Carmen Espaes

 

Carmen Espanaes

Musical Discoveries: How are you feeling following the release of your debut album?

Carmen: Thank you very much, personally I feel really great because of the spring that slowly comes here in Germany. I go for a walk many times at day, I just love the feeling of new life growing. At the moment we are all very excited and looking forward to playing concerts. We just played our first concert, it was so fun!! I think it was one of the most important experiences in my life, first time on stage ever for me and Midnattsol all together!

What in particular do you find so inspiring about Nordic mythology?

The nature, the creatures of nature and the nordic tales inspire me so much to make music, it gives me such emotions, and itís these emotions that I want to express through the music of Midnattsol. I love the mystical and beautiful side of nature in these tales, it makes me dream about an anti-capitalistic, mystic and beautiful world. If you go to Norway, stand in the middle of a wood, everywhere you turn around are mountains, and you take a deep breath then you know the roots and inspiration of my music.

I have to admit that I don't really like the modern world. The people have a lot of stress, people mainly think about their selves and their career. The important things are money and material things, and they don't really care about other human beings, other creatures and the beautiful nature. The most of the things are so rational. So I dream about another kind of world and let the fantasy flow.

What got you interested in this subject?

I've always been interested in traditional tales from Norway, tales about troll, elves, and other creatures of nature, I canít really say at what time I got interested or why. I think it was natural, because the folk fairytales are made in this direction, so nearly every child in Norway knows these creatures. We also learn and read about it in school. I'm a person that daydreams a lot, and when I was a child, I wrote nearly a story every day. I had so much fantasy!

I'm generally very interested in old tales and history, I love to read about it. For example, Snorres Edda and the old sagas from the Viking age, they are great!! I watch films about earlier times. Then I have to say that it's especially "Huldra" that fascinates me. A tale said that this beautiful woman of nature lured men into the woods, and you can only imagine what she did with them! The Norwegian people said that was the reason why many men didn't come home after their trip into the woods.

Do you feel that there is any truth in Nordic mythology?

First of all I have to say that even though I'm a dreamer, I don't believe everything I hear. It's funny because it's really hard to get me in trance, convince me of religion or something like that. But I believe that there's so much what we don't know about our planet. We should stop thinking that we're the owners of the earth!

So I think that there are creatures around us that we can't see 100%, but I can't tell you exactly what it is because I donít know. I also think you canít just say: Nordic mythology is just bullshit or everything's true, but you have to see it in connection with the time it was written or told. The Norwegian people needed explanation for many things, what would you think about thunder if no one told you about it?>/p>

So it was no lie that Thor was angry, it was an explanation. Now we now that thunder has something to do with the weather. But I think that the Nordic mythologies still say interesting and clever things that you can still use as good advice today.

What kinds of things do you hope that Where Twilight Falls says about the band?

Perhaps I'm a bit crazy at that point, but I have a special view here. Midnattsol really allows me to sing, explore my voice and express my thoughts and feelings through the music, and that's the thing I was always dreaming of. Therefore, I hope to share the emotions of our music with as many people and as long as possible. To me it's much more important what the people feel when they hear our album, that they feel that the music comes from heart and soul, that they feel real emotions. Thatís real music I think. And thatís what I hope our album says about us.

Midnattsol certainly stands on its own but are you--even a little--concerned that this will be seen as "the band Liv's sister is in" rather than its own thing?

Thank you very much for saying that, I'm really glad to hear that. In fact, that shows that you've paid attention to our music, and I' very thankful for that! Hmm--to be honest--I don't really care about it. I don't see it in a negative way, because in a way, it's beneficial. The fact is that we are family, and it would be stupid to say, "No I don't want any help or advice from you!"

We get the promotion automatically, and who doesnít want promotion? Of course, I don't want to be seen as "Liv's sister" and the band wonít be seen as the band of Liv's sister, but as Carmen and Midnattsol, but the people that is close to me, they know who I am and what I and my band stand for, and that's the important thing. It's not about namedropping to get more attention, that never was our aim! Not at all!! I mean, we make our music and we do the things we want to, independent of the fact that Liv is my sister, and independent of what people think.

You have to understand me; singing and music were and still are my life. But one also has to face the fact that a band without any kind of sense for music wouldn't get a deal in the metal-scene. It wasn't easy to get a deal; your artwork, sound and so on has to be better as good, and the labels expect a really high level of the music. In this scene, I really believe that only your name can't give you a career. And that's how it should be!

Why have you decided to blend a lot of folk elements into your music?

When I met Christian in September 2002, we talked about which musical direction we wanted to play, so we had a certain idea of what we wanted. We didn't make rules for what we were going to play, the musical direction of Midnattsol just developed naturally, after each one in the band had given their part and influence to the music. It's important to me and us as a band to identify with our music, so it was just natural that folk elements became a great part of our music. I have to say that I don't like planning music, that's not my style. I think that the music should come naturally and that's the reason why the folk elements are there.

