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A Chat With Sylvaine

Sylvaine is a super talented multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter & composer from Norway, preparing to release her 4th studio album ‘Nova’ on Season Of Mist, from which the first and second single is available now.

Metal Digest had a chat with Sylvaine about 2021, Nowhere Still Somewhere & Nova.

Welcome To Metal Digest!

Hello & welcome to Metal-Digest! Thank you for joining us!

How is everything going over in team Sylvaine?

Hello there! Thank you so much for having me here at Metal Digest! All is well, thank you, having transitioned into 2022 in a peaceful way. 2021 was one of the most intense years I’ve had to date, so having some calm moments over the holidays was much appreciated. I’m now back on track, working and preparing for everything that this new year is supposed to have in store!

2022 is just around the corner & now is a great time of year to reflect, between the state of the world in lockdowns & recording a new album I imagine this last year has been a bit of a roller-coaster year!
Thinking back is there anything that you are grateful for from 2021?

Absolutely! 2021 was as mentioned an extremely intense ride for me personally, but I am forever grateful for everything I got to work on and experience during the year. Two highlights were finishing up my 4th album, allowing me to work with so many talented, inspired and respectful people during the process, as well as getting back on stage again for the first time in 2,5 years. Being able to play just 2 shows at the end of 2021, sharing some creative moments with my 3 live musicians, the audience, the other bands and all the crew alike, felt incredible… We all knew we were missing playing concerts but being back again underlined just how much it had been missed. I’m super grateful for all the students I had the chance to teach during the year, both in vocals and yoga, as well as everyone who were along for this crazy ride; family, friends, fans, co-workers, everyone.

Recently you have released a stunning new music video directed by Linnea Syversen to your ‘Nowhere, Still Somewhere’ single, the track & video compliment each other beautifully & feels extremely emotional.

Could you give us some insights on how this song started & what it represents to you?

 “Nowhere, Still Somewhere” was one of the tracks for “Nova” that were written during 2020, and really embodied my feeling of having lost complete control at the time, both on a personal level and on a global level. The song speaks about the frustration arising from not being able to hold onto anything and feeling like we are constantly floating around in an existence that is totally ephemeral, disconnected from our true selves. The only constant is change. “Nova” is my most personal record to date, and is saturated with emotions, a lot connected to the struggles of loss, and “Nowhere, Still Somewhere” is no exception. When I decided to create a video for the track, I knew I wanted to make it very intimate and try to showcase a sort of transition from one state to another, a re-birth if you will, and the beauty, yet challenges of something like that happening. Along with Linnea Syversen, I believe we created visuals that truly personifies the feelings of not only the song, but the album as a whole. Compositionally speaking, “Nowhere, Still Somewhere” was one of those songs that came together quite rapidly in a natural manner, with the main rhythm guitar and melody line being the start, before the rest of the layers were added bit by bit.

Sylvaine – Nowhere, Still Somewhere (Official Music Video) 2021

You are currently in the process of preparing to release your 4th full studio album ‘Nova’ on March 4th, 2022.

It couldn’t have been easy to record during the madness of the last few years, I’m always impressed by those who manage to pull it off, not only that you & the team behind you knocked it out of the park!

We would love to hear some behind-the-scenes stories (good or bad) around the making of the album?

