RoD header


Interview with:

Morten Veland
Henriëtte Bordvik

The band of Morten Veland is a well-known name in the Goth-metal scene. Sirenia will always be the band of the ex-guitarist from Tristania. Sometimes it’s bad that you can’t change the past, but Morten made a great new band very fresh and energetic. I had the chance to talk with both faces of the band: guitarist Morten and the front woman Henriette Bordvik, when they are at 013, Tilburg, the Netherlands.

The new mid-CD called ‘Sirenian Shores’ (with 5 new songs) was received very well. When I ask them if it had to do with more studio experiences, because of the better quality, Henriette explains: “We recorded the songs at the same time as we did ”. Morten interrupts her: "‘Sirenian Shores’ was one of the very last songs we recorded, so we were working around in the studio for a while. It was the first time for Henriette and the rest of the band had to work very hard to make the melody lines perfect for her. The melody came very naturally with that song on the mid-CD. So we are going to build on that. That’s always what you have with a first album: you have to learn more about each other and how to do things. We learned a lot, things that we can use in the future.” Henriette, next to him on the couch, was playing with some drumsticks, now she laughs and adds: “I do practice a lot, but I was singing since I was a little girl. I tried to play guitar but I always came back to singing, so it’s really my instrument.”

The band looks a bit tired after their gig as support act for Tiamat. Henriette changed her clothes from leather trousers into, more comfortable, jeans. Morten is sitting on the couch, a bit tired, but when he starts to tell about his passion: music, he’s more energetic. After the release of ‘An Elixir for Existence’ the band showed that they had a lot of inspiration and motivation. Morten starts to laugh when I ask if it isn’t irritating that everyone, but especially the media, wanted to compare this record with the old Tristania. “No problem that you compare it, because that’s natural. Every artist has something in his composing and writing that’s typical for him. With Tristania I was the one who started the band and I did the song writing and everything, so what I do now is a sort of continuing. I always try to do things better, in the past we did things and you keep changing and try to overlook everything”. 

Goth-metal scene

Morten looks a bit sad when he says that the scene changed a lot in those years. “It’s like the Goth-metal thing exploded in the middle of the ’90. So there are thousands of bands coming up and a lot of them sound the same. It’s difficult to have a sound which is totally different from the others.” Henriette interrupts him: “And still has to be recognised as our own sound.” Morten smiles at her and continues his story: “At least we try to work on a sound that’s a bit different from the others. You have to work harder and harder to be able to do that: the more bands, the more difficult to stick out. The new album will be a bit catchier, because we’re focussing on the melody. We believe that the beauty of music is sometimes in simplicity. We want don’t want to be too detailed and too technical. It’s all about experiences. Every artist doesn’t like his first shows…” Henriette confirms that: “When I remember my first gig I was really insecure, because I didn’t know the other guys. Now it comes natural and I have fun on stage.” Morten continues: “…You need those gigs to learn things. You pick up the good things and push the bad things away. It’s a long process. One of the reasons why it works now is because all the members have a lot of experience, also from other bands. Like drummer Olan from Edenbridge (he’s doing this tour because the other drum player couldn’t get time off from his job-Silvia) has a lot of experience and I have been playing guitar and writing music for more than 14 years.”
Drum player Olan is sitting on the table, very tired with a towel in his neck. The dressing room is peaceful and relaxing. Sometimes a tour manager shouts something, but apart from that it’s totally silent. It’s a good atmosphere and Morten is relaxed because he played a good gig tonight. Henriëtte is very energetic and enjoys every second of the tour life.


When we talk about the emotion the music has Morten is very clear: “Absolutely dark. We composed some songs, which were very heavy, but it doesn’t give me anything. The strong dark emotions combined with all the power, which, all together, makes it special. I think the darker feelings in the music are most difficult parts and most beautiful.  I like to combine that with the aggressive parts to make songs more dynamic and something different needs to happen during the song. Because I need negative energy it explains why the music I compose reflects how I felt during that period. The lyrics with Sirenia are a lot more open and direct now. In the past with the early Tristania they were so cryptic I couldn’t understand them myself. It was so much symbolism. I mean the English I write uses a lot of expressions and words that you normally don’t hear on television.” 



“We’re writing some new songs at the moment” Morten says very enthusiastically. “After this tour we have to look for a new record company. In the mean time we keep writing new songs. The new album will be there, well earliest, in February next year. That’s one of the reasons why we made a new mid-CD and do this tour. To keep it warm, because we knew that it would be a long time before we have a new record. Now we have just too many ideas, more than 30. You have to be critical and choose the songs we all like the best. In the past we came together to write music, but it never worked out. I compose music what’s very emotional and I have to be in a very special focussed mood. I just lock myself up in the music room and sit there on my own. Even when my girlfriend calls me for dinner I am out of it. It’s a very special thing to write songs.” Henriette: “Of course when I hear the songs I give my feedback for my parts and than we work it out together.” Morten: “Before we go to the studio I make those ‘sketches’ of the songs; so most of the lines and everything are composed. When we come to the studio and start working with the producer to get my sound of the guitar in the best way, than we start to work with Henriette. To get the melody in the best way for her to get the best sound. Next is the violin player, it’s a process, step by step.” Henriette:” It’s getting better now because we know each other and work together.” The dream of Morten is to play more shows in the future, maybe even in America. “We did Mexico this year but we want to play as much as possible.”


Morten tells me that it’s very important to get to know each other very well when you’re a band: “Only then you get to know their skills and then you can bring out the best of them. Of course you have to work very hard on the things that are not so good. In that way you can push it to a higher level. An album is so much work and a long process. For what we recorded now, we spent eight weeks in the studio and worked every day. When you write music, emotion is the first thing: you come up with a simple idea that really gives you something. That starts the creative process and after that comes the more technical process, because you have to put all ideas together and build a good song with it. Like songs of six minutes; you have to make them interesting, so each part has to fit exactly with the next part and there are the different instruments too.”



For a band it’s important to have their own sound, Morten tells me what he thinks is the most interesting thing of Sirenia: “One of the things what has been the trademark for the band is the diversity: we use a lot of voices. On the first album you had my growling vocals, the metal kind of vocals, we had some black-metal kind of vocals, 3 male voices, two different female vocals, also: choirs and some samples like whispering and spoken word. With the music as well: acoustic, electric and a bombastic sound. Most important is to write music that gives us a lot, what mean something to us, what we can enjoy playing and release and are proud of it. Music that we stand for. Try to do something special. There’s a balance: you have to find a balance to make music you like and have fresh elements. We try to do our best.”

We like to thank Sirenia for their time and kindness.

Comments powered by CComment