Fireworks Magazine Online 64 - Interview with Savn


Interview by Franco Cerchiari

The Sins Of Thy Beloved's Stig Johansen and Anders Thue along with Midnattsol's Carmen Elise Espenaes have fused their talents to form Savn. Espenaes took some time out to speak with Franco Cerchiari to give her thoughts on everything from the creative process of making music, working with her sister, Leaves Eyes Liv Kristine, and plans for Savn's future.


For those unfamiliar with Savn, can you describe how the band came together?

After years of silence with his former band The Sins Of Thy Beloved, Stig Johansen felt a kind of deprivation of music. He didn't feel like himself anymore and needed to start a new musical chapter. That's the reason why he decided to found Savn, which means deprivation as well as longing/desire for. He began writing some basic guitar lines and friend and former band mate in TSOTB Anders Thue joined him and they wrote some songs together. About a year and a half ago they decided to have female vocals on one of their songs that they were going to record as a demo and Johansen called me and asked if I wanted to contribute. We got to know each other many years ago and we live relatively close to each other. I was and still am the singer in my other band Midnattsol and I wasn't searching for a new band or anything. But when Johansen showed me the first Savn songs, I was really blown away; I just had to say yes! I wrote the refrain 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 would like my melody or the way I sang 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 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 and we have inspired each other to something unique that we had never created before.

How cool it must have been to be able to work with your sister Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes).

Yes, it was very special for me that she wanted to sing on 'I Am Free' because it is the first time ever that she has sung on one of my records. It was fantastic working with her and we would love to do it again. 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. I think our voices fit so well together and the songs we have sung together are very close to my heart. In the middle of the song writing process when we were rewriting '...Free', I came up with the refrain, but the funny thing was that inside my head I kept hearing two voices singing together, like an interplay. Then I realized that it had to be Kristine's voice! She really liked the song and wanted to sing on it. When I heard the end result I couldn't believe my ears; she had sung it 100% how I had imagined it!

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Your album has so many styles all fused within; from Folk to Goth to Symphonic to Melodic Metal. From which genre do you pull from most and do you have a favourite?

That is a difficult yet interesting question! I think it's very hard to say which genre is most presented or choose a favorite between the styles. The album is quite melancholic and it contains elements of Goth and Folk and a good portion of Metal and Rock. Additionally beautiful melodies from string instruments and piano are often to be heard. How to describe the music of Savn in the best way is to let the listeners to decide.

What comes first when writing; the lyrics or the music?

In most of the cases on this album, the music has come first. A few songs were already written when I joined, but there were no lyrical concept yet. Step by step when we had decided what the main theme of the album should be and I started writing the lyrics. Still, on some songs, words just came into my mind along with the melody. Then I sang it over and over again and when I was finished, I had to write it down immediately. In general, it's very important for me that the lyrics fit to the atmosphere of the music and that you stand 100% behind the songs and mean what you sing and play.

A symphony has to be one of the hardest styles of music to write, do you find this to be true?

Yes I totally agree with you! I am a language and music teacher and I have just taught my students about the First Viennese School. It's beyond belief when you think about the complexity and diversity of the symphonies and Mozart, who perhaps wrote around forty-one of them, included some real masterpieces! It meant so much to me that we could include fiddles, violins and cello – instruments that I adore and never had the chance to use on an album before. It was a huge new experience, also because for the first time Thue and I wrote melodies for some of the fiddles and the violin orchestra. Thanks to the great musicians involved, we didn't need to write it down like Mozart though, ha-ha. It touched me to tears when I first heard the recorded melodies with the real instruments; it is so beautiful and melancholic.

What is it about music that you love the most?

For me music is healing. When I struggle with something, it helps writing and singing about it, it's like you have taken it out of your system. What I love most about music though, is when people say that your songs have helped them in one way or another. If you can contribute to a change in peoples' lives or if it's given them the feeling of not being alone with their feelings and thoughts, then we have achieved what we want.

Do you have any plans to take Savn out on the road?

We would love to tour in the U.K. and other parts of the world and meet our fantastic fans but first we have to wait and see how the fans like our new album. The reviews and feedback have been awesome so far, so it looks promising! We have already found some live musicians and are planning the fully live version of Savn. We want to have as much being 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 ha-ha.

In closing have you given any thought to where you go with Savn next?

We have already started to write new songs, so we are super motivated to make a second album. In the mean time we will concentrate on promoting the album and show the world our music. We would also like to make more music videos and go on tour. Our hope is that our music can get out to people all around the world and that our new songs can give them something special.

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