Band Members: Daniel Drost (guitars), Carmen Elise Espenaes (voice), Daniel Fischer (keyboards), Cris Merzinsky (drums, percussion), and Birgit Ollbrunner (bass)
Country Origin: Germany and Norway
http://www.myspace.com/midnattsolfolk *** http://www.midnattsol.com
Nordlys - 2008
Where Twilight Dwells - 2005
1.To begin, let me congratulate you the outstanding new album "Nordlys". How long did it take to complete the writing for this record?
Carmen: Thank you so much!!! On the surface it perhaps seems that it was quit time for us in Midnattsol, but in fact it happened so much and we experienced important things for our lives, I would go so far to say that it was the most hectic years ever in my life, until now I haven`t had one day off just for myself. In this period 5 of 6 people in the band was just finishing their studies with the result of exams and master works. At the same time we all worked besides our studies. These things were the main reason why it took a while with the writing process of Nordlys. I don`t know exactly how long time it took, because it wasn't in one flow, it was kind of step by step. When we were going to start the writing process again, we knew that it would take a lot of effort and time, but we didn't want to throw away years of studies and hard work and at the same time we didn't want to make a good album. We wanted to make an album which would be fantastic and which we all would have fun to listen to. So better late than never and in a high quality, hehe
2.What do you feel are the biggest differences between "Nordlys" and the first album "Where Twilight Dwells"?
Carmen: There are so many different opinions about this issue, some are like the night and day, so I don`t think there is a 100% answer, it has a lot to do with personal opinions. Personal I think that one of the biggest change is the variety and the diversity of the music besides that it also it a bit darker and heavier. Additionally I think the song structure is more progressive than before and the sound is more natural and warm. But even though there are differences, there is a strong the red line to the debut as well, e.g. the folk inspired melancholic melodies.
3. After releasing the first record and playing some live shows. What would you say was the greatest lesson learned from that experience, that helped with "Nordlys"?
Carmen: I have to say that it was such an amazing feeling during the song writing process slowly noticing that we all had grown a lot musically, it was kind of like a door opening up more musical possibilities. We noticed that we could play and sing more complex and diverse stuff, so the songs got more quality and variability from both the vocals and the instruments. So like you perhaps notice, the new record contents more details and extras. There are more guitar melodies, more complex drums, bass and keys, and the vocals have more volume and a lot of different matters to sing are used. So the three years were certainly not for nothing, hehe.
4. You show such love for you home country of Norway. Would you say that Midnattsol is a tribute to Norway, or is it simply influenced by it?
Carmen: Oh, even though I love my home country from the bottom of my heart and the other band members also have a special connection to Scandinavia, I wouldn't take it that far to say that Midnattsol is a tribute to Norway, there are much more elements and themes in our music. But what I can say is that it is one of the main influences on both the music and the lyrics. The Norwegian tales, language, music and especially the nature are inspiring us in a special way.
5. The country is often overshadowed by it's Black Metal influence. Tell us a bit about the Norway that you know and love.
Carmen: Oh, I could sit for hours and talk about Norway..Especially I love the nature and the landscape. There are not so many countries left that have kept the clean and raw nature as it is, but in Norway you can find many places where you can be all alone with no people, no sounds, just you and the nature, these moments are unplayable for me. The fresh air, the clean water, the beautiful ocean, mountains and green woods. The midnight sun and the northern light are also very special. I was always very interested in the old Norwegian tales about Huldra, the trolls and the other nature creatures and how the Vikings lived and thought. What I also missed about Norway when I lived for many years abroad, were the open and kind people. The most people I know in Norway see and love me for the person who I am. I got the experience abroad that people often value me after what I can do for them, sort of like a profit. But of course, everywhere you have so and so people, but I just tell about how I experienced it
6. On an unfortunate note i understand guitarist Christian Hector has decided to leave the band.
Carmen: Yes, that`s right. I have no words to express my sadness about the leaving of Chris, it was such a huge shock for all of us. We walked around like shocked zombies for a long time, we just couldn't realize it. But of course, we respect his decision and the most important thing is that we`ll stay friends and keep the good memories. We all wish him the best in life and are so grateful for everything that he has done for Midnattsol.
7. Now that "Nordlys" has been released, what is the next big goal for the band?
Carmen: Now when our new album Nordlys is just released, we are concentrating on the promotion and the live activities. Until now we know that we are going to play on 15.Aug.2008 - SUMMER BREEZE Open Air 17.Okt. 2008 – Club “Attak” 18.Okt.2008 - Metal Female Voices Festival 23.Jan.2009 - Treibsand 24.Jan.2009 - Winternoise Festival 25.Jan.2009 - De Pul 28.Mrz.2009 - Ragnarok Festival Lichtenfels We also hope that we after some shows have some live clips to show to the ones that haven`t the possibility to come to the concerts. Not to forget the merchandise, we want to be able to offer you cool new shirts and so on in connection with the new album. And like you know, Chris H. went his own musical way, so of course we are busy with finding a new guitarist. Beside this, our fingers and voices can`t wait starting making new songs, so with other words: we are “keeping it going” , hehe
8. What is most important to you about singing and being part of Midnattsol?
Carmen: Great question! It is certainly my love for music and the great thing by coping with my thoughts and experiences. I use the writing and the lyrics for dealing with all these things, it gives me so much And when I additionally can give something special to other people with the music, it is a indescribable feeling. My aim was never to be a famous singer, earning a lot of money or getting much attention. I work as a teacher and study, what I absolutely love, so I don`t try to live from the music, even if I had the chance, I can`t stand the thought of letting money decide which kind of music and lyrics I should make and write, how I should sing, how I should dress. I just want to do my thing, independent of what other people say or think. And that makes it so special to play in Midnattsol, we are just going our way and having a lot of fun together That`s real music to me.
9. Has your experience with this band lived up to what you thought it would be when you first began this journey?
Carmen: To say it like this, I have never ever expected all the amazing experiences during the last years, it was better than I would ever dream about. Sometimes I have to stop up for a moment and ask myself: is this really happening? You know, I didn't expect anything of this to happen, just wanted to do my thing, and that suddenly, one surprise after another is coming. The first surprise after we got the record deal and were able to give out our debut "Where Twilight Dwells", was that we put the song Desolation on mp3.de and there were so many thousands of downloads that we got in the charts there. We also had most downloads of all bands one day, that was very special for us. Then we started to get offers for tours and concerts from bands that we would never thought should ask us, like the tour with In Extremo. You have to imagine, I has never played a real concert before and even though the rest of the members of the band had done many shows before with different bands, they had never played together with such big bands. It was an indescribable feeling, it was enormous to stand in front of thousands of people when you never even played a concert! Just a pity that we couldn't say yes to more concerts because of our job-studies-situation. The support from the fans , the amount of sold cds, the fantastic support on the concerts that we get, the friendly mails and comments on our homepage (which now has a totally new layout and finally in English!!), our forum, myspace –we are so grateful for that! At this place: A BIG THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!
10. What is one thing fans should know about Midnattsol?
Carmen: That we in Midnattsol are so grateful for the fantastic support, we wouldn't be the same without you guys out there! Hope to have the opportunity to meet you on concerts or festivals, that would be so cool! We also hope that you like our new record NORDLYS! Metal on!