Heidi Parviainen’s Dark Sarah are on their way to releasing their third cinematic album “The Golden Moth” on 20th September, 2018. “The Golden Moth” is said to be the final chapter of the Dark Sarah trilogy, but don’t worry, this is not the end for the band, but a new beginning as Heidi plans to continue Sarah's story with more releases and a new trilogy.
As a fan of the Finnish group, I wanted to take the opportunity to ask some questions to Heidi, the storywriter and vocalist to this cinematic masterpiece, about how she created Dark Sarah, collaboration with JP, and a few more information about the upcoming album.
“Hello and welcome Heidi, how are you currently feeling now that the third album of Dark Sarah is almost here?”
Heidi: ''Hi! I am really happy that finally we get to release the album! Not so much to wait anymore. You can’t believe how hard it is to hold a ready album in your hands and then wait for many months to get to share it with people! The music is made for people to listen to and until it is released something really important is missing from the feeling. You just have to put your own excitement into a pocket and wait... So we really have shared the anxiety of waiting with the fans.''
“That’s excellent to hear that you are very excited about the release as we do! You deserve all the happiness and excitement that comes to you! To break the ice, let’s begin some questions about the band. Dark Sarah, how did it first began, what started the concept of this titular character?”
Heidi: ''The concept of the main character came along with the first song “Save Me”. There, a young woman walks in a forest in her wedding dress. I started going deeper into her character when writing the story for the lyrics. Then, I figured out that I need to write more about her, what has happened to her and what will happen to her. Then suddenly, I had an album full of her story that really needed to continue to another and so on!''
“And with that, the Dark Sarah lore has expanded into 3 full-length albums, would you like to summarize the story of Dark Sarah told so far for the listeners who are just discovering this band?”
Heidi: ''The story is about a young woman called Sarah and her evil side persona, Dark Sarah, and a psychological journey through three worlds. The first album “Behind the Black Veil” tells about Sarah hovering between two personalities and her hatred towards her husband who left her at the altar for another woman. The story situates in the Middle World where the normal people live. The second album “The Puzzle” tells about Dark Sarah and her journey to the Underworld, an island where the banished souls live. To get off the island she needs to solve three puzzles and find three keys. There she meets the Dragon, which will also have a big part in her journey. On the third album called “The Golden Moth”, Dark Sarah ends up to the Upper World, a deserted wasteland, where the gods rule. The Dragon has followed her there, the two team up and try to find their way to the Gods.''
“Love the concept, what really interests me about this band is the use of the term “cinematic metal”. Is this a genre something you came up with or were there others before that inspired you to use this genre?”
Heidi: ''I started to built up Dark Sarah me and producer Mikko P. Mustonen anted to create something new and include more cinematic elements into symphonic metal. Overall, the clue was to create music that would create strong mental images with the atmosphere and theatrical singing style.''
“As you said while promoting the album, this will the final chapter of the first Dark Sarah trilogy – The Chronicles, what will become of her and will her story continue?”
Heidi: ''Yes, something new will happen to her and the story continues on the fourth album that will start a new trilogue - The Saga.''
“‘The Golden Moth’ was successfully funded on IndieGogo like your previous two releases, how does it feel that fans who participated was able to help the releases become a reality?”
Heidi: ''For us, our label are the ones who makes the albums come financially into reality, it is the fans who contribute. In our case, our crowdfunding is always about pre-selling music and exclusive products, we don’t ask for donations. We are really thankful for the loyalty of our fans who keep on supporting us this way. Without them, there would not be these three albums and we will always remember this.''
“What are the exclusive products you offered to fans on the campaign?”
Heidi: ''For us, it is pre-selling exclusive perks and music like photobooks, storybooks, sheet music, video greetings, exclusive contributor t-shirts, and limited edition digipack versions of the albums. To name some of them.''
“As we keep mentioning the album’s title, fans are curious, who or what is it “The Golden Moth?”
