Today, I am with Elina Siirala, a Finnish opera singer turned melodic metal front-lady of the London based enkElination for another Q&A Session.
enkElination (enkeli – meaning Angel in finnish) was formed in November 2011 by classically trained former opera singer Elina Siirala. She moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power and performance of rock and metal. Years of trying to fit her voice into the pop mould, she finally started writing music she loved and worked with her vocals. Since then she’s been joined by some great musicians and been swept away by the metal scene.
Now, without further ado…
Lady Obscure: Hello Elina… Could you tell me a bit about your band members? How did you guys met up? You know, how the journey started, at the risk of sounding cliché…
Elina Siirala: I’m originally from Finland, other guitarist Jozef is from Slovakia, drummer Ben, other guitarist Shadow Venger and bassist Alasdair are British.
It has been a bit of a journey during our first year: Ben has been with me from the beginning and I’ve known him since 2008 as we went to the same school. I met Shadow when he came to see our gig one time. I happened to be looking for another guitarist a few months later and instantly remembered him…and haven’t regretted it! Jozef joined us just a couple of months ago but he fits in perfectly. Alasdair is an even more recent addition to the band but I’m really looking forward to playing with these guys. I feel like enkElination is finally coming together as a band.
LO: You were trained classically. Then you have a pop singing era in your life if I understand this correctly. So, how come you chose metal? What does it mean to you?
ES: It actually means a lot to me…I started my studies in London in 2008 and it was an amazing year but also one of the toughest ever! I realized my voice just wasn’t made for the ‘pop’ sound and was constantly told I didn’t sound right. My personal life kept me in London after my studies ended and the next two years I tried to fit into the pop music mold and felt like the reason I came to London was drifting further and further away.
As cliché as it sounds, when my heart was really badly broken I started writing music again… and this time I swore it would be for my voice and nothing else, so the music genre kind of chose me. This was the start of enkElination.
LO: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
ES: As I was very new to the genre, in the beginning I didn’t really know how to create the sound I wanted. I’ve learned a lot during the short period of a year and I feel like the sound I wanted is finally coming together. Shadow Venger had a big part in that too. Since he joined the band he’s been helping me a lot with the guitar parts and creating heavier, more metal sounds.enkElination released their first EP in September of 2012 and have started working on writing their debut album. Regularly gigging in and around London’s metal venues, they are generating a huge buzz, and everyone who has seen them perform live is unlikely to forget them anytime soon.
LO: How has the overall reception been for enkElination?
ES: Reception has been really encouraging! As a new band it’s always difficult to reach people and be heard by the right people, especially when you don’t have a lot of contacts. But we’ve played with some great bands and made friends and contacts and the buzz around the band is growing all the time. The feedback has always been very positive!
LO: So, what do you see for your future?
ES: We are continuing playing live and preparing to record an album hopefully sooner than later. Just like any new band we’re pushing to move forward and trying to play bigger and better gigs. A few radios stations and industry people have been giving us exposure and we are also working with TuiranPaja from Finland and those guys are helping us with promotion and contacts outside the UK. All in all we feel positive about the future and are continuing to work hard!
LO: So, back to your music, can you tell me about the lyrics, themes and concepts you focus?
ES: The themes for the lyrics have really changed and continue to do so. Where I am in my life and how I feel when I’m writing is the main source of inspiration, so it’s constantly evolving. As English is not my first language, my friend Mike Kevan has been a huge help with the more recent songs (he is the artist behind all our logos and recent photoshoot). I always write the music first but I usually have the theme in mind as it obviously affects the composing too.
LO: So what bands do you draw your inspiration from?
ES: I really get inspiration from every kind of music, from Foo Fighters to Mozart. I admire strong singers like Freddie Mercury, Lara Fabian and Ronnie James Dio.
LO: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
ES: I think it’s pretty clear that the music is the most important thing for me and I’m sure I can say the same for the rest of the band. I don’t think attempting to sound like anyone else, or manufacture music to please an audience really works. Audiences can usually tell whether the music is genuine or real. I think It’s better to be true to your own voice and wait for the audience to come to you. I like the fact that when people ask us who we sound like, it’s genuinely difficult to answer, because we don’t sound too similar to other bands. I love that we have found our own distinct sound.
LO: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
ES: I think those two are very different to each other but both are exciting in their own way. In studio you can make everything “perfect” and everyone can nail their parts separately. But playing live gives you such a high and I absolutely love it… sometimes it’s hard trying to create that in a vocal booth.
LO: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
ES: To be honest, It is the actual formation of the band enkElination… That is my greatest accomplishment, when I finally stopped trying to fit into other peoples mould, and just started creating music that was true to me and my vision.
LO: Thank you Elina!
If you are interested in finding out more about enkElination, here is their official site!