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Midnattsol Interview 2006

Midnattsol Interview 2006
By: Sam Grant
With: Carmen Elise Espanaes of Midnattsol

Interview Info
By: Sam Grant
With: Carmen Elise Espanaes of Midnattsol
January 2006

Sam: Carmen, congratulations on the new album, it’s a fantastic debut. How are you finding working in the metal scene in general at the moment?

Carmen: Thank you very much, very kind of you to tell me this! First of all I have to say that I can’t believe all the things that are happening, it is really amazing. I never expected to have the opportunity to do this, so as you can imagine, I am very, very happy and thankful to be in the metal scene. Just to see the response from the fans, the look in their eyes, to read their nice words, that alone is enough to make me a happy person. Still, there are things that I don’t like, e.g. the falseness of the music business, especially from the journalists. I am an honest person, and I can’t stand people pretending liking me and the band, just because they haven’t the guts to say what they mean face to face. But the good thing about it is that I learned a lot about human being in general! The other thing that I don’t like is how the music business is running in some ways. Money, money, money! It just does not fit to the things that I think is important. But I think this is a general problem in the world, not only for the music business.

Sam: Do you find, having Liv as an older sister, that the two of you are always compared and do you mind the frequent comparisons, not only between you as vocalists, but between Leaves’ Eyes and Midnattsol?

Carmen: The fact is that we get compared all the time, so if I should worry about it, I would be a depressive person I think, hehe. At the very beginning I thought it was a bit annoying not being seen as Carmen and Midnattsol as the individual as we are. But the fact is that I can’t change who I am, and I and the people who know me, know that I/we don’t make music because of Liv and that she doesn’t have any influences of the music that we make, so it has no use to worry. Then I have to say that this comparison is most of all beneficial for us, we get automatically promotion, so we can’t complain about that!

Sam: How did you come to be in Midnattsol, and now that you’re in the band, do you see it as a big part of your future?

Carmen: The funny thing is that Midnattsol did not exist before I came to Germany in 2002. Christian Hector contacted me only a couple of weeks after I moved here, and we met and talked about founding a band together. Music was and is such a great part of my life, and I came to a point where I wanted to make music together with other people, to make songs out of my melodies. So we two wanted the same thing and we founded Midnattsol, and we were a complete band shortly after that. I knew from the first rehearsals that it would be a big part of my life, we are like a little family. But the main thing was not the musical career for me, it was the great possibility to make the music that I wanted to together with 5 other great people. Record deal or not, music is my life, nobody can change that. So I don’t make many plans for the future, what comes comes!

Sam: Midnattsol obviously has a heavy folk element to its sound. What was it that made you decide to create music with a folkish vibe? Has folk music always been an interest of yours?

Carmen: I would not call it a decision, during the first rehearsals, the type of music was getting more and more clear. The musical direction is a mix from all the different influences that the sixth of us are bringing into the music, and by the way, we all have a very different kind of musical influences. And this is the result. But yes, folk music has always interested me, I was always very interested in the history, culture, traditions and songs of my country. I often heard and sang typical folk songs at home or in school, and I think that influenced me in my musical direction. But when it comes to metal, I hear a lot of other stuff to, especially melodic metal, I love melancholic melodies, especially from Antathema, Opeth and Amorphis.

Sam: What ideas did you want to explore in Where Twilight Dwells before you wrote it and when it was finished, was it the debut album that you wanted it to be?

Carmen: To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations or plans what do to. The only wish I had was to let the music be real, to let the emotions into melodies and texts. I wanted to this for a long time, and it was kind of burning inside me to let my ideas inside out. After the record was finished I couldn’t (and still can’t) believe or realize what happened, because beside the music, what I was more than satisfied with, I didn’t only let a part of me in it, I grew a lot with is as well, personally and musically. So I have to say that the musical process and the music itself gave me so much more than I expected. And I think the other ones think so as well. What I didn’t expect was the less time that I had to sing. It all went so fast, and we all felt a bit stressed at times. So that’s the thing what I definitely want next time: to have enough time to record.

Sam: One of my favourite songs on the album is the wonderful Tårefall. Could you explain to us what this song is about?

Carmen: It is the most personal song for me on the album, I cry inside when I hear or sing it. I have many times experienced that I think that now is the storm over, now you are going to be fine and so on. But every time something is happening again and I have to fight strongly to find solutions. And the frustration and helplessness in these situations is what I sing about. Don’t get me wrong, I love and values my life, that’s why I most of the time smile, hehe, but I sometimes ask myself how much I have to experience before it is enough? But in fact that makes me to a better person and not at least to a fighter ;)

Sam: What are your interests outside of Midnattsol? What do you choose to spend your spare time doing?

Carmen: Spare time, what is that? hehe! I use my time on music and interviews, studying, working and teaching, so after that there is nearly more time left. That is the reason why I answer these questions on Sunday morning 2 weeks later, it was the first possibility, sorry for that by the way! My biggest interests are nature and languages, I love them both. But I also like to do exercises like yoga, dancing, all kind of winter sports and I read a lot.

Sam: What other paths would you take in life if you weren’t a musician?

Carmen: Okay, this is perhaps a bit pathetic to say, but I really mean it. First of all, I don’t think that I would be the same person without music, to make and to hear music was always was a great part of my life. But if I was forced not to make music I would give all my power to try to help animals and protect the nature, I have very strong opinions about this, and I many times I can’t stand to think about what shit is happening to this world. The people are so egoistic, I can’t believe it! The only thing what matters are money, power and materialistic things. So often I think that I don’t fit in in this modern world, I try so much to understand what is going around in people’s heads, but…I can’t understand. And when you have such strong different opinions about general things, the possibility to feel different and un-understood is very high, hehe.

Sam: It’s becoming more and more common these days to have female-fronted metal bands. Are you pleased with the way the metal scene is developing and how do you think the greater inclusion of women will change the scene in the next few years?

Carmen: To be honest, I don’t care much about if the bands are having female or male voice, I like the music or not. But of course, I think it is good that also women take part in the metal scene- with success as we can observe! Women belong to metal equal much as the men do!! What the future brings- we have to wait and see.

Sam: We haven’t seen a lot of you on the scene so far, so tell us what other bands you like at the moment and what other musicians you would like to work with.

Carmen: My absolute biggest inspiration is Anathema, they give me so much. And like I said as well, Amorphis, Opeth and bands like Paradise Lost, My dying Bride. At the moment I listen all day long the Spanish band Savia, I love the Spanish language and the voice of the singer. Non-metal bands like Dead can Dance is also so amazing, the emotions in the music is unbelievable. But hehe, I don’t think that we have the possibility to work with these bands, but hoping is allowed, hehe.

Sam: Have you started work on a new album and what can we expect from Midnattsol in the future?

Carmen: Yes, we have started and we have quite a few ideas and songs. it is so great to make music again, wow! The only thing is that the process is going a bit slowly, because of the fact that all the band members (besides Christian Hector) are having the final exam in 2006 at different point of time. What you can expect? At least a new album that is a bit more heavier, hopefully with some folky instruments and some few parts with clean male vocal. I also think that we are going to make a video for the next album and of course some concerts!

Sam: Thank you very much for the interview and do you have any last words for your dedicated fan following?

Carmen: I have to thank you, it was a pleasure to me! Thank you so much for your support, you give me and the band so much! Take good care of yourself, I hope that all your dreams come true in 2006!

Thank you Carmen!  Sonic Cathedral supports you!