Interview date

06 Octobre 2010




Interview Anders, Mariangela (by mailer)

It seems that a lot of reviewer and people who listened to "Rubicon" enjoy this album. Do you feel relieved?

Anders : The feedback on "Rubicon" has been fantastic, both from press and our loyal fans. Of course it's flattering to receive positive reviews for the album, but for us it's much more important that our fans seem to appreciate what we've been working on for the last two years. This is my fourtieth year in this band, and it's a long time since I stopped caring too much about reviews, positive or negative. After all, it's just the opinion from one single person. I am very happy with the final result and proud of this album. This wouldn't change if the majority of reviewers disliked the album. In order to make music that matters and sounds real, I think it's crucial to trust on personal integrity and have faith in what you do.
Mariangela : Well, I am actually quite happy about the whole thing and even happier since the people likes it, for some reason this confirms the fact that we did a good job.

When Vibeke left the band, some people thought you had to change your name if you had a new singer. Is it something you thought of?

Anders: No. The creative resources were still left in the band. It was an interesting challenge to find the right person to contribute to taking the band into a next era. This is the concept of what Tristania has expanded during the years and luckily we are the only ones entitled to define this band.

When you joined Tristania, the fans' reactions were varied, positives and negatives. How did you live this special moment?

Mariangela: It was a bit strange in the beginning, and specially for those who reacted in a negative way. I really couldn't understand their way to judge something or someone they didn't know anything about yet. And I am doing fine with it right now, since I find it very superficial.

Of course people had and will compare your voice to Vibeke. Is it something that disturbs you?

Mariangela: I can understand the fact that Vibeke is remembered as a great voice. But I really think the comparison is a waste of time, since me and her have totally different styles. It's like comparing surf to football.

Before being in Tristania, you were in Alight and some other bands. What is the feeling we have when we join a band that is known all around Europe and maybe all around the world while we were in a "smaller" band before?

Mariangela: My main band was Reel Fiction, I spent with Alight a very short time, and we didn't spend that much time together, I made a cd with them. Since I joined Tristania they haven't released it with me, and I think they let the new singer sing the songs. I wish them good luck. The feeling to play in front of lot of people that knows your songs and sings with you doesn't have price. Before it was harder to convince the people at your shows or to involve them in the way you would have liked to. I can also say I really love to play in a professional situations, big stages and to taste life on the road.

Two new main singers in the band, that's a lot of changes in the same time. How do you think people will react when they will hear these changes?

Anders : The line-up changes between "Illumination" and "Rubicon" have been rather radical, but the main songwriters are still on board. Both Einar and myself have written music in Tristania on all albums, and together we are responsible of writing the vast majority of our music during the last decade. Our dedicated fans are aware of the fact that a new Tristania album always will be something different compared to its predecessor, and I think they have learned to appreciate this. The new singers Kjetil and Mariangela has brought a new dimension to our sound, and the feedback from the fans has been overwhelming. The new people on board have definitely strengthen the band creatively. We keep challenging ourselves as composers and as a band in order to always explore new sides of the musical universe which makes Tristania. The basic mood in our music is maintained, but especially Ole and Mariangela have surely contributed to development in a positive way.
Mariangela: One of the main things that keeps the band going on is the support from the fans. Tristania has decided for its future, and they have chosen me and the other singer once the old members left. Tristania has never denied its past, so I think it could be nice from the real fans to stay with us for the future.

The cover of "Rubicon" reminds a little the "Illumination" one. To you, is this album the logical continuation of "Illumination"?

Anders: Yes and no. I regard all our albums as a natural continuation from the former one, but I also regard it as reactions. For instance, "World Of Glass" is our most symphonic album with industrial elements. On the next album "Ashes" we felt like doing something completely different, although it for us still was a natural next step. The result was a much more harsh, stripped down and organic album. The same processes have been valid for the process between "Illumination" and "Rubicon": Although there are similarities between the two albums, we also felt like doing something quite different this time. In general, I would say that" Rubicon" is a more energetic and up-tempo album compared to "Illumination". I also think the new album has got more nods to the early years, than what have been the case with our latest albums.

For you, what means the cover of "Rubicon" and who get this idea?

Anders: Our photographer and artwork designer (angst-im-wald) came up with the idea for the cover. Our label wanted to present Mariangela with the front cover, and we developed the concept together. There's no deeper meaning behind the cover, but obviously we wanted the cover to reflect the content of the album, both musically and lyrically.
Mariangela: The label has decided for a cover with my image on it. This cover is a way to introduce myself better to the fans. We have found the look appropriate for the title of the album too. If you notice it looks like a ghost who is turning its face quickly to the camera keeping a evil look.

There are fewer growls on this album and it seems that Kjetil is more involve in the singing. Why?

Anders: I guess there is slightly more growls on "Rubicon" compared to its predecessor, but I agree that Kjetil is quite central for the general sound. Kjetil came in quite late in the process, but did an amazing job in studio. Many of his vocal lines were already made when he came into the process, but on some songs he also have made his own vocal lines, like in the song Vulture - where he did a wonderful job. I'm really looking forward to work closer with Kjetil from the first stage of the composing and pre-production for the next album, because he's a great singer with lots of good ideas. When it comes to which vocals we use for the different songs, this is a totally open question when we start writing a song. It is a great advantage to be in a band with so strong vocal resources, and which of the four singers that will sing a part depends on what sounds best and what the part requires. Very often we try out all different singers in one part to find the best possible solution.

Did Mariangelas' voice have an influence on the new composition?

