SOURCE – First of all, I’d like to congratulate you on the new Eilera album Face your Demons. And I’d like to know, what was the general theme of the new album and your favourite moments on it?
Eilera (Vocals) – Thank you. My previous records were written either in France, or one foot in France and my other foot in Finland. ‘Face Your Demons’, on the other hand, was made entirely in Finland. The geographical place where I live as I write an album definitely has an impact over the result, and therefore, the fact that I was living in Finland definitely oriented my writing. It took several months however before I wrote a song that would end up on the album. I made several attempts before, lyrical and musical, which have remained in the state of demos. It took me time to simply find a leading thread on which I would build up the album. During this time I immersed myself within the Helsinki life, as well as in nature life and in festival life in several places of Finland. I generally like to observe things and people that surround me. Then I simply set my imagination free. From the several strong situations I experienced during the song-writing period, one leading thread slowly started to reveal itself. It had to do with “surviving within a cold environment”. It had to do with the force that keeps you going when the weather, as well as city life, are so cold that they become challenging for you to survive without turning into a machine. These ten songs therefore could be taken as a finnish heart, or like my own heart, beating inside Finland, and mostly in its capital city Helsinki. A source of warmth, which does not show straight away, but which you find with perseverance, by breaking several layers of ice, with work for getting reward and trust, and doing so by following some kind of animal instinct. And if you do it right, and if you are lucky, you might even connect in the purest way with another person, the way i sing it in ‘male-female balance’. You know, let down the barriers, the protection instincts, the shyness, the fears, the too much pride, and find instead the yin and the yang finally assembling.. This song is one of my favourites in the album. I find it very sensual, at times almost animal. But really, I like all of the songs. They all have their own entity, like always in my albums. I consider each song to be its own little piece of art. If I don’t like one song I don’t record it. I like to have a song for different moods. When I feel combative I like ‘Face Your Demons’ best. When I feel very strongly emotional I like ‘Angel Made Temptress’ best. When I feel very positive I go to ‘Cure’ etc..
SOURCE – As a band, do you feel more confident at this point in trying things that are outside of the traditional metal window?
Eilera (Vocals) – I have always been an independent electron, you know. I never really was in a band as Eilera. Eilera is my artist name. I had a collaborator I worked with for several years in Montpellier – Loïc Tézénas. I had a live band in France when I toured for ‘Darker Chapter… and stars’, which was different from the band I had in Finland when I toured for ‘Fusion’. Nowadays there is a band here in Helsinki with whom I recorded FYD and with whom I started playing shows. My work as Eilera has never been that of a traditional band and I have never made traditional metal music. Actually, in the times when I started working as Eilera in 2002, the metal scene had become very predictable and very dull. It was in a big need for evolution and this is what I worked on from the start. I pushed the limits away. I respected the basic foundations of rock and metal music but I always thought that things could be done in a more artistic, sensitive, beautiful way. I think this is simply linked to the fact that I am a woman and that I compose as a woman. I preserve what I like and respect of the original male foundations within rock and metal music, but I expand them to the female world..Only a few of my songs are more traditionally metal : they are on the ‘Darker Chapter… and stars’ album. And to be honest, it is the one among my albums which I like least.
SOURCE – Realistically, what are your goals with Face your Demons?
Eilera (Vocals) – At this point my goals have been overreached already. I had planned on a digital release, yet now, the album has been printed into CDs and it is distributed and promoted in Europe.
What I could still hope for would be more radio plays, so that more people get a chance to know the album, as well as more concerts. I would also like to shoot other videos besides the live videos which already exist. I would like to exploit the visual side of the songs more. It would also create a way for me to interact with my audience more, and compensate for the fact that I am not given a chance to tour massively.
SOURCE – Are there plans for more videos down the road at this point?
Eilera (Vocals) – Yes, there are.
SOURCE – How have you handled digital recording technology given you grew up recording in an analog world- as I understand you try to use as many analog techniques as possible even on these new records?
Eilera (Vocals) – Actually no; all of my albums were recorded using digital technics. I am one of those musicians though who needs to have some warmth within her sound. Even on my most metallic, or even electronic songs, I have always had either some celtic fiddling, or some acoustic instruments. On FYD, I had decided that I would go back to my voice being the soul of the songs and that I would make space around her, so that she can develop freely. Around her I wanted the instruments to sound live – this is why we recorded the songs live in Artlab studio, here in Helsinki. And in order to remain within the tradition of my albums, I wanted to have the songs produced with much light, even a brighter light than in ‘Fusion’ or in ‘DC…’ as, and some cutting edges… You know, as I made this album, I realised that I was somehow closing a loop, which had started with my first demo-album ‘Facettes’. The light in ‘FYD’ was as strong as in ‘Facettes’, and I, after much adventure in my life, during which I had almost lost myself at times, was back to being me, to being Eilera, simply with more knowledge and in a different location.
SOURCE – How do you handle instant technology and social media use – do you take into consideration a lot of the fans perspective when it comes to their thoughts on the band, future set lists etc?
Eilera (Vocals) – I connect with my fans for ex via Facebook, if they like to connect with me. There is also an email address on eilera.com, where fans can write to me / us. I am interested in their reactions to my work, and if there is a song that most people enjoy, I will gladly play it live. Yet when it comes to new composing, or to new visual work, I will follow my own ideas and my own instincts. I will make the songs which I like to sing and which I wish to hear played in my stereo.
