Interview and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
During our trip to 70000Tons of Metal – Round 8, we were lucky to sit with Morten Veland (composer, guitarist, vocals) and Emmanuelle Zoldan (Female Vocals) of Sirenia to discuss touring, new music, and more. Check out the conversation below:
Zenae: First, I wanted to say, your performance tonight was incredible and it blew me away, even more-so than when I saw you perform in New York City last Summer. I wanted to compliment on how amazing you guys were.
Morten: (laughs) Thank you.
Emmanuelle: (laughs) Thank you very much.
Zenae: I wanted to ask how was it to finally booking a North American tour for you back then?
Emmanuelle: It was a fantastic experience. It was really, really, really interesting.
Morten: And it’s something that we wanted to do all the time but with… European bands it’s a little bit difficult. The expenses are very high and all the pieces of work, the overseas flights and carrying equipment across the country and that continues so it’s very expensive and it’s also the kind of work you need. You need the right contacts over there to have it and we had a lot to go through in the past to do that so North America never really would. But like two years ago we got a new management for Sirenia, which is based out of Florida. Arkona management and they have total control over all these things and they’ve really helped us in realizing this. They put the tour together and now we’re coming back again to North American in April and we can get an even longer headliner tour.
Zenae: Oh. Really?
Emmanuelle: Yeah that’s going to be great.
Zenae: That sounds amazing, I’m excited.
Morten: 15 shows or something in April. So it will be announced in one of the coming days. This tour.
Zenae: Awesome. Is New York going to be one of those dates?
Emmanuelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Morten: For sure (laughs).
Zenae: I’m actually a genuine fan of you guys for years and I’ve heard all of your albums progress and you have depressed me completely, in a good way and wanted to thank you for it.
Zenae: I love it (laughs).
Morten: Thanks for saying that (laughs).
Zenae: Sirenia has a new album out almost every year as of late. For instance, there was ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ (2013) and then ‘The Seventh Life Path’ (2015) and ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ (2016), I have reviewed all of them and I was curious about your progression within these last three albums alone, that, would you ever consider going back to your earlier roots such as ‘At Sixes and Sevens’ (2002)?
Morten: Maybe for just parts, for elements, for stuff like that but … the theory of my whole life has been, ‘I don’t want to do the same album two times.’ That just doesn’t make sense to me so I always want to … to search for new things and explore new things and new ideas and stuff. But also at the same time, it’s kind of like a balance because I also want to in respect to the concept of Sirenia. I always want a new album to sound like Sirenia and like totally, completely different, so I always try to … to keep a lot of those elements, which are typical to Sirenia and try to bring in, with every album, some new elements and ideas that can refresh the sound a little bit and, kind of make progress with every album and, of course, working hard with the production teams trying to make the sound better, I think especially with the last album that we did a great job with the production and the mix. It was very … For me, especially, that’s the best sounding Sirenia album, I think, in my opinion, and I mean, yeah you know, just working hard to try to improve every aspect of Sirenia details I think. Emmanuelle helped a lot with coming into the band, with her vocals and she’s a great singer and we’ve been working together for so many years, since 2003.
Zenae: Yep, she was the backing vocalist since pretty much the beginning.
Zenae: Speaking of, how is it being, the new full-time female vocalist?
Emmanuelle: That’s completely different, of course, because in the past I was just coming for a recording the chorus and now-now I’m a total part of the band and touring with them and it’s uh-
Morten: It’s a living hell.
Emmanuelle: Yeah (laughs).
Emmanuelle: I didn’t want to tell you.
Zenae: Can you survive? (laughs).
Emmanuelle: I try to (Laughs). How do you survive? We’re a fantastic team and it’s a good experience for me.
Zenae: And how have the fans been reacting to you as the new singer? I know Sirenia has had a few changes with female vocalists over the years, so how has this worked out so far?
Emmanuelle: It was hard for me in the beginning because it’s always hard to replace someone who is in the band for so many years because Ailyn was in the band for about eight years?
Zenae: Since 2008, I believe.
Emmanuelle: So she had a big fan base and it’s always complicated to come and convince people that you can do the job so I think in the beginning a lot of people hated me (laughs), of course. Some other people accepted me from the beginning and just having a good support for me and it’s becoming better every day because people begin to see that I’m able to do the job on stage so, that’s cool (laughs).
Zenae: You’ve definitely impressed me tonight.
Emmanuelle: Thank you, thank you very much.
Zenae: I believe Sirenia are working in the studio for a new album already? How is that coming along?
Morten: It’s going really well. We didn’t have concerts for the last two months so we had a lot of time to work on that. We’re focusing on the album, now we’re here doing this cruise, then we go back and continue working on the album. We have a festival coming up and then in April we’re going to tour North America again, so in between all of the concerts, we’re working on the album and the idea is to have the album ready and released by the end of the year. Probably, I would guess October/November, something like that and then start touring heavily everywhere again hopefully another North America tour, South America.
Zenae: I’ve always been impressed with how Sirenia continues to produce a great new album so close together. It’s as though you continue to raise the bar in production and that’s what I always admired about you guys, so with that said, I’m looking forward to the new album (laughs).
Zenae: Will it be more morbid or is there a particular concept?
Morten: It’s going to be very energetic, powerful and melodic, of course, and it’s … Yeah, it’s going to sound like Sirenia of course, but it’s going to be a different album. It’s not going to be totally … You know, like any other album but, we hope to work at Hansen Studios with the mixing and everything and, we really like the way it sounded on the previous album and the job that he did, so we kind of have the plan more or less ready and the songs are … composition wise, more or less ready. It’s more about writing lyrics and that kind of stuff and the details that are still missing. But, we have time now, in the next couple of months and between the tours and. The plan is to have everything ready and to prepare for the release. I think it will be very good.
Zenae: I’m looking forward to reviewing it (laughs).
Zenae: Is there anything you want to say to your fans or what to expect for the North American tour?
Morten: Yeah it’s like, you know, it’s with the previous tour, it’s something we waited for such a long time, our fans really helped with this pledge campaign that we had and then we toured and made it possible for us to start touring in North America and it worked out pretty well and so now we’re setting up our next tour already and coming over so yeah, then- the fans really help this … Getting that started so now we really hope to be able to continue touring North America on a regular basis for the future.
Morten: We really loved it, touring over there. It’s like … everywhere you go, it’s like a little bit different and Europe has its own thing and North America has another thing, and you have South America has one thing. I mean, we toured, Asia in August for the first time and that’s another thing again and it’s exciting to see, you know, each part of the world has another thing going and it’s … For us, it was a really cool experience. Really loved touring there so, we’re really looking forward to April big time and, going to get all that we have to make a good show every night.
Zenae: Awesome. Looking forward to seeing you guys in April.
Morten: If we can afford to play (laughs)
Note: Sirenia announced their North American tour shortly after this interview was conducted. Check out the tour dates below:
04/06/18 Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero
04/08/18 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell)
04/10/18 Austin, TX @ Come and Take it Live!
04/11/18 Fort Worth, TX @ Rail Club
04/13/18 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
04/17/18 Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
04/18/18 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
04/20/18 Calgary, AB @ Dickens Pub
04/22/18 Winnipeg, MB @ Handsome Daughter
04/24/18 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
04/25/18 Detroit, MI @ Harpo’s
04/26/18 Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
04/27/18 Montreal, QC @ Katacombes
04/28/18 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
04/29/18 Brooklyn, NY @ The Kingsland