The Puzzle is Dark Sarah‘s second album. The band was formed by former Amberian Dawn vocalist Heidi Parviainen. She fills us in on the album’s concept, the guest appearance by Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, tour plans, her non-musical interests and other subjects.
Chad Bowar: You’ve had a lineup change since your last album. How did drummer Thomas Tunkkari come to join the group?
Heidi Parvianen: Our first drummer Lauri Kuussalo wanted to concentrate on his own music so we needed to find another drummer. We put out a public search and Thomas contacted us. He was an instant match and fits into the group like a glove!
How did the songwriting process for The Puzzle compare to your debut?
This time I wrote music myself with Mikko Mustonen, who is also the producer of both of my albums, and Janne Storm. Actually I started to write already in the summer of 2015, only a few months after the debut came out. The story for this new album was already quite clear then. Actually now I have had insomnia for a few nights because the third album is already pushing itself into my mind.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
For me personally recording an album is a huge work because it includes all the things starting from crowdfunding, that I manage on my own, along with writing music and lyrics, story, arranging video shoots, photo shoots and of course recording my own parts for the album, etc. But without the fans who have supported me from the beginning there would not be these albums. That is something I appreciate and will hold dear in my heart for the rest of my life.
Besides that I have had many funny and memorable moments with my producer Mikko and my band and guests when making the album. For example, I got to meet my friend Manuela again when she came to Finland to record her parts and of course shooting the music video with JP Leppäluoto. We had so much fun practicing our choreography for the video. We had only two days, not even full days, to learn it.
How has the band’s sound evolved on this one?
I think we have grown better together as a band. This album is actually a bit more uptempo and band driven than the debut. I think it is good to have variety and keep on developing.
Give us a brief synopsis of the album’s concept.
Dark Sarah’s music is built around a story of a young woman called Sarah and her evil side persona Dark Sarah. The story started on the debut and told how her evil persona was born. The Puzzle continues the story that started on the debut. On this album we follow Dark Sarah to the underworld and see how she tries to solve the puzzle and find three keys to get back.
How did Charlotte Wessels’ appearance come about?
We needed a female vocalist who could also do a bit more aggressive style singing next to quiet, lyrical style. Charlotte was immediately in my mind for this part. So I sent her a message and because we were in a rush to keep the schedule she delivered all the material in one day. She is a miracle woman! And I love how the song turned out.
Why did you decide to once again go the crowdfunding route for the album, and how was the response?
We are still working as an independent band and we need funding to make these big production albums. I am glad that Dark Sarah fans know this is the only way for us at the moment to keep on going and recording albums. The response has been wonderful and both of our albums have been fully funded by our fans.
How was the video shoot for “Dance With The Dragon“?
It was crazy! Easily the most fun project so far! I left to Tampere for the video shoot on a Monday and in the evening we had the first dance practice with JP Leppäluoto. We both had already visited the teachers at Dance Studio Spiral the week before so they would know how difficult of choreography we could handle. Then early on Tuesday morning we shot the green screen shots with JP for the “dream” scene and then in the afternoon we started the real rehearsal to learn the dance. We practiced until 9PM and were both exhausted but had a lot of fun!
The guys came to Tampere on Tuesday evening and then on Wednesday morning at 8 we all went to the Näsilinna palace to do the official shooting. Then at 8 PM it was all done. Crazy, funny and cool! Valentina Kuula made awesome statue body paintings for the guys. What I learned from myself is that I need to start dancing again! It was so much fun and great exercise!
What has been your most memorable Dark Sarah live show?
There hasn’t actually been so many yet. We have this joke in the band that we are a band that makes more music videos than live shows! But I think the most memorable gig so far has been at MFVF in 2014. We are really trying to arrange shows to Europe all the time, we just need to find right people to start working with. Also now with already two albums out it is much more easy for us to built up a great live show set.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
We would love to tour, that is our target one day.
How are you progressing on your master’s theses? Are you, or do you also plan to be a music teacher?
Actually my theses to Tampere University is still undone, this constant album making keeps on delaying it. (laughs) But slowly, slowly getting there. I am a class teacher already. I am also doing music pedagogy studies (Bachelor of Culture and Arts) and will graduate as a singing teacher.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I like doing sports and gardening and I guess studying is one of my hobbies too. But to be honest, my life is so full of music that it really is both my hobby and my profession. There is not much time for anything else.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I have been listening to more old metal music than new, like rock and metal music from the ’80s.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thank you for this interview! Check out the Dark Sarah webstore.
(interview published November 18, 2016)