SOURCE – Things have changed so much with the decline in sales, and now the emphasis on streaming instead of actually buying physical things. How do you even determine, from your end, if an album has been successful or not?
Eilera (Vocals) – If I like my album, and if I can feel proud of my work, then it is a success. Then, if people write to me or tell me that they feel something strong when they listen to the album, it is an even bigger success. Of course, I wish that I had means to spread toward more people who would be willing to support my work. Because, the more people buy my work and the bigger the chances are that I will be able to tour, or to make more videos and such. If everyone simply streams my work then my possibilities to produce more work are very much reduced. I believe that it is all very much a question of responsibility nowadays.. In times when the social media have been creating more self-centredness and more individualism, it is vital to bring back care, solidarity and support for one another. Nothing great happens without team work.. When we are children, our parents teach us that we cannot get everything in life and that if we like to have something, then we must work for it, we must give our energy and / or our money to get it. Well it is the same in music nowadays : if there is an artist you believe stands out, and gives something meaningful to your life with his/her work, then it is your task to support this artist, not just by taking his/her work but also by buying it. Because we need each other.. And anyway, it is just much cooler to order an album you love and to actually hold it in your hands. There are not many albums I buy myself, but when I do, from artists I really love, it gives me great pleasure.
SOURCE – What’s left on your personal or professional goal list to achieve?
Eilera (Vocals) – O my, there is so much left! I am afraid I will be dead before I’ve had a chance to do it all. I would love to tour, play shows in a lot more places. I would love to record much more music. I am the happiest of women when I can experience on new songs in a studio! I would also like to exploit my acting and dancing capabilities more in videos. I have a lot to learn in the filming area. I am also planning on writing a book. At this point I have been writing only for my Warm / Cold blog. I might soon also write articles for a new brazilian rock webzine called Rockarama.
I love lands of celtic culture. The strength of the elements, especially the Ocean and the wind, make me feel very much alive. I would love to go back to the ocean and take a good swim, especially when a big storm is getting close! Maybe in France, maybe in Ireland.
As for my other personal goals, I would love to establish a loving home for myself. I have given so much to creativity these past years that I did not have much space for home life. I am after all a person who loves simplicity. One of my favourite things in life is to be sitting at one of those little french cafés, while sipping a warm beverage, having a croissant and listening to the older people discuss life in their own dialects.
SOURCE – Have there been any particular standout moments in Eilera’s career where you knew the band was taking things to another level in terms of personal satisfaction, professionalism, or musicianship?
Eilera (Vocals) – I believe that, besides this new album, the biggest standout for me was the recording of the EP ‘Precious Moment’. It was the first time I was working in a professional studio, with absolute professional sound techs and session musicians around me. It was also the first time I worked with a producer, in this case the talented Hiili Hiilesmaa, who worked among others with HIM and 69 Eyes. I felt extremely shy on the first day I stepped in the studio. At some point during the recording session I fell ill. I had fever and my voice was out, only a few days before the recording of the vocals! It was very tough and I grew a lot during that session. Another determining thing occurred when Hiili encouraged me to sit in the producer’s chair. He convinced me that I had all the keys inside of me to do some good production of songs. After this Ep, I produced most of the ‘Fusion’ album myself. So I am 1 M times thankful to Hiili for having helped build this trust in me.
The new album though is my biggest satisfaction to date. I believe I have improved every aspect of my work in it : the writing, the composing, the production. The band played great in studio and Tero did a great work as a sound tech and on some of the production. I really started from scratch this time, with no close collaborator to back me up nor a good home-studio to work in, and I know what I have built.. I abandoned many of the string arrangements I had composed for FYD, because in the end, I wanted the sound of the live band to prevail. I think that all in all, this album is the truest thing I’ve ever made, and to me, art is truth.
SOURCE – Finally, what will be your lasting impression/best memory of this band?
Eilera (Vocals) – It is difficult to isolate one memory from the others… If I take a moment to think about your question, then I have at least ten memories and impressions coming simultaneously to my mind. I remember the very first recordings with Loïc for the ‘Facettes’ demo-LP. It was so much fun. So spontaneous, so full of energy, so full of friendship; such wonderful moments where only love of music and for experimentation prevailed. Then the 6 months I spent in London, looking for business contacts come back to my mind. These were naive and hopeful times. And right after that the deal offer from Spinefarm and so much more excitement. I felt at this point that I had found a home. Basically all of my recordings in studio rime with great experiences and with great encounters. The videos also, the very first one “Inside my Cave” in one of my favourite locations in southern France, the other “Fusion” in Finland. In the first one I was standing on rocks and I could not move much. In the second one I was standing on a small piece of carton in the mud and I could not move much either. No wonder I feel nowadays I would like to be performing in my next video! 🙂 And then there are much more painful moments, like the decline of our collaboration with Loïc or with the fall of Spinefarm to Universal. A much darker chapter, which also coincided with dark times in my personal life. And then the rebirth which is ‘Face Your Demons’, new songs, new talented musicians to work with, and finding my old friend Tero Kinnunen again and working together… You know, if I try and get one global impression, it is one of much light. Of much life… The story of my life this far.