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Amberian Dawn

Met ‘Darkness Of Eternity’ is het Finse female fronted gezelschap Amberian Dawn toe aan hun achtste full-length studio album en het is wederom een prima plaat geworden. Reden genoeg om contact te zoeken met toetsenist/bandleider/mastermind Tuomas Seppala om de laatste stand van zaken omtrent zijn band met hem door te nemen.

Door: Sjak | Archiveer onder gothic metal

Hi Tuomas, your previous album ‘Innuendo’ was released at the end of 2015. What did that album mean for the band?
The ‘Innuendo’ album took us a little bit further once again and it provided us with a new chance to tour again. All band members were very happy with the result as we had a new mixing engineer Miko Karmila at Finnvox Studios and he really changed our sound. Because of that great sound he created at ‘Innuendo’ I decided to continue with him for our next albums as well.

To which places in the world did the ‘Innuendo’ tour bring you?
We supported Delain on their European tour, which for the most part took place in Central Europe in countries like Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and France.

What was the game plan that you had for the new album ‘Darkness Of Eternity’?
After finishing ‘Innuendo’ I took a little break first to recharge the batteries. I didn’t have any songs left from our previous sessions so I started from scratch. I felt completely free to do whatever I wanted and that resulted in a lot of pop metal songs on this new album, but it felt natural to me as on ‘Innuendo’ we took a first step in that direction already. I took more time than ever before as the total process took me about eighteen months this time. This was due to the fact that I was more critical towards the material and there were a lot of songs that just didn’t qualify for this new record.

How did the song writing process for this new album look like? Did you write everything yourself again or were there also contributions from the other band members?
I wrote all the songs myself like I usually do, but our singer Capri wrote the lyrics for the material. Before we go into the actual recording sessions in the studio, we always do a pre-production of the songs and then our co-producer, Capri and me sit down together and make the final arrangements and vocal lines. So it’s really important to make that pre-production and this time it took a lot of time to finalize the material before going into the studio.

What are you looking for when you’re writing a great Amberian Dawn tune? What are typical ingredients that need to be present?
I’m a kind of a traditional guy so I want the chorus to be catchy, that’s one really important element. Next to that I don’t like to write very long songs, which is typical for me I guess. Of course there are some exceptions to this “rule” as on this new album there’s the song ‘Dragonflies’, which is about six minutes long. For me the melodies and the vocal lines are also very important and before Capri joined the band I was more interested in the instrumental part, but now I’m more concerned about melodies and vocal lines.

For your singer Capri this is meanwhile her fourth Amberian Dawn album again. What do you think of the progression that she has made as a singer for the band?
My style of composing music started to change during the last years when Heidi was still on board as our lead singer. When we were at the point that we decided to part ways, I knew I needed a different kind of singer. When I found Capri I knew that her sound fitted perfectly with what I had in mind for the band. Our cooperation felt very natural from the beginning as she had the same ideas as I had. Next to that she’s a very versatile singer which makes her able to sing almost anything. For a composer that’s great as you don’t have to think about any limitations and you can just write anything you like.

Your music combines a lot of elements from different genres, which makes the material very varied. Is that something that comes natural to you or is it a deliberate thing to create variety in the song material?
It’s a bit of a weird situation as I tend to write different styles of material in different periods. During a couple of months I might just write power metal songs, the next period I might do progressive metal songs and another time I write pop metal songs. Therefore it was good that I took enough time for this album, so that I could have different periods of song writing to be able to provide enough variety in the material.

What type of subjects does Capri like to write about in the lyrics?
The lyrics are a kind of a mixture of different things like fantasy stories and actual real-life happenings. You might say she lives in an imaginary world where fantasy and reality come together.

Why did you decide to call the album ‘Darkness Of Eternity’?
It’s usually very hard to come up with a good album title as people expect an album title to exactly describe the whole album. When you have different kind of songs on an album, it’s really hard to encapsulate that in one album title. For some reason we thought that ‘Darkness Of Eternity’ was a great album title and it’s also used in the second part of the album closing track ‘Symphony 1 Part 2: Darkness Of Eternity’.

The album is again released by Napalm Records, so you must be pretty happy with what they do for you as it’s becoming quite a long relationship now?
Yes, I’m really happy with our cooperation with Napalm as it has been three albums already. I like their way of doing business and they’re really hard-working people. They do everything what they’re supposed to do for a band, they’re fast in responding to our requests and I think it’s one of the best labels in the heavy metal segment nowadays. Therefore I hope that we can continue with them for a long time in the future as well.

