Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Syven Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about this project for those that have never heard of you before?

Syven came about when I moved to Finland 4 years ago and A.T., whom I had known for many years prior to moving to Finland, suggested we create some music together. He had a couple of rough demos and I listened to them and put some vocals ideas together. When we started recording in our studio it worked so positively and fluidly that the ideas for the first album came spontaneously. We found that we both compose together very naturally and have very similar compositional ideas.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

It's a bit hard to describe, because our intention is to try creating a sound that at least we haven't encountered before. There are elements of ambient, acoustic and metal. We emphasize shamanistic, the ritualistic and such – one could even call it spiritualistic.

3. What are some of the concepts the band explores with the music?

The initial concept grew from our wish to create soundscapes that explored Finland’s natural landscapes and its natural elements, forests, lakes, rivers, seasons and animal life. The human voice is present as a “story-teller”. We also wanted to explore themes of ancient and prehistoric times, times before humans, when the world was shaped by natural forces and what the power of these forces were.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?

Well the name came from A.T. and it essentially means, “Depth” in Finnish. I guess the name itself describes the direction of our compositions. It is not a word found in any dictionary. It is more of a poetic term that has been used in the spoken tongue of A.T.'s family.

5. I have noticed that you use a variety of different musical instruments how do you feel it adds to the originality of the music?

We like using a lot of different instruments and sounds. For eaxmple, A.T. Is very fond of the kantele, a traditional string instrument, that is used as the core of Syven's compositions. It is used both acoustically and distorted (while many people mistake it for a guitar). We also like creating synthetic sounds ourselves, so our songs will naturally have a wide variety of those.

6. On a worldwide level how has your music been received by underground music fans?

Well it is difficult to say really, but we have received some good reviews from a variety of countries and have had some positive feedback around our releases for many people. We are aware however that what we produce is firmly placed in the underground and as such takes a long time to filter through to people. Saying that, our record label, Vendlus Records have employed the services of Earsplit PR who have been busy promoting the worldwide release of our debut, Aikaintaite.

7. What is going on with the other projects these days?

A.K-S.: Syven is my only current project at present as Ereipia, with Kostas Panagiotou of Pantheist, has been on a hiatus since the last release in 2007.

A.T.: I have several other projects, and I work on them whenever I feel like it, and have time. We haven't done much with Nest in a couple of years. I have recorded, mixed, and played bass on Tevana 3 whose second album is just now being recorded. Some time ago I also released an hours worth of ambient stuff intended for a game soundtrack for free. You can find these on my personal homepage: < http://atolonen.cjb.net >.

8. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

Well we have another composition close to being finished which will find a release at the end of 2012. This piece, entitled “Corpus Christi” is a 35 minute composition in 4 movements. It is certainly conceptually very different from Aikaintaite and has a much darker feel to it. When it comes to where Syven's music will go, we don't like to plan anything too precisely. We just go where inspiration takes us. We feel this generally produces the most interesting result.

9. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your musical sound and also what are you listening to nowadays?

A.K-S.: Many composers and musicians have influenced me and hence my vocal and compositional style. The genres I listen to mainly are classical, sacred and choral music, opera, folk (neofolk), ambient, dark metal and doom metal.

A.T.: I'm inspired by a lot of things. Naturally my favorite genres: metal, ambient, game music, etc. has some influence, but I also get much inspiration from non-musical sources – like trying to imagine what a glacier would sound like, what it's characteristics could be conveyed in sound form. This might sound a bit ridiculous, but it works for me.

10. What role does Paganism and Shamanism play in your music and how would you describe your views on these topics?

Shamanism and animism are certainly the main influences within the Aikaintaite compositions. The track that appeared on the Prophecy Productions compilation, “How fare the Gods?” was influenced by the Norse poem, Völuspá. The new piece “Corpus Christi” takes its name from the Corpus Christi Carol a Middle or Early Modern English hymn discovered around 1504. So we have many different influences within our work.

11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

A.K-S.: To be honest all of my spare time outside of work and family life revolves around music, composing, vocal training and I sing in a choir also.

A.T.: Visual artwork – I've created all the artwork for Syven, by the way. I also enjoy traveling in nature very much, mostly with a bike. Other than that I enjoy all kinds of things that take me to other places metaphorically too – fantasy, fiction, etc.

12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

A.K-S. Thanks for the interview.

A.T. Thank ye very much for this interview. All the best to ye and yer readers.

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