IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH SAVN UNRELEASED PICTURES
By Marc Gutiérrez
How did you all come together and most important: why did Stig and Anders decide to begin a new (gothic) metal band after their experience with The Sins Of Thy Beloved?
Carmen: After years of silence at the music front with his band TSOTB, Stig felt a kind of deprivation of music. He didn`t feel like himself anymore and needed to start a new musical chapter in his life. That`s the reason why he decided to found a band called SAVN, which means deprivation as well as longing/desire for. He began writing some basic guitar lines, and his friend and former band mate in TSOTB Anders joined him and they wrote some songs together. For ca 1,5 year ago they decided to have female vocals on one of their songs that they were going to record in studio as a demo, and Stig called me if I wanted to contribute. We got to know each other many years ago and we live in the nearby. I am still the singer in my other band Midnattsol, and I wasn`t searching for a new band or anything. But when Stig showed me the first songs of SAVN, I was really blown away, I just had to say yes! I wrote the refrain like out of the blue and a couple of weeks later I recorded it in studio. I was super nervous, because I didn`t know if they liked my melody or the way of singing it, but fortunately they did. They asked me after a while if I would like to sing on more songs, and finally to be a permanent member of the band, because we worked so well together and had lots of fun. That was the beginning of a new musical journey for me, which has been amazing so far ☺
“Savn” is your first album and at this point all press reviews are simply amazing!!! Did you expect these kinds of reactions from the press for your very first album? I think the Empire review was the very first one that you received, and you obtained 9/10…
Carmen: You`re totally right, the reviews have been so overwhelming!! ☺ We have got so many full-points reviews and in general less negative feedback, all in all much better than expected! That motivates us even more to keep writing new songs. In this place we have to say a huge thanx to everyone supporting us – and that includes of course you!! Thank you again for the great review and everything you`ve done for us! You have been so amazing to us from the beginning, which we really appreciate! ☺
I think this first album is really diverse, and I think you play really well Folk, Gothic and mid tempo songs. Which kind of style do you prefer to play?
Carmen: I agree with you, our songs contains elements from many music genres. We have got feedback from people with different taste in music that they like our music, so I guess that indicates what you say quite well. But I think it`s very hard to choose a favorite between the styles, they all have their charm and add something special to our songs. How to describe the music of SAVN in the best way, is up to the listeners to decide 😉
I want to ask you about your record label since CDR Records is a new label in Norway and you are their very first band in their roster. Is this your own label or could you please tell me how they got in contact with you?
Carmen: The people from CDR Records are close friends of us, who wanted to help us fulfill our dream to release an album made exactly in the way we wanted to. They give us so much freedom from everything from music till artwork and they don`t put us under strict time limits or pressure to do things we don`t agree with. It`s fantastic, because we got the chance to focus 100% on making the music that we wanted to give our fans, real music, not directed by money or trends. Of course, to make such an album with all the guest musicians and everything included is not cheap, so without them, we would never ever have fulfilled this dream.
Do you agree with me that The Sins of the Beloved, Theatre of Tragedy and early Tristania are a big influence for you? Do you miss the 90’s sound?
Carmen: I guess all our previous experiences inspire us in some way where we are today, and all the three of us listened to these bands back then and got influenced by them. Elements like the melancholic fiddle and piano solos from TSOTB are surely to be recognized in our songs. Still, SAVN is in my opinion not at all a copy of whether TSOTB or Midnattsol or any other band, much more we inspired each other to something unique that we had never created before. We didn`t have any band as a main “ideal” or anything, and we soon developed “our” sound. Sometimes I miss it and listen to beautiful songs like “Until the dark” (TSOTB) or “A distance there is” (TOT) for example, but times change, and I think it`s good with some fresh air in the music business as well. I think we should keep the good elements from the past, and at the same time never stop developing ourselves as musicians.
I guess it was easy to choose a studio to record your album since Alex Krull is your brother in law and he is an amazing producer. Liv told me that Alex works really hard. Could you please tell me if you changed many things in your songs while you were in the studio?
