LAM : For the new album Circus Black, you use real chorus, leaded by Mikko P. Mustonen, were you there for the recording to give your instructions or feeling? Or did you let Mikko P. Mustonen have his own interpretation of the score?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: I was attending the choir recordings almost all the time, but Mikko was given free hands to lead the choir with his best skills and knowledge. Mikko is a professional on arranging and leading a choir and that's why he was chosen for the job. Many other bands also use some professional help with their choir arrangements, so nothing new here.
LAM : And where did you record "Circus Black"
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: This album was recorded in the same studio as our previous albums, Rockstar Productions Studio in Hyvinkää, Finland and some part was once again recorded at my home studio. We had also same recording engineer, Lari Takala like we've always had before. This time I recorded more stuff with myself (without a separate recording engineer) like backing vocals, keyboards and bass guitar for example. I also recorded my own guitar playing without recording engineer.
LAM : How did you record the album: music first, then Heidi, then the chorus or all at the same time?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: We have usually recorded drums first, then guitars & keyboards. Vocal parts have usually been recorded until after all instrumental parts. This time we did differently and recorded most of the vocal parts even before drums. I had produced a pre-production of the album at my home studio before any vocal recordings and most of the vocal parts were recorded based on this pre-production. After that we did it the usual way, so drums first, and then keyboards, guitars etc.
LAM : The album has been mixed and mastered in Finnvox studio. Why did you choose this one?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: We wanted to achieve a little different sounding on this album but at the same time we wanted to use one of the mixing engineers, we've been used to work with before. Teropekka Virtanen recommended Finnvox studios to us, and because it's one of the most legendary studios in Finland, we decided to try it out.
LAM : You chose Teopekka Virtanen for the mix and Mika Jussila for the mastering, a word about them and their work on the album "Circus Black"?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: Teropekka Virtanen is an outstanding mixing engineer. He's really talented guy and he's very accurate with even the smallest details and nothing random stuff comes out from his mixing sessions. We changed our mastering engineer to Mika Jussila for the same reasons we changed our mixing studio. I wanted to get some different sounding on this new album. In the future we would then have more knowledge about different ways for mixing and mastering and album.
LAM : What were your goals with this new album? Had you some technical skills or some new stuffs that you really wanted to use for "Circus Black"?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: This album is just a logical continuance on Amberian Dawn's Saga. Nothing special wasn't on my mind while I was composing these new songs. But at different times I write different kind of music and now it was time to make a little more symphonic- orientated music. Oh the other hand there's also very AOR- kind of song on this album too, so there's some diversity.
LAM : You have several guests: Timo Kotipelto on "Cold Kiss", Jens Johansson on "Crimson Flower", Tuomas Nieminen and Nils Nordling on "I Share With You This Dream". Did they record their parts on their own or did they come with you in Studio?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: All these vocalists came to Rockstar Productions Studio and all their vocal parts were recorded there. On the other hand, Jens Johansson played and recorded his keyboard parts somewhere else and I don't even know in fact, where he actually recorded his parts. He just sent me the files.
LAM : A word about the lyrics. Do the lyrics come always after the music?
Amberian Dawn : Heidi: Yes. There is only one song where I wrote the lyrics first. It is Lionheart on "The Clouds of Northland Thunder" album.
Tuomas: That's right. Heidi writes lyrics based on the songs I've composed. I don't actually know that whether our method is a "normal” way to do it, or not. So I don't know, what's the ”standard process” among other bands.
LAM : A word about some tracks (With what do the lyrics deal? What were
your inspiration sources, the recording?) :
- Circus Black
- Charnel’s Ball
- I Share with you this dream
Amberian Dawn : Heidi: On this new album I wanted to jump into the human mind- into the fears we have in our everyday lives like a fear of being left alone, a fear in unhealthy relationships, a fear of violence etc. Circus Black is a story of the human mind and the psychological circus we sometimes have in our minds when the bad conscience hounts us. We can see real horror everyday from the tv but still we have a need for a fear, horror. And because of this aspect I also wrote two "horror related lyrics" - Cold Kiss and The Charnel´s ball. So I guess this album is a kind of a psychological horror album in the lyrical point of view. But still it is not that dark themed album that it souds ´cause if you look carefully you can find light in every lyric but in a different form. Contrasts rule! I Share with you this dream has a lighter point of a view and is is a mystical story of the people who live in the sea.
Tuomas: The name ”Circus Black” came quite interesting way. I named this song first as”Psycho Circus” in pre-production phase and Heidi kept the title as it was while she wrote the final lyrics. Later I suggested that maybe the title should be changed as ”Circus Black”, because I though it would be more suitable and I liked this title more than ”Psycho Circus”.
LAM : How will you do for live performance? Do you know if there will be a special event with the chorus, because I suppose that you can’t tour with too many singers all the time?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: The matter with the choir...I think we are in the same situation with other bands like Epica and Nightwish for example. Those bands aren't also usually doing shows with real choirs, and so aren't we.
LAM : Will you shoot a video clip soon? Did you already choose the track and who will be the director?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: We've been working on our new music video already. We're making a music video of Cold Kiss on which also Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius is appearing. This video is going to be made by production team of Ville Lipiäinen.
LAM : A word about the cover. Who is the artist?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: This cover (and booklet) is designed by same guy, who did the album cover (and booklet) of our previous album, ”End of Eden”. He's a Finnish graphic designer named Jan ”Örkki” Yrlund.
LAM : A special word you would like to say to your French audience?
Amberian Dawn : Tuomas: Amberian Dawn have always loved to perform in France. We've been touring in France two times before but it's sad that we didn't have a chance to visit France on our previous tour (Out of the Dark- Tour 2011). I hope that we'll have a chance to visit France during this year.
Heidi: Merci pour votre appui! Nous vous aimons beaucoup! :)
LAM : To end your interview this year, we have this special question: In your songs your create people, heroes, you talk about people. If you had the skill to bring to life to one of them. Who would be that character and in which track do you talk about him or her?
Amberian Dawn : Heidi: I would love to see a living Kokko, the eagle of fire from the Finnish epic Kalevala....it would be cool! Kokko appears on "The Clouds..." album in the song "Kokko- Eagle of fire".