Interview With Ex-Sirenia Vocalist: Ailyn Giménez
Ailyn unveils Sirenia's sixth album 'Perils of the Deep Blue'
Norwegians Sirenia released Perils of the Deep Blue, on 28 June 2013, via Nuclear Blast. Produced by the band’s leader, Morten Veland, this album garnered fans' affection and critics' recognition. I had the pleasure of interviewing the band’s vocalist, Ailyn, who graciously led us to discover the new album while revealing more about herself.
Ailyn, I am aware that you have undergone medical intervention. As far as I know, the problem was a delicate one since it was related to your vision. How do you feel today? It’s okay now, I hope.
Ailyn: Yes, last June I had to be hospitalized to have surgery on my right eye … Lately I have had some problems resulting from my diabetes and they have had repercussions in my eyes. I am recovering, however, I still have to be seen frequently by my doctor, because I have to undergo laser treatment in both eyes in order to avoid the risk of blindness. But my doctor is confident and thinks that in the end with a lot of rest everything will end well … Well, that’s what I’m doing at the moment so as to be prepared for the upcoming concerts :). Thanks for the care in asking :)
Looking at your past, I would like to ask you a question regarding your musical journey. If I’m not mistaken, you had classic training but your style is now much more relaxed, so we do not expect you to take on an operatic record. So, what can you tell us about your vocal style in Perils Of The Deep Blue?
Ailyn: When I was 15, I started taking singing lessons at a classical school, but for personal reasons, a year later, I had to leave that school, so it was only for a very short period… I am not an opera singer, but since I was very young I like to sing in a semi-operative style;). I remember that in the first audition for SIRENIA I had to sing some of the band’s new themes (at that time for the album “The 13th Floor”) and in doing so I sang some parts in a semi-operative style :). But at that time, Morten had a different idea about the path he wanted to take with his band. In our new album, we knew that SIRENIA needed a change, so we decided that we would try to introduce some semi-operative parts in my “normal” singing style… Last year I joined a classic choir here in Norway, to improve the level of that record.
Listening to Perils Of The Deep Blue, one feels that SIRENIA has set a new milestone in their music career. This album exhibits a well-defined identity and a well-defined conceptual environment. Also, the disc sounds stronger than previous works. Am I right? What did the band seek to achieve with this release?
Ailyn: Yes, I agree :). For this album we wanted a new sound … Obviously, when you listen to the album you still know that you are listening to SIRENIA, the style is not that different, however, you can hear that there are many new elements. We wanted to continue to be SIRENIA but with a renewed and more powerful sound.
On launch week, Perils Of The Deep Blue reached number 20 on Billboard’s Top New Artist and position 97 on the Billboard Hard Music chart. Also, SIRENIA achieved good sales records in Europe. This is good news for the band; how do you see these positive results?
Ailyn: We think it’s fantastic! We have no words to describe how happy and grateful we are to all our fans for the good reception the album is having. We also had the opportunity to read some reviews and normally everyone is happy with the album, so this is just fantastic !!!
Ailyn, this is your third album with Sirenia; how do you analyze the evolution of your performance over time, and how do you interpret and voice the ideas of a musician of choice like Mortan Veland?
Ailyn: Well, I think I have evolved a lot in these five and a half years :). Before joining SIRENIA, I didn’t have much experience on stage, but that changes step by step throughout all of our live performances :). The same thing happens when we are in the studio. As everyone knows, Morten is responsible for composing everything. While he makes his music, if I have any ideas, I just get in touch with him and talk about it, so in the end he decides whether he wants to use that idea or not. When I had to record my vocals, well, at the beginning I didn’t have any studio experience, so for “The 13th Floor” I recorded all the songs almost always following the melody he sent me. For “Enigma Of Life” I tried to bring some ideas and for the new album, when Morten sent me the lyrics and vocal lines, I worked hard to try to fit these ideas more harmoniously in my voice, then when we entered the studio we worked together on those ideas.
You were born in Barcelona, Spain; thus, you share a similar heritage here in Portugal. Our countries have played an important role in conquering the oceans, and some of your new songs pay tribute to the heroic deeds and the dangers that sailors faced on the high seas (“Seven Widows Weep” is a good example). Originally from a country with a maritime tradition, how do you feel when you sing about those nautical adventures?
Ailyn: I love it !!! :). I really like to sing songs with different lyrics, and in this one we have the story of mermaids who kill sailors and widows who cry because they know their husbands are going to die. When I was in the studio with Morten, I remember that we were talking about this song as a possible single and what the video would be like :).
For filming the ‘Seven Widows Weep’ video, the band traveled to Serbia to work with the Icode team. How was that? Can you share the experience with us?
Ailyn: It was great! Well, Morten and Jonathan had worked with them before, but for me and Jan Erik it was the first time, and the experience was fantastic. We occupied a day with the recording of our individual parts and as soon as we finished we had the opportunity to observe the actors … I think everyone was waiting to see the mermaids hehe.
Interestingly, the video for “Seven Widows Weep” shows sailors from the north sailing to the southwest not on a Viking vessel but on board a Portuguese caravel, a ship that Portugal and Spain used. Was it the Icode team that idealized the video concept, or did the band also play a role in these choices?
Ailyn: I think Morten spoke to the Icode Team people first and communicated more or less what he had in mind and then the Icode Team worked on the script. When we had access to the script we thought the idea was excellent for our new video :)
If memory serves me right, SIRENIA visited Barcelos, in Portugal, in 2011, for the GSM FEST. Do you remember that visit? What memories keep you from Portugal and your Portuguese fans? Have you ever visited Portugal outside of work?
Ailyn: Yes, of course, I remember !!! Everyone was very nice to me and I couldn’t stop talking. I’m sorry, but unfortunately, I don’t speak Portuguese, but as you may know, if Portuguese and Spanish speak very slowly it is relatively easy to understand each other, in addition, there were many people who spoke Spanish :). Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to visit Portugal except for professional reasons :(. But I always wanted to visit my neighboring country, and luckily SIRENIA gave me that opportunity. I hope that one day I can visit the country just for the holidays!
Even though 2013 is a year dedicated to editing and launching Perils Of The Deep Blue, where can we find SIRENIA live this year? Will SIRENIA “land” on the Portuguese coasts soon?
Ailyn: I’m not sure yet … Morten is now working on the touring issue and at the moment we have just confirmed a tour of Russia (November) and another one this year in Australia (December). We are very happy and we are doing our best to get more concerts soon :)
From your point of view, which new songs will be the ones that will work best on stage and please your audience?
Ailyn: Mmmmm I’m not sure, but I would say “My Destiny Coming To Pass” is a powerful song with a wonderful melody, so maybe this :).
What is the most appealing aspect when you are part of a band like SIRENIA?
Ailyn: The best thing is to be able to sing and travel all over the world !!! I think this is something that any singer dreams of … And thanks to SIRENIA I can do it. I love to sing and I love to travel, so it’s just fantastic !! :)
Would you like to leave a message for our readers and all your fans?
Ailyn: I would like to leave a huge THANK YOU to all the fans for always supporting us … Thank you for continuing to believe in SIRENIA. We hope and are doing our best so that in the future we can be there with you very soon! :)
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