Interview with Catherine Nyland and Pål Wasa Johansen (Heart Of Pandora) <¬-- Add fancyBox -->
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Interview with Catherine Nyland and Pål Wasa Johansen (Heart Of Pandora)


26/09/18 09:33AM

You're back with a new project after several years, Heart Of Pandora. It is different from previous bands you've been part of - how would you describe the sound of this project?

Catherine: Heart of Pandora has very melodic vocals and is a bit dark in it’s expression, but with elements from different genres such as pop and jazz. Its atmospheric with less heavy guitars, still with some similarities and elements from Mortal Love’s music.

Pål: Dark and melancholic songs with beautiful vocals. You will recognise the melodic songwriting and the voice from Mortal Love, but Henning has added his style and made it a bit more atmospheric. Less heavy guitar, but still melancholic and filled with elements and contrasts.

What have you been up to since the untimely disbanding of Mortal Love? 

Catherine: When ML disbanded I was having my first child. Two years after came number two, so naturally my priorities has been on my family. I have been writing some music on my own, and also made some vocals for a Norwegian band. Through the years I have been singing a lot at weddings, funerals and at different art-openings. There has been some Christmas-shows throughout the years and cabarets too as a singer and dancer.

Pål: First of all I would like to say I miss the days of Mortal Love, and I believe that Heart Of Pandora is a result of that void. I have been doing some projects and writing new songs, but other things in life have taken more of my time. For the three last years we have been working on Heart Of Pandoras upcoming album, and working with Catherine and Henning again makes me very excited. 

A few live videos appeared of you with the band Wolf Awaken, some nearly 10 years ago.. what became of this project? 

Catherine: Wolf Awaken was a project together with Ole Kristian Odden (Keys Mortal Love). We did some live performances in Norway, and recorded a demo, but it ended with that. Wolf Awaken had the honor to support Anneke Van Giersbergen when she was doing a smaller concert in Norway/ Glassheim together with Danny Cavanaugh (Anathema). It was truly an inspirational an unreal experience because Anneke Van Giersbergen has been an inspiration to me from the early start with Mortal Love.  

What can we expect from Heart Of Pandora's debut release?

Catherine: We hope that our first release with Always In My Heart  will make our fans from the ML period curios about the rest of our songs that we are releasing in 2019. The cooperation with Pål W. Johansen and Henning Ramseth has formed the music to be a bit different in style this time, but I hope it will stand out as something new and that people will find it interesting.

Pål: Our ambition has been to write individually great songs with a clear structure and good melodies, and with a dark undertone as a contrast to the beautiful voice of Catherine. We have also strived to make each song fit into the unique sound of the debut album.

Heart Of Pandora is a bit of a shift in style from your former bands - what prompted this shift of direction? 

Catherine: To develop musically is always something that I have strived for. When Pål came to me with his project I was eager to be a part of it because of this shift of direction. I wasn’t keen on doing the same as before, but be a part of a collaboration that at the end developed a common and new sound.

Pål: The collaboration with Henning makes a difference. The way we work is that I do a demo version of the songs, then Catherine add the vocal lines, and Henning develop the songs in his direction. He is a great musician and his contribution is a major part of the sound.

Would you say your vocal style has changed? If so, can you describe how, and what this means to you?

Catherine: In my career as a singer I have always used my voice in different ways depending on the projects that I have participated in. My background contains a lot of pop, jazz and even musical theater. In Heart of Pandora I have been using my voice more freely with elements from different styles. It means a lot to me that I can influence the music both composing and writing the lyrics. Makes me feel more connected to it in a personal way.

The magic that Mortal Love had, has carried over into Heart Of Pandora's debut single Always In My Heart - was this intentional? Will there be more elements from previous projects featured in the music of Heart Of Pandora?

Catherine: It was not intentional, but when we finished the song we thought it might be a good idea to release it as our debut single because of the sound and it’s elements from ML. The rest of the album is not so heavy as ML was, because it’s less guitars, but I think it has the same touch of darkness and melancholic sound. And with my voice it is probably difficult not to compare it with the music from ML.

Pål: Thank you for your kind words. It was not intentional, but I basically write songs in the same way as I did in Mortal Love. The demo version of Always In My Heart was made by Hans Olav from Mortal Love and me. And combined with the voice of Catherine it is a lot of Mortal Love in this song.

Have your inspirations for writing changed?

Catherine: I have to be in a writing modus to create lyrics and music, it’s not something I can force to come. It can also be just a moment when I drive my car, or as simple as being at the grocery store when an idea just pops up in my head. As I am older I think I feel more confident in my writing using more personal aspects of my life in my lyrics.

Pål: As the world changes the inspiration change, but I am still inspired by everything around me, and that is a driving force in my songwriting.

Are you planning to create/release any music videos?


Catherine: Yes, we have been so lucky to work with Øyvind M. Saugerud. He is a brilliant filmphotographer and director. The music video Always In My Heart will be released 26th of October. We are so excited about it. We are also planning a new video for our second release.

Pål: Yes! Øyvind Saugerud have made a music video for Always In My Heart, and we are so grateful for his wonderful work. We will have a releaseparty in our hometown for the video a week before the official release, and we are so eager to show it to all of you who are interested in Heart Of Pandora.

Any advice you would give to aspiring musicians?

Catherine: Music should be fun and something that makes you happy. Have faith in yourself and be open towards different collaborations that can develop the music even more.

Pål: A small idea can grow into a great song! And it is more fun if you involve your bandmates in the songwriting

What music are you currently enjoying?

Catherine: At the moment I am inspired by Vuur. It has become my favorite album this summer/fall. And somethimes, when I am in a lazy mood I listen to jazz music. Mostly Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald or Lisa Ekdahl.

Pål: Within Temptation - The Reckoning. What a great song! Ghost - Prequelle. My favourite album of the year so far. Madder Mortem - Marrow. The new album from our friends in Madder Mortem sounds very promising after a few listenings.

What's your favourite animal?

Catherine: Cats. I have a very sweet one at home. His name is Lennart.

Pål: My dog

What's your favourite cake?

Catherine: Chocolate cake

Pål: Red velvet

Winter or summer?

Catherine: Summer

Pål: Summer

Best show on TV?

Catherine: I prefer a good movie, but when I watch TV I like good drama series, especially from Sweden or Denmark.

Pål: Godless

If you could collaborate with anyone - dead or alive - who would it be?

Catherine: Anneke Van Giersbergen

Pål: Roy Khan

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