There are artists who simply are, for many of us, people we admire or that we have admired for a certain period in our lifetime. On the other hand, there are other artists who are meant to become real music icons, whom we gave our emotions on every occasion in our teen years, people who are so beautiful and almost impossible to reach that they remain untouchable. In my case, there have been many artists I have loved and I continue to love even after so many years: an artist who’s in this category is the beautiful Vibeke Stene. Known to many for her long militancy in Tristania, a band she left back in 2007, the extraordinary Norwegian singer preferred to move away from an environment that, perhaps, was becoming a bit hostile, leading her to a long lasting silence for many, many years. Only in 2019 the Veil Of Secrets project came to life, a band that, in addition to Vibeke, also sees the participation of Asgeir Mickelson. Still fresh from the debut release, Veil Of Secrets is preparing to give voice to its own gothic atmospheres and to introduce its heavily doom metal sound to the world. Exclusively for you, we present an interesting interview conducted with one of our favorite artists, the incredible Vibeke Stene.

Hi Vibeke, welcome to Femme Metal. Considering that you are one of my favourite metal female singers ever for me it’s such a big honour interviewing you. How are you?

Hi Arianna, thank you so much! I am doing fine. I enjoy the very cold weather. The snow brings light and silence to this dark season. Inside my warm house I look at a pile of over 300 photos to sign today. They will come with the LP.

I’d love to start by saying that for years, a lot of Tristania’s fans and me, have hoped for such a long time for such a comeback. And when hope becomes a bit lost, you’ve announced your return in the musical scene! So, I’d love to take a step back and get back to 2006. What did lead you to leave the band after 10 years that somehow, has introduced you to the metal panorama?

I wanted to go back to Tristanias roots somehow, I think the band lost our way somehow. I did not always hunger for new directions and experimentation like some of my other band mates. It was not always easy to cooperate on such a basis and not seldom there was an aspect of unprepared material when entering the studio. I mostly interpreted what others had composed, and so it ended up pretty stressful sometimes.

The time had come when I simply needed to rest, to get used to silence, to be alone and not dependent on others and find back to my roots after many years of exposure.

But Tristania was my life for ten years. The band was sort of my family and every choice of direction I had been taken, was due to the band. So when I left the band I was both revealed and afraid, and anger and sadness was never far away for many years. But I never regret my choice, I’ve always been proud of my strong will and my power to implement what I’ve decided.

I do remember the feeling the day I knew that time of fear and anger had passed. What a relief! It felt so peaceful. I wish all my former band mates all the very best.

Throughout these 14 years, the affection for you never ceased. As I mentioned before, out of the blue you’ve announced your return with Veil of Secrets. Basically, what has prompted you to reconsider the idea of making music again? Which was the sparkle that has lit your love for this beautiful form of art?

At one point I started to feel the need to be artistically creative again and so I opened up for the possibility to create music and somehow seeked it. When Asgeir contacted me for GoA and I got to know his doom material, I knew I had found my way back to the metal scene.

The birth of Veil of Secrets dates to 2013, when you’ve announced your cooperation with God of Atheists. Back then something was already in the pipeline and, six years later, there were some changes. What can you share about this?

Yes, it all started with Asgeir contacting me for his God of Atheists project. We cooperated well on this and we had some good talks along the way. When he told me about his doom material I asked to hear it, and I immediately fell in love with the song we eventually called Fey. After a week or so listening to his doom, I had already made a lot of my melodies and created a sound image for how this could end up if I got to put it to life. By that time I was so ready to be musically creative again, so I took the chance and proposed to Asgeir for a collaboration. He needed some days of thinking since this was not what he had imagined, but fortunately he went for it.

The debut album of Veil of Secrets “Dead Poetry” was released less than two months and it was anticipated by the first single, “The Last Attempt”. First, how was the feedback for the single and then, for the record itself?

It was some very exciting days, to finally get to share our work. Both me and all my followers had been waiting for so long. Due to all the years the drop was great, but I was confident in the quality we presented and so very proud when I received all the greetings and reviews and the numbers of streamings and sale of cd’s and LP’s.

I think The Last Attempt surprised my followers a little, since VoS’ doom can’t be very much compared to Tristanias gothic metal, but it also seemed as if I had managed to give most of them something they had been longing for. When Dead Poetry finally was released, they were somehow prepared for the fact that I had changed course somewhat from what I had presented before.

The reception of Dead Poetry has so far been mixed. Some say that they simply do not understand our music and others need repeated listenings to catch it. And that’s what I wanted, that the album should get better and better every time you listen. The high listener numbers from the US, Brazil and Germany stand out. It’s exciting to get updated on streamings. The world of music dissemination has certainly changed.

Actually, “Dead Poetry” was released via Norway’s label Crime Records. How and when it was the first approach and how this collaboration is treating you so far?

We communicate very well with Crime Records and that’s one of the main reasons we found for cooperation with them. Asgeir knew them from before and we live not far away from their office.

What can you disclose about the writing process of the album? How did you and Asgeir Mickelson manage to evenly share the parts of the work?