Heidi: ''I can’t tell it yet, before the album is out. It will become clear along the album.''
“Your latest music video “Trespasser” was very well-received from fans because they had loved “Dance with the Dragon” with JP. How was your reaction to the positive feedback?
Heidi: ''“Trespasser” continues the story of the two characters, Dark Sarah and the Dragon. And the whole “The Golden Moth” album continues their story. It is great that people have liked it because more is about to come!''
“What part of the story is the “Trespasser” telling from the album?”
Heidi: ''It is the opening scene for “The Golden Moth”, they have just arrived to the Upper World and Dark Sarah finds out that she didn't come there alone. First she thinks the Dragon wants to harm her, but soon they team up and start their journey together. On the video we can also see two key elements: Dragon’s time turner watch and Dark Sarah’s key.''
“The “Upper World” as you mentioned is where the album's story takes place, is it based on Finnish mythology?”
Heidi: ''For example in the Viking mythology, the world is divided into three just like here. The “Middle World” in where the people live - our world, the “Underworld” is where the dead live, and the “Upper World” is where the higher spirits, like gods, live. The tree of life is in the middle of everything.''
“Looking at the sandy wasteland, where was the video filmed? Tell us about the costumes and the choreography with the fighting and dancing, it must have been difficult doing all that in the sand?”
Heidi: ''The costumes were custom made, I wanted them to be easy to move in, not too hot and look cool in the wind. Finnish Ruoste Design made the costumes for us. For the “Trespasser”, the choreography we practiced a whole summer on is Pekiti-Tirsia Kali fighting with a coach, and late summer we also started the modern dance choreography training that was added to the fighting choreograph. Video shootings are always really hard and take a lot of time and numerous replays, it took a whole week from mornings to evenings to shoot this one with only one camera. This also meant a lot of replays in hot degrees and soft sand, it was the hardest video shoot ever but never had so much fun in any of the ones before!''
(The video was filmed in the deserts of the Canary Islands)
“The album will feature JP Leppäluoto again who first appeared as “The Dragon” in 2016’s “The Puzzle” just as a guest, but became a full-time member in Dark Sarah lineup. What influenced your decision and how did the collaboration first started before the “Dance with the Dragon” video?”
Heidi: ''I contacted JP for the role of The Dragon, I knew he would suit for it perfectly! After working so tightly with JP on the dance routine for "Dance with the Dragon", we noticed how fun it was to work together. Also the feedback for having him in Dark Sarah was so good, I thought that it would be great to continue to tell more about their story. I asked how JP would feel about joining the band and he had also been hoping for that.''
“Being together in two albums now, how would you define the relationship between Dark Sarah and Dragon - are they friends or are they enemies?”
Heidi: ''They certainly are not friends, more like enemies. But there is a certain spark between them.''
“The album will be featuring new guests Marco Hietala, Netta Skog, and Zuberoa Aznárez. How did their appearance came about and how will they help Dark Sarah on her journey?”
Heidi: Marco and Zuberoa where the ones that I thought first for the roles because of their unique singing. I’m happy that they were willing to come!! They sing the roles of Gods. Zuberoa recorded her parts in Spain and Marco came to Helsinki to sing his parts in studio. Netta plays accordion and without singing, brings one different role to the story, by only playing.
“Many fans have wondered what happened to Fate (Manuela Kraller), as she played an important role guiding Sarah in her dark and light side, has she finished her part in trilogy?”
Heidi: ''The Fate is always there, in the background, affecting our lives. But when making an album, you always have to choose the songs that will end up on the album, you can’t tell about everything. We don’t know if she will have something to say again in the future. ;)''
“I want to ask you about any potential Dark Sarah tour, but first I want ask about your most recent ones. In January of this year, you toured with Sonata Arctica in support of the “Ninth Hour Finland Tour”, how was the experience?
