Interview: Sirenia

In November, Sirenia released their latest album Dim Days Of Dolor. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen already reviewed it here, now he interviews Sirenia’s Morten Veland. Check it below!

Hi, how are you doing?

Hello, I am fine thanks.

My compliments on your new album Dim Days Of Dolor, I love it. You must be both proud and happy to have conjured up such a gem. Your previous release, The Seventh Life Path has not been received with undivided positivity, to which I could agree up to a certain extent. I was a bit weary choosing this one to review, but honesty commands me to say I was more than pleasantly surprised when I heard it. Dim Days… feels so much more alive, can you explain why that is and what caused it?

Thanks. Yes, we are very satisfied and pleased with how this new album turned out. In retrospect there were several things that I was not happy with on the previous album. The mix and mastering did not meet the standards that we hoped for. And the last 3 years has also been quite difficult for the band, I think that it shine through a bit on the previous album. With Dim Days of Dolor the good energy is back, Emmanuelle came into Sirenia and really lifted our spirits again. We also choose to work with a different mastering and mixing engineer this time. We went to Ribe in Denmark and work with Jacob Hansen. He helped us crafting the sound that we really wanted and really needed for the band. I think that these two changes are the main factors why this new album sounds so much better.

Obviously the split with Ailyn left you with a problem which was rapidly filled in a grand fashion by Emmanuelle. I personally think her voice is a way better fit to Sirenia’s music and considering she has done vocal work for Sirenia before the obvious question is how it can be you haven’t ‘discovered’ her earlier and why you only chose her now. Can you shed some light on that?

Yes, the last three years have been problematic for the band, there were several occasions when I actually considered putting an end to Sirenia. Ailyn’s health problems have held us back for years and the situation just got worse and worse. She did not want to leave the band and we did not want to dismiss her, we were hoping that things would get better, unfortunately it did not, on the contrary it just got worse and worse with time. During the summer of 2016 we were faced with two choices; finding a new singer or quitting the band. Me, Jonathan and Jan Erik decided it was a bit too soon to end it all, so we went for the other solution and found a new singer. Emmanuelle was the natural choice for us, we wanted an experienced, diverse and professional singer, and this is exactly what we got. I think Sirenia sounds better than ever both on the album and in concert. Now we are finally able to tour as much as we want again and this will really show in 2017 as we have more tours planned than ever.

Speaking of vocals, one of the things that struck me was the perfect match between Emmanuelle’s voice and the male parts on the album. The vocals are, in my opinion, the main focal point of the album. Is that just me, or is there some truth in this?

Yes, I think that both Emmanuelle’s voice and Joakim’s voice are perfect matches to Sirenia’s sound, and they fit very well together as well. Joakim has contributed on our last 3 albums and Emmanuelle has contributed on our last 7 albums, so both voices feels very familiar to the listeners.

The album title screams agony. Is there a reason to choose such a dark title?

I think there is a reason for everything. The album title really sums up what we have been through the last years.

What, if anything, is the story behind the songs and lyrics on Dim Days…?

I never liked going too much into details about my lyrics and titles, it feels wrong to interpretate my own work. I always preferred to leave that up to the listeners. But as usual I am dealing with the darker aspects of life.

This being your eighth full-length I can only imagine how hard it must be to conjure up something new time and time again. Who are the contributors to Dim Days… and what feeds his/her/their inspiration when it comes to composing new material for Sirenia?

Writing music comes very natural for me, but it is true that it is always a challenge to find the new way forward and create something that sounds new and refreshed at the same time as it sounds like typical Sirenia. I always try to balance that out in a best possible way. I have composed all the music and written all the lyrics as usual. Jan Erik has contributed with some ideas and constructive commenting on the songs, which has helped forming the album too. Furthermore Emmanuelle and Joakim helps adding a lot of atmosphere and feelings with their great vocals. Also the work of Jacob Hansen has really helped us taking things to the next level with this album. So the sum of all the contributors has helped making Dim Days of Dolor what it is.

You have just ended a tour. How did the fans react to, in no particular order, Emmanuelle and the new work?

Naturally all of us were very curious about that. But the fans really liked the new songs, I think that especially the title track Dim Days of Dolor got an awesome reaction from the crowd. Emmanuelle did a great job, and I think that she really grew a lot on this tour. It is normal that a new band member needs some shows in order to find his or her place on the stage and in the band. I feel that our new line up is very consolidated now and we are more ready to tour than ever. I am sure that all the fans that comes to see Sirenia live these days will get what they came for.

What are your plans for, say, the next year?

There is a lot of plans for the new year, most of it in form of touring and playing shows. On Thursday we will travel south to make shows in Greece and Romania. We have an extensive tour in Latin America in May. We have our first tour in North America coming up in May. We will play some shows in Asia this summer for the first time, and we have a very long European tour coming up in September. We will also do some festivals this summer.

Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview, is there anything (else) you would like to share with our readers?

Cheers to our Dutch fans. See you on the road this year. Cheers !

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