Spawning in part from the legacy of the mighty Virtuocity, the starting
point of symphonic power metallers AMBERIAN DAWN was the joining
of vocalist and main lyricist, Heidi Parviainen in 2006. Having scored a
record deal with their first demo, the group's first two albums ‘River
of Tuoni’ (2008) and ‘The Clouds of Northland Thunder’ (2009) saw the
band rapidly enter Finnish charts. They also managed to reap notable
international acclaim and secured support slots touring with the likes
of Epica and Kamelot.
third album ‘End Of Eden’, the sextet's Spinefarm debut, sees the band
take a giant leap forward in every aspect. ‘End Of Eden is a diamond in
the rough for connaisseurs of symphonic metal, a brilliant neo-classical
gem chock full of virtuosity, close attention to detail and classy
execution. But it’s Heidi's soprano, that sets the album apart from its
contemporaries. Versatile, classically influenced compositions,
intricate arrangements, Heidi's soaring vocals and some of the nimblest
guitar & keyboard interplay heard in recent history combine for a sound
scape of magical, uplifting atmosphere.
‘End Of Eden’ was recently released, so of course we wanted to know all
about this album and we had the pleasure of talking with the lovely
(vocals) and Tuomas Seppälä (guitar, keyboards). Here you can
read what they had to say about Emberian Dawn and
‘End Of Eden’.
Could you start this interview off with a short
introduction of the band and a short update what’s been happening since
the release of your previous album ‘The Clouds of Northland Thunder’ in
Amberian Dawn today is me on keyboards and on guitar. I also compose all
the songs for AD and act as producer in the studio. Heidi Parviainen is
our vocalist and she writes all our lyrics. On guitar we have Kasperi
Heikkinen, who has been around from almost the very first steps of AD.
Then we have the three newcomers on board. First we have Heikki Saari on
drums. In fact, he used to be our original drummer at the time when we
were recording our first EP which contained two songs (“River of Tuoni”
and “Evil Inside Me”). Those songs were included on our debut album,
too. Heikki also plays in Norther. Jukka Koskinen is our new base
player. He has been on stage with us once before, last summer at the
Tavastia Club, Helsinki. Jukka also plays in Norther and Wintersun.
Kimmo Korhonen is our new second guitar player and he also plays in
Waltari. We had this lineup change recently because of the time issues
of our three previous members. There's no drama involved in this matter
and we are still all very good friends.
How did you launch into writing material for your album
‘End Of Eden’
much time did you spend on the songs?
Composing music is a continuing process for me and I compose music
almost all the time. That's why I get so many songs ready so fast. It's
always been like this since the first days I started to work with my own
songs. The time spent on different songs varies a lot. Some songs need
very little time and some songs needs a lot of time. There isn't any
"normal" case and every song is different.
Which approach did you choose to make this album, did you
go for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your
previous other works, or something all together different?
When I'm composing songs, I never have any kind of goal on my mind. I
just start to write material that comes to me naturally. I've been very
lucky that I've been given this chance to have a total artistic freedom.
Usually I have these "periods" during which I write a certain kind of
material, for example just ballads, just power metal or maybe something
more AOR kind of stuff.
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
The ways in which songs of mine are born varies a lot. Sometimes I just
hear this melody or theme inside my head and then I just start working
with preproduction, arrangements and a demo right away. Sometimes I
might have been just playing with my guitar or with the keyboards and
sometimes some new ideas come to me while playing and improvising. I
always start working with a full arrangement of the song. I have a home
studio and I have the possibility to work with different instruments and
computers to achieve a demo of the songs (preproduction).
How can we imagine you worked on these songs?
I compose all the songs for AD and also make a demo of those songs. Then
I play vocal lines for Heidi on the guitar or keyboards. Then Heidi can
start working with the lyrics. After that we record her vocal parts and
after that we have a full preproduction of the songs before the band has
even stepped in.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record ‘End Of Eden’,
any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?
There were not any specific goals, except I was more brave to do some
experiments like the classical piece "Virvatulen Laulu". I think I will
try something completely new on our forthcoming albums too. It's fun.
Could you please describe the implications of the title
‘End Of Eden’,
what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?
We collected some themes from the lyrics and made a list of possible
titles. Then the one that came out was End of Eden. It sums up the whole
album from a lyrical point of view - The title ‘ End of Eden’ is also a
metaphor for the state of the world.
