About Me

Interview with Shaam Larein

With debut single “Aurora”, released in the Autumn of 2019, Shaam Larein opened a door into abysmal darkness and gave us a tantalizing taste of the upcoming debut album 'Sculpture'. The music on ‘Sculpture’ is written with three strong female voices in focus and it is dark and barren but with a beauty that shines like a beacon through the desperation. The upcoming album is full of emotional contrasts; stripped, heavy rock and dragging guitar melodies interwoven with theatrical song delivery. The art of the album cover is created by Pelle Åhman and the layout was pieced together by Erik Danielsson. The debut album 'Sculpture' from Shaam Larein will be released January 31st on Icons Creating Evil Art. Read the interview of Shaam Larein right here…

M.I. - First off, many thanks for taking some time to answer some of our questions. I totally appreciate your debut album “Sculpture”. Congratulations!

Hello! Thank you very much Sónia! It makes me very happy!

M.I. - Why did you feel the need to record this album?

Many reasons in fact, I am a musician and a songwriter, and the need was big, something that I have maintained for several years. When you have thoughts that sing melodies in your head, it's hard to keep it a secret. So, it was for me. I think Sculpture shows a different side of the heavy rock scene, and hopefully a new door will be open for the listener. At the same time, it is therapy for me to write and publish.
M.I. - Is this album a vehicle for you to deal with and expose your frailties and feelings?
I can see my weakness and my strength as I listen to “Sculpture”. As a person I am very quick, often act without thinking, sometimes it is in my favour and sometimes it goes awry. When it came to the songs I found my calm side which had a lot of patience but carried a lot of emotions and fear. “Sculpture” is basically “hear me talk” or “see my body language”, everything heard on the record is 100% me. 

M.I. - Is “Sculpture” autobiographical?

Sculpture is life taken from the outcast edge. “Sculpture” is a person’s loss and sorrow. “Sculpture” is much of what I see in life. Not living in denial.

M.I. - Shaam described her debut single by saying “Aurora is a chaos that lives inside me, a depiction between dream and reality, a praise, an echo that will never be forgotten.” What does this mean exactly?

“Aurora” came to me in a dream, and she is still there with me, I feel her voice and soul in me as I did then. “Aurora” is my question mark that I don't really want answers to. I'm happy with what she gave me.

M.I. - Even though it is completely different, I thought of Ataraxia when I was listening to “Sculpture”… what are your musical influences? 

My musical influence comes from a range of musicians and artists. I love Nick Cave, Dead Can Dance, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Le Trio Joubran, Swans and many others. But I think that we are very different from all these magical bands / artists I just mentioned.

M.I. - One of the songs, “Zaman”, is in Arabic because of your Middle East roots… how important is cultural heritage in your opinion?

Well, “Zaman” is not included just because I am from the Middle East, “Zaman” is written in Arabic as the need for my expression required the Arabic language to get the right feeling for the song. But my middle eastern roots will always be with me even though I am born and raised in Sweden. I thank my parents who never gave up and took the time to teach me everything about my culture. Something that is greatly appreciated now that I have grown older.

M.I. - The cover is black and white… completely different from the colourful palette you present us throughout the album… what’s the meaning of the cover? It seems to be the same image but differently portrayed… like a tree of life that changes with the seasons…

Yes! The Aurora cover (made by Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos) has a completely different story than the whole album cover (made by Pelle Åhman), thereof different artworks and different artists. And why they are different in colour palette is not something I had personally decided from the start, they just fell into place, but working with different artists is something I like. Fun with variety. I see the album cover as a sculpture of all the 7 songs. It is an incredibly beautiful artwork that touched me and which I thought fit and belonged to the songs. 

M.I. - RockNLoad mag wrote an article about you in which mentioned “the upcoming album is full of emotional contrasts; stripped, heavy rock and dragging guitar melodies interwoven with theatrical song delivery. Her dramatic, confident expression on stage comes from the young years at the theater and her sense of drama has become her signature.” Do you agree with this description of yourself or would you change it?

Well, yes! The rock scene is where I feel most at home and that's what we play: Heavy rock. At the same time, I am very fond of lyric and song melodies, my focus is very big there. I usually hear that I am very dramatic as a person and I took that to my advantage, by putting it over on the songs, it is clearly heard in the vocals. Linnea and Nathalie share the same feeling as I do, it is nothing we practice or talk about, we are just one with the music. It's easy for a lot of focus to fall on the front, not so strange when there is a lot of attitude. Which is part of the concept, with it creating a nice connection with the rest of the band.
I've played some theatre in my days, people say it usually appears on stage, nothing I think about, I'm just myself in my songs and on stage, which I wrote earlier, “Sculpture” is 100% me. When you do not try too much it is then it is real and honest.

M.I. - What can the listener expect of “Sculpture” considering this is your debut album? Who do you think it will appeal to?

I think we're adding something new to the rock scene, and I hope the listener gets to know it. We don't just want to be framed in the hard rock book. We want to be open as much as we can and I hope as many as possible from all different parts of the music scene take part in “Sculpture” and find their connection and bond to the album. 

M.I. - How did the deal with Icons Creating Evil Art come up?

I worked initially for myself, with the help of my manger Elisabeth Jensen Bünger, this woman is not only my manager, she is my best friend and so much time and love she has put on me, to bring out my songs. Carl-Marcus Gidlöf, who handles Icons Creating Evil Art, heard “Sculpture” via Jenny Walroth (A big thank you to her). Carl-Marcus works very hard with the whole team, nonstop and has put together a good plan for the future, which hopefully can lead to something great!

M.I. - How’s the connection between the live line-up? Do the other musicians understand your music or do they just play it?

It's very good! All of us are friends and understand each other's visions and respect it strongly. They come with a lot of thoughts and reflections on the songs. They are with me live and on record, and hopefully as long as possible. My musicians are the reason why Shaam Larein sounds as it sounds, and I can't imagine playing without them, even though I am behind the songwriting, rehearsing and performing live has made Shaam Larein a band. 

M.I. - Are there any plans to tour in order to promote the album? 

Hopefully! We really want to get out and promote the album as much as possible in 2020. Let’s see what the future has in mind for us. 

M.I. - Please share a message with the readers of Metal Imperium Webzine. All the best!

Let sculpture in: Little life, cry me thousands years of lies! Thank you Sónia!

For portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca