Hello Morten! Well, let’s start this interview with some more details and info about the newest issue “The 13th Floor“.
“The 13th Floor“ is Sirenia’s 4th full-length which was released in January 2009. The album was mostly recorded in my own studio here in Norway. We did some additional recordings in Sound suite studio in Morsel where we recorded choirs, violins and acoustic guitars but the rest was recorded in my studio. We also went to Denmark where we mixed and mastered the album together with Tue Madsen who also mixed and mastered our previous album “Nine Destinies and aa Downfall“. The album has 9 songs on it for jewel-case version and there is also limited edition of the album and there will be 3 extra bonus tracks. One of the bonus tracks is edited version of our opening track “A Path to Decay“ and the other versions are two instrumental tracks with choirs in a way from songs called “Winterborn 77“ and the other one “Mind Maelstrom“.
You dropped some lines on your website where you have added that new album is a kind of retrospective release.
Yeah, what I really wanted to achieve with “The 13th Floor“ was that I really wanted to write one album which will reflected what we have done with Sirenia so far and also to bring in some elements and things different from what we have done before. What I mean with this is that some of songs from new album have strong reference what we have done on our debut “At Sixes and Sevens“, there is some material which have parallels of what we were doing on our 2nd album “An Elixir for Existence“ and some of material could remind listeners of what we were doing on our previous full-length “Nine Destinies and a Downfall“. That’s what I wanted to do this time. To make an album that will reflect Sirenia’s musical career up to date in edition to bring up some new elements and of course, which is important, from time to time, to always to perfect my way of writing songs, trying to improve my performance, to deliver better to better productions from album to album.
Of course, one question is about your new female vocalist Ailyn. Also, were there any other changes in the band?
Yes, Ailyn is our new female vocalist. She joined the band in April 2008 and she is 26 years old. She is coming from Granada, from south of Spain. She has long experience with music. She is singing for many years. She has some musical education. She has been involved in many other musical projects over the years and singing all kinds of styles in the past although she has been focusing on more metal and rock oriented music on last 3-4 years. She was our choice among 500 singers this time. We spent 6-7 months just finding a replacement. We listened carefully to all the demos that we got, we read all biographies and stuff like that and we really wanted to take our time and make sure that we make a right choice for Sirenia and I absolutely feel, still to this date, that we did a correct choice and we are really happy with Ailyn.
There was also one video-clip filmed for the opening track “A Path to Decay“.
We recorded the video in Gothenburg in Sweden with producent Patrick who has been working with bands like In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and many, many others and he is really professional and experienced producer and it was a nice experience for us to work with him. I think that the video turned out to be very cool, it’s quite an original video and I can’t think of any other video that looks the same. We’re looking forward to share the video with our fans and I really hope that they will like it as well.
As a matter of fact, you filmed both of your previous videos here in the city where I live, in Belgrade, Serbia. Why did you chose this time to make video somewhere else?
We are really happy with the result that we have with our first two videos in Serbia and I really hope that I will come back to Serbia one day and maybe make another video. This time our record company though that it’s a good idea to work with Patrick to get another kind of videos, to try something new and different. Patrick is also very famous video producer. His videos achieve a lot of publicity. He is nominated for 4 Swedish Grammies this year and stuff like that. He’s always coming up with really original videos and he has strong name in the scene and everything. He had also idea to try something different this time but I would like to come back in Serbia also and work with iCODE and other guy as well. That was also a really cool experience for us.
Who pays for this, sometimes indeed expensive, making of videos, record company (Nuclear Blast) or the band itself?
Well, you can say it’s paid by record company but in the end it’s paid by the artist of selling CDs.
Who did the cover artwork for “The 13th Floor” and what kind of emotions you wanted to express this time with the cover?
The cover artwork was done by Jan Yrlund and usually when we start to wok together with artwork designer usually we ship them all the lyrics and send them songs. Also, we explain them little bit of what we like to seen in the artwork. We, of course, send them our previous artworks, to see what we have done in the past, what we like and after that the idea is mostly left up to artwork designer. He can read our lyrics and try to understand our feeling there and he can also listen to the songs and everything else. Of course, the album title also plays a big role. And after that he tries to make cover which express all these lyrics and songs and the feelings that go through. He does his work and then, of course, some emails go back and forth he does some corrections and we tell him what we really like, what we would like to change and so on. And finally we end up with cover that we really like and also that designer is happy with.
Do you have any favorite songs from new album?
Usually when I wrote the songs for new album I ended up with around 14 tracks and I picked nine songs that I though was the best for the album. So, I really like each track, its like 9 favorite tracks from almost 14 songs so it’s really hard from me to have any favorite. I really like them all and working really hard on very song to make them little bit different from each others but, of course, to let all of them to have top quality, So, I like every composition on the issue.
There’s a song “Sirens of the Seven Seas“, the closing one, which is completely male vocal-based track. It’s indeed cool, so are you going to write few others in this way?
Yes, I really like the song, too. It’s kind of nostalgic track because I think that this song could fit perfectly on “At Sixes and Sevens“ album. It’s pretty much in the same style but with new modern and fresher production. The song itself, reminds me on what we have been doing in the beginning of Sirenia. That was a plan with this album, to have some songs that were kind of retrospective and some tracks that are more into new kind of direction. And when it comes to songs with male vocals, I am writing really a lot of material and I am sure that I have enough of material to release one whole album with male vocals only if I want to, but right now Sirenia is my priority I am also writing a lot of other stuff and I am sure some of this other stuff I will release as solo project in the future and also maybe writing some songs for other artists as well.
As a matter of fact, you’ve cancelled your previous tour due to some problems with your previous vocalist. Do you have any plans now for some gigs or even a complete tour?
We are working on that at the moment, looking for some possibilities. The album is already out so after the release we really want to go out and touring, have concerts, promote the album. We are really looking forward to play the new material live but right now there’s nothing confirmed and everybody could be informed through of official website as soon as tour dates come.
So far, you’ve released 4 full-lengths with Sirenia, two for Napalm records and two for Nuclear Blast. Which was the most important album for Sirenia?
We don’t have so many albums, we have 3 full-lengths and “The 13th Floor“ is our 4th album. I think that “At Sixes and Sevens“ was very important album, it was our debut album and it was the beginning of Sirenia. If you would think about popularity, “Nine Destinies and a Downfall“ was the most popular album and I think that my favorite record is “The 13th Floor“. I think that this album really takes Sirenia to the next level and I am really looking forward to have this album out to see what the fans are thinking about it. I hope we will play a lot of concerts and tour around the world and we are really motivated to go on tour and really vigor to play out there and present these new songs and see what the audience thinks about them.
You are for a quite long time in the music industry. Can you live from your music or do you still have ordinary day-job?
I have been living from music around 3 years back from now, from all music together. Having Sirenia, of course, I have my back catalogue with Tristania, I am running my own studio, and I am also working on solo-project and also began to write songs for other artists and stuff like that. So, I have many things going on and everything together makes possible for me to live out from the music.
- Answery by Morten
- Interview by Marko Miranovic