Interview by Robin Stryker
Hailing from Norway, gothic metal band Where Angels Fall breaks out of the mould with electronic elements, groovy guitar riffs, and rock-inflected tracks. Femme Metal sat down with vocalist Eirin Bendigtsen to find out more about the history and future of Where Angels Fall.
Hello Eirin, and welcome to Femme Metal! Would you start off by introducing the members of Where Angels Fall and telling us a bit about the band’s history?
Hi! Where Angels Fall is André Bendigtsen, guitar and programming, Kristian Svenning, guitar, Espen Lohne, bass, Jarle “Uruz” Byberg, drums, and myself, singing. We started as a band in 2004. Back then, we had another drummer and Kristian was the bass player. In the beginning, we were very inspired by classical music and vocal music from the Middle Ages. Now we have a more electronic and rock-inspired sound.
What are the best and worst things about being married to a fellow band member? Could you imagine sharing your life with someone who is not also passionate about music?
I think the best part is that we are having a project together and share a lot of good experiences. I think the worst part is that it is easier to get annoyed/get angry at your partner than with the other members of the band. I think that it would be really strange to live with someone who is not interested in music. I see a lot of musicians who have to work hard with their relationships if their partner doesn’t share a passion for music. Being a member of a band consumes a lot of time, energy and money and you often have to use vacation days to do concerts. It is not easy to be the “musician-widow” sitting at home at weekends, while the partner is out with the band.
As I understand it, you were the bass player in a number of bands before joining Where Angels Fall as the lead vocalist. Why did you make the switch?
I made the switch because I found that I enjoyed singing much more than playing and that it is easier for me to use my voice to channel out my musical feelings. It was also strange for me to have other people singing my songs. It was OK, but I always felt that other vocalists made the songs different.
Does your background playing the clarinet and bass affect how you approach writing songs?
I think that playing bass has affected the way I write music. Before, I often used to start with the bass when I made a new song for a band. I don’t think that me playing the clarinet has made too much impact on the songwriting but I have some basic theory and training in composing music. That is often affecting the way I think when I make the choirs and instrumental parts for WAF.
The first thing that grabbed my attention with the “Marionettes” album was the lovely cover art of an angel dangling from a puppet-master’s hand as she tries to bite through the strings holding her. Please tell us more about the creator and idea behind the artwork.
The artist that made the painting for us, is a painter/coverartist from Belgium called Helcanen. We made sort of a competition on MySpace to get someone to draw or paint for us. We got a lot of good proposals, but Helcanen had something special. We had a process of mailing ideas back and forth. We wanted the cover to reflect the basic idea of the album; that we humans somehow are marionettes in this society. Although we have a free will, we are trained/socialized to be the way we are expected to be. The message is that we don’t have to. It is possible to think outside the box.
For those who have not yet heard “Marionettes”, can you describe the album’s sound?
The album is sounding like a mix of groovy guitar riffs, electronica, drumming from someone who has been playing black metal for years, classical influence, choirs,and a female voice. Some say it is sounding “angelic” but I think I disagree, it is sounding more alternative rock/metal.
In what ways has the music of Where Angels Fall evolved since its earlier EP “Dies Irae” and full-length album “Illuminate”?
I think the music has evolved to a more rock and electronic sound. “Dies Irae” and “Illuminate” was more pronounced classical sounding, as the songs were composed in a more classical/traditional way. After “Illuminate”, we started to experiment a lot more, trying out new approaches to songwriting, trying out other sounds. Some of the new songs after “Marionettes” are a lot harder than anything we have done before, and other songs are more like glossy eighties-sounding. 😉
Where Angels Fall uses Latin from Catholic liturgies on a few of the tracks. Why do Latin passages appeal to you as a songwriter?
I think it has something to do with the veil of mystery that colours the lyrics when we use the Latin liturgy. I also find the content of the liturgy we have chosen, to be meaningful for people who live today. I have made my own interpretation of the Latin parts.
Unlike the two earlier discs which were released by Edgerunner Music, the band self-released “Marionettes”. Was the do-it-yourself route a good experience?
It was a lot of work, and we have learned a lot from this experience. It is risky to self-release in terms of money.
The band chose “Female Stigma” as its first music video. Are the lyrics “work twice as hard as, be twice as smart as, sing twice as good as” based on your own experience as a woman in the mostly-male world of metal?
Congratulations on your recent single “Indifferent”! Is a new album in the works?
Thank you! Yes, we are working on a new album, but I am not sure when we can release it.
Where Angels Fall toured this Spring with Theatre of Tragedy, on what may be its last major European tour before calling it quits on 2 October 2010. What were the most memorable parts of the tour?
There were a lot of memorable parts of this tour. They are really great and nice people. They treated us very well. We had a lot of fun! Most of the concerts was a really great experience.
What does the rest of 2010 look like for Where Angels Fall?
The rest of 2010 looks like recording, I think.
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Eirin! Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
Thank you for this great interview! If you haven’t heard any of our songs, please go to www.whereangelsfall.com and check out the soundclips there! 🙂