This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Please consider supporting this website by disabling your ad-blocker. This website does not use audio ads, pop-ups, or other annoyances. And please support Terra Relicta by giving a little donation if you can! Thank you!!!

Random album

Savn - Interview

Interview with: Carmen Elise Espenæs
Conducted by: T.V.

Savn, a new supergroup in the female fronted gothic/symphonic/folk metal sector caused quite a stir among the followers of the genre, especially because of the fact that two members from dormant Norwegian legends The Sins Of Thy Beloved, Stig Johansen and Anders Thue, formed the band. Savn is not a continuation of The Sins Of Thy Beloved as many fans expected, neither is something like Midnattsol, as the two were joined by vocalist and long-time friend Carmen Elise Espenæs. Savn is a band on its own way, not really burdened by the recent trends and they showed this on their recently released self-titled debut album (read a review over HERE). Album was recorded, mixed and produced by Alex Krull (Atrocity, Leaves' Eyes) at Mastersound Studios in Germany, there were many guest musicians taking part on it, like Carmen’s sister Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes, ex Theatre Of Tragedy), Michelle Darkness (End Of Green), fiddle players Dag Bjørkedal and Lillian Hodne, additional strings were provided by the famed Lingua Mortis Orchestra directed and recorded by composer and Rage guitarist Victor Smolski. Savn is a fresh breeze for the genre which is in a kind of a stagnation in these last years, they are almost ready to conquer the stages next year and to bring us more albums in the future. Sympathetic singer Carmen was very kind and ready to answer some questions and gave us a bit more of an insight into the core of the band, as well she talks about the collaborations, lyrics, future plans and other things.

T.V.: Hi Carmen! First of all tell me how do you feel being in a band together with such musicians as are Stig and Anders?
Carmen: Hi there! It feels fantastic to be a part of Savn and to have the possibility to make music together with them. Stig explodes with good basic ideas and Anders is a genius when it comes to melancholic touching melodies. I feel free to let the creativity flow in every way and try out new things, and everything is so harmonic. We knew each other before I got involved with Savn, but while we made our first album, we got to know each other much better and became good friends. These two guys are sooo funny!! We are joking all the time and have already got some crazy “Savn-jokes” meant to stay in our vocabulary.
T.V.: I've heard that everything started taking shape when Stig contacted you to sing in just one song. How the things proceeded from that point on?
Carmen: I got a basic guitar line as guide and was suppose to make a good refrain to the song. I was about to give birth to my daughter at that time, but as soon as I came home from the hospital, I wrote the refrain. They asked me to record it in studio a couple of weeks later, without meeting each other upfront or having heard the other instruments. I was super nervous, because I didn`t know if they liked the refrain or if it would fit to the rest of the instruments, but they were speechless and just looked at each other. The song was the growling version of “The Demons In Me”, and it was such a great feeling to hear the result in the car, I almost cried for happiness. Because of this positive experience Stig and Anders asked me after a while if I would like to sing on more songs. We just worked so well together and had lots of fun. Step by step it got clear that it would be best if I would be a permanent member of the band. That was the beginning of a new musical journey for me, which has been amazing so far.
T.V.: Very interesting development of things, really. And you also became the one responsinble for lyrics. Please explain to our readers what are the things that you would like to express with those words?
Carmen: All the songs are about “savn” (deprivation, longing) in some way: missing someone, death, being lonely, losing hope, lost love and being stuck with negative thoughts, to mention some of them, and all are based on experiences or thoughts from Stig`s, Anders`and my life. I think many of the listeners can relate to the songs in one way or another, and I hope that it can give them hope or the feeling of not being alone with one`s thoughts and feelings. There are some messages in between that I want to express as well, like “Hold on (…) there is always a way”, “It`s now or never”, “I am free(…), no one can never ever stop me”, which I hope could perhaps contribute to a change in peoples lives.
T.V.: Are you in any way also involved in the song compositions?
Carmen: Yes, I see myself as much as a composer as a singer. I wouldn`t be part of a band where I was just supposed to sing other ones melodies and lyrics, I want to be a part of the music and identify with it. Stig started the song writing process some years ago with his basic guitar ideas, so when I got involved, a few songs were already made. I was allowed to make some changes though, and we started rewriting every song and wrote new ones. We made ideas on our own, and when we met, we worked with developing the ideas together. It has never been so easy writing songs, it was this special flow over us, and we felt very creative. After my opinion some of the best melodies I`ve ever made came out of this process. But I could never have done it alone, I think we inspired each other to let out the best of us.
T.V.: It's pretty obvious why and how your sister Liv Kristine became a guest vocalist, even though this is the first time you two are singing together on the song you wrote, still how are you satisfied with the result of this sisterly duet? Tell us also what do you think of her main band Leaves' Eyes and her solo albums?
Carmen: She did a fantastic job, we were so satisfied with the result! I wasn`t there when she recorded it, and when I heard the finished song I couldn`t believe my ears: she sang it 100% how I had imagined it– only much better!! Our voices fit so well together and the song is so powerful I think. In addition, it`s of course very special because it`s the first time, it meant a lot to me that she wanted to sing on the song. I feel even closer to her when I listen to it, it has certainly become one of my favorites. I love Leaves' Eyes and Liv Kristine and listen to all her albums! Especially the songs with a bit of folk appeal to me, and of course her solo album Libertine which she dedicated to me, is very special to me. Liv is like an angel with an angelic voice, so crystal clear and beautiful, and the guys are awesome musicians.
T.V.: And what about Michelle Darkness (End Of Green). I like it very much how the song "The Demons In Me" turned out. How did this collaboration started?
Carmen: Great to hear that you like it, thanx! When I listened to the growling version of “The Demons In Me”, it came to my mind that it would be great to have another version with clean male vocals as well. I am a big fan of End Of Green, and then we thought about Michelle, his voice is so emotional and melancholic and would fit so well to the atmosphere of the song. Fortunately, my brother-in-law and our producer Alex Krull knows him quite well and contacted him, and it was such an honor for us that he actually said yes! We are so satisfied with the result, this song was just meant for him! I have to admit that I got goose bumps the first time I heard the duet in the end of the song.
T.V.: As you already mentioned,... also the production is a "family" thing as Alex Krull did it. As each one album he ever produced, which in my opinion is very good, also your debut has a fantastic sound. How it is working with him and how were you satisfied with the final result?
Carmen: Glad to hear you like it, we are so satisfied with the result as well, like a dream coming true! Alex, and Tosso and Sander who also recorded us, were awesome to work with and they had great ideas, we are so grateful for everything! It`s of course fantastic to be able to share something so special like music with your own family and friends. We felt secure and in good hands and had huge fun.
T.V.: Behind the scenes of the video you recently released for the song "Hang On", there's an interesting story how cold it was when shooting it. Can you say something more about that matter?
Carmen: Hehe yes, I have to admit that it was not only cold, but freezing cold! Norway is not quite known for its warm weather. The girl in the video, Susanne Dahle, and I were shivering through most of filming and our skin was quite blue in the evening. But still, I can`t blame anyone, because I wrote the script hehe! The goal was to make it as real as possible, without many effects, and to deliver the fans the story in its best way. And I think it was worth it! A big thanx to Susanne and our producer Leo from Frog Leap Studio ( – they both did a fantastic job!