From the very beginning, it became clear that the recording process of “Nova” was definitely going to be a very bumpy ride. First having the Covid situation post-pone the start of our session a couple of times, due to travel restrictions, and then my engineer Benoît Roux having some personal setbacks post-pone it even further. When we finally got in the studio in March 2020, we were all incredibly excited and grateful to be sharing some creative moments with other people again. Then we all got Covid in the first weeks of recording… Luckily, we were all able to work thru it, and with Drudenhaus studio being very isolated in the Western French countryside, we weren’t putting anyone in danger by continuing our work together. None of us got it very bad, thankfully, but it did slow us down a bit and it actually took me a full month to have my breath back to a normal state. Being a vocalist in the recording studio, you can imagine I was just a little bit anxious about how this was going to affect the vocals of the album…! The obstacles didn’t stop there though, as we had several non-musical issues affecting our studio time after all that, hence why I stayed in the studio just over 2 months. Even if the process was emotionally super draining and challenging, due to the album being so close to my heart and everything else we were experiencing, I honestly wouldn’t have changed this experience for anything. Being with Benoît for those 2 months, just the 2 of us in our creative bubble (except for the first week, when we had the great pleasure of being joined by my live drummer, Dorian Mansiaux, who laid down the drums for the record), made for the perfect environment to release my emotions into these songs. It was a real immersive, intense couple of months, but it resulted in an album I am immensely proud of.

Your music has an extremely unique style, it must take immense imagination & pushing the boundaries of traditional music composition techniques to bring forth such inspirational music!
We would love it if you could share with us some of your composition processes?

Thank you so much for these kind, grand words about my music…  I feel extremely humbled! It’s funny, as I don’t really see what I’m doing from an outside perspective, so for me, it seems like more of a humble expression of my most inner thoughts. The compositional process looks a little different every time something new is created. When composing, I usually work in a rather impulsive way when first starting on a new piece. I try not to question myself too much, but just focus on expressing something authentic. That usually consist of me, jamming with my unplugged electric guitar, working on chord progressions and melodic lines that come to mind or to fit an emotion I want to convey, as well as vocal lines to go with the guitar parts. From here, layers will build slowly over time, adding vocals, more guitars, synths, effect guitars, bass and programmed drums. That’s the “less romantic” hard work part that comes into play, to put those spontaneous ideas into a structure that flows and takes the listener on a journey. It’s a strange process, really. Sometimes songs come together very quickly, with everything just falling into place very naturally and other songs take months to complete. There are no real rules when creating like that, except having to work real hard and not settling, when you feel something might be off.

Here at Metal-Digest, we are running a mental health focus through December along with Heavy Metal Therapy, we’ve already had tonnes of touching & personal stories of how metal has changed people’s lives for the better, along with some great advice & tips on staying sane.

Have you got any stories of times when metal helped improve your life you would like to share with us?

I think music and art in general is an important part in feeding the soul, which in turn can ease our mental suffering. Our modern lives are so full of pressure and input, it’s really important to block it all out now and then, in order to go within and connect to our true selves. For me personally, music, spirituality and nature have been 3 fundamental parts of doing exactly that, letting me center within myself and ground into the things important to me. Music in general has been my biggest love since my teenage years, when I discovered this artform as a way to express myself in ways I couldn’t otherwise. With so many different stories in mind, I can say with 100% certainty that my life would have been completely different and way less rich without music in it. Music has given me a safe place, a shelter, that’s always there when the weight of life feels too heavy to bear on my shoulders. It’s the thing that can truly make you feel, when you otherwise may be numb and let one experience the comfort in shared emotions. Even if the inspiration for my own creation fluctuates, like for every other artist, music is a constant that is always there in some shape or form. And for that I’m really grateful. I don’t know that the future holds, but one thing is absolutely certain; music will always be a vital part of it, and the metal scene with it.

Thank you for your time & for answering all our questions!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?

Thank you ever so much for this interview and for letting me talk a bit to the Metal Digest audience! I wish all of you out there the very best for this new year – let’s try our best to make 2022 a better experience than the 2 previous years, all while being kind with ourselves and being as supportive as possible to the people around us. Take good care of yourselves, take good care of each other and I truly hope to see you on the road at some point, when that is a safe thing for everyone again!

Thank you for the wonderful interview.
Until we meet again,
Milton on behalf of Metal-Digest.

Nova will be available on CD Digipak, Digital & Vinyl.

Nova is available for pre-order & will be released on 4th March 2022.

Sylvaine – Vocals & Guitars/Bass/Keys/Arrangements

Dorian Mansiaux – Drums

Come on in!

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