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I Don't Think Of A Career


Архив интервью | Русская версия

It’s a well-known saying that the name of a ship defines its future course. By calling their band Imperia, talented singer Helena Iren Michaelsen, who used to sing for Trail of Tears and Sahara Dust (now known as Epica) and guitarist Jan Yrlund, of Lacrimosa and Danse Macabre fame, predestined for it to stick to a once chosen path and to go up with every new step. In order to launch Imperia, Norwegian-born and –minded Helena moved to Holland, and this paid off. Over seven years of the band’s existence they put out three full-length CDs, the latest being "Secret Passion", released in 2011. We asked Helena to tell us in more detail about the feelings and emotions this new records conveys.

Let's begin with common questions about the new album: where was it recorded, who produced it, and so on. Tell us everything what you usually tell people about the new album.

The “Secret Passion” album got recorded in different countries. Drums in Germany, the bass in Belgium, the orchestral parts in Germany, the cello in the USA, the guitars in Finland, and the vocals in Norway. In general, it was an abnormal and special way of doing it, but it worked out perfectly fine, and brought an extra smile in the end since it brought a very good end result.

Your previous album “Queen of Light” was released in 2007. Why did you need such a long gap to come up with a new one?

Because of private issues, like moving to a different place, children and education...

What meaning did you put into the title of your new CD?

I have been and still am single so the “secret passion” is my own fantasy in a way that doesn’t get out in the real life...

In your opinion, who are the potential listeners for “Secret Passion”? Do you target at a certain group of music fans, or do you think it can touch the heart of anybody if people are willing to give it a proper try?

I think everyone from 0 to 120 years he he. I think for the ones who give it a try there will always be some songs on the album they will like or feel, because it’s so diverse.

Which songs from this album are standouts for you personally? What songs would you recommend if someone wants to get to know Imperia for the first time?

I would recommend the entire new album “Secret Passion”.

You did a quite revealing photoshoot for the new album. Could you tell us a few words about it? Who was the photographer?

First I had an appointment at a photo studio in Kristiansand 2 hours away from here. But when I arrived, there had been misunderstanding about the schedule, so I suddenly just had one hour on me. So I used the time that was available and then I fixed by myself a friend of mine called Roald Bredsten to take photos based on my own ideas. We used half a day for different outfits and makeup in the place I live called Froland.

Can you also tell us about the album cover - how was it like working with Jan Yrlund on it?

Jan Yrlund is really good in making album covers. Everything he touches turn to gold.

Your face appears on all Imperia album covers - does it mean that you are the leader of the band? What do the rest of the musicians think about your domination in the visual representation of the band?

I started the band, I do all interviews and I have been my own manager. The band totally agrees of how the CDs get promoted... And it’s not just a face - a person with a feel for artistic things will see its true art...

Quite often when bands come to a studio they take with them some CDs by other bands which they want to use as a kind of guidance. Which CDs did you take, if any?

None....My own ears only, he he.

Are you often compared to Nightwish or Within Temptation? How do you react to such comparisons?

I respect whatever comparison people make. It’s their freedom to do so, but I think we are very different to the mentioned bands, even though I like them. We have played together with Nightwish in Heineken Musichall in Holland, which was very nice.

I have only seen one promo video of Imperia, even though the band has been around for seven years. Are there any plans to make a video for the new album?

The problem is that the label is not big enough to sponsor us with a video. So I hope for Angel chapter two to get on a bigger label where I can get better promotional support - a video, tour support etc. For the rest I’m really pleased with Massacre Records this far, they’re brilliant...

Over the seven years of the band’s existence, what events would you single out as the highest and the lowest points? Would you call Imperia’s career easy or difficult? Are you satisfied with what the band has achieved so far?

I don’t think of a career when I do the music, I think of the audience, listeners and the music itself.

Is it possible for you to live off doing music, or do the musicians have other jobs? In general, what do you do when you don’t record/perform/compose with Imperia?

I have been studying to later work with children in special needs. I have a passion to help youth and children with problems. And I’m a single mother so it’s a lot of work there, he he. Plus, I have horses and dogs as a hobby and I love spending time in the forest.

Which microphones do you use in the studio and at the gigs?

Sorry I don’t know the names of them. I take and use whatever stands there and just open my heart and sing...

Are there any plans for Imperia to come to Russia?

I can only say I hope the label invests in a tour of Imperia as a support band for Manowar or Motorhead or something. That would be awesome. To come to Russia to play is extremely tempting. Thank you for the support and your patience. And a big hug from Helena...

Imperia on the Internet: http://www.helena-michaelsen.com

Special thanks to Tom Hack (Massacre Records) for arranging this interview

Julia Andreyeva
June 20, 2011
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