BW&BK Exclusive: MIDNATTSOL Vocalist CARMEN ELISE ESPENAES - "When People Hear The New Album They’ll See I’m Not Trying To Be LIV KRISTINE"
February 27, 2008, 10 years ago
In a recent interview with BW&BK; about MIDNATTSOL's new album, Nordlys, vocalist Carmen Elise Espenaes discussed her career as a singer and the constant comparisons with her sister, LEAVES' EYES / ex-THEATRE OF TRAGEDY vocalist Liv Kristine.“In the beginning it was hard because people were saying I was trying to imitate Liv before they’d even heard me sing a note," Carmen begins, "but after a while I realized it was something good because she gave us a bit of promotion indirectly. Of course, I had to learn to deal with the comparisons first before I saw that, and I have to live with it now. Most of the comments are positive, but I had to learn not to take the negative things personally. I’ve learned that my happiness doesn’t depend on what people say about me. I like myself and I like our music and that’s all that matters.”
“The funny thing is Liv and I almost never talk about music, so the things she’s talking about in interviews…I don’t have a clue (laughs). How she writes the lyrics, how she writes the song arrangement, I have no idea and I’m always the last person to see her videos. She doesn’t even tell me the stuff is out (laughs)."
With regards to songwriting, it isn't a family affair either.
“The music comes from my heart, it comes from the soul of the band members, not from something Liv might have done or said to me," she says. "Did she influence me? Of course. She’s my sister so she did influence me personally and perhaps musically growing up, but she never said ‘Do it this way, sing it that way…’ We’re two different people and we have our own lives. When people hear the new album I think they’ll see I’m not trying to be Liv. I’m totally honest from the bottom of my heart, so my lyrics are the things that I feel inside. If people tell me they don’t like my lyrics I don’t get mad because I don’t like everything I hear or read either. I do my thing and the band does its thing. I don’t know if I’ve changed since the first album, but as a band we've grown up."
Carmen's lyrics on Nordlys are more abstract compared to those written for Midnattsol's debut, Where Twilight Dwells, untimately coming off as much more personal.
“’Northern Lights’ is probably one of my favourite songs on the album. The emotions in that strong are really strong for me. It’s funny to think that that’s the name of the album. When I think about the lyrics and about the music it really hits me. It’s so cliché, but it’s one of those songs I really have to concentrate on not crying when I sing it (laughs). With ‘Open Your Eyes’, for example, sometimes I’m in the rehearsal room like this (covers face with her hair) at the end because it’s so emotional for me. But that’s what I like about music, when you can hear and feel the emotions coming through and people aren’t concerned about whether or not the song will end up on the charts. On these new songs I feel the music deep inside.”
Watch for the full interview, also featuring guitarist Christian Hector and bassist Birgit Öllbrunner, in BW&BK; # 110.
As previously reported, Midnattsol have posted an audio sample of the song 'Northern Light', taken from Nordlys, at this location. A second song called 'En Natt I Nord' is available for streaming via their official MySpace page. Go to this location to check out BW&BK;'s listening session report for Nordlys.
Nordly will be released through Napalm Records as follows:
March26 - Finland
28 - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden
31 - rest of Europe
April1 - Canada and USA
The tracklist: 'Open Your Eyes', 'Skogens Lengsel', 'Northern Light', 'Konkylie', 'Wintertimes', 'Race Of Time', 'New Horizon', 'River Of Virgin Soil', 'En Natt I Nord', 'Octobre' (limited edition bonus track).