“SIRENIA” INTERVIEW by Andrea Bermúdez
Morten Veland singer, guitarist and composer of the Norwegian symphonic metal band Sirenia has the kindness to sit and talk with us in an exclusive interview while touring Latin America so far in 2017.
My name is Andrea Bermúdez, I represent cooltivarte.com from Montevideo, Uruguay and Metalheads Forever Magazine from Canada. First of all thank you for your time. In this tour Sirenia will you play in places you have not been before such as Uruguay? what are your expectations for this show?
We are really looking forward to it. It is always exciting to play in new places and especially new countries. So far we only had great experiences in Latin America, so we have great expectations for Uruguay as well, and we are all looking forward to it with great expectations.
Despite you are presenting a new album “Dim Days Of Dolor”, Uruguayan fans as fans all over the world want to know if in the set list you will include some older, more unknown songs, or classic songs of your previous albums?
There will be both old and new material for sure. And maybe a surprise or two as well. We will make a great performance for our Uruguayan fans for sure. We’ll give them all we got.
How your last album have been received by fans and critics all over the world?
We got a lot of great feedback for the new album. Everything we have heard so far has been a lot better than for the previous album. Personally I think that the band has made a lot of progress with ‘Dim days of dolor’, we have improved in a lot of ways. The sum of everything makes it a really strong album in my opinion.
Which is the song from “Dim Days of Dolor” that you think fans enjoy more during the shows, and which one you enjoy more playing?
It seems that the fans really loves the title track ‘Dim days of dolor’. It is a very energetic and catchy songs, so it works really well in concerts and it is also very fun to play it. Treasure n Treason is maybe my absolute favourite to play live.
How did the process of songwriting and recording of the new album take place?
Most of it 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 always. 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 some remarkable changes with this new album. The most obvious difference if of course 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.
You have to adapt and change the new songs for Emmanuelle Zoldan, how does it work for her?
We did a few changes on some of the songs, to adapt the melodies perfectly to Emmanuelle’s sound and voice, but most of the material is as it was originally written.
You are the producer of Sirenia albums, what are the pros and cons of doing so much of the work by yourself?
I always have a vision for my albums, a certain sound and expression that I want to achieve from time to time. I love producing and shaping the album and being a part of that whole process. I also love new challenges and producing an album will always put you to the test. The downside is all the responsibility on my shoulders, it can be quite stressful at times.
Which is your main inspiration at the time of composing music?
My life in general has always been my biggest source of inspiration, everything that makes an impression on me in any way can be an inspiration. The winter in Norway is also a great inspiration along with movies, books and music. Normally I always compose the music first and write the lyrics in the end of the process. I think that a lot of songwriters do it the other way around, but I have not found out over the years that this is the way that works best for me.
Gyula Havancsák once more was in charge of the cover art of a Sirenia´s album, in this case what was the main idea that you want to transmit with it?
I think that is for all the fans and listeners to figure out. I never liked explaining my own work, it does not make any sense to me.
If you have to describe to someone who never listened to Sirenia´s albums, how would you describe it?
I always found it hard to describe our sound and style, but I think we sounds like a mixture of more or less everything out there. hehe. My visions when I created Sirenia was to make music that was a mixture of everything that I liked myself, and my taste for music is very broad. So naturally that resulted in a very diverse sound, with elements from lots of different genres.
What differences and evolutions you notice since the beginning of the band?
I think we have become much better on a technical level, also our live performances have become better over the years. We all have many years of experience at this point, and this works to our
advantage I suppose.
You have done a Leonard Cohen cover in your Ep “Sirenian Shores” casually Emmanuelle collaborate in it. If you have the chance to make a cover of a band for a new album of which band do you want to do it?
I do not know right now. I am not a big fan of doing cover versions, I prefer to make my own music. To do a cover song I need to have a very special feeling about it, right now I do not feel like making any covers, but I might get an urge to do that in the future, who knows.
What are your favorites bands and in which way have they influenced you?
There’s way too many to mention, but these ones have been very important: The sisters of mercy, The fields of the nehilim, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Alice Cooper. They have all been an inspiration at some point in time.
Apart from Sirenia you have another personal project Mortemia, will be a Mortemia album soon?
I do not know. I have some new ideas for Mortemia, but I do not have a record deal at the moment. We will see what the future brings, but there are some possibilities that I might do another album when the time is right.
You started in music at the age of fifteen with Uzi Suicide, what are your memories of that time?
I do not remember to much anymore. I was a kid with some great hopes and expectations and dreams, pretty much like every other guy who sets out to be a musician. At this time I spent all my time practising my guitar, we rehearsed a lot with the band and played a few gigs every now and then. It was a very exciting period of my life, I think back at it with a lot of nostalgy.
When you are on tour which things do you miss more?
Would you like to add a message or words of advice?
Cheers to all our Uruguayan fans, see you in Montevideo soon. I wish you a great show in Uruguay!!! See you in Montevideo Music Box!!!
Thank you !! See you there.
Andrea Bermúdez / MHF