VEIL OF SECRETS is a new doom metal band formed by Vibeke Stene and Asgeir Mickelson. Their debut album “Dead Poetry” has been released via Crime Records recently. This debut marks the return to the scene for Stene after leaving Tristania in 2007 and is Mickelson’s first outlet as main songwriter.
Upon reading about this exciting news and hearing the debut album, I contacted Vibeke and Asgeir to talk about this fantastic debut, the band and much more!
Hello Vibeke! Firstly thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. How are you doing?
Hello and thank you. I’m doing fine, and am a little bit reduced after Lyme Borreliosis, an evil creature bit me while doing a music video, but it feels good to finally share “Dead Poetry“.
Congratulations on VEIL OF SECRETS and also the upcoming debut, “Dead Poetry”! How did the formation of VEIL OF SECRETS come to life? Was this a spontaneous idea between you and Asgeir or did the idea for the band develop over the years?
Vibeke: Thank you! I guess we can call it spontaneous in the way that when I got insight to Asgeir’s doom-material and kind of envisioned my vocals on it and made a musical image of how it could turn out, I immediately proposed to him for a collaboration.
Asgeir: When Vibeke asked me to work together I actually had to think it over. I was so used to “hearing” a male singer on it that I had to kind of shake that off, but after a couple of days I realized it was a great idea. I immediately then wrote “The Last Attempt” and “Entirety” after knowing who would actually sing on the material, so those are the newest songs on the album. Vibeke has done an incredible job of giving the songs new life and making them her own. It will be very exciting to write the next album after learning so much during the work on the debut.
What does the name VEIL OF SECRETS mean for both of you personally and also considering the band’s music?
V: I love to keep my secrets for myself, it’s the safest thing to do, and to share music and words means to open up. All we create comes from what’s hidden, though it’s never totally hidden as long as you’re not alone. And somehow, in the end, everything you carry, everything that weighs you down, needs to be aired. The veil does that. And the name makes a beautiful image, doesn’t it?
What makes the band unique in this genre, what sets you apart?
A: There was never a plan to be unique, but simply do what comes natural. If our style gives us our own little corner within the doom genre, then it’s great, but the most important is to be true to what we create and always do our best to make as great music as possible
The debut “Dead Poetry” will be out at the end of this month, congratulations! How did the songwriting develop between you two? Did you both contribute to the songwriting for instance?
V: Thank you! Asgeir had already made the skeletons for several songs, which was our foundation to build upon. I have contributed with lyrics and vocals and ears for the final arrangements. We listen to each other’s suggestions and give each other room for creativity. We share an understanding of what the music should bring.
What were the inspirations and ideas regarding songwriting and the composition of the album?
V: For me it’s all about feelings. To let them out and process them through music.
A: I started writing doom riffs back in 2002 after getting studio equipment for my Mac and newfound interest in writing music again. I’ve had different “periods” throughout the years where I wrote a lot of doom riffs mainly inspired by the first two Candlemass albums “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” and “Nightfall”, but it was never an intention to be a blueprint of those, as you can probably hear. Adding violin also makes the music different from that.
What is your personal favorite from the album?
V: Fey. It’s so heavy and simple and still touches something deep, deep down. I immediately got the gothic feeling on this, and I think we nailed it.
We follow the line to keep the music simple and clean, no swollen effects, just pure straight strings that touch the strings inside. Fey is the song where nothing else but Asgeirs guitars and my vocals were needed.
What were some of the challenges while composing the album?
A: Well, life in general takes a lot of time and tends to get in the way of working on music. I run my own design company and that occupies most of my time. Vibeke and I work well together but when we’ve run into a conundrum in a song it could take some time to find a solution we think works, but so far we have always found a way.
You have been in the scene for a long time. When you compare the scene then and now, what are some differences that you realize or ‘hear’?
V: I am not very capable of giving you a good answer here, since I’ve been away from the scene for so long. I’ve not followed the scene from home, only been to some concerts and festivals here and there, and then everything has been feeling much the same as I know it. It’s the good old smell of smoke machines and beer being spelt.
Do you have any releases or music that is on heavy rotation at the moment, new or old?
V: There’s a lot of good music to listen to. I love Sisters of Mercy, Type o Negative and the Shakespeare Sisters to mention some.
2020 has been quite an interesting year for everyone and especially with the dark season and the kind-of lockdown that is going on. How has this year been for you apart from VEIL OF SECRETS? Was this a time where you turned inwards, or did you feel more creative and inspired to do things?
V: Yes, it is dark times for many people right now, due to the pandemic. I feel so sorry for those who already lost someone or are isolated to themselves. I’m very grateful I have someone to share my everyday with, but I miss giving others a hug for example. A good colleague of mine died, not from Corona, a few weeks ago. It was hard not being allowed to participate in her funeral for instance. We have to find other ways to handle our lives right now, find other ways to say goodbye or to show that we care.
What lies ahead in the future for VEIL OF SECRETS? Can we expect any ‘surprises’ or any interesting news?
V: For certain there will be a music video, and we look forward to starting composing new material.
Any last words to the readers?
V: I hope you are all doing well and that I will have the honour to meet you and do a concert for you soon.