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Interviews : Sirenia – “Australia is a place that we have wanted to play for a long time” (An interview with Morten Veland)

By on December 11, 2013

Sirenia, a leading force in the goth/symphonic metal movement return with their brand new album, ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’. The Norwegian quarte tare gearing up for their first ever tour of Australia this December.

Metal Obsession had the pleasure to speak with guitarist and producer, Morten Veland. We discuss the new album, the Australian tour and what the band have in store for fans next.

Metal Obsession: How are you feeling about Sirenia’s first ever tour of Australia? You must be both nervous and excited to perform in a country you haven’t toured previously?

Morten Veland: Australia is a place that we have wanted to play for a long time and we are all looking forward to Australia. For us, Australia is something like, wow, we are going to play in Australia. We hear about Australia and the animals, beaches and everything else and to be able to play there is something we wanted to do. Nerves or anticipation of a show is always something we handle in our own ways but never playing in a country beforehand is always exciting.

Metal Obsession: There seems to be a flood of metal tours to Australia in the last few years. A lot of metal bands that weren’t able to tour Australia several years ago due to the distance and finances are slowly making their way down to Australia. Has Australia always been a country of interest for you and the band?

Morten Veland: We hear that many bands now tour Australia and for us we have wanted to come down there for a long time now. We almost made it down once before, but ended being cancelled and we have been trying to get to Australia ever since but we also hear that it is not so easy to get there as too many tours are happening, not just in Australia I suppose, but all over Europe as well.

Metal Obsession: European heavy metal bands in general do quite well whenever they tour Australia. Many bands that have toured the country recently, bands like; Epica, Sabaton, Nightwish, Stratovarius and Amorphis say that Australian metal fans are very similar to European metal fans.

Morten Veland: In that we’re enthusiastic and energetic. I think Sirenia will have a great response when you tour! We will put as much into our shows as possible and we can only hope that the fans like it! We are a bit different to some of the other bands you mentioned so we hope that the people that turn up do enjoy our shows as much as we enjoy putting on a show for them.

Metal Obsession: Do you think this Australia tour will open up potential touring markets in countries surrounding Australia, perhaps Asia or Japan?

Morten Veland: There can be no harm in our tour in helping open the minds and opinions of others out there and if our presence can help this outcome then this is another positive byproduct of our Australian tour.

Metal Obsession: Is there somewhere in particular you would like to tour where you haven’t had the pleasure to yet?

Morten Veland: I am not sure about the rest of the band but for me personally the more exotic the place the more exciting it is to be on that journey. Over the years we have done many tours and played many places and as long as the fans like what we do and we like we are doing, then we are happy to play anywhere!

Metal Obsession: For someone who has never experienced a Sirenia show. What can they expect on the upcoming Australian tour?

Morten Veland: We like to be visual in our appearance but not to put that in front of the music we are playing. We have a heavy emphasis on making sure that we give as much as we can to the fans that have paid for their ticket to see us and that means everything we do such as the image of the band, the sound of the band on stage and to ensure that the energy we are putting out is something that the fans enjoy for the entire show.

Metal Obsession: What would you say separates Sirenia from all the other female/symphonic goth metal bands out there?

Morten Veland: This is something that we have not sat down to think about, or distance, separate or be seen as anyone else. We just like to think that we always do what we think is the right direction for Sirenia at the time and we like to push the boundaries in what we do musically as a band. We like to think that we do not put out album after album that sounds exactly the same as all our other albums. Of course, we want to remain consistent with what Sirenia stands for as a band but we always want to be moving in the direction of what Sirenia stands for at that point in time.

Sirenia Australian Tour 2013

Metal Obsession: Are you working on a particular setlist for the Australia tour, or will you try to mix it up in Sydney and Melbourne?

Morten Veland: Of course, we will play many tracks from the new album Perils of the Deep Blue but we will also play many tracks from our other albums as it is our first time in Australia.