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’Maybe’ was released as a first single and lyric video. Why did you choose for this particular song and why a lyric video?
Our label suggested to make a lyric video first and it’s a tough call to choose which song is going to be your first single, especially when there are different kind of styles represented on one album. The first single should give some kind of glance of what the album is all about and you should really choose whether you want to show the power metal side or the pop metal side of the band. It’s a real important decision and this time we’ve chosen for a melodic pop metal song.

Next up was ‘I’m The One’ with a regular video clip. Why did you decide to do a regular video clip for this track and what’s is in your opinion the added value of a video clip nowadays for a band like Amberian Dawn?
Because the first song that we released was more in the pop metal vein we decided that the second one should be a true metal song. There were a couple of candidates for this, but in the end we chose for ‘I’m The One’ as it is a fast and heavy song that fitted the requirements that we had for our second video. Creating music videos is still important nowadays, but because of the smaller budgets lyric videos might even become more important in the future.

One week ago a new lyric video was released for the song ‘Dragonflies’. Again, why this tune?
We all wanted to show the different sides of Amberian Dawn’s new album, so we first released a pop song, which was followed by a true heavy metal song. ‘Dragonflies’ is a more traditional, symphonic Amberian Dawn song, which showed another side of the band again.

What are in your opinion the biggest differences and/or improvement when comparing ‘Darkness Of Eternity’ to ‘Innuendo’?
I think we took the different styles even further on this new one, as we took things more to the extreme. We wanted to make the different styles that we play more pure and I think that we have succeeded very well in doing just that.

I know it’s always a difficult question, but if you had to pick one song from the debut album that would represent Amberian Dawn best, which one would that be and why?
It would be easy to say ‘Dragonflies’, because that one combines the pop elements with true traditional heavy metal. But nevertheless I would go for ‘Sky Is Falling’, because I think that’s the most poppy song that I’ve written so far. I really enjoyed the experience of writing this one in this style and I think that most of our fans like this style best at the moment. There are not so many bands around that write this Abba-metal, as many like to call it and that makes it kind of unique as well.

There’s a bonus track called ‘Anyone’, which will not be featured on the regular release, but only on the digipack version. Why these different versions?
Napalm usually releases a limited edition digipack version of their albums and they want to have one or two bonus songs to make it more attractive to the people. We needed a bonus song for this and when we were recording the material for this new album, we didn’t know which one we were going to use as a bonus. It was a really hard choice, because they’re all part of the album, but in the end we decided to use ‘Anyone’ as a bonus for this special edition.

Did you record more material than the ten songs that are to be found on this album. If so, which ones and what is going to happen with them?
Well, we recorded one more song which is a re-recording of the song ‘My Only Star’. That was originally released on the ‘River Of Tuoni’ debut album from 2008 and this new version will be used as a bonus song for the Japanese version.

Who was responsible for the artwork of the album and what was the assignment that you gave to him for the creation of the cover?
Jan Yrlund created the album cover again as we’re working with him for quite a long period of time already. We’re very happy with his work and for this one we used the final promo pictures that were made for ‘Darkness Of Eternity’. I really like the picture of Capri with the hat on and I explained the visual image that I had to Jan and I think the result is just perfect.

The album was released on November 10th, so what were the first reactions to it both from the press as well as the music fans?
It seems that our fans are really excited about the new album, as we’ve gotten great feedback from them already. Of course you can never please everyone, but we were able to satisfy both the Amberian Dawn fans that like our pop metal style as well as the ones that like our progressive metal side. I don’t know about the reactions from the press as I haven’t seen any reviews for the new album yet.

There’s a short European tour planned in February with Edenbridge as co-headliner. Why did you opt for this co-headliner concept?
We want to make the tour a good one for everyone and we want to get as many people in as we can. We know that our name is not big enough yet, so we need another band to support us to get enough audience in. That’s why we are using this co-headliner concept and when I started looking for suitable bands I found Edenbridge, which in my opinion is a good partner for us in this concept.

What more can we expect in 2018 concerning your touring plans?
Before the tour with Edenbridge we’re doing the 70.000 Tons Of Metal cruise, which is planned one week before the European shows. We’re also doing some of the summer festivals this year, but that’s all that is planned for now.

Okay Tuomas, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
I hope that your readers will enjoy the new album and I hope to see them all on tour as well!

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