Can you give us a little background information on the
lyrics, is there a story behind them?
I always include a small story or a novel in the lyrics and every song
tells its own story. On this album I felt a need to write lyrics that
speak out concerning the state of the world and the worry about it:
climate change, corruption, greed, indifference and war. And I felt that
I couldn´t do all that just in an imaginary world since it happens in
our everyday lives. This is also a different album lyrically, and a
little bit sad and dark, too. I´m not a religious person at all but
there is a lot of symbolism in the biblical story about Adam and Eve´s
eviction from paradise. It is also a metaphor for our time and maybe the
end of it too. A lighter way to put it, is that- hopefully ´the end´
means the end of indifference. Maybe after the end comes a new rising of
a healthier, sustainable, ecological and more human world. The songs
about this topic are “Arctica” ( which was an icy continent in the
worlds history long before our time ), “City of Corruption”, “Talisman”
and “War in heaven”. There are also two Finnish epic Kalevala inspired
songs like on both of our previous albums – “Sampo” and ”Field of
serpents”. In the stories of “Field of Serpents” and “Sampo” the
blacksmith Ilmarinen was given the task to plow a field full of vipers
before he could get permission to marry one of Louhi´s, the mighty
witch of The Northland´s, daughters. Ilmarinen then got help from
Louhi´s daughter who advised him to forge a mail of silver and a golden
plowshare to succeed in the hard task. But Ilmarinen still got tasks
from Louhi and also needed to forge Louhi a magical artifact Sampo- the
lid in many colors which would bring fortune to its holder.
The song “Blackbird” tells us about an old creepy and sad
Finnish pagan belief about birds which were thought to be ghosts of dead
babies, possibly love children of poor maids. They were buried into an
unholy ground by their mothers without babtizing or any one knowing. It
is said that the birds follow you in the forests and you can anly get
rid of them by going over a river or a stream. The ghosts can´t follow
you accross the water. The only Finnish song “Virvatulen Laulu” is a sad
lovestory of a man and a will o’ the wisp - a light that shines upon a
pond in the night. And because the will o’ the wisp dissapears when the
morning comes, they can only meet when the night is dark. The English
translation for the song can be found on our websites.
How important is it to you that people pay attention to
the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
Personally I don't pay so much attention to the lyrics. I hear music
basically as instrumental and I like to treat a vocalist like an
instrument. Of course I know that it's different to actually sing than
play an instrument, but that's how I see things. A vocalist is one
instrument in AD music from my point of view.
For me it is important because I take my writing
seriously. I spend a lot of time searching for different beliefs,
stories and pagan myths and I read epics like Edda and Kalevala. I tell
the stories in my own words and challenge myself to put a juicy story
into a compressed form and tell it with only a few lines. I also write
my own stories which are often mystical and I love to use
personifications where trees can talk, seas can sing, winds can whisper
and walls can breathe. It is also how the ancient people lived - with
the nature spirits and that is a great topic to write about and learn
more about at the same time. We work in such a way that Tuomas sends me
a complete song and then I make lyrics. Therefore I always listen to the
song and what it tells me. Often I get a really visual picture of the
song and it makes my work much easier - I write about the pictures in my
mind. When I have decided what to write about, I start to explore and
learn more about the topic. I try to build a wider view behind the
lyrics so that the people who get interested in the stories can also
learn more about the topics. So to speak, there is a hidden world behind
the lyrics and those who get interested can open many doors with only a
few words of Amberian Dawn lyrics. It only takes a little effort to go
and explore but it is much more fun than playing video games or watching
tv in my opinion and it will surely enrich your imagination and internal
If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not
listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them?
I would hope that people would get interested in the topics and go to a
library and learn more and make small movies in their minds and watch
them when listening to our music.
One of the most typical songs on the new album is
“Virvatulen Laulu”, it’s not a metal song. Is this an influence you wish
to develop more in the future, or do you prefer the uptempo, power metal
orientated songs on the album like “Talisman”?
Laulu” was an experiment. So I don't think that something like that will
appear on the next album. But never say never…so it's possible still.
I'm sure that fast songs are kind of a trademark of AD and I also like
to write these fast songs, so fast songs are definitely going to be part
of AD in the future, too.
What are the main differences between your previous alum
‘The Clouds of Northland Thunder’ and ‘End of Eden’ in your opinion?
