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Veil Of Secrets' Vibeke Stene: "I was ready for it and felt I had to fill the void my innate creativity alerted about. It was wonderful to get started in the studio and to be active throughout the whole process."

Interview with Vibeke Stene from Veil Of Secrets
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 December 2020, 7:34 PM

Music will always find the way to return to those who haven't practiced it for a while. This passion, like a flame, couldn't never really stop burning. Eventually it will revamp, swiftly take over but with a fresh mind as part of it, it can bring out the best of anyone, create glorious creations and enchantment that are bound to live forever. It may sound over the top, but it is true, a fresh start, a direction to cling on to with a few upgrades. The newly founded Veil Of Secrets, starring ex-Tristania's Vibeke Stene on vocals, takes another form of Doom Metal, and their debut, “Dead Poetry”, proves that. Steinmetal had a talk with Vibeke about the new project band, coming back to the Metal fold, tagging with a new partner in crime and more…

Hello Vibeke, it is a fine pleasure having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Thank you for your interest in Veil of Secrets. I am doing fine. I make sure to be surrounded by light in these times when we have very few hours of sunlight.

With 2020 being a period of new beginnings for you, it so happened to be one of mankind’s most tragic and quite eventful years for a long time. Some say more than a century. How have you been dealing with the pandemic? Do you see any resolution on the horizon? Do you trust the vaccinations?

Well, I have been staying most of my time at home. It is quiet but still cozy to have more time with my family, though I miss to meet up with friends and go to concerts. I feel so sorry for those who have lost someone or in other ways must suffer in regards to losing an income or contenting with mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. But I think we walk towards better times. At least if we put our trust to the authorities, to strictly follow the guides for infection control and believe that the programs for approving vaccines are safe. Unfortunately, not all countries have good enough leadership or they suffer from poverty and war. That imposes greater responsibility on countries with greater resources.

Your new band, Veil Of Secrets, is a joint effort of two with yourself and drummer, multi-instrumentalist, Asgeir Mickelson, but before we get to know the band a bit, I have to ask, how has it been for you to go back and create Metal music, unless you never really abandoned it after your departure from Tristania?

I don’t think it’s possible to abandon the music that gives you pleasure or rest. But I didn't create much metal-music between my departure from Tristania and my work with Veil of Secrets. Just lured a little in some other projects and filled a black book or two, with thoughts and lyrics.

It was a good feeling to start working with Asgeir and Veil of Secrets. I was ready for it and felt I had to fill the void my innate creativity alerted about. It was wonderful to get started in the studio and to be active throughout the whole process. Still it took quite some time to finish it and in between I sometimes thought nothing would become out of it. But here we are, finally, and I hope it was worth waiting for.

As for Veil Of Secrets, what motivated you to start something new, from scratch, other than join an already existing band that is at least in the line of Tristania, when it comes to recognition?

What motivated me was the song material itself which Asgeir presented to me, and the possibility to be creative. I knew I had a lot to offer. To have chosen to start something new from scratch, was essential to me if I ever were to return to the metal scene. I have done my share of conveying others' music in that genre, I think.

How did it all begin with Veil Of Secrets, when it comes to your partnership with Asgeir Mickelson? Have you known him previously or was it merely an opportunity that you found suitable for you out of the blue?

Asgeir contacted me for his God of Atheists project. We cooperated well on this and I asked to hear his doom material, after he told me about that. I immediately fell in love with the song we eventually called "Fey", and after a week or so listening to his doom, I had already made a lot of my melodies and created a sound image for how this could end up if I got to put it to life. And so I proposed to Asgeir for a collaboration and after some days of thinking he fortunately was in.

Did you have the chance to perform live a bit with the band? How were the reactions, as far as you remember?

Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to go live yet. But we will work for that and hopefully be able to do festivals and other gigs when it’s safe to do so.

Talking about live shows, do you miss it, in particular due to the Covid pandemic that made it impossible?

Yes, I miss going to concerts and festivals which in normal circumstances is a very welcome interruption from my everyday life. I sometimes miss being on stage myself, too. It is an essential part of being an artist, to convey live and feel the nerve that’s created on stage and between the artist and the audience.

Signing with the diverse label of Crime Records, Veil Of Secrets is putting up its debut album, “Dead Poetry”. What did you find in Crime Records that made it befitting for your needs as a new band?
It’s a small, Norwegian label with people we know working there, and so the communication works very well. That’s an important part of such a partnership, to be heard and understood and work together towards our goals.

When I noticed the “Dead Poetry” title, I thought to myself of the Dead Poets Society, however, I believe that this strong title intertwines with something that is much deeper, dark and beautiful in its own special way. What can you tell about the meaning? What does it mean to you personally?

