Despite the fact that the Finish singer Elina Siirala has founded her own band Angel Nation in 2011, she gained the real popularity in metal world in spring of 2016, when Liv Kristine suddenly left Leaves’ Eyes, and Elina was announced as a new voice of the band. Though some of the fans obviously reacted extremely emotionally, and even hostilely, Elina won the fans’ hearts with hard-working, professionalism, charm and her beautiful voice.
MetalGossip was lucky to talk to Elina about different aspects of being a lead vocalist in two bands at the same time, her attitude towards profession and success, her hobbies, travelling and many other curious things.
MG: The first question is about your current job for Leaves’ Eyes. No secret, that fans were really discouraged when the previous vocalist had been kicked out from the band. Did you get any blackmails from them?
Elina: That’s true, it all happened very fast and understandably created strong emotions amongst the fans. I think luckily most people understood it had nothing to do with me even if I was the new singer. I had only couple of angry emails from the fans and I stayed away from the whole online storm as much as I could anyway.
MG: Your career started pretty much earlier then you joined Leaves’ Eyes. Tell us please about your musical background. Do you have a special education or you are a completely selfmade singer?
Elina: My whole family are classical musicians and I went on to study a degree in singing in Helsinki. After that I moved to London and studied other styles for a year and then started my own band Angel Nation (Enkeli Nation back then) in 2011.
MG: You use your classic voice whereas Liv Kristine prefer whisper songs. Are there any difficulties for you as a lead singer in Leaves’ Eyes in performing old-era material?
Elina: We have very different voices, so I just have to sing the old-era songs with my singing style. Some are more challenging than others and my voice suits other songs better than others. I’m sure it’s the same for any singer who has to sing songs written to someone else.
MG: Are you planning to perform any classical arias on the stage? What are your favorite ones?
Elina: I don’t have any plans to perform classical songs at the moment, I’m busy enough with two bands (smiling). Some of my favourite arias are actually not soprano arias at all, like ‘Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix» from Samson and Delilah. But I always loved singing songs by Tchaikovsky! Also many more Russian composers have unbelievable beautiful songs!
MG: How did you feel about your first massive tour all over the North America? Can you recall the most memorable day and/or event at the time?
Elina: It was definitely an experience of its own! It was great to visit so many places and meet so many new people. It was also very tough and showed that touring is far from any kind of holiday. One of my favourite gigs was near «Disney world» at the House of Blues.
MG: How did you meet Alex and the rest of the band first? When did you get invitation to join them?
Elina: Leaves’ eyes and my own band were playing at the O2 in London back in November 2015 and I briefly met Alex there and said hello to the rest of the band. I then got a call in March 2016 and flew to Germany, where they told me what it was about so it was very surprising to say the least.
MG: If I am not mistaken few years ago you moved to England from Finland. Was it easy for you to start your own band and release a debut album? How did you deal with all obstacles you had faced in a foreign country? (I mean language, cuisine, big city vibes, etc.)
Elina: I moved to London back in 2008 and started my own band at the end of 2011. It’s been non-stop working ever since and taken a lot of courage, determination and sacrifices but I love writing music and lyrics and hearing the results and achieving new things is always amazing!
MG: Elina, would you tell us about your own band Angel Nation? How did it all start?
Elina: It was a combination of many things and events that unfolded at that time. I was going through some hard times in my life and started writing music again. I had always felt like my voice didn’t really fit in any “box” so I wanted to write something for myself. After a few songs I thought it would be nice to play them live and eventually that’s how the band became together. it wasn’t a calculated decision to start a band as such but more like an organic chain of events that ended up starting something great (smiling).
MG: Your band was initially named Enkeli Nation. I think it is a good choice! It sounds very authentically and unfamiliar. Why did you decide to change its name to Angel Nation?
Elina: It was the original name I came up with as I wanted to somehow combine my Finnish roots (enkeli=angel) and it also happened to have my name in the middle. But over the years it became more and more obvious that people couldn’t pronounce, remember or understand the name which wasn’t the best thing for promoting the band. We thought about it for a long time and it was a hard decision but finally decided to change the name to Angel Nation.
MG: If we compare working on the songs (videos and other stuff) for Angel Nation to working on the songs for Leaves’ Eyes, can you say that there’s any difference? If yes, what’s the difference and how do you feel about it?
Elina: The biggest difference is obviously the fact that I write the music and lyrics for my own band and I’m involved in every stage of planning, including things like videos with the rest of my band mates. It’s more personal on and off stage which can be both good and bad thing. With Leaves’ Eyes it’s a bit like a role in an opera that I take and bring to life. So it’s very different but both things are good in their own way.
