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 Morten Interview with Metalmessage

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PostSubject: Morten Interview with Metalmessage   Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:26 pm

Stabbed in the back – back from the dead



Being the former vocalist, guitar-player, main songwriter and textcomposer in Tristania; the Norwegian talent Morten Veland has now laid the basis for a new great contribution to the Gothic, Metal and Rock scene. Still sworn to the darker and atmospheric genre, he has now resurfaced with his brand new band Sirenia. A band with one goal at mind, to bring a fresh breath into the underground scene. Sirenia plays a well balanced mixture of gothic metal and rock, with very much classical influences, as well as powerful Black and Death Metal elements. Their sound-scapes has a solid basis with mighty drums and bass, arranged in a very dynamic and progressive way, supported by powerful acting rhythm guitars. Dressed with atmospheric keyboards and spiced with melancholic violins and 12-string guitars. The different vocals brought to life are many, they make use of all together these styles: growls, screams, female vocals, (3 different) clean male vocals, choirs, whispers and samples. The songs are very intense and the atmospheres are changing very frequently, based on a high grade of diversity. Supported by lyrics based on reflections on life, death, love, hate, and mental decline in general.



Everything started early 2001 when Veland parted ways with his former band, due to musical disagreements and personal differences. He was however at this point full of musical ideas, and more than ever burning for music. He invested a lot in new equipment and spent loads of time in his home-studio, composing and writing. As known Morten was the main songwriter in Tristania and he was an important part of forming their sound and identity, now he wanted to take it even further with Sirenia. Veland started to communicate with the outside again, got in contact with his Austrian well known record company and his producer Terje Refsnes in Sound Suite Studios. Studiotime was now booked for November and December 2001, and the coming 6 months was spent on finishing the songs for the upcoming album. Morten hooked up with first band-member Kristian Gundersen, a close friend of his and an eminent musician into the same style of music. Kristian plays guitars, alongside with doing the clean male vocals. Next musician to be taken under the dark wings of Sirenia was keyboarder Hans Henrik Varland, yet another up and coming musician from Stavanger – the band's hometown.



Sirenia hit Sound Suite Studios in mid November, and 9 songs was recorded for the marvellous debut-album; “At Sixes And Sevens”. The female vocals on this album was sung by a fabulous French singer called Fabienne Gondamin. She added a lot of expression to the songs with her delightful voice. Furthermore Pete Johansen (The Sins Of Thy Beloved, The Scarr) came down to contribute with his violin. Pete is well known for his characteristic way of handling the violin and he added even more feeling to the new album. A French choir was also hired to perform several parts on the opus, and the well-educated singers did a wonderful job. Furthermore also Jan Kenneth Barkved (Elusive) appears with some additional clean vocals to add even more diversity and touch. So my curiosity concerning the new Sirenia creations was immense – fortunately I got big relieve from master Morten himself.



At first, what was the most important reason for you to leaving Tristania – and what´s your opinion about their last album “World Of Glass”?



“When it comes to the split with Tristania I didn't leave the band. It was a rather classical example of what happens to a band as soon as some money gets involved. I was stabbed in the back and kicked out in order for a few of the others to harvest the profit of all my hard work. Just another example of how certain people is willing to walk over dead bodies for money. I'm not judging the whole band on this, cause actually it only concerns 2 of the members. At first after the breakup I though it was hard to bear, cause I've always burned very deeply for that band, and it was pretty much everything for me at that time. But after a little while I actually realized that it was for the best this way, due to different personal reasons, but nowadays I'm just very focused on Sirenia. And I think it's really inspiring to work with new people, and I sort of feel that I have something to prove to myself, but also to all those who might have appreciated my work with Tristania. To answer the other part of your question I think `World Of Glass` however, is a rather poor album, without soul and in lack of good songs.”




Tristania lost with you their main-songwriter; do you think they´ve lost also their main force?



“I was their main songwriter and as a consequence of this also their `main force` what creativity concerns. But now that certain force has been passed on to others in the band, and I think that´s why the band is changing a lot in their way of bringing out music.”



Are you very bored (and perhaps pissed of) about all those questions ´bout Tristania in all the actual interviews?



“I can understand that people ask about Tristania, after all it's where I come from. But I now consider the Tristania part an ended chapter for me, so I like to concentrate and focus on Sirenia.”



Which were your early/newer idols out of the Metal and Rock scene? Which ones have influenced Sirenia in more or lesser way?



“I'm pretty much inspired by everything from extreme Black Metal to the most calm classical stuff, so there's a lot of different stuff in there, I can assure. My heart is also planted really good in the gothic rock genre. And bands like The Sisters Of Mercy and Fields Of The Nephilim has played an important role in my relationship to music in general. Of the more newer bands I can say that I like Tiamat and Anathema a lot.”



Changed your taste of music to softer material timelike with your rising age?



“I've pretty much been listening to the same style of music for the last 8 years. So I'm not trying to change towards more soft material only. I try to develop into different ways and areas. I'd say that some of the stuff are more aggressive and some more calm and atmospheric. For me it's all about creating new sound-scapes and emotions within my songs.”



Will the actual Line-up be play also in the future together?



“I hope so, I prefer to work with a steady line up. But of course time changes and it's hard to tell what everyone wants in the future. But the most important thing is to keep a line-up that works well together.”



Your style of vocalizing sounds nowadays much more interesting as in the past... Was it hard to develop – or came it by nature from deep within your mind?



“For me it came pretty much naturally. When I keep on working with music a certain development just comes by it self. But the most important progression can be credited the fact that I'm using more and new singers. Kristian Gundersen is doing some clean vocals as well, and also session singer Jan Kenneth Barkved (Elusive) are doing some male clean vocals. Furthermore we've used a new up and coming singer called Fabienne Gondamin, to perform all the female melody-lines, she's also adding a lot of new touch to the songs.”



This has opened new gates of artistic claim for you. In which direction you will go in the future?



“I will just continue in the same direction that I've been keeping more or less throughout my career. It's important for me to keep on exploring new sound-scapes, atmospheres, styles and instruments. And this is what I intend to do in the future as well.”



How is to understand your band name? Has it something to do with a warning siren for others in the scene, which lost their believe in you after the Tristania departure?



“Hehe, no not really. It's a Greek-mythological name based on the female Sirens who lured men into death with their beautiful singing.”



What does the title of the actual album mean - Poker theme?



“Not really, I was never a good poker-player, I'm not good at any card-game actually, hehe. `At Sixes And Sevens` is an English expression that describes; when something gets to a certain point where everything breaks and falls to pieces.”



What are your own favourite songs on the new album?



“My favourite song on the album is `Meridian`, this was the last song I wrote for the album. It's a very varied and dynamic song that changes it's expression frequently throughout it's 6 and a half minute. I think personally that this is the best song I've ever made. When it comes to the lyrics they're based on paranoia and anguish.”



Where you got the inspirations for the music of the new album?



“It's hard to give concrete examples here, but I think a lot of things around me is inspiring me. I know that I got a very nice inspiration kick after seeing Lord Of The Rings. Bram Stokers Dracula is also an all-time favourite. When it comes to poetry: Edgar Allan Poe is my definite favourite.”



What is your definite goal with Sirenia? To show Tristania, that you´re able to create an own musical child?



“My goal is to stay creative, and to keep on doing what I like. Working with music is something that gives me a lot. And I intend to go on as long as I enjoy myself doing what I do. I don't feel that I need to prove anything to Tristania, they've known me for years so they know what I'm good for and not. But I felt this time that I had something to prove to myself. Since it's first and foremost out of own interest that I work with music.”



Live gigs; anything planned?



“We're rehearsing rather intense these days, and we're ready for live jobs as soon as we have a steady female singer. These days we're working with a eminent singer, so if everything turns out fine we have a full line-up in a very few weeks. So hopefully we'll be ready to do some festivals this summer 2002, or at least that's what we intend to do.”



Plans for the future?



“To stay active and to stay creative. Hope to bring out a lot more records in the future and I hope that we will do a lot of live-work as well.”

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