A GRIM STORY
WHEN DARK SARAH'S HEIDI PARVIAINEN (EX-AMBERIAN DAWN) CAME UP WITH THE DARK SARAH TRILOGY ('BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL', 'THE PUZZLE' AND 'THE GOLDEN MOTH'), NOBODY COULD HAVE EXPECTED THAT SHE LET THE MAIN CHARACTER DIE AT THE END. THAT LEFT HER WITH THE PROBLEM THAT SHE HAD TO START ALL OVER AGAIN. BUT HEIDI, A PASSIONATE READER OF DARK STORIES, HAD ALREADY SOMETHING IN MIND AND IT'S CALLED 'GRIM'. THAT HAPPENS ALSO BE THE TITLE OF DARK SARAH'S NEW ALBUM, OUT ON JULY 17TH VIA NAPALM RECORDS. SO WE SENT A PIGEON AND A DOCUMENT WITH QUESTIONS ATTACHED TO ITS PAW TO FINLAND AND WAITED FOR THE ANSWERS... AND THEY CAME VERY QUICKLY!
Hello Heidi and welcome to Female Fronted Power. Thank you for your precious time in these harsh days of COVID-19. But for you, of course, these are also exciting days of awaiting your new album ‘Grim’.
Heidi: Thank you! My pleasure! Yes, it is important to concentrate on good things to keep the spirit in these hard times. We’re very excited about this new album and can’t wait for the release!
Let’s start at the beginning. When you left Amberian Dawn in 2012, was it your intention to start right away with a new band or did you, just like Liv Kristine did after she left Leaves’ Eyes, consider to go solo first?
Heidi: I was already building up DARK SARAH when I knew that I was leaving Amberian Dawn. I didn’t have a band at first, because there was no music to show what kind of a project this it would be. I started to build the first demos with our producer Mikko P. Mustonen and fellow musicians from different bands played the band parts for the EP. Quite shortly the first band line up was formed too, and it has been almost the same from ever since.
In October 2014, you first released an EP ‘Violent Roses’ with 8 songs in the exact same order as they did appear 3 years later on the first DARK SARAH album ‘Behind The Black Veil’. Was the EP meant to be a sort of try-out to see if your alter ego Dark Sarah would catch on?
Heidi: I had just started DARK SARAH and needed to crowdfund the album. It was easiest to seek funding for a full album in three stages. That’s why the three episodes and also why it took so long to get the debut album finished. ‘Behind The Black Veil‘ was released in 2015 via Inner Wound Recordings.
By the way, how did you come up with that alter ego of Dark Sarah and is the new one Luna as introduced on the upcoming album ‘Grim’ also one of your alter egos?
Heidi: Dark Sarah was born when I was writing the first lyrics for this band. The song was ‘Save Me‘ and there a woman in a wedding dress is walking in the woods and singing “save me”. I just felt I needed to open her story a bit more, and ‘a bit’ grew up to be a trilogy! Luna is the new incarnation of Dark Sarah and as always these protagonist reflect my mindset too. Even though being completely fictive characters, they are part of me in a way.
Now that we’ve mentioned ‘Grim’, is the title the true meaning of the English word grim or secretly a reference to the brothers Grimm, authors of great fairy tales like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Snow White?’
Heidi: I love word games and when one word can mean many things or create associations. Here Grim is the name of the city where this story takes place and it also means grim as ‘sinister’ and also gets our minds associate it with stories, like the brothers of Grimm. Many wonderful things in one word!
When you killed Dark Sarah and now introduce Luna as your new main character, have you thought about changing the band name into Luna, or would that be too risky or too confusing for your fans?
Heidi: We are still DARK SARAH because all the stories have the same origin. And also Dark Sarah and Luna are bound to each other as the Grim story will soon reveal. 😉 And DARK SARAH is just a band name as any other in my opinion. We just have had a meaning for it, but I think it is a good thing.
How did you come up with the story of Luna? Do you get inspiration from books or perhaps have you dreamt all this?
Heidi: When I was building up this new concept I already knew I would want to create a horror fantasy story. And because Dark Sarah died in the end of ‘The Golden Moth’ album, a new protagonist needed to be created too. And because I’m a big Moon fan, Luna was a nice name for this white haired moon deity. When I was young I used to read mostly fantasy books like ‘Lord Of The Rings‘, ‘The Hobbit‘, ‘DragonLance‘ to name a few and some novels by Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, too. I think they have affected deeply to my mindset and imagination.
What can you tell us about some of the other characters in the Luna story: the orbs, ravens, the rabbit-headed people and especially Mörk?
Heidi: In the city of Grim the people used to have magic powers, orbs. But something happened and the evil crawled into the city. The monster called Mörk stole the magic powers to grow stronger and everyone tried to hide from him in the shadows and hid their faces with masks. For centuries they have worshipped the moon and waited for a moon deity to come and save them.
Will the whole story be a trilogy again, spread out over 3 or 4 years? Do you already have new songs ready for the second album?
Heidi: It will be a continuing story for sure and the next part is already bubbling up in my mind. I have not decided yet how many albums there will be, but at least 2-3.
Are there going to be guest appearances again on the Luna albums? Any names?
Heidi: Can’t tell yet if there will be guests on the second part of this new concept. I have to write it a bit more to know. On the ‘Grim’ album we have JP Leppäluoto as Wolf called Garmr and Jasse Jatala as the monster called Mörk.
Last question, will Luna have a ‘happily ever after’ ending or must we fear for an unfortunate ending like what happened to Dark Sarah?
Heidi: I think I cannot do that to DARK SARAH fans again. 😀 So something else for sure!