The music of AD has evolved in a certain direction. It depends on the
listener, whether the change has been a good or a bad thing. There's
more diversity and heaviness on this album than on our previous
albums.It also contains more progressive elements.
How did the recording process proceed and how much time
did you spend in the studio?
We recorded this album in short sessiosn over quite a long period of
time. We didn't have to hurry and we didn't have tight deadlines or
anything. So everything went quite smoothly and we all enjoyed the
recording sessions a lot. I used to supervise almost all the recordings
because I act as producer on our albums too.
Who produced the new album, and what made him the perfect
I have been the producer on all our albums. I like to control
everything. I haven never liked the idea of using some stranger as a
producer. I want to achieve a certain sound with AD music and as a
composer and producer it's the easiest.
How would you describe this album to someone that has
never listened to the band before?
This album is melodic metal with female singer. The music has many
layers but still the result is quite easy to listen to. We also have a
lot of virtuoso solo playing on this album and some interesting guest
musicians and vocalists, too.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of
things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
What are you personally into?
I don't think I'm motivated by anything special. I like to do some
sports and when I don't do anything useful, I like to watch some movies,
comedies, horror and sci-fi mostly. Besides that I've always been quite
active with computers.
What have been the highlights and low points throughout
There's so many highlights so far. I can mention two different kinds of
highlights. The first one was the feeling I got when we started to work
with our debut album. It was really great to start working in a studio
with our own material. The second highlight for me was our first
European tour with Epica (2008). That was the first time we played in
Europe. It was a great experience and we all learned a lot.
What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? Is
there anything missing from it?
I haven't been following the metal scene for many years now and I don't
listen to music so much anymore. When I was younger, I used to listen to
rock and heavy metal of the 70's, 80's and 90's. So, I cannot tell you
anything about the metal scene of today, really.
How would you describe your own music?
Music composed by myself is always something which is done without any
pressure from outside. I compose exactly the kind of music I've always
wanted to. The basis of the music is the feelings I've been having. For
example, if i've been depressed or something, I’ll compose different
kinds of music compared to times when I’d been writing music while
feeling quite energetic. My music is usually strongly based on harmonies
and melodies. There's usually many layers of themes going on at the same
What makes Amberian Dawn different from the other bands
I don't like to compare the music of AD with other bands. But maybe our
kind of music isn't so usual for the bands of today. We have this old
guitar and keyboard hero type of scene going on and music of AD combines
many different kinds of genres.
Which goals did you have when the band started out and
how do those goals stand now?
The first goal was to record this music and it was great to work on our
very first songs. After that the main goal was to get this music
available to as many people as possible. Then I started to dream about
releasing the music worldwide. So far the results have been good and I
don't see any reason why we couldn't go on and do more records and
What can we expect from Amberian Dawn in the near future?
Any touring plans?
We are looking for a suitable touring partner for our next European
tour, which should be on early next year. Our new management Twisted
Talent Concerts is helping us with this matter. Let's see what we can
Where do you see the band going within the next couple of
years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the
I think we will keep on doing records with this fast tempo like we have
been so far and I'm sure that we're going to do a lot of shows during
the next couple of years. We got our songs on RockBandNetwork and we've
got a lot of fans there. It's our goal to release all of our songs on
RBN. Right now we already have 10 songs available on RBN. The musical
direction or a change in our style is something that is really hard to
foresee. Like I said before, I compose music in different kinds of moods
and I don't want to do any compromising with my vision. The music of AD
has been evolving a lot so far and will continue doing that in the
future. The direction is unclear though, even for me.
A last statement?
I want to thank all our fans who're supporting us and hope that you'lle
see us performing live some day. Pls. visit our official sites for more
info about the band.
Thanks for your time,
Heidi Parviainen – Vocals
Tuomas Seppälä – Guitar, Keyboards
Jukka Koskinen – Bass
Kimmo Korhonen – Guitar
Heikki Saari – Drums
Kasperi Heikkinen – Guitar
Heikki Saari – Drums
Tommi Kuri - Bass
Sampo Seppälä – Guitar
Emil Pohjalainen – Guitar
Tom Sagar – Keyboards
Joonas Pykälä-Aho – Drums
2008 - River of Tuoni
2009 - The Clouds of Northland Thunder
2010 - End of Eden