Heidi: ''It was a great opportunity to us to get in front of a wider Finnish audience with our music. In Finland, symphonic metal or female fronted bands are in the minority. We felt the feedback was really good and we gained a lot of new fans.''
“The band has had 2 summer shows, one with The Dark Element and another at John Smith Rock Festival, excited to be doing more shows? Planning to perform new songs from the upcoming album this festival season?”
Heidi: ''We are excited to continue with the Finnish audience and hopefully we'll see familiar faces in the crowd. So far we will only play one new song live, “Trespasser”. We want to save the new songs until the album is out.''
“After the release, is there any word on touring planned? What countries or cities would you like to visit (I would personally love to see you come to Orlando, Florida one day ;))?”
Heidi: ''Our management Master Events is working to get us shows around the album release and hopefully there will also be a tour! We would love to come there, so please share a word about us!''
“Great, I'll let venues and promoters know about you. ;)”
“Now I want ask a few personal questions, if you feel uncomfortable please don't be afraid to not give the full answer. In 2012, you and Amberian Dawn have parted ways and the last show together was at Metal Female Voices Fest. In your opinion, was it the best decision you made?”
Heidi: ''It was the only possibility, to continue separate ways, for both of us.''
“The split was on good terms as they mentioned the decision was planned earlier the year you left, are you still friends with the band members?”
Heidi: ''Yes, we planned everything about my departure very early, already before we released the last album together. We still wanted to do the promotion for the album and they would have time to prepare things and I would have time too. We don’t stay in touch anymore, I guess we all turned a leaf in our lives.''
“Outside of being a musician, you're also a current full time student, social worker, and a vocal coach. How do you manage to balance your professional and personal life?”
Heidi: ''My life is really hectic and I guess that is a style of living. I’ve always had a lot of things to do at the same time and I feel it makes me feel alive. But of course, too much is too much and sometimes I feel exhausted. Creative work doesn’t feel like a work, I would say you get a lot of strength from it.''
“Somewhere on your page you mentioned you hold five different degrees (wow!), would you like to share what you have completed under them and what you are currently studying?”
Heidi: ''Vocational education in music, Waldorf/Steiner pedagogue, Bachelor of Arts (Education), Bachelor of Social Services and I study my last year for Bachelor in Music Education and Masters in Arts (Education).''
“It’s no secret that even the happiest of people tend to have a darker side, do you have any connections with Dark Sarah?”
Heidi: ''Yes, both Sarah and Dark Sarah are my alter egos.''
“We are almost done with our interview. A really interesting question I recieved from one of our writers would like to ask you is do you think one day we will see the story Dark Sarah come to the big screens, similar to how Nightwish did with “Imaginaerum”?”
Heidi: ''Well, certainly that would be possible if the moons would turn into right positions for us!''
“Since its very early to talk about the fourth album, are there any artist you wish you would like to cast in the next cinematic work?”
Heidi: ''I always think the best possible artist through the characters, so I really can’t say yet. The fourth album is already figuring in my mind but needs a lot of clearing up.''
“What are your goals and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?”
Heidi: ''Personally, I wish I could start living from art and I am dedicating the becoming year completely for that. That is also my professional dream. I am so bound to music and Dark Sarah, I can't really say which part is personal and which is professional anymore!''
“We have reached the end of our interview, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?”
Heidi: ''Thank you for reading the whole interview! Wow! Alot of text! Listen to Dark Sarah and don’t forget to read the stories from our website! Kiss!''
“Thank you so much Heidi for your time and consideration for answering our questions, may we meet at a show in the future.”
Heidi: ''Thank you for this opportunity!''
“The Golden Moth” has finished up it’s mastering process and planned for the release date in fall 2018. Pre-orders are now available on the Dark Sarah webstore.
Special thanks Kari Penttinen of Master Events for making this interview happen!
For more info, visit:
Heidi's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiParviainenOfficial/
Heidi's Instagram: @heidiparviainenofficial
Heidi's Twitter: @Heidi_DarkSarah