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Heidi, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions! Here we go:
The CD Behind The Black Veil <Review> was released on May 8th, 2015, through Inner Wound Recordings. The songs are fascinating and your creativity is really impressing – congratulations! You used crowd funding to realise the album, the tracks were digitally published in three episodes, now followed by a physical release... How do you feel, what does the album mean for you – did a dream come true?
It means a victory, a price of hard work. It really did exceed many times what I hoped for, thanks to the fans who believed in this and contributed. It also made a long time dream of publishing my own album come true and brought up also new dreams.
The songs on Behind The Black Veil tell about serious changes in the life of a young woman named Sarah. You wrote the lyrics - what were the inspirations for the story set around Sarah?
The story was born with the first lyrics I wrote for this album, it was Save Me. Because of the conflict of the harmony in major and the lyric line "save me", I thought there needed to be more than just a sad story of someone walking in the wedding dress alone in the woods. Then I got the idea of the divided personality of this young woman whom I named Sarah after searching some historical stories. Sarah is an ancient name and means a princess. Then I decided that this album would be dedicated to her, her story. This album is a psychological growth story and follows Sarah´s personal inner fight after being left. The story has also fairytale like features, maybe something that people would not expect at first when hearing the frame story.
14 wonderful, varying tracks and every single one touches me with its special atmosphere. Let's talk about two of my favorites...
Hide And Seek – is a very emotional ballad, that touches me deeply and give me the creeps. From a songwriter's point of view, could you please tell me: is a ballad, able to catch the listeners completely and move them to tears, the most difficult masterpiece and the greatest gift at the same time?
A good ballad should touch even the darkest of Heavy Metal hearts and feelings are so personal - different things touch people. And when you try to make a song for everyone there is a risk of over doing it, in that way it is also a risk. This ballad is a bit different from the power ballads we normally hear on the radio, it is quite dark in a way.
Violent Roses – is crazy-spooky-fresh. For me it sounds like Musical meets Rock, I love it. The music is thrilling, the lyrics are great and your vocals sound fantastic. Could you please tell us a little bit more about this song? Where did you find the inspiration for this marvellous combination?
The melody of this song and the rhythm made me want to fool around a bit, that is also something I had never done before. So this song became a crazy music theater and Metal mixture where the evil flowers are singing in the background when Sarah sees her garden ruined. This song was a risk in its weirdness but I like taking risks and pushing the formal boundaries!
Sarah undergoes many different feelings. Do you have to be in a special mood and/or do you need special ambience to write about all these different emotions?
Not really. I have a wild imagination and I get my inspiration also from the music. I love it when the story and the music are made in dialogue. I had the story frame already in my mind but it also developed with the music.
With Manuela Kraller, Inga Scharf and Tony Kakko you've chosen three awesome guest singers. Have you already had in mind who should sing the characters „The Fate“, „The Queen of No Good“ and „The Moon“ while putting the story in words and music?
I knew I needed some characters in the story and I had already talked with Inga and Manuela earlier about doing something together in the future so the possibility came with my new project and in that way I had their parts figured out. Tony came in when I knew I needed a man for a duet, he was the first one who came into my mind. Really nice and talented people!
There are videos for Evil Roots, Hunting The Dreamer, Light In You and Memories Fall, all with a cool atmosphere which perfectly fits the lyrics – very well done. Who had the ideas for the clips, who were the directors and where did you film it?
All the visual stuff like photos and videos have also been made to support the story, so the lyrics and the scene have been the biggest guidelines but the director for all the videos, Markus Nieminen from Routafilmi, got quite free hands in the realization. The crew was from Voionmaan Opisto. They did a great job with very small budgets, incredible!! And they really did surprise me every time! Really hardworking and talented people. All the videos were filmed in Voionmaa and Hämeenlinna, Finland.
You surely will showcase the songs live on stage pretty soon. Do we have a chance to find Germany listed in your tour-schedule, too?
We would really like to come, and Inga and Manuela are also willing to join but so far we don´t have anything booked yet. We´re goin to UK next fall but it is the only one at the moment. It is not so cheap to get the whole band to Europe, it would certainly need more shows to pay off. We´re waiting for good offers. :)
The guitarists Erkka Korhonen and Sami-Petri Salonen, bass player Rude Rothstén and drummer Lauri Kuussalo were part of the Dark Sarah cast in the recording studio. Is this also the line-up for live performances?
Yes, except Lauri decided he wanted to concentrate more on his own music and left the band this spring. We have a new drummer, Thomas Tunkkari.
I think, the feedback for Behind The Black Veil should be great, right? Is it easier to start work on a new album resp. project after very positive reactions or do you feel some kind of pressure, to be even better with the next release?
Well, of course you could get pressure of it but I do what I really want to do and put my heart on it and if someone else also likes it I am really happy. I am going to continue on this path, with no pressure and not trying to compete.
I like songs - songs like yours - that tell a story, catch me, affect me and invite me to reflect... Is the main thing for you to present meaningful lyrics with a good story and deep feelings?
Indeed, when I listen to music I also listen to the story and in my opinion good music has a message, it touches you and makes you connect. For me as a singer, a song is nothing if it doesn´t tell you anything in the lyrical way. In Metal music genre there is still the possibility to write about meaningful stuff.
I'm very impressed by your voice. In which age you´ve started to sing in a band, and which bands/musicians/singers would you name as your greatest influences?
Thank you :). I started as a keyboardist and backing vocalist in age of 17, in a Death Metal band Agonia (later Iconofear). Back then I didn´t know anything about Metal music and maybe therefore I never did have any influences or role-models either, I just jumped in because the boys in high school asked me to sing on their EP because they needed a classical singer. I stayed in the band as a keyboradist and later I found out there was a band called Nightwish (actually I think they started their career almost the same time) who also has a classical singer. I kind of grew into the genre and also found the bands that was to my taste and being in a Metal band became part of my identity too. I played with the guys from Agonia for 10 years before I joined Amberian Dawn as a vocalist.
What CDs are spinning in your CD/MP3 player the most these days?
Weird to admit that I don´t listen to music that much, I guess it is because music fills my every day life already in many ways and also because I am really busy. And when I have free time I enjoy silence. But when something new music comes I always check them out to stay on track of the business and to know what it happening. My music taste is really wide and I like music from almost all the genres.
Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
I want to send big greetings from Finland and I hope to come to Germany soon!
Kiitos haastattelusta! We wish you all the best and much success with this brilliant CD!
Thank you very much! Enjoy the summer!
Photos: No. 1 + 2 ©2013 by Mikaela Löfroth / No. 3 ©2012 by Heidi Parviainen