Bandleader / Singer Heidi Parviainen – Dark Sarah
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Inner Wound Recordings for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Inner Wound Recordings for the promo pictures of the band.
THE GOLDEN MOTH is the name of the third and latest episode of Dark Sarah’s THE CHRONICLES trilogy. The album was released at the end of 2018 and I had the pleasure to once again speak with band leader/singer Heidi Parviainen and hear what she had to say about the new album and the process behind it. Since pledgemusic campaigns have been a hot topic amongst many artists/bands in the industry, I had to hear Heidi’s opinion on it since she also used pledge platforms to finance her albums, in her case it’s Indiegogo, not pledgemusic. This is a shorter interview with Heidi and if you’re interested in a more indepth interview with her then check out the archives of Metal-Rules.com.
Hi Heidi, how are you doing today? I hope you’re ready for another round of questions from me and Metal-Rules.com?
Like your last album, you’ve chosen to launch a pledge campaign at Indiegogo to raise money for the album, how was the response from fans on the campaign? You reached the goal?
Yes, all our albums have been crowd funded by our fans. I’m really happy that on every album there has been more people jumping in. Every time we have reached our goal and we have been able to record the new album.
It’s quite a simple and transparent way of working straight with our fans. Our fans buy our music/other perks on the campaign, usually a special crowd funding edition, and with the profit we record the album. For us, without any label support, it has been the only possibility to make albums.
Why do you think many artists and bands that already have a record deal choose to use pledge campaigns to fund their albums?
Hard to say, I don’t really know what kind of deals those bands have with their labels, but it could be that they are not getting enough or nothing as an advance payment to cover the costs of making the album.
This time you auctioned Skype singing lessons and a Dragon’s time turner watch to finance the campaign, is it hard to come up with items to sell?
Not really, but I’ve noticed that it is much more simple to not have so many different physical perks that you need to send by post. It is not that reliable any more.
There has been some friction and angry words towards the Pledgemusic platform for not paying their artists, are you worried that could happen to you at indiegogo?
I have never used Pledgemusic but I did read about this situation. It is shameful. I really hope Indiegogo keeps working honestly with it’s campaigners. It is also their income so I believe they have an interest of doing so. However removing the Paypal option IG made it more difficult for contributors to contribute.
The Golden Moth
When did you begin to write material to the new album THE GOLDEN MOTH?
After THE PUZZLE came out, almost straight away. I had such a big urge to continue straight away.
Was it easy to continue writing in the concept theme you’re used to? I know when we last spoke you had ideas for this up coming album.
Yes, it has really been a strong vision in my mind all the time. The fourth album and a new story line are ready and we’re hitting the studio this coming summer with the new material. Right now we’re starting the pre-production.
What have you been up to in between the release of THE GOLDEN MOTH and 2016’s THE PUZZLE?
We did few shows in The Netherlands, a tour with Sonata Arctica in Finland and a summer festival in Finland. Then we started the recordings for TGM.
What is THE GOLDEN MOTH about? Could you tell us a little about the story behind the album?
The story is continued from THE PUZZLE and they link together in few parts. On THE PUZZLE, Dark Sarah has traveled through The Underworld and tried to find three keys to get out. There she met Dragon, king of the Underworld. Iron birds come to carry Dark Sarah away and they take her to the third world, The Upperworld, a deserted wasteland. But Dragon sneaked there with her, he needed her to open the door for him. Dark Sarah needs to get to the Gods. She teams up with her enemy, Dragon, and together they start their journey to the Gods. It is a story of friendship, trust and betrayal.
Are there any truths in the story you tell about Dark Sarah and Sarah or is everything fictional?
Everything is fictional but of course I pour these stories from my imagination and life experiences. Many can relate to the story, it has many layers and dimensions and like life, it leaves many questions open too.
Last time you also said that you enjoy writing concept lyrics more that regular lyrics, is it still so and why is it so?
I have noticed that I always write stories when making lyrics and in one song you can only capture one moment. I like the fact that the one moment is part of something bigger, it gives the lyrics more depth. You can really learn to know the characters and their history.
What’s the story behind the title THE GOLDEN MOTH?
The Golden Moth is the totem animal or a spirit animal of Dark Sarah. It represents the after life and still even though being a nocturnal animal it is very much drawn to light. At the end of the album, Dark Sarah dies. The golden moth then leaves her body, rises and flies towards the sun.
The video “The Golden Moth – album preview” came out on Youtube in August, how was the response to that?
The response has been really good overall.
The Golden Moth – NEW ALBUM
What are the songs “I Once Had Wings” and “The Gods Speak” about?
In “I Once Had Wings” Dragon tells his story of why he lost his wings and ended up living in The Underworld. Dark Sarah tries to comfort him and say that we should put bad things behind and move forward. “The Gods Speak” is a tragic moment where Dark Sarah sees the Gods approaching their air ship, first she is excited but very soon she notices that something is not right. The Gods force Dark Sarah to go with them, mortals are not welcome in The Upperworld. The punishment is death. Dragon steals the key from Dark Sarah and leaves her.
Do you think that fans of the previous albums are going to recognize the music and the atmosphere on THE GOLDEN MOTH from the previous albums?
Yes, I think so.
Congratulations on the great reviews you’ve received. Are you happy and was it something you expected?
I am really happy. Although you yourself would think the album is pure gold, you never really know how other think of it before the reviews and comments start floating in. Of course you can have some kind of and expectation.
Are there any differences in how the Finish media and the European media write about and review your work?
A big difference. Here in Finland female fronted metal/symphonic metal does not get much recognition. European media concentrates more on writing an honest review by making arguments of the compositions and music overall where Finnish media makes short statements, if they review your album at all. Fortunately, there are few exceptions of course.
I think THE GOLDEN MOTH is a brilliant album with very well written material and music, are you happy with the outcome of the album?
I am, it is my art baby. We took risks on this album with the really lyrical and theatrical parts. But is seems it has reached the hearts of our fans, just like we wanted to.
Past and present
You did a lot of touring during 2017 in Finland and two shows in the Netherlands, was it fun to meet the fans?
We love doing shows! It is even more fun than making a new album! We wish that soon it the future there will be a lot more shows in Europe too. I love meeting fans. Since I work so close with the crowd funders and active fans, I remember many of their names without ever meeting them personally. It is so nice when after the show they show up to meet you and I recognize them from their names.
The Gods Speak (feat. Marco Hietala & Zuberoa Aznárez)
Did you plan to focus on touring in Finland and not in the rest of Scandinavia? Do you think Scandinavia is ready to take on Dark Sarah this time around?
Our management is trying the book us shows in Europe and we wait patiently our packs packed and ready to go as soon as we get a green light!
You call your fans Darklings, why and where does the name come from?
It comes from words “dark” and “darling” 🙂
What would you like to say to the ones who have missed the music of Dark Sarah and could you give them three reasons why they should buy THE GOLDEN MOTH?
If you want the get an symphonic metal adventure by reading the story and listening to the music and let your imagination draw the scenery- Dark Sarah is just your cup of tea! Sit in a cumfy chair, give the GM a spin, listen to the whole album at once to get the best view of it.
Is THE GOLDEN MOTH the ending to the trilogy or can we expect it to be a four piece opus…?
The trilogy end on The Golden Moth but a new story line and new album is already in the making.
What are the plans for Dark Sarah in the near future?
Recording the fourth album, some shows and hopefully a tour!