Swedish Vampire Tales
CoC interviews Marcus Ehlin of Siebenburgen
by: Pedro Azevedo
_Loreia_ [CoC #22] was one of 1997's most surprising albums for some people, mainly because of the female vocals and folk influences included in Siebenburgen's mid-paced black metal. However, as you shall see in this e-mail interview, Siebenburgen's own Marcus Ehlin (vocals/guitar) doesn't find those components very important in their music, which may explain why they weren't really developed in their second album, and follow-up to _Loreia_, 1998's _Grimjaur_ [CoC #31]. Below lie some details about what Siebenburgen is about, their current situation and future plans.

CoC: I know that Siebenburgen is supposed to be the ancient name of Transylvania, while several of your song titles relate to vampyrism. What is your connection to that subject and how important is it for your music?

Marcus Ehlin: Yes, that's correct; Siebenburgen is the old European name for Transylvania. And yes, most of our lyrics deal with vampires and vampyrism. I am very interested in both vampires and vampyrism, and that's why most of our songs are related to this subject.

CoC: What exactly is the story behind _Loreia_ and _Grimjaur_? I heard they are supposed to be based upon Swedish folklore, but what stories do they tell?

ME: They are not based on Swedish folklore; most of them are about legends and myths from a fantasy world called Grimjaur, which my ex-girlfriend Mara has created. Until now, Mara has written almost all of our lyrics, but after our split I will take care of the lyrics. _Loreia_ is the name of a vampire queen in the land of Grimjaur, and the translation of Grimjaur is midnight.

CoC: Why did the band choose to sing in Swedish? Will you continue to do so in future albums? I noticed that some of the new song titles are in English...

ME: We started to sing in Swedish, and it just went along in that direction. After _Grimjaur_ I wrote some lyrics in English and I thought that they were too good to just throw away. Therefore, we decided to include them on our upcoming third album.

CoC: How did the inclusion of vocalist/violinist Louisa Hallstedt in Siebenburgen happen? Was she part of the plan to create this precise kind of sound with Siebenburgen, or did things just happen by accident? Did you always intend to have a sort of black/folk sound?

ME: Since the start of the band I had ideas about mixing female vocals with our music. When I met Louisa, she seemed to be the right person for this, but after a while the two of us didn't get along like we did in the beginning. Therefore I decided to end my work with her, and start searching for a new girl. We haven't found a replacement for her yet, but I have contact with some people that are interesting, whom I will meet very soon. Siebenburgen isn't a "black/folk" band. We play metal, that's it.

CoC: How important would you say she, or any female vocalist in general, is for the band?

ME: Not very important; it's not like we are building the music around female vocals, it's the other way around.

CoC: I noticed that Louisa's participation in _Grimjaur_ wasn't as important, in a way, as in _Loreia_. I mean, she only participates in a few tracks, and, except for the last song, her participation isn't quite as striking as in _Loreia_. Do you agree? Why did this happen?

ME: Yes, I agree. Louisa's parts on _Grimjaur_ are quite bad. That's one thing that made me end our work with her. She had lost her interest and she was only into making money.

CoC: What are your main concerns as you plan another album? What would you like to see changed relative to your first two albums?

ME: We don't "plan" songwriting or albums. When I write music, I never know what the final result is going to sound like. Everything changes all the time. The only thing we "plan" is the recording. So what I would like to see as a change from _Loreia_ and _Grimjaur_ is, first of all, a much better sound quality. And that will happen with the next album, since the guy we will work with is very professional and has bought tons of new equipment. But, of course, some problems will always occur.

CoC: How have things been going in live concerts? Any plans?

ME: We haven't played many live shows yet -- about sixteen. But I am pleased with them. We will go on tour again in May, but right now I don't know where or with whom we are going to play with.

CoC: Napalm has a considerable number of black metal bands in their roster. How do you view that? Are you happy with Napalm?

ME: Napalm Records is a very good label, they have always treated us very well and always supported us. And I don't think that Napalm has so many black metal bands under their wings. They had more a couple of years ago. Right now, they only have about four or something.

CoC: How involved in the black metal genre would you say you are? Considering that you don't quite fit in "normal" black metal due to your folk influences, do you consider yourselves to be outside the black metal genre?

ME: I am not involved in today's black metal scene -- if there is any scene left to talk about. There are hardly any great bands left, I think. And what goes for Siebenburgen is that I have never said that we are a black metal band. We play metal. I can't label Siebenburgen.

CoC: What are your main wishes for the future of Siebenburgen?

ME: That this time the recording of the new album will go on without any major problems. We usually have this "studio curse" that follows us... <laughs>

CoC: That's it. Any final comments you'd like to add?

ME: Thank you for the interview, and STAY METAL!!!!

Contact: mailto:marcus.ehlin@mbox301.swipnet.se WWW: http://welcome.to/grimjaur WWW: http://home6.swipnet.se/~w-68002

(article submitted 16/1/1999)

6/7/1998 P Azevedo 6 Siebenburgen - Grimjaur
7/14/1997 S Hoeltzel 6 Siebenburgen - Loreia
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