Carmen: Yes, we were very happy when we found out that it fit in their timetable to work with us, the crew of Mastersound is amazing like you say! The basic song ideas were made before we entered the studio, but Alex and his crew came with many great ideas and input while we recorded the album. To give some examples, the cool mini-intro of “Hang On” was Alex idea, Sander came up with some great bass lines, and Tosso inspired me to make some interesting second voices. We are very grateful for the fantastic work and help from Mastersound!
Talk to me about Liv’s contribution, but especially about your chemistry. All your contributions are fantastic, Liv dedicated her “Libertine” album to you, and now she sings with you. Why did you choose “I am free” for Liv?
Carmen: Liv and I had already talked about it that it would be cool if she would sing on this album, because she had never sung on one of my records before. In the middle of the song writing process when we were rewriting “I Am Free”, I came up with the refrain, but the funny thing was that inside my head I heard kind of two voices singing together, like an interplay. Then I realized that it had to be Liv`s voice. She really liked the song and wanted to sing on it. I wasn`t there when she recorded it, and when I heard the result I couldn`t believe my ears: she sang it 100% how I had imagined it– only much better!! She did a fantastic job, it means so much to me. Liv and I have a special chemistry. We are not only sisters, but we have always felt like real soul mates and supported each other in every way. Of course we always have a lot of fun together as well with our special crazy humor hehe 😉 Our voices fit so well together I think, and the songs we have sung together are very close to my heart. When I read that she dedicated “Libertine” to me, I cried so much you can`t believe it, it touched me deeply…
Could you describe Liv’s voice and Liv as an artist?
Carmen: Liv is like an angel with an angelic voice, so crystal clear and beautiful. To see her on stage is a dream, she is born as a singer and an artist and is full of creativity. There are not many singers who can compete with her level after my opinion, and she keeps developing herself all the time. She cares about the fans and gives everything, that`s for sure! Still, I love her for the person who she is and normally I don`t think about her as an artist in our daily life, then she is just my loving sister.
The cover of the album shows two basic elements for SAVN: piano and a forest… and Carmen, of course.
Carmen: Yes that`s right! These elements have a special meaning, which is connected to the band title. Like you perhaps know, SAVN means deprivation and longing/desire for, because Stig found the band since he felt a huge deprivation of music back then and longed so much after making music again. When I got to to know this and it was clear that our first album should treat the main theme deprivation connected to band title, I thought about a symbol for deprivation of music. You know I love and get inspired by the nordic nature, and then it hit me that it would be cool to have an old unused piano on the cover overgrown by the nature. I`ve discovered it and see the possibility of making music again ☺ Almost everything you see on the cover is real, and it took months to “overgrow” this old piano hehe 😉
Could you please tell me about your first video clip “Hang on”? Where was it filmed? Could you please tell to your fans any story about the song / clip?
Carmen: Yes of course, it was filmed in my hometown Stavanger in Norway (Stig and Anders grew up right outside Stavanger). A little place in Stavanger called Hundvåg has a beautiful mystic forest with the name Trollskogen (“The forests of trolls”) with a view on the sea, and this was the perfect location to film the story behind ‘Hang On’. The story treats an emotional theme: To be without hope and to see no end of your struggles. A girl (played so wonderfully by Susanne Dahle) who has gone through some horrible experiences tries to escape from her thoughts, but doesn’t know where to go. She finds an old wooden boat and sails at the sea without oars and without any direction. Then she just gives up… What happens next? That is to be seen in the music video..,;) The key message of the song goes out to everyone who struggles: Hang on, there is always a way! The main focus of our first videoclip was to make it as real as possible, without many effects and to deliver the fans the story in its best way. I didn’t want to be styled up perfectly and try to look as a Barbie girl`, we wanted to transform the emotions. I have to admit that it was freezing cold, I`ve never been so cold in my life hehe 😉 A big thanx to Susanne and our producer Leo from Frog Leap Studio (frogleapstudios.com) – they both did a fantastic job! Watch the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBkJcFSmxcQ , enjoy! ☺
Why did you decide to include two “growling versions” on the album instead of two new songs? Are you aware about the fact that these covers are more close to the 90’s sound than your actual sound? Was this your main idea?
