Interview with Emma of SIRENIA

Interview with Emma of SIRENIA

- in Written interviews

Photo Credit: Cécile Delpoïo

Hello Emma, how did the year of Morten Veland’s birth, 1977, inspire the title of the album?
This title differs a lot from all the previous albums titles: supershort, only numbers. We wanted something different, like the album is itself. 1977 is a very special year for Morten and me as it is the year we both were born. I would say we can see this title as a wink to this time we grew up through, rocked by this so special music sound of the 70-80’s vibes (vibes that are generously infused in the album’s songs!).
It’s a kind of nostalgia for passed times, what can explain the title engraved on the grave, and the abandoned tape on the floor.

How did you go about blending the 80s rock and synthwave elements in this album, which represent a departure from Sirenia’s previous style?
What I appreciate in Sirenia’s music is Morten’s ability to experiment new directions all the time. He never stays stucked, fixed in a style even if he always stays faithful to Sirenia identity. Every album is offering something different, fresh, new, compared to the previous one. Exploring this time the 80’s vibes that we grew up with was something we all were excited to experiment.

What was the writing and recording process like for 1977? Did anything differ from previous albums?
Morten is always writing and composing the albums for Sirenia, the vocal lines as well. Nils writes his guitar solos. Michael and me don’t really have a role in the creative process but we’re ok with that. Sirenia has always been Morten’s soul, at what we add is our personal «colors» in terms of interpretation. I would say we welcome each Morten album as his «new baby born». Like godfathers/godmother, at every birth, we take the baby in our arms, we cuddle and feed him to make him grow in the best way 🙂 !

Your vocals on “A Thousand Scars” are described as “feathery light.” Could you elaborate on your approach to the vocals on this specific track?
On this song I tried a way of singing lighter than usual, something very rhythmic and catchy, a bit in the ABBA vibe. I just had to close my eyes and imagine myself in a glitter outfit with 80’s hairstyle to feel immediately in the mood haha!

“Twist in my Sobriety” is a cover of a song by Tanita Tikaram. Could you share with us your thought process behind selecting this song to cover, and how did you go about infusing it with your own unique style?
Covering «Twist in my sobriety» was a Morten’s proposition that we validated right away. This dark and melancholic song has rocked our childhood and it was nice to tribute it in our way. I’m a Mezzo soprano so singing in the lower register for me is natural and 100% comfortable. I love to use the deeper tones, because they have something very emotional and sensual. I didn’t try to imitate Tanita’s voice, I just tried to interpret her song with my natural tone and expression.

How does this album differ from your previous work with Sirenia?
Regarding my singing parts, this time we didn’t record choirs, and only used a few operatic vocals. It was already the case in «Riddles ruins and revelations» as we initiated this 80’s sound approach, classical didn’t really have its place here, we wanted to experiment something different this time. I believe it is interesting to change the recipe sometimes, serving the same all the time is probably less risky but adding some new flavours is more exciting to us 🙂

You’ve been with Sirenia since 2016 and have contributed to three of the band’s albums. How has your role in the band evolved over time, and what has been your biggest contribution to Sirenia’s sound?
When I joined the band as lead singer in 2016, metal stage was pretty new for me as I was coming from Opera which is a completely different world and way of working, singing, moving. I had to learn and work a lot to feel totally comfortable on stage. I have gained more confidence year after year, tour after tour, and today I can say that I finally found my «place». There is a great complicity between us 4 that really helps to make good work together. About my contribution in Sirenia’s sound, it’s hard for me to say; maybe I brought something darker and a bit more powerful than in the past, and more operatic parts as well.

How do you see Sirenia’s sound evolving in the future?
Personally I would love to explore some progressive metal vibes. Knowing Morten, I know he will surprise us in a good way whatever happens so to be honest, I really don’t know what to expect but it is a very good thing. I like to be surprised and I’m excited to see what’s the next turn!

Can you discuss the role of Morten Veland as producer and songwriter on this album?
Morten is the mastermind of Sirenia. It is his project for 20 years now. He writes, composes and arranges every single song. I’m always impressed with his amazing capacity of creation. I believe he never stops composing, every single day of his life, for Sirenia but for his Mortemia project as well.

Can you describe your process for translating the complex studio production of your albums into your live performances?
In studio, everything is «under control». The sound, the effects, the lines, the solos, the balance between all the parts, everything is worked to reach something as close as perfection as possible. It’s impossible to translate the exact studio rendition in a live performance for so many reasons. Live brings a bunch of imponderables, surprises, good and bad, technical issues sometimes etc… but it’s another approach of the songs as well, the interactions with the crowd bring something very special and exciting that gives to the songs a new dimension you can’t reach in studio. I believe live sounds maybe more «human» because artists investigate the stage with the mood, emotions they feel at the moment, without any cheating, that makes every show different and special.

From your point of view: what is the meaning of life? Is there a purpose to our existence, or are we merely a product of chance?
The meaning of life… It’s an interesting philosophical question that I wish I had time to develop further! We didn’t really choose it but we were born here one day, and for a definite time, we have grown and learned from experiences, each day has built us as an individual, we have worked hard to stay alive instinctively like primitive species and we will until our death. Are we only surviving or is there a meaning to all that? I would say that it’s probably our responsability, our duty to give a meaning to this life, focusing on making it as happy and nice as possible, despite of all the hardships we can have to go through. The meaning of life may be finding happiness, love and accomplishment in everything we do.

Finally, what do you hope fans take away from listening to 1977? Thank you for your time!
I personally love this album for its diversity and the energy it delivers. Catchy melodies, heavier riffs, melancholic dark ballad, I guess everyone will pick up a song or another that fits his taste. I hope our fans will enjoy this new opus.

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