Anders: Mariangela surely has contributed to development in a positive way. She has a really powerful voice with a strong personal touch, and I find it inspiring to write music for her voice. A big difference between the two singers is that Mariangela has taken part in the song-writing, as she is making many of her vocal melodies herself. Our former singer was good at what she did, but she hardly wrote music or vocal melodies herself. Obviously, this has been a huge step forward for us, as it's always an advantage if singers come up with their own ideas, as their own ideas often are the most natural and work best for their voices.

For example, the violin in "The Passing" is so melancholic. Was it important for the band to emphasize this part of music whereas you added new elements that are more energetic?

Anders: This is not something that we have been conscious about prior to the composing of the album. We always start writing music and see where we end up. If we like the sound of a sketch for a song, we keep working on it. In the creative process the songs are living their own lives, and we add the elements that suits the songs. We hadn't included Pete Johansen's amazing violin playing on our two previous albums, because we didn't feel it would lift the songs on those albums. But as the song material for "Rubicon" took shape, we realized that it would be perfect to work with him once again, and we're really happy about the result.
Mariangela: It depends on the meaning of the song, "The Passing" is told about a soldier on his way to death. He is seeing life crossing before his eyes and says goodbye. A strong light blinds his eyes and he is gone forever. I mean this is very sad, and the violin just goes for it.

What are your best memories of the recording process?

Anders: I would say listened to the final master. This time I produced the album together with Ole, with assistance from Waldemar Sorychta as co-producer. We did a lot of the recording sessions ourselves, which means a lot of work. But it was a great feeling to hear the finalized version and realize that months of hard work had paid off, and that the final album ended up sounding as we wanted it to. Waldemar also did a brilliant mixing job on the album. "Rubicon" is the first Tristania album where I honestly can say that I'm hundred percent happy with the production.
Mariangela: I get very exited about the results and how the song sounds like. I find very nice when all the members of the band sat in silence listening to what we have done, another moment when we share strong feelings!

Excepting the fact that Mariangela has a warmer voice than Vibeke, according to you, what are the new elements that Mariangela and Kjetil bring to the music?

Anders: Both Mariangela and Kjetil are great singers. Both of them have been a breath of fresh air for the band, and added new dimensions to the sound. In Tristania we've never feared changes, and thus new people on board with new ideas and approaches have been inspiring to work with.

How much did you put yourself in Rubicon?

Mariangela: There are songs where my voice is more present and songs where the male voice is heading. But at the same time we try to share the job and as it's not my solo project, I tried to get along with the ideas of the other members. And we have actually found a good combination. I put my heart and soul in all the songs I sing, and it was an amazing experience to be a part of "Rubicon".

If I'm not wrong, it's the first time you did a video clip for a song. What can you tell us about this totally new experience?

Mariangela: I loved it. Since I was a child I always liked to perform, and taking part in shows, acting, singing and so on. And I always had a very natural attitude in front of the camera, and even though I've been shy, I felt always very comfortable on stage. The video was lot of fun, especially for the puppet scene, where I had to use all my strength for moving the arms up and down and always shaking my body robotically. The scene with me as a gypsy is quite close to what has been always my style and the way I always showed myself. I didn't get to know the cat though, pity... and kind of glad I didn't have to shoot with the snake!!

You are the last member of the "first Tristania". How do you see the evolution of the band?

Anders: The way I see it Tristania has always been about creating a certain mood or atmosphere. I am proud of the fact that we've released six albums that all are quite different to each other, but at the same time a certain basic vibe in our music has been consistent through all these years. Even though the musical evolution always have been prominent from album to album, I think all our albums easily will be recognized as Tristania for a fan who listens to an album for the first time. With "Rubicon" we are a re-vitalized and hungry band, and it's a great feeling to finally be able to tour extensively again. We are also very much looking forward to go back to the studio and start working on our seventh album, as we know have a band consisting of seven members, who all contribute creatively.

You are a well-known band, but when you will come to Paris, you will play in a small concert-hall. How do you explain that?

Anders: This is up to booking companies and local promoters, and definitely not something we spend energy on. It's essential for us to deliver great concerts regardless the size of the venue/crowd. It's equally important, both if we play for twenty-thirty thousand people at the biggest outdoor festivals or we play at a intimate club. Actually, some of my personal best memories from stage during the years are from small/medium clubs packed with a few hundred enthusiastic fans. In venues like this it's possible to have a completely different interaction and dynamic between audience and stage.
Mariangela: I really don't mind if we are going to play in a small place. I know many known bands they did it before, and it's always very exciting to share some special moments with the crowd standing right in front of you.

You are going to tour with Asrai and Unsun. What do you think of these two bands?

Anders: I must admit that I don't know these bands from before, but I'm looking forward to get to know both their music and the people on the tour.
Mariangela: I didn't have much time to check them out, to be honest, but I am going to do it soon. From what I ve heard they are both good bands, I am sure we are going to have fun all together.

You come from Italy in a Norvegian band. Have you move to Norway or are you still in Italy and you work with the band thanks to the Internet and some flight?

Mariangela: I could have stayed in Italy too, but I've chosen to move, since I find very boring to travel around with people I don't know and neither understanding their language. The easiest way to feel touched and devoted to a band is to get to know them and have the feeling you are among friends. And since we come from different cultures and I am a bit hard to handle too, I preferred to be sure we could go through misunderstandings in a very diplomatic way, and find a companionship between each others.

A final word ?

Anders: Thanks for the support! We're hoping to see many of our loyal French fans on the tour in October.
Mariangela: Thank you very much for this interview, I can't wait to play in Paris and to meet all the french fans of Tristania. Thanks for following us!!!!
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