Finally! After having to move the interview about three or four times, we both had time to write this interview. We all know Elina Siirala as the vocalist on Leaves' Eyes most recent album ''Sign of the Dragonhead'', as well as her own band Angel Nation (EnkElination). But what is her inspiration? Her future goals? Let's find out!
''How was your cruise on board the 70K tons of Metal? Was it your first time on the ship?''
''It was great! Lots of familiar faces and also of course new people to meet, lovely atmosphere and great music! I’ve been to many cruises before but not to the 70K tons so it was lovely to experience that.''
''Any fun stories you can share with us about the cruise?''
''When we played the pool deck it was the hottest day out of all and also there was a lot of waves so it was a bit of a balancing act on stage, not too much head banging haha. I also tried wall climbing for the first time which was fun!''
''You were there with Leaves’ Eyes, in support of ‘Sign of the Dragonhead’. Where else will you be touring with this album?''
''We have a European tour coming up in April/May with Mayan and Almanac so you’ll see us all over the Europe. There are also other plans that will be announced soon.''
''You’ve been in the band for some time now. How do you feel fronting such a well-known and respected band?''
''Whenever I perform it’s about doing my best on stage. I’ve performed for small and big audiences over the years and it’s always about connecting with people. It’s been great to meet so many great fellow musicians and fans all over the world!''
''Have you received any negative backlash from fans or were you accepted as the front woman quite quickly? Did this affect you in any way?''
''There was a strong reaction of course but the negativity was happening mainly online. I had a lot of pressure on me for sure and it wasn’t the easiest start but I didn’t get any backlash and I’m very grateful for the support and nice comments I’ve had from everyone.''
''Did you know Leaves’ Eyes before you were asked to join?''
''I knew the band of course but I wasn’t familiar with their music apart from a couple of songs.''
''How did your family, friends and bandmates from Angel Nation react to the news that you were going to front Leaves’ Eyes?''
''They were as surprised as me for sure haha! And of course very supportive! I’m super happy to have had that support in the start, everyone championing me back home when I was in Indonesia for the first gig etc.''
''‘Sign of the Dragonhead’ has been out for a while now and has gained many positive reviews, LSM included, so congratulations are in order. What can you tell us about the concept or story of the album?''
''Alex was in charge of the stories and lyrics for this album. It’s not a concept album like ‘King of Kings’ but the first song is a direct continuity from it. All the other songs are separate stories on their own.''
''The videos shot for this album are really interesting, showing the Viking lifestyle. How was it to be a shieldmaiden in the video for “Sing of the Dragonhead”?''
''It was fun, a bit like being an extra on a film set! We had three intense and long days of filming but it was great. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, playing in the forest as a kid, climbing and getting muddy so for me it’s natural to be physical which I had to do a lot on the video.''
''I really like your stage outfits with both Angel Nation and Leaves Eyes. Where you do get them from? Or do you make them yourself? How about stage makeup?''
''Thank you! I get my outfits from various places. For Angel Nation I often make the outfits myself or combine many outfits into one and fine-tune them in different ways. I always do my own make up for stage. I’ve never been one to use a lot of make up so I’ve had to really learn how to put enough haha''
''In between Leaves’ Eyes and Angel Nation, you don’t seem to have that much free time. How do you balance the two bands?''
''That’s true, between two bands, a job and some teaching there’s not much time left. It’s just about scheduling and planning well in advance.''
''What do you do to stay in shape off and on tours?''
''I have pretty active lifestyle anyway but I do all kinds of sports to try and keep my fitness up. On tour it’s always a balancing act but doing the shows is already a workout so for me it’s more about trying to eat enough and keep my energy levels up as I always lose weight on tour.''
''On “Music Plays” from Angel Nation’s album ‘Aeon’ you worked with your mother. How did it happen?''
''When I wrote the song, the whole idea started with the “dialog” between the voice and violin so I knew I’d need a real violinist to play the part. It was very natural to ask my mother but it was great that she was able to come to London and record as the schedule was very tight and it was the last song we did for the album. It was great experience and her playing is such an essential part of the song.''
''The video for ‘Burn the Witch’ seems to focus on humanity’s increase focus, or better said obsession, with smartphones and social media. Can you elaborate on that?''
''It can be quite sad how so many people live completely in the virtual world and it can make you feel very isolated and lonely. Just the difference the phones and computers have made in relatively short time is quite crazy! The whole way of communicating has changed a lot and we wanted to bring that topic onto the video.''
''In December last year, you were on tour with Angel Nation, promoting “Aeon”. How did it go? Any fun stories?''
''It was our first time playing in Europe and we had a lot of fun! It was great to play the new songs live and see so many people attending the shows. There were probably too many fun stories haha but if you watch Julia’s tour diary you’ll see some of the shenanigans that went on!''
''In what way is ‘’Aeon’’ different from ‘’Tears of Lust’’?''
''I would say that it’s more organic in many ways. I combined a lot of different styles and used sounds more boldly in these songs. All instruments have more specific parts. It’s a bit more uptempo album, more feisty and we also wanted to keep the “band” feel with the mix, not to make it too prefect and polished.''
''Initially Angel Nation was named EnkeliNation, from the finnish word ‘enkeli’, which means ‘angel’. Why the translation?''
''Over the years it became apparent that people struggled to remember, understand or pronounce the name so after a long consideration we decided to change the name.''
''When did you decide you wanted a career in metal? What bands / artists have inspired you to pursue this career?''
''It wasn’t really a decision like that, it happened quite organically. When I moved to London to study I really fell in love with rock and loved to perform that style of music. Through friends I got more into metal and the heavier music which lead me to write some heavier songs. That then lead to the formation of Angel Nation and that’s what I’ve been working on ever since.''
''Besides singing, do you play any other instruments?''
''I used to play the violin when I was younger (I play some on the ‘Fires in the North’) and I also play piano. Keyboard is my main instrument for writing music.''
''How do you feel about the term “female fronted”? Many think it shouldn’t be used anymore when describing a band.''
''Well, this is the eternal question. I think the way the term was created originally doesn’t really work anymore as there are so many different genres with female singers. That term obviously doesn’t describe the music in any way so that’s a massive problem. Better way would be to say that a band plays symphonic metal or death metal etc. with female vocals. That way it actually tells you what to expect from the music.''
''I read on Wikipedia, that you are related to Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish. Did he ever give you any pieces of advice about being on the metal scene? Do you talk about with him about music, touring?''
''Yes, Tuomas is my second cousin. I’ve actually never met him except sometimes when we had these get togethers with relatives in our childhood. Hopefully there will be a chance sometime soon :)''
''Do you have any other goals or dreams in the music field? Future collaborations?''
''That’s one of the best things about music, it’s an endless field of creativity and ideas. So of course I have lots of things I’d love to achieve and I hope to also collaborate with more people in the future.''
''What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies that are not music related?''
''I don’t really have time for hobbies but I try to see my friends and I enjoy watching films and relaxing when there’s time.''
''Is there anything you would like to add? Maybe something I have missed?''
''I hope everyone will enjoy ‘Aeon’ by Angel Nation and ‘Sign of the dragonhead’ by Leaves’ Eyes. Huge thank you for all the support and hope to see everyone on the road very soon!''
I want to thank Elina so, so much for this big interview with Lyrical Spell Magazine! Don't forget to listen to both ''Aeon'' and ''Sign of the Dragonhead'', and if you like it, buy the record!