Angel Nation are in the spotlight for this week’s Meet The Band. After releasing their debut album as EnkeliNation, the melodic metal group changed their name to Angel Nation for their latest release Aeon. Vocalist Elina Siirala (who is also the vocalist for Leaves Eyes) introduces us to her band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Angel Nation.
Elina Siirala: The band was founded by me back in 2011 after a rough time in my life. I wrote some songs and thought it would be great to play them live and there it all started. The original name enkElination was changed into Angel Nation last year so our debut album Tears of Lust (2014) was released under the previous name.
What led you to change the band name?
It was something we thought about very thoroughly because we all liked the original name, but it became obvious that we were losing a lot of promotion because people couldn’t remember, understand or pronounce the name. So we decided to change the name and simply translated it to English (“enkeli” is the Finnish word for “angel”).
Describe the songwriting process for Aeon.
For most songs I would write the melody and keys as a base and then send it to Shadow (our guitarist who unfortunately left the band a year ago). He would then write the guitar and drum parts. We would also do some further arranging and pre-production together until the song was complete. The only exceptions were “Burn the Witch” and “Free,” which I wrote a bit later on. In the recording process Julia and Lucas had freedom to develop the bass and drum parts from the demos and make them their own.
How has your sound progressed/evolved from your debut?
I’ve been a lot bolder with this album in terms of sounds and styles and combining them all together. The songs are more complex or maybe layered would be a better word to use. Structure wise they’re still straightforward, but there are a lot more details in all instruments. The overall sound is fuller and more exciting! We wanted to keep a proper band feeling for the mix and didn’t want to make everything too perfect and polished, which gives the record more real feeling and energy.
How did Jukka Pelkonen’s (Omnium Gatherum) guest appearance come about?
I got to know Jukka on a US tour last year and when I needed to have some growls for one song he was instantly the one I thought of. His voice is a bit different and I thought it would suit the song really well. Luckily he was up for it and did a great job!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
We want to progress in every way from our debut album and we of course hope that as many people as possible will hear Aeon and like it!
What has the early response been like?
It’s been a long process making this album and all the hard work has been worth it after seeing and hearing the amazing response we’ve had so far. We couldn’t have really asked for better reactions!
How was the video shoot for “Burn The Witch”?
It was great and actually exceeded all my expectations! We had a great director who used the space in an amazing, creative way and made our vision come alive in the final version. It was awesome to have so many extras taking part in the shoot, too!
Have you shot or have plans to shoot any more videos?
We released a lyric video recently but it wasn’t possible to make another music video before the release of the album. We’re hoping to be able to make one at a later time.
What has been your most memorable Angel Nation live show?
There has been a few! We played a festival in Finland which was already a special thing for me as it was the first time playing in my home country. However, it happened to be the coldest summer in 40 years so we were literally doing jumping jacks backstage trying to get warm!
One other would be one of the very first gigs we played at the Borderline in London as was the first time I got to know a lot of our fans. They’re such lovely people, so dedicated and supportive and many of them have become good friends.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
We are touring in Europe in December which we are very much looking forward to! We’re starting in London and make our way to France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.
How did you come to join Leaves Eyes?
We played at a same festival and also at the O2 Islington later that year where I briefly met them. I then got a call in March 2016 and flew all the way to Germany not knowing the reason. I of course found out it was about Leaves Eyes and finding a new singer for the band, so that was a bit of a surprise! It all happened very fast and the first gig was already in less than two weeks in Indonesia.
What’s the status of the next album?
It’s currently being mixed and almost ready so there will be news soon!
Will it be challenging to balance being in both bands?
In some ways yes. It will require planning and scheduling, but it’s a positive challenge to have.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Unfortunately between two bands and a job I don’t really have much time for hobbies, but I try to keep active by doing different sports, anything from weight lifting to belly dance. I also love horse riding, whenever I have a chance to do that. Other than that if I have some free time I try to see my friends or I might watch a film and have a relaxing evening on the sofa with some good food!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I love the good old ’80s classics and I’ve also been listening to Battle Beast. I heard them live every day on the tour in April but I just never get bored of those songs!
(interview published October 28, 2017)