More than a year has passed since the Spanish singer Pilar Giménez García, better known as Ailyn, left the Norwegian gothic metal band Sirenia, where she had been a lead vocalist for eight years. The band continued with their new singer, and Ailyn went her own way. To the moment, she’s been regularly reminding of her by collaborating with, although not so famous, but quite interesting metal bands.
Right before Christmas, MetalGossip had an opportunity of talking to Ailyn, and she told our portal about everything her life is now full of, shared some of her plans for the future music career, and also told about her attitude to her former employer and his new singer, recalling to the story of Ailyn’s quit from the band.
MG: Dear Ailyn, thank you for the opportunity to ask you a few questions!
Ailyn: You’re welcome! I’m very happy to do and interview with you guys again.
MG: Let’s talk about your present-day life. How did you spend your first year out of Sirenia? How did your life change after you’ve been driven out of the band?
Ailyn: Well, was a very difficult year for me. After my mom passed out, I got depression, so it’s been hard to focus on anything. I had to push myself very hard to get things done cause I know how easy is to put everything on a side and lose the time without noticing when you are down. But more or less I’ve been doing the same things as always. I keep working in the same place, working on my music, making collaborations with other bands and going on tour as a guest singer with some bands.
MG: I’ve seen the results of your collaboration with Italian band Secret Rule. How did this duet come to life? Can you unveil the details of your work with this band?
Ailyn: One day I got a message from Fabio D’Amore (Serenity) where he told me he was working with the Italian band called Secret Rule and they were interested in talking to me about a possible collaboration for their new album. They contacted me and after some talking we decided to work together on a song. I’m very happy with this collaboration cause I had the chance of meeting great musitians and also very important, I got to know great people. I just came home from a little tour with them and we had a lot of fun together.
MG: Also I saw a video of your collaboration with the Spanish band Débler. And I know you’ve been supporting them on stage in their live show in Madrid. Please, tell us some words about this experience of yours.
Ailyn: I spent some days with Débler in Madrid as I had this show with them and also we had to record their new music video for «Cuando las Estrellas Dejen de Brillar». I had a great time with these guys! It was also very nice to spend some days in Madrid and get to know them in person, not just by phone…
MG: I’m also very curious about your participation in the classical choir. What did you sing there and did you like it?
Ailyn: Yes, it’s super nice singing in this choir. We sing a little bit of everything, depending on the season. Of course right now it is time for Christmas songs, but sadly I had to travel to Spain to take care of my sister, she’s got a surgery and was not feeling too good so I couldn’t join them for the Christmas Tour, but there will be more chances. For last Easter we performed in the theatre «The Great Mass» from Mozart. We change songs depending on when we have to perform them. I really love being in this choir, they are amazing and also great people. And for me it’s also very nice to sing with others without being the lead vocalist.
MG: Ailyn, do you have plans for any collaborations with other bands/artists? If so, then can you unveil some of them? By the way, how do you choose bands for collaborations? Or do you collaborate with any band/artist that offers you that?
Ailyn: For now I’m having a talk with a band about a new collaboration. But I can’t say anything about it as I’m not sure if it happens or not. Very often the bands contact me via Facebook. I normally ask them to show me the song where they want me to sing. And if I like it and I think it can be cool with my voice on it, then we talk about their conditions and mine. And if both sides agreed, then I do it. I don’t mind if they are big or small bands, if they think my voice can fit their music and I like them, why not?
MG: And the most important question for all your personal fans: what are your plans for the future? When can we expect a solo album? What would it be? How do you see your solo project? Will it be metal or not or maybe a fusion of various genres?
Ailyn: For now I’m working on my new music. I’m trying to find my own sound. I still don’t know if it’s going to be a solo project or if I create a new band… And I’m still not sure when it will be ready, I’m going to take my time and try to do it nice. Now is the time for me to explore with my voice and do things I was not allowed to do before. Now I have the chance to do what I think it fits better for my voice. The project will be metal, but I don’t know which subgendre it will be. I don’t think I’ll do symphonic, as I don’t want to be compared with what I did before. Of course there will be people comparing, that’s inevitable, but well, I just hope I’ll do something that sounds new and fresh. But well, I don’t know, maybe I’m here saying it will not be symphonic metal and when I’m finished it turns out to be symphonic, it is hard to say. For now I just have billion ideas in my head. I just need to work with them until they start getting the shape I want. Sometimes I get an idea that sounds fantastic in my head, but after I just find that it wasn’t as good as I thought. Other times it’s just the opposite, with ideas that I think are not good enough it turns out they sound fantastic. I’m sorry guys, but I think you’ll have to wait a bit more before things are more clear.
MG: Ailyn, let me ask some questions about the topic that has been worrying all your fans in Russia. Of course, we don’t believe the statement that was published by Sirenia telling it was your mutual decision to part ways. It seems that you’ve been really driven out. Can you tell what has really happened in this drama with your quit from the band?
