and afterwards everything went very fast. Our popularity grew very fast and it was a great journey, we played many big festivals and experienced a lot in a short period of time. I still feel very proud of the work I did with Tristania, we were all very young at the time, but that did not hold us back in any way…
- Ansewrs by Morten Veland
- Interview by Marko Miranović