What do you feel these elements add to the Midnattsol sound?

The Nordic feeling, the special atmosphere in the music, especially in the melodies of the vocals and the guitars.

Can you us a little about the song "TŚrefall" and the thoughts/inspirations behind it?

Many things in the lyrics are really private and intimate. TŚrefall is the most private song on the record for me. I don't know if I can tell you much about it, because it's hard to explain the experience and thoughts behind it, sometimes emotions are really hard to explain in words.

But in this song I sing about helplessness, frustration, sadness. Sometimes you think, "Wow, now youíre doing great, this is the way to go," and then suddenly, you just fall into a black whole again. But I don't want to break your imagination of the song; each one should interpret it as they want to.

Can you tell us about another song then perhaps?

I can tell you more about the story behind "Another Return," that's a bit easier. It's about a person who has a special meeting with an elf. Once she went into the woods and she thought that she heard somebody laughing and talking to her. She didn't see anybody, it was quite dark. Every time when she turned around, there was nothing. She never stopped hoping to find out what it was, and suddenly she felt something. She could see a face of an elf with so much beauty, and when he touched her, it was like every sorrow went away, it was like flying. The moment was so special; she can't really describe what she has seen. The person wanted to experience that another time and she always hopes that the elf would one day return.

Did you intend the album to come across as a concept album from the outset?

I have to say that we didn't plan to make a concept album, we personally don't see it like that, and you can see each song for itself. We just wanted each person to interpret the songs as they want to, so that they can identify with the music in a way. You still find central themes though.

First of all, you always find the nature in the lyrics and in the music, because itís the beauty and the mystic of nature that influences me to make that kind of music, so I often write about creatures of nature from the Norwegian tales. Except the trolls and other creatures of nature, especially Huldra inspires me, like I said, so I write much about her.

It's not that you hear the words "trolls", "elves" and so on in the texts, but you find them often indirect in the texts. It just depend on how you interpret it and how you see the little stories and thoughts. On the other hand, my personal experiences, thoughts, fantasies and emotions inspire me too, because I use the music to cope with the things that I gone trough. So you always find timeless themes like love, helplessness, sadness and so on in our music.

How has the band been received compared your expectations?

I honestly have to say that I didnít expect anything. I mean, weíre just a newcomer and everything. We're just playing and having fun. Then of course the surprise was even greater when I heard some days ago that a lot of people bought our record already. I can't believe what's happening to us, really!

I'm so flattered because of all the nice mail and the response we get. Iím also shocked about the high numbers of downloads of "Desolate" at www.mp3.de, it has had many thousands of downloads! Thatís fantastic! One of the mails did melt my heart, the person said that she had been very sad and didn't know the meaning of life, and after hearing Midnattsol, she got the motivation to live again. When you hear stuff like that, you even get more motivation to make music.

You know, giving people something through our music is that what I hope for with Midnattsol. We are also allowed to play at the great summer festivals in Germany and many other concerts. So, when I think of all this, I have to say that I think our record was received well.

Fifty years from now, what do you hope people remember about your band?

I can only say my opinion here, but I think the other ones in the band think so as well. I truly hope that we can give something special to the listeners through the music of Midnattsol, I hope that the music can help them through sad phases in life. For example, if you feel alone, I hope we can show that they aren't alone--through "Desolation." I hope that I can show that there are always bright sides of life, because thatís what I want to say with the title "Where Twilight Dwells." Also in the darkness, in horrible times--and I can surely tell that I know such hard times--there are still flashes of light too.

But I donít really hope that the people interpret the music like I am, more important to me is that they interpret it themselves, so that they can identify with the music. We just lead them on the way of imagination. On the other hand I hope that the people could see how beautiful and exiting the nature is trough our music, we should stop treating the nature and animals as objects!

Will you be doing any touring to support the album?

At the moment we are all studying and working, so a big tour is not planned yet, but you never know! But this doesnít mean that we wonít play live. We are all very excited and looking forward to playing concerts. We are going to play at some of the summer festivals in Germany, for example the cool "Feuertanz festival" on 25th of June on burg Abenberg, WGT, Summer Breeze, Bretthardt Festival, small tours and many concerts. But itís not official yet, so I can't say so much.

Do you have any parting thoughts youíd like to leave our readers with?

I thank you for this great interview! Americans always ask very interesting questions, I mean it! I learned something more about myself, as I had to think about a couple of things! I truly hope that I and the other members of Midnattsol can give you something through our music, that we can reach you in a special way. Stay yourself, donít change because of others and please take good care of yourself, other people, animals and our nature. And last but not least: have fun!


More Midnattsol
Where Twilight Falls (2005)

interview and reviews © Mark Fisher 2005
images © Napalm Records 2005 | used with permission
last updated 15 May 2005


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