Ailyn: Honesty, I really don’t know what happened. I don’t have a good answer for that. I just got a phonecall where he (Morten Veland – interviewer’s note) told me I was fired cause (in his opinion) I’m too sick for singing (I think he should had asked my doctor first, as he is actually telling me the opposite, he told me many times I should never give up singing, as singing makes me happy and keeps me healthier). I think I can guess, but I really don’t know what was on his mind. I read/see interviews where he is talking very bad about me, trying to hurt my reputation saying I’m too sick for singing and I’ve been not able do my job for the last 3 years, when for almost 9 years I gave the 200% for a band that wasn’t even mine and I knew I could be kicked out any moment without any consideration. In my opinion he really wanted to have another voice and he used the first excuse he got to get rid of me and get what he wanted. He wanted to change Sirenia’s music and his way to do it (in my opinion) it’s to change singers, cause in his mind the problem that Sirenia never grows bigger is the singer, he doesn’t realise that he’s the one deciding everything, he’s the one making everything in the band and he’s the one repeating his own music all the time, but of course, it’s been still the singer’s fault (of course I’m not going to blame him if people don’t like the singer’s voice). I really don’t care anymore what was the reason. I just wish he could stop telling lies about me and treat me with the same respect I’m treating him, cause I could say many things I know about him, but I’m not a five-year-old girl and I’m not going to play his game and behave that way. As I’ve said many times already, I’m very tired of this game, he’s got his new singer as he wanted, he should be happy!! I’m glad for him too, so what’s the point of all of this? “Move over man!”. My time with Sirenia is over, so the sooner he stops talking in a bad way about me, the sooner I could stop defending myself and use my time for the things that really matter.
MG: Sad news that you’ve been fired came right after the show in Kherson that was played with Sirenia’s current singer (it seems that the fate of Sirenia’s vocalist was solved there and then). Or is it a coincidence? What’s your point of view?
Ailyn: Well, I can’t be 100% sure but I don’t think that was a coincidence as when we were recording «The Seventh Life Path» he already mentioned her (Emmanuelle Zoldan – interviewer’s note) several times saying that in the Sirenian Choir there was a singer with an awesome voice, and now she’s their singer 😉
MG: Sometimes it seems it was a bit weird decision to invite a dramatic mezzo-soprano to the band where most of the songs are written for your coloratura soprano. The new voice of Sirenia obviously has some problems with the songs when singing live concerts. Ailyn, how do you think what were the reasons of such a choice of Morten? Were you surprised with it?
Ailyn: As I’ve said, I have no idea. No one knows Morten’s reasons, he is the boss and he doesn’t tell anyone what he plans, he just does it and the rest have to accept it and be happy with his choice. But no, when I heard who she was, I was not surprised about his choice.
MG: Ailyn, have you heard the new Sirenia’s album? Have you ever seen any videos of present live performances of the band? What are your impressions about Emmanuelle Zoldan as a classical and metal singer?
Ailyn: Not really, I’ve heard little parts cause people keep sending me videos thinking I actually care or want to see/hear things about them. And the little I heard sounds exactly as the demo I recorded for that album (“Dim Days of Dolor” — interviewer’s note). Maybe they changed somethings, but as I’ve said I didn’t listened enough to give my opinion. About Emmanuelle, I don’t know her and I don’t blame her either about what happened. I’ve just heard her work with Trail of Tears and I might say I really like how she sings there. She sings great and I’m sure she is a great person too.
MG: Last year Sirenia has been touring much more that ever – America, Europe, Russia, China. Why were there so little of live shows before? Is it true that previously Morten used to receive offers for the shows and just refused to play them?
Ailyn: Yes, it is true, he got many offers and for one reason or another he ignored many of them. During many years Jonathan (Jonathan Perez – Sirenia’s session drummer – iterviewers’ note) and I had been sending him many emails asking him about when we would be touring again… I got many messages on my Facebook page from promoters who tried to contact him but he never answered back. And when I contacted Morten to tell him that promoters were writing me to ask what happen, and why he didn’t answer, he just told me, they didn’t give him a nice offer, or that the places where they wanted us to play were way to small for Sirenia. I know Morten has been saying that Sirenia was not touring because for the last 3 years I’ve been very sick and I’ve been nor able do my job. But the funny thing is that he forgot to mention he was very busy studying a career in case he had to quit Sirenia and needed to find a job. So of course, he stopped almost all Sirenia’s activities and we almost didn’t play the 2 years he was studying. He forgot to mention many things cause it’s more easy to kick out the singer and blame her for everything that happened or didn’t happen. I’m not denying that I got sick on tour, but again, he forgot to mention he didn’t care too much about making sure I got Glutenfree food and that was the reason I got sick. And every time I asked him he said, “I wrote it on the rider”, but everyone knows that’s not enough. Lately I’ve been touring with Melted Space, Débler and Secret Rule and I never got sick being with them. They were quite careful about it, all the time making sure everything was fine. For some years I asked him to let me contact the promoters as I saw he had problems letting them know about my allergy. Of course I was also very tired of getting sick on tour for the stupid reason that was very easy to fix and singing bad cause I was on the stage and all I could think about was that I needed to run to the toilet (sorry, maybe it’s too much information (laughing)). But anyway, what’s the problem? I’m not the only singer who is ill or with that allergy, Liv Kristine has the same allergy as me and no one makes a problem about it. With me it looks like I committed a crime or something (laughing). Who said that for being a singer you have to be 100% healthy? The problems he meant we had for the last 3 years was not me being sick, the “big” problem was that I finally woke up and started seeing the things how they were. I stopped being the naive girl who accepted everything and never complained about anything. I started contacting the promoters myself without his permission, and the times I could talk to them I didn’t get sick. So for being in Sirenia you need to be blind and deaf.