MG: Angel Nation has recently announced the release of the new album “Aeon”. What can we expect from it? What’s the story behind the album?
Elina: We’re very excited to bring out this album! It’s quite different from the debut «Tears of Lust» and I had a lot of fun writing the songs and experimenting with some new things. There’s a good variety of songs on the album and I’ve been a lot bolder with combining styles and sounds on “Aeon”. The stories are also quite different to each other, many with some hidden meanings which I like. It’s nice to let people to interpret the lyrics in their own way.
MG: Moving closer to you personally, it was rumored that you are a cousin of Tuomas Holopainen. Is it true? Do you have any famous relatives?
Elina: Tuomas is my second cousin so almost correct (smiling). But I haven’t had the pleasure to meet him apart from sometime when we were kids and had get togethers with all the relatives.
MG: There are some videos on YouTube when you sing various covers. Would you like to continue this tradition and record more and more? Do you have a song you want to perform but you can’t (because of any reasons)? Are you planning to release an album of covers one day? Why or why not?
Elina: I recorded some cover songs for my portfolio for my own website so I think those are the ones you’re referring to. I have to choose very carefully which covers to do and since I can’t sing very low I’ve had to skip some of my favourites. I would never say never to that idea but it would have to be something very special and unique. For the time being I’m very busy with two bands but let’s see.
MG: Nowadays the shows such as ‘blah-blah-blah country has talents’ are getting more and more popular. Do you think it might be a good idea to participate in to promote your band/music/yourself?
Elina: All kind of talent shows have really risen in popularity over the past few years. I’m not sure if those kind of programs would be the best platform for myself as they’re usually tailored more for pop singers. Some singers have made lasting careers out of these shows but I think it’s important to realize and remember that success is usually a result of very hard work and years of dedication, it doesn’t happen overnight.
MG: As I know you are in process of recording two albums – with Leaves’ Eyes and with Angel Nation. Can you get us a teaser about it please? Is the Leaves’ Eyes new album different from others? Is it hard for you to combine singing in these bands?
Elina: The new Leaves’ eyes album continues «King of Kings» musically and lyrically. So you can expect similar symphonic sound with choirs and also native instruments and orchestra!
It requires a lot of planning and scheduling but other than that it’s not difficult to combine.
MG: What countries are in you must-visit list?
Elina: I’ve travelled quite a lot during my lifetime but I’d love to visit South-America and I’ve also never been to Russia even though I’ve lived so close for most of my life so I’d love to come there!
MG: Do you agree with the statement that heavy music is dying and there are no chances for young bands or performers to become rich and famous?
Elina: I would say that fame comes with a job, like being an actress or a famous singer but it’s never a goal you should pursue. However, if a band is very successful that means you’ll also be famous and well known so those thing go hand in hand. And to become that successful and be able to live from music is very hard nowadays. Bands that have been going for a long time can maintain a certain level, surely also noticing the difference in album sales and other things that have changed in the music industry over the years. But for younger bands that have started later on it’s a lot harder and there’s also unbelievable amount of bands around so to stand out form that mass is very difficult.
MG: When can we listen to you apart Angel Nation and Leaves’ Eyes? Do any bands to invite you as a guest singer?
Elina: There’s some plans and it would be great to do other projects too in the future!
MG: We ask this question all musicians we talk to – have you ever been to Russian or other countries from CIS area? Do you know anything about traditions, music, and history?
Elina: As I mentioned earlier, unfortunately I haven’t been to Russia but as I’m form Finland I’m quite familiar with the history of your country and also the music and traditions. It’s fascinating and I know how beautiful cities and places there are in Russia, so hope I can visit very soon!
MG: How do you spend your leisure time? Anything special or you just lie on the sofa and do nothing?
Elina:I haven’t had much leisure time between two bands and a job lately (smiling). But if I have some time off I like to watch some TV or read a magazine or a book. And I absolutely love eating so my ideal evening off would be a movie, some pizza followed by ice cream and chocolate (smiling).
MG: If you had a chance to become a new Nightwish singer (I think you are perfect for this role!) would you take it? Or what famous band you would like to be part of?
Elina: Ah well, that’s a really hard question to answer because there’s always many factors to consider. It’s always tough to come to another band as a new singer (and Nightwish has already had three). For me it’s always been more about creativeness and passion, that’s why I started Angel Nation (smiling).
MG: And the last one – tell please a few words for our webziners.
Elina: Thank you very much for this nice interview! I hope you’ll like the new albums from Angel Nation and Leaves’ Eyes and I’m very much looking forward to playing a show in Russia very soon! Thank you for all the support!
MG: Thank you for the interview and waiting for you in Russia.