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Old fans of Norwegian gothic metallers TRAIL OF TEARS may have long since given up hope on a return of their beloved band. Many harsh winds have blown over the chilly fjords of Norway before vocalist Ronny Thorsen decided to breathe new life into his pet project after ten years. This time he brings the Spanish Siren Ailyn Giménez García (ex-Sirenia) along and the EP “Winds Of Disdain”, released on May 24th, was the first acquaintance with the renewed TRAIL OF TEARS. A hiatus of 10 years raises a large number of questions that we consciously fired at Ronny and Ailyn.

Interview by: Henk van Nieuwenhoven

Let me cut right to the chase: a whole decade without TRAIL OF TEARS. What happened?
RONNY: I think the problems that led up to the initial break-up are well documented and I don’t have any need to revisit that period other than to say that the working climate within the band made it impossible to continue at the time. For a band on our level, we are not talking about a job, it is something we do out of desire for music first, and the process should be fun and rewarding. Once it stops being just that, then it’s game over.TRAIL OF TEARS RonnyborderCan we simply say that it went wrong during the recordings of “Oscillation”, TRAIL OF TEARS’ last album from 2013?
RONNY: Well, the recording process was when it became inevitable that we had to stop, but there had already been huge difficulties for a while.

And a decade later it started to itch again. What was the trigger that made you want to reunite TRAIL OF TEARS?
RONNY: I guess just the desire to create. Of course, I have been active all along in other bands, but there is something special about your first band that is difficult to explain. TRAIL OF TEARS will always have a special place in my heart, it is a huge part of who I am, and has been with me for 2/3 of my life.

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You’ve worked with Helena Iren Michaelsen (Imperia), Cathrine Paulsen and Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation) in the past as your fellow vocalists. Now it’s time for Ailyn to shine at your side. Why her?
RONNY: Ailyn was a natural candidate since we first started the discussions about getting back together. Jonathan A. Perez had worked with her previously in Sirenia, and since then she had already moved and established herself in the same town as the rest of the band prior to joining. She is a household name in the genre, a great singer and a fantastic person.

Ailyn, were you surprised that Ronnie asked you to join TRAIL OF TEARS, as you were already in two other bands, Her Chariot Awaits and Lunarian?
AILYN: Not really. Sometime after my depart from Sirenia I was out shopping when I met with Jonathan by chance, and he told me they were talking about bringing TRAIL OF TEARS back together and if I would be interested in joining them. At that moment it was just an idea and he said he would have to talk with the guys about it. I told him I would love to, but time passed and I heard nothing from them until some years after he called me and told that the comeback was finally happening and everyone was happy on welcoming me in the band.

We know you best from your years with Sirenia, with whom you recorded four albums among which “The 13th Floor”. How do you look back at your time with Sirenia?
AILYN: I have a lot of great memories and it allowed me to visit many places and meet great people.

Time to go to the EP “Winds Of Disdain”. Looking at the title, the cover art, the song titles. Not really a Hosanna mood, is it?TRAIL OF TEARS coverborderAILYN: There’s more in life than meets the eye, there’s a full spectrum of emotions. When I write a song, I don’t have in mind what I want to write about, I just listen to the music and I let my feelings flow, and that is when the lyrics come to mind. When we made the songs, we thought “Winds Of Disdain” would be perfect as a single and besides, the title sounded very cool. Then Ronny contacted Gogo Melone, because she has made great artworks and he talked to her about the project and what we needed, and she came with this great cover art that fits perfectly with what we had in mind.

Did you write the songs for the EP with the original TRAIL OF TEARS sound in mind or did it all come together from scratch?
RONNY: We tend to just write without thinking too much or over-analyze things. Somehow it usually ends up sounding like TRAIL OF TEARS. There are certain elements and ingredients of course which need to be there. We wanted the band to sound recognizable while still bringing in some new elements. I think it sounds like a band that is very much re-energized.

Ronny is of course the main song writer, but did you also have some input as it comes to lyrics?
AILYN: Yes, of course. Ronny and I wrote the lyrics and I really enjoyed being able to do this together.

Title track “Winds Of Disdain” and “Blood Red Halo”, together they fill half the EP, have been released as a single. What can you tell us about the other 50%, “Take These Tears” and “No Colours Left”?
AILYN: I would say both songs are similar but somehow different. They continue on no less powerfully. The sound on this EP probably has a more modern sound than before, but it keeps the essence of what TRAIL OF TEARS was before.TRAIL OF TEARS Ailynborder“Winds Of Disdain” has moved with the times without forgetting the past. It has a modern sound with mature female vocals. Is that a fair description for a review?
AILYN: Yes, on “Winds Of Disdain” we have tried our best to match the past and present, a modern sound with the old style. It has been many years since the band released new music, plus there are two new members (besides Ailyn also guitarist Nicolay Johnsen) that weren’t there before, so it was important to keep the band’s essence but also bringing something new.

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Are there any plans to tour with TRAIL OF TEARS and if so, how are you going to fill the set list?
RONNY: The ideal thing for me would be if we could make the band become a festival band, and perhaps do some support jobs for bigger acts, if possible. The days of touring weeks and months at end are over, simply because it’s not compatible with other obligations. There are also some territories which we have yet to visit and that we hope to be able to cover. The fact that this band never made it to South America, perhaps our biggest market, is something that is very hard for me to accept, so that is a good example of something we want to change. Putting together a setlist is not exactly getting any easier, but we like to mix it up a little bit and include some songs from all periods. We might also do some special shows, where we do entire albums from start to finish, if the opportunity presents itself.