Metal Obsession: Sirenia’s latest album, ‘Pearls of the Deep Blue’ has seen great success so far. It’s quite a strong album with amazing production. I think it’s one of the strongest albums the band have released so far. I take it you’re pleased with the album?

Morten Veland: Overall we are pleased with the album and we like to think that it is another progression and step that Sirenia has taken as a band as a whole. I think that this album is different to others we have released in many ways and we did many things differently on Perils than we did on previous albums and so far the result is good.

Metal Obsession: All the material was written by you, plus you played a major role in the production as well. Does it ever get tiring for you to work on so many aspects of an album?

Morten Veland: Haha, well, some times it can become a ’job ‘more than anything else but it is something that I enjoy being part of and doing and as long as it is also something that the fans still enjoy listening to, buying the album and coming to our shows then it works for everyone.

Metal Obsession: Are you very particular about how you want an album to sound and translate to your audience/fans?

Moten Veland: I like to think that any album we do or any song we record that we can perform it as close as possible to a live audience. Sometimes this cannot be exactly as it is on the album as we cannot have full backing choirs at the shows for many reasons but we try and get the sound as close as possible to what the fans know and expect to hear from us.

Metal Obsession: The Sirenian choir is a nicely added touch to tracks “Seven Widows Weep”, “Cold Caress” and the epic 13 minute track “Stille Kom Doden”. It builds a great atmosphere and makes the album sound immense in scale. Was this an aspect you imagined before the lyrics and music were written, to incorporate a choir?

Morten Veland: Each track, each album and everything we do is an idea beforehand. Sometimes tracks evolve as it comes along, sometimes I have the idea in my head as to what I would like to have as a finished version. We are always trying new things, we always want to keep doing things slightly different yet appealing and consistent with what Sirenia stands for.

‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ out now via Nuclear Blast Records

Metal Obsession: There is a great mix of pop/electro and symphonic elements on the new album. Not a lot of traditional symphonic metal bands can execute this well, but it’s great to see Sirenia incorporating these elements into their music and having a good balance of both. I think it suits Ailyn’s vocals quite well, as she is capable of capturing both symphonic and pop elements in her vocals.

Morten Veland: Thank you! We think that the new album is a point for Sirenia where we were able to incorporate many things into it, both new and also still remaining in line with what we are as a band. Ailyn has a range and she shows this on this album and all of us were able to move in the direction that we wanted to move in with this release. We hope that many people enjoy this album for many a time to come. Ailyn blended in very well with her vocals on this release for what we wanted to eventually put out as a release with the direction we took, and she also has the ability to perform these tracks live and get the energy of the show out to the fans.

There are always things that we have not tried and not done that maybe we will do one day. There is nothing specific that comes to mind but we think that with ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ we as a band took a slightly different direction and tried some different things that worked. Maybe on the next album we will delve more into some of those directions or we will move in another way that is right for us at that time.

Metal Obsession: What are the plans for Sirenia after finishing up in Australia?

Morten Veland: We are all heading back home after Australia and seeing what takes hold in the new year. We are working on some other shows and I already have some ideas for the next album that I want to try once back home and in the new year.

Metal Obsession: Are you hoping to see the sights of Melbourne and Sydney before you head back home?

Morten Veland: We hope to see as much as we can in the short time we are here. As many of us work back home, we could not stay for a long time to see why everyone talks about Australia and what we hear about Australia. Maybe if these shows work this time that next time we can afford to take some more time off work and spend a little more time in Australia so that we can see some of the sights.

Metal Obsession: Any famous last words before we finish up?

Morten Veland: Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years and that has supported this tour and for making this happen. We are all very excited to be coming to Australia and we will be doing our best to give you a great couple of shows, thank you again.

Sirenia kick off their Australian tour this Friday in Melbourne with special guests Ne Obliviscaris and Orpheus Omega.

Friday, 13th December
Melbourne @ The Corner
with Ne Obliviscaris and Orpheus Omega

Saturday, 14th December
Sydney @ Factory Theatre
with Ne Obliviscaris and Orpheus Omega

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Anwar is the editor-in-chief of Metal When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook