Ahead of the release of Sirenia’s great new album The Seventh Life Path (our review of which can be seen here), we caught up with band mastermind Morten for a chat. See what happened below…
Thanks for the interview – can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
I formed Sirenia back in January 2001, so we’ve been around a few years. These days we are releasing our seventh fullength studio album. We’ve gone through some line up chenges over the years, as most bands have, but today Sirenia consists of myself on guitars and vocals, Ailyn – vocals, Jan Erik Soltvedt – guitars and Jonathan Perez – drums.
You’re about to release your new album The Seventh Life Path – how did the writing and recording process go?
All the song material is written by me as always, and I have developed my way of of working over the years. I always discover some new things or techniques along the way, but the basics are more or less the same. At this point I try to write albums that has all the elements of our style, by that I mean that I try to capture our old sound, our recent sound and in addition I always try to add some new stuff. I always prefer to work alone when I compose, as I always felt that was the only way I could really give 100% – I easily get distracted and lose focus when composing with others. I need to be in a certain mode when composing, and I can only eneter this mode when I am alone.
Regarding the vocals; Ailyn and I usually work together though. I always write her melodies and lyrics at first, but next we come together and go through everything to see if there is certain things we can improve. In addition Jan Erik also had some inputs to the music which was cool. He listens to music which is quite different to what I usually make, so he helped out with some nice variations. Most of the album was recorded in my own studios here in Stavanger, at the south-west coast of Norway. We did some additional recordings in Sound Suite Studios in Marseille as usual. We recorded the choirs and the acoustic guitars there. And finally the album was mixed and mastered by Endre Kirkesola at Dub Studios, Norway. We actually followed the same procedure as we did on our previous album Perils Of The Deep Blue.
So did not much differ between recording that album and the new one?
Personally I think that The Seventh Life Path was kind of a natural follow-up to Perils Of The Deep Blue. Musically I continued down the path that I staked out with the previous album and the new release sounds even darker and heavier than Perils Of The Deep Blue.
Were there any songs that were more of a challenge to complete?
I think that most of the songs have become more technically challenging than ever before and there are guitarparts that really puts you to the test! The guitar solos on Serpent and Insania plus the prog kind of riffing on The Silver Eye is in particular something that needed a little extra focus and a little less beers to perfect in the studio.
One of my favourites is actually The Silver Eye – can you tell me a little more about that one?
This is definetely one of the more heavier songs on the album, and one of the heavier songs we ever did actually. I think it has a lot of cool riffing and melodic guitar work and black metal kind of drums at times. I also really like the interaction between the growls and the female voice.
What about you – which song are you most proud of on The Seventh Life Path?
I am proud of the album as a whole, I think that each song really deserves a place on the album. If I have to mention one specific song I say Serpent.
You’re soon going to be headlining the Dames Of Darkness festival in the UK – what can fans expect from your performance there?
We will put on a great show. Looking forward to performing the new material live as well, it really bursts with power and energy so it is really cool material for a live show. We also try to perform the songs a close to as they sound on the album as possible. We try to recapture that huge and detailed sound.
What is your favourite thing about touring?
Seeing new places and new countries, trying new cousine and drinks of all kinds. I also love to perform for our fans and try to create a special evening for them. Whether there is 200 or 10.000 in the audience I always give all that I got to make it a memorable evening for our fans.
Is there anything you dislike?
Sometimes the lack of privacy can be a bit rough. And I am quite a tall guy (193cm) so I am not able to stand up straight in the tour bus. So usually by the end of a tour my back is completely fucked up.
What would you say the best show you’ve played has been?
Hard to pick one, there has been a lot of great ones. I really love performing in South America as the fans there are getting really crazy(in a good way) To pick a few I would say Sao Paulo, Buenos aires, Bogota, Mexico City, Monterrey.
What about the strangest or weirdest?
We did a show in Norway not so far back, the promoter was arranging his first concert ever, so he was inexperienced to say the least. I think he did not even know that a concert needed promotion, so he did not promote the show in any way. Most people in the area had no idea that the show was taking place and few people showed up. During the show the promoter and his friends went into our backstage and ate our food and drank our drinks. After the show all hell broke loose, haha.
And finally what is in store for Sirenia for the rest of 2015?
Promoting the new album first and foremost, doing interviews and playing the summer festivals. In between all this I always spend time in the studio as well working out new ideas and composing material for the next album. We also aim to set up some longer tours early next year.