I see Dead Poetry as a title that serves as a common term to our lyrics. Most of our lyrics, or poems, are based on personal experiences and life changing occurrences we’ve lived and got through, or put a statement to. We have somehow put them behind us and so they are dead. But in one of my poems I write that “death can never die”. It may come to life to listeners or readers who absorb them and somehow make them theirs.

What can you tell about what is happening on the album when it comes to the lyricism being on display? Is it supposed to be a concept album, bearing a storytelling or rather individually shaped up themes?

We don’t think of "Dead Poetry" as a concept album, but there are lines drawn through the album still, I think. Some of the songs belong together musically, and they are all presented in a well thought through order. The last song, "Entirety", summons the whole reason for creating the music we do.

When I started listening to the record, I thought to myself that you brought back a version of Tristania, yet with a gloomier mood and musical orchestration that resembles Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. What do you find within this joint meeting of sort of Gothic and Doom that makes the experience so soothing on the record?

Thank you for sharing your experience of listening. If this is how it works for you to listen to "Dead Poetry" we have done something right.

All my years with the music and experience from Tristania helped to shape the music I create and so it would be strange if you couldn't hear traces from my past. I have enjoyed both listening to Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, and that may give influence as well. But still I’ve let Asgeir’s music find its place in me, let it touch and breathe life to my inner tones and honest thoughts and feelings, as the foundation of these musical creations that have become "Dead Poetry".

In comparison to your days in Tristania, and what you heard that came from the band after your departure, where is Veil Of Secrets positioned musically? Would you say a sort of progression that you always wanted in overall?

I chose not to follow Tristania after my departure and so I haven’t heard their new material. I hope they do well.

During my last years with my former band I wanted to go back to Tristania’s roots, and not always keep hunger for new directions and experimentation. With Veil of Secrets I get to express more of myself and what music is to me and in me, and I will say VoS is a better representation of me as a musician today. It must be taken into account all the years since Tristania, that have contributed to my development, both musically and personally.

What can you tell in regards to the songwriting process of “Dead Poetry”, in particular to the articulation behind the songs and the integration between the touchy lyrics and somewhat deadly form of slow tempo music?

When I got skeletons for a song from Asgeir, I listened until the music had become a part of me and while listening I formed a construction of the song. I always think my work should complete the songs. The mood Asgeir’s compositions set me in pretty much decides which melodies and style I choose, combined with the lyrics of course, that I find soothing.

Remembering the writing and recording process of the album, would you say that it was better to work as a duo rather than a full time band?

Working as a duo provides the peace of mind that’s needed to fulfill thorough and solid composition. It’s easier to keep a clean line and stick to what feels right, when there are not too many chefs. Myself and Asgeir found a common expression we both love and want to keep.

Every kind of process, whether writing or in the studio, has its complicated and troublesome moments, were there any form of challenges that made you rise for the occasion?

Yes indeed, I think we both had to take breaks now and then during the process, to think over and accept each other's wishes. We both have a very strong will but most of the time we find our way with no complications. I guess Asgeir had to endure more than me, since I was the one to change his material and give it an expression he may not always have had in mind. But we are both very proud of the result of our cooperation and look forward to working out our new material.

The song “The Lie Of Her Prosperity” sounded rather personal, and quite dramatic. Certainly the album’s melodic example. What can you tell about this song and its creation process?

When I should do a comeback I felt I had to express my thoughts and experience with the fact that I am a woman in a man's world. Not only considering the metal scene. This comes out very passionate, because it’s a big deal not only for each woman personally but as a global challenge. I don’t think I spent many hours on completing my sketches for this song and I knew I needed a male voice to highlight my point. Erling does a very good job. Asgeir needed some time to accept the expressions and style of voice I use on this song, but now I think he likes it and I’m grateful to him for letting me express myself as I need to.

No wonder that you chose “The Last Attempt” as your lead single, one of the album’s most interesting songs, and quite a drive as an opener with its witching atmosphere. What is your appreciation of this song as a sort of a pillar for the upcoming Veil Of Secrets creations?

Thank you. There’s a deep sorrow to this song and it comes with lots of pain and silent suffering. It was almost magic to put it to live as the burdens were relieved. It was written after me and Asgeir’s decision to work together, and I think it means a lot to both of us.

Were there any deliberations between you two regarding live stream shows? It became quite basic nowadays to promote music, wouldn’t you agree?

I agree, but we haven’t considered this as an option for us yet. We would love to go live, but want the nerve that’s created on stage and with a live audience.

Vibeke, I wish to thank you for this interview and for your time, it is good to know that you are back and you made it happen with Veil Of Secrets

 Thank you, I wish you all the best! -v




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