Eilera: “I listen to my instincts”

While I spent time in Finland during summer I met the well-known singer and songwriter Eilera in a small and nice bar in the centre of Helsinki for an interview.

Eilera, who is originally from Montpellier, France, turned out to be a very nice and open-minded person. About her vocal style she told me that back in Montpellier, in the early days of her career, she had had a classic vocal education. She made some progress with it, but at at some point she decided to go on developing her vocal skills by herself, she learned how to protect her voice and all the technical duties at recordings.

Finland calling

She came to Finland for the first time in 2000, when she brought her demo of her previous band ‘Chrysalis’ to Spinefarm Records, being very excited for the reaction of the label, but unfortunately the deal did not happen.. an´t make it. Back in France, she decided to close the band to become Eilera and she kept on working. Contacting Spinefarm again, she offered them her new material without any expectations at that time. She received a really positive reaction and the label wanted to sign Eilera.

From that time on she began to work more closely with Finland and with Finnish studio musicians and she was travelling a lot between France and Finland. All of a sudden Spinefarm ceased to exist and Eilera remained in France three more years. After touring in France, Eilera ended her collaboration with her musical partner Loïc Tézénas and she moved to Finland permanently to open a new chapter.

For another reason it made sense because she had all of her contacts with musicians and friends in Helsinki, in order to get bigger and develop further.

The Finnish influence

Furthermore Eilera told me that Finland has a big influence on her songwriting, especially the nature and the weather are the most significant features for her inspiration and songwriting, giving her a lot of energy when working on her material.

She takes lots of energy out of it during working on her material. Especially in the wintertime the songwriting isn´t the same at all. Her previous record ‘Face the Demons’ was written entirely in Finland and Eilera said that this was very special for her; „the whole writing process and the production is totally different to my previous works.“ So finally the sound changed, for example „Face the Demons“ sounds like a full metal song.

„Some people say it`s more pop- influenced, others say it´s more metal. There are different opinions about it but I know that Finland has impacted on it.“ It is a bit funny to say that for her new album ‘Waves’, which also was impacted by Finland, she had to go back to France to the ocean actually. Because Eilera was missing something from France to complete her songwriting process.

For her new album ‘Waves’, which was financed by crowdfunding and is also impacted by Finland’s nature, she had to go back to France, to the ocean actually. Because Eilera was missing something from France to complete her songwriting process.

Her aim was to combine the Finnish and the French demons and also to work together again with Loïc Tézénas, indeed a well-known part of France. In Finland the guitar duties were taken on by Ronni Seppänen with whom she had already worked with on ‘Face the Demons’- album.

First Crowdfunding, then record deal

Eilera is very positive about the future as she just recently signed an international deal with Inverse Records for the release ov ‘Waves’: “I am very glad that I found a good partner to work with on the official release of Waves. Waves has already been a beautiful adventure of several rich chapters : its making, its support from our faithful fans via a crowdfunding and its pre-sales to our most closest fans. It is now time for Waves to sail further and to reach more people.”

Eilera remembers a special music biz experience: when working with Ex-Nightwish-Producer Tero Kinnunen, she had the idea to create something new. It was a big challenge for her to record the live album „Face the Demons“ in Finnvox Studios in Helsinki and again she worked together with session musicians. In the beginning it was planned to record only two songs and Eilera was excited about the result.

The production was pretty good, but Eilera wasn´t satisfied at all. There were some important details she missed an so she decided to enter another studio to record the live videos ‘Deadly Together’, ‘Your Way’ and ‘Angel May Temptress’: „They were recorded on one day live in the studio including the video shoot.“ When she kept on listening to these songs, she felt pretty satisfied and she furthermore decided to record a whole live album – which was of course challenging like hell. There was no big budget at that time, so they had to be ready quickly.

„We all harmonized pretty well together and so we managed to get all the songs right in time. I was a bit nervous before, because I have never done this before, but finally we were all satisfied with the songs. What belongs to the Eilera sound on every album, I always try to find out and decide is this a ‘mistake’ or not. For a musician like I am who is quite artistic, this is very very important to be satisfied with my work. While making a decision, I really listen to my instincts. All my recordings are different and this is a whole learning process, which brings you more and more forward during the years. I have to do the music that feels true. The best music is the one that feels true, that’s what I try to do.“

For the near future, Eilera will find musicians to play gigs; she is working with session musicians at the moment, because it is really hard to play enough gigs, but naturally it is one of her goals to create a full band.

Good luck for Eilera’s future and her career! More info about the band:

Text: Hanzi Herrmann    photos: Eilera

“Waves” Band Members :
Roni Seppänen : guitar
Loïc Tézénas : guitar
Dominique Dijoux : piano, Rhodes and keyboards
Toni Paananen : drums

Guests :
Sami Hinkka : fretless bass
Juho Martikainen : contrabass
Pereg ar Bagol : bagpipes, diatonic accordeon and vocals

“Face Your Demons” Band Members :
Roni Seppänen : guitar
Lauri Salomaa : keyboards
Jan Sormo : bass
Toni Paananen : drums

Hanzi Herrmann ---- festival / concert reviews, live photos, interviews