Another problem was that as Sirenia didn’t have shows I found myself in the situation that I needed to find a normal job, and that was also a problem for him, and I do not understand why, when Jonathan and Jan Erik have also normal jobs and with them it was ok… It’s very confusing right?
He told me many times and he said that in interviews, that he prefers to be home making new songs for Sirenia, he loves studio work and being with his family. But of course, now they got a new singer so they need to tour to show «everything was Ailyn’s fault”. But if you take a look some years ago, Sirenia was touring a lot at the begining when I joined the band, just the same as they are doing now, and after a while we stopped.
MG: Well… enough about Sirenia. Let’s talk about some other music. Can you tell about the new music you’ve heard recently that have impressed you?
Ailyn: Woow, that’s difficult to answer. Sorry but right now I don’t know what to say… I listen to many different bands and artists and in that moment nothing comes to my head.
MG: How do you think, is it important to have a professional vocal education to become a good singer? Or is it enough just to have an inborn talent for that?
Ailyn: Well it’s always better having vocal education, of course. But having a professional vocal education doesn’t make you a good artist. It means that you are trained and of course it will be more easy for you to do a good job on stage. To be more perfect on the tone when you sing, not to kill your voice when you are on a long tour, when you have to sing many days in a row without resting… In my opinion, you can have a great vocal technique, but that doesn’t make you better than others. There’re many great singers out there, some of them with a very good vocal education, some others dindn’t even take a lesson and they are the same good. I think first you need to have the talent, and then if you train your voice is becomes perfect. But there’re many people whose dream is to be singers, but they don’t have enough money to pay for taking vocal education… But if they are good, why shouldn’t they have the same chances of reaching their dreams?
MG: Not long ago Napalm Records label made a kind of commercial project Exit Eden with four different female voices. Have you heard it? They even released an album with covers of pop-songs in metal interpretation (with the slight influence of gothic and symphonic). They covered Rihanna, Bryan Adams, Madonna and so on. What’s your opinion about such projects? Would you like to participate in something like that?
Ailyn: Yes, I heard about it and watched some videos on youtube, sounds very cool, so why not?? They all are great singers and I think it is perfect they bring this up. From my side, I’m not sure if I would like to be part of this kind of project (at least not as a main project, I could do this or sing with other bands if it’s like a side project…) I mean, I like it, but after all these years singing other person’s songs I think it is time for me to sing my own stuff.
MG: Ailyn, once you told you were going to study design and become a designer. How is it going? Have you succeeded in it?
Ailyn: Hahaha yes I remember I said that and I have it in mind, but I said if some day I decide to quit music I would love to study design, but for now I just learn watching tutorials. You can learn almost everything you want on the internet. I keep sewing and learning, but just because I like it. For now I’m just focusing on my music. As I said before, maybe some day in the future I can think about it and take it as my professional career, but not for now.
MG: Ex-Nightwish singer Anette Olzon once said that the world of music business is a bad place for women. What’s your opinion about that? Have you ever faced any kind of harassment in the metal world?
Ailyn: I would say I agree with her… Every female singer has her own point of view. And I don’t pretend to talk about their experiences, but during all these years a saw a lot of shit that many women have to face. And it’s really not cool. We say we live in a modern world, but there’s many things that will never change if we don’t do anything to change them… We live in a selfish world, we say “I wish I could change this, or fix that” but in the end there’s very few people who actually fights to try to change things to better.
MG: If you had a possibility to invite any musician you wish for working at your solo album, who would it be?
Ailyn: Hahaha well, I think I’ve answered this question 20 billion times already and people might be getting quite tired about reading the same once and again. I’ve been answering that question for 10 years and I never changed my answer (laughing).
MG: And traditional last question… Some words to your fans in Russia.
Ailyn: Hi everyone!!! Thanks a lot for being there after all these years! I really hope I’ll be back in Russia with my new project soon. I love it there! So I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
MG: Thank you for answering our questions, Ailyn!
Ailyn: Thank you guys for the interview!