Me and Asgeir have found a common expression we both love and want to keep. We create what we like, what pleases us, what we want and what we need. It is not a goal to cross boundaries but to stick to the organic sound that makes that special vibration to us.

When I get skeletons for a song from Asgeir, I listen until the music has become a part of me and while listening I form a construction of the song. I always think my work should complete the songs. The mood Asgeir’s compositions set me in pretty much decides which melodies and style I choose, combined with the lyrics of course, that I find soothing.

During our processes we both need to take breaks now and then, to think over and accept each other’s wishes. We both have a very strong will but most of the time we find our way with no complications. I guess Asgeir has to endure more than me, since I am the one to change his material and give it an expression he may not always have had in mind. But when we finish a song, we are both very proud of the result.

I think we fulfill each other musically. We have very different starting points or musical backgrounds, but found this common ground where our inner tones meet and complete each other. To share and create together we need a lot of trust and admiration for each other and our contributions, and we’ve found a good way to hold on to and highlight that. We listen to each other’s suggestions and give each other room for creativity. We share a common understanding of what our music should bring.

What are the main topics treated in “Dead Poetry”? In that regard, by what were you influenced?

My influences are mostly my surroundings, sound sources that appear or feelings or thoughts or mood. The lyrics I wrote are taken from important crossroads in my life. They depict either the outcome of working through difficult experiences or the experience itself. The last track of Dead Poetry though, Entirety, is a depiction of finding good and what good to come.

Somehow, I’ve always thought that you’re a very sweet but secretive person. I’ve always had this idea about you, of someone who likes to keep her own ‘secrets’ and her own privacy for herself. Indeed, we have perceived that by your attentive and scarce activity on your social media. All this, I personally think that it also reflects the name of the band. Naturally, it’s my interpretation but I would love to discover more about the actual band name’s concept. What Veil of Secrets stand for?

Yes, I love to keep my secrets for myself, it’s the safest thing to do, and to share music and words means to open up. All we create comes from what’s hidden, though it’s never totally hidden as long as you’re not alone. And somehow, in the end, everything you carry, everything that weighs you down, needs to be aired. The veil does that. And the name makes a beautiful image, doesn’t it?

As soon as you entered the studio again and after so many years, what was your very first feeling when you set your feet in the studio? Connected to this, instead, how did it feel when you realized that you enjoyed creating music again like the very first time?

It’s very satisfying to take part during the whole process of making an album, when you have a lot to give. And I’ve always known I have a lot to give. All the singing and piano playing I did at home, all the music I made with my pupils at work and all the concerts and music I heard that I would like to change to the better during the years when I had no actual musical projects, made my musical self-confidence grow. So when entering the studio, it was kind of like coming home after a long journey.

In a normal context where touring was possible, has the band ever considered to organize gigs and play live?

It is an essential part of being an artist, to convey live and feel the nerve that’s created on stage and between the artist and the audience. So I would very much like to go live and yes, we work for and will try to get it done when it’s possible again.

Due to the current COVID pandemic, bands are forced to find alternative methods to promote their own music, how will you promote “Dead Poetry” in this uncertain situation?

As for now we will answer all our inquiries and prepare for a situation where the pandemic is under control and we can do gigs. Meanwhile we’ve also got our own home studio up and running, and work with new material for Veil of Secrets.

I’d like to ask you a very good question – even if it may sound a bit trivial: I still have a great, great, great memory about you. It was 2006 and you played your very last show in Italy with Tristania. Back then, I was a young fan that was starting her musical journey in discovering bands such as Dark Tranquillity, Cradle of Filth and Within Temptation. And I was literally in love with the magic you’ve created in songs such as “World of Glass”, “My Lost Lenore” and “Equilibrium”. After so many years, I still have the goosebumps every time I listen to those songs. In the end, I would love to hold to a “sacred” memory your last performance you had with the band. However, many years now have passed and what I’d like to ask is how much did you change in so many years of silence?

It’s so nice to hear of your memory. Since that, I’ve gained like 15 years of experience of life due to events and situations, boredom and celebrations in meetings with family, friends, work, travelling, theatre and music. How much these experiences have changed me is not easy to answer myself. Maybe I’ve become even more courageous and also empathic. I hope so. I always strive to become a better fellow human being and collaborate with others as the best version of myself. I think every human I meet and every situation I work through, enrichen my life somehow.

Well, Vibeke, I would like to really, really, really thank you for giving us this huge opportunity and for allowing me to get in touch with you! Sooner or later, I’m hoping to see you again in the nearest future (since the last time was back in 2006). On a last note, I wish you all the best and, as our tradition wants, I give you the chance to share the final words with our readers, so I call you to speak! Måtte hell og lykke følge deg/dere!

Thank you, Arianna.
I really hope that you and all the readers stay safe and healthy, that you share your time with someone you love, that you dare and are able to stand up for your rights and that you get the chance to fulfill your dreams. I hope that Dead Poetry touches you, that I may see you at a concert in the future and I hope I can bring you more music in the years to come.


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