Carmen: The thing is that the growling versions of the two songs were actually the ones that were first made. We were 100% satisfied with them, but I couldn`t get out of my head to find out how clean male vocals on “The Demons In Me” would sound like. Michelle from End of Green blew us away with his amazing vocals on the song, and the perfect melancholic atmosphere that I hoped for was added. Then we got the idea of keeping both of them, because we liked both versions and felt that they gave different expressions. It was kind of the same case with “Hang On” with and without fiddle and growling, we couldn`t let go of any of them. Interesting what you say about the 90`s sound! We haven`t thought about it before, but I guess it could be something to it.
One of my favorite songs, “Lengselens Hånd”, contains an overwhelming atmosphere. Could you please tell me about the story? It would be really special to listen to this song sang by you and your sister. Hope you can / want to play it live someday…
Carmen: Many people have told me that this is their favorite, I`m glad you like it as well! ☺ It`s one of the most emotional songs I`ve ever written. It`s dedicated to my beloved grandmother who I never got the chance to meet unfortunately. She past away when my mother was a little girl, and I`ve tried to write the song through her eyes. Sadly, Stig has also experienced loosing quite a few people in his life, so I had his sorrow in mind as well writing it. Yes, we want to include it in our live-set, so there are good chances that you will get to experience it live ☺
Would it be possible for you to sing in Spanish in the future?
Carmen: I love languages and Spanish is like music for my ears, so beautiful! So yes, if I have the feeling that Spanish would be the perfect language for one of our songs, I would write it in Spanish. It has to fit together with the atmosphere of the music, so I never know upfront, but let`s hope for that 😉
What about live shows for Savn? Any date planning?
Carmen: We would love to tour around the world and meet our fantastic fans face to face, but first we have to wait and see how the fans like our new album ☺ It looks promising, since the the reviews and feedback have been awesome so far. We have already found some live musicians and are planning the live-band SAVN. We want to have as much live and authentic as we can, we are not big fans of playback. But of course, to hire a whole string orchestra for each concert would be a bit difficult 😉 We let you know as soon as we have more info, stay tuned on our homepage http://www.savn-offical.com and our FB-site! Hope to meet you one day on the road! ☺
Which status does Midnattsol have right now?
Carmen: We are very motivated to give out our forth album and many ideas have been made! We Midnattsols feel that we are in the right direction now in the song writing process. Everyone in Midnattsol is working on a full time basis, so we need a while before we have written a new album. In the last years many things have happened in Midnattsol, also regarding our private lives, so then the song writing process for the forth album have lasted longer than the other ones. But better late than never! ☺
A question for Stig and Anders: Would a The Sins of Thy Beloved reunion be possible in the future? Do you know if Anita Auglend still sings?
Stig/Anders: We both sincerely hope that Sins will do more music in the future. However, both have quitted the band, and will from now on concentrate 100 % on Savn. We are still really proud of the two albums we participated on, and things looked really promising after all the great feedback in the press and from fans on tour. But what will happen with Sins in the future is really difficult for us to say. Anita still lives in Bryne (hometown of Sins), and we do not know if she has kept singing. She has a great voice, and it would be sad if Perpetual Desolation were her last recording.
Do you want to add anything more?
Carmen: We really hope that your readers will like the album, and that our new songs will give them something special!! ☺ If you want to pre-listen to our songs, go to Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/cdr-records-1/savn-album-trailer, you can order the album on most online retailers such as Amazon, EMP-Online, Play.com and merchandise in our official webstore: http://www.backstreet-merch.com/stores/savn Stay tuned and rock on!! 🙂