Interview date

Mars 2010




Interview Morten Veland

Why do you release this album with the name of Mortemia and not with your own name?

I wanted a kind of band name for this project. I did not want to call Morten Veland, that would just feel kind of strange as I plan to Mortemia as a touring band in the future.

You did everything for this album. How did you proceed for the rehearsal?

I perform and program all instruments on the album myself. I only hired a choir to perform the choir parts, but that's the only help I got from the outside. Mortemia is a project where I can realize a different kind of musical expression. I have a strong drive to compose and write music and the fact that I am now writing for both Sirenia and Mortemia enables me to put more of my creativity into life. I also produced, engineered and mixed "Misere Mortem" myself. So Mortemia also marks a new start for me in several ways. I have been working on the album for about two years. Whenever I have time off from Sirenia I spend it working with Mortemia. I have not rehearsed anything with Mortemia yet, I am looking for musicians these days in order to put together a line-up for possible future touring.

According to you, excepting the fact that there is no female singer in Mortemia, what are the differences between Sirenia and Mortemia?

For me Mortemia and Sirenia have their own individual musical expressions and I get to put more of myself into music over a wider range by having two projects. I see Mortemia's music as a much darker, extreme and complex compared to the music of Sirenia which is more melodic and arranged in a more accessible way these days. Apart from that both bands have different vocal concepts; Sirenia these days is based on female vocals with additional growls, choirs and male clean vocals etc. For Mortemia I left out the female vocals intentionally to avoid it sounding too similar too Sirenia. Mortemia's vocal concept is based upon an interaction between extreme vocals and choirs. Old Tristania was also based on lots of different vocal styles etc and the soprano voice of Vibeke was an important part of the sound. I think that just by leaving out female vocals in Mortemia it makes the sound and expression different compared to Sirenia and what I did with Tristania in the past. Nevertheless there will always be similarities in the music when the same person writes for three bands, and I definitely think that all three bands carry my signature songwriting although I tried to give them different sounds and concepts.

How did the members of Sirenia welcome the news of this project?

They though it was cool. Jonathan and Michael also have their side projects that they work with when they are not busy with Sirenia.

Why didn't you do this project before? Were you running out of time?

I have been thinking about it for quite some time now, but it was not until now that it felt right and that I actually had time to fit it into my schedule. Much of it has to do with that I have my own studio now so I am able to work with Mortemia whenever I have some available time off from Sirenia.

The artwork, the title of the album and the titles of the songs are dark. What is the main subject of this album?

One of my principles from the very beginning of my career was to never talk about my lyrics and album titles etc. To me that feels like reviewing my own work in a way, or like tearing down something that I spent years building up. My philosophy was always to leave it up to the listeners to read and interpret my lyrics, and that for several reasons. One of the reasons is actually that I had the same experience with one of my own favourite bands. I was listening to their lyrics and interpreted them in my own way. Later on I read an interview of the artist explaining in detail what the deeper meaning behind it all was and I was big time disappointed. Most lyrics are open for an individual interpretation, as I though my own understanding of the song was more personal and meaningful to me, it kind of ruined the essence in the song for me reading that the actual meaning was something completely different. All that being said I can definitely agree to that "Misere Mortem" is my most personal album to date though. And I still write about the darker aspects of life, and try to improve as a lyricist from album to album.

The album is quite short. Why did you choose only nine songs?

It is a short and intense album, I wanted the listeners to crave for more when the album was over, rather than turning it off halfway. Haha.

Maybe some people can be afraid that Mortemia means you are fed up with Sirenia but we hope it's not true. What were your real motivations for this project?

Some years ago I decided to take Sirenia into a more melodic direction. However I still composed a lot of music in different genres and I ended up with a great amount of ideas that basically didn't fit in Sirenia's musical concept anymore. So I was faced with two options, either to throw these ideas away or create a new project where I could put these ideas into life. I thought that a lot of these compositions were way too good to be left uncompleted, so I decided to form Mortemia. I began working with all the ideas that I had and that could not fit into Sirenia's music anymore. Due to that they were either too complex, too hard or did not have the right expression musically speaking. So this is basically how the idea of forming Mortemia came together. I am definitely not fed up with Sirenia in any way, in fact we are working on the next Sirenia album these days.

The name of this album is in Latin; some choirs on the album are in Latin too as in Sirenia. What is the importance of this language for you?

It's about catching the right sound and atmosphere, doing the choirs in Latin adds another feeling and dimension to it in my opinion.

You recorded Misere Mortem in France. Why in our country, which is far away from yours?

I only recorded the choirs in Sound Suite Studios in France. Everything else is recorded and mixed in Norway in my own Audio Avenue Studios. As I used a French choir for the album it was easier for me to travel to France and do the recordings there, rather than putting a whole choir on a plane to Norway. More economically as well, obviously.

2009 has been a good year for Sirenia, do you expect 2010 will be as good for Mortemia?

Sirenia has been around for many years, working hard to get where we are today. Mortemia is a brand new project so I expect it will take time and hard work in order to bring it to the same level as Sirenia.

Will you tour with this project or is it something, which will just exist on CD?

Yes, I am putting together a line-up these days and I intend to tour with Mortemia as well in the future.

For having seeing you on stage in the Beauty and the Beast tour, we can say you are an introvert guitar player and singer. What does it bring to you to be on stage and isn’t it difficult to play in front of hundred or thousand people when we are an introvert person?

Playing shows is actually something that I enjoy a lot, for that show in Paris I was really ill and unable to give as much of myself as I wanted to. I actually find it easier to play the bigger the crowd is, for some reason the small clubs is more challenging than the big festivals, in most occasions. Anyway both things have their own charm and I have lots of great experiences with both.

You did a video clip "The One I Once Was". Do you think a video clip is necessary for a good promotion?

Most metal bands can forget about getting their video played in TV, but these days there's a lot of cool channels on the net where bands can get their videos viewed. Youtube is one of them and "The path to decay" has been viewed more than four million times in this channel alone, so it seems that it helps for promotion values and it seems that the interest is there.

Is being known as you are, is an advantage when you release a new album?

The more known a band is, the bigger is the advantage when you release an album obviously. I guess that this is what all bands strive for, to spread their music to as many people as possible.

Have you others musical projects?

For the moment I only work with Mortemia and Sirenia, but I have more ideas and plans. I just need to find the time to do something about it.

You have always been in the music, are there others artistic works which interest you?

Music is my main field and my biggest passion – my work and my hobby, to be honest I don't find time for other hobbies or interests.

Finally, do you have something else to end this interview, may a message for your fans?

Cheers to my fans in France, I hope to see you on tour soon with either Mortemia or Sirenia.