T.V.: Do you plan to release any other video for a song out off the album?
Carmen: Yes, the response of the last video was so awesome, so we would love to make another one. The plan is to make it within this year, we are already looking forward to it!
T.V.: And which one of the songs featured on the album is your favorite one and why?
Carmen: Oh that is very difficult to decide! It changes regularly, but in the last period of time I listen mostly to “Sorrowful”. I love all the string instruments in the song, especially the beautiful fiddle solo in the end, and I think the song is very emotional, which I like.  “I Am Free” and “Hang On” have been strong favorites till now, they help me when I`m sad and need new energy. When it comes to live, I`m especially looking forward to “I Am Free”, and “All I Want", I think they will be a blast live!
T.V.: I like the artwork of the album, it's somehow mystical and at the same time relaxing. Whose idea was to take those pictures in the forest and to make this kind of artwork concept?
Carmen: Thank you, so great to hear that, that`s exactly what we wanted to achieve! It was my idea, but of course we discussed it all three together before we put the plans into action. I wanted everything about the album to be connected; the band name, the title, the songs, the cover etc. Stig decided to call the band Savn, because it was his longing for making music again after all these years without it that made him found the band. You can see this meaning at the cover as well, where the nature has overgrown a piano, because it hasn`t been used for such a long time. I`ve discovered it and am ready to make music again. The circle closes with the songs that are all about a kind of deprivation, loss or longing, as already mentioned. It was also important for us to keep the artwork and photos as natural as possible, we`re nature lovers and no fans of photoshop, hehe.
T.V.: When can we expect Savn playing live? And can you reveal to us the names of the live line-up, beside of course the three of you?
Carmen: Because of the fact that there`s only three people in the band, it requires some organisation before we can start the live activities. We want to be 100% ready to give our fans the best and play as much live as we can. We have already found some great live musicians who are in the middle of practicing, and the first names will be revealed in not such a long time. Our goal is to start next spring. Hope to meet you one day on the road!
T.V.: Is Savn a band meant to stay on the scene, recording more albums in the future, or just an one album try?
Carmen: Savn is definitely there to stay!! We have lots of plans for the future and some cool new song ideas have already been made. The feedback from both media and fans have been so overwhelming so far, and that motivates us even more to write new songs. In this place: thanx to everyone for the great support, we really appreciate it! Even though it`s busy, I love both my bands and wouldn`t be without any of them.
T.V.: What's going on with your band Midnattsol? It seems pretty silent since the last album The Metamorphosis Melody...
Carmen: Midnattsol is still active, even though it has been a long time since our last album. In the last years many things have happened in Midnattsol, also regarding our private lives, so then the song writing process for the forth album have lasted longer than the other ones. But now we are very motivated to give out our fourth album and many ideas have been made. We also finally feel that we are in the right direction in the song writing process. Better late than never!
T.V. Still, where do you see the main differences between the two bands?
Carmen: I guess the main difference is that in Midnattsol`s music there are a lot of guitar solos and the guitars play a very important role in general. In Savn you find fiddle solos instead, and both fiddles and piano are much used in the songs. On Savn`s debut album I got the chance to use real string instruments like the fiddle, hardanger fiddle, cello and a whole violin orchestra, which we have never used in Midnattsol before. I would also say that song structures in Midnattsol are a bit more complex.
T.V.: What kind of music and which albums are right now spinning the most in your music player?
Carmen: I listen to different kind of music, like folk, classical music, metal, and many times I find songs from total different genres that give me something. Right now I`m listening most to Anathema`s brand new album Distant Satellites and Savn, because I practice for live activities.
T.V.: Thank you Carmen for taking time in answering those questions and would you like to add anything at the end of this interview?
Carmen: Thank YOU for this great interview and the support, it was a pleasure! We really hope that your readers will like the album, and that our new songs will give them something special!! If you want to pre-listen to our songs, go to Soundcloud. You can order the album on most online retailers such as Amazon, EMP-Online, and merchandise in our official webstore. We wish you and your readers a great summer time! Stay tuned and rock on!

Savn links: Official website, Facebook