Remember that time you turned on Swallow the Sun's "New Moon" album and started listening to Lights on the Lake? Remember when the singing started and you realized that Swallow the Sun had no female vocalist? We remember. All three of us do. We soon found out that it was a guest vocalist by the name of Aleah, who happens to also be in a project with Swallow the Sun's guitarist and musical mastermind, Juha Raivo. That was all we knew at the time.

Fast forward a couple of years and we found out that Trees of Eternity put up a few demos and is setting up a full lineup.  Man, were those demos good. As the album is nearing completion, and more members have been announced; Kai Hahto (Wintersun/Swallow the Sun) on drums, and Fredrik Norrman (October Tide, ex-Katatonia) on guitars.

Our Editor in Chief, Kareem C, had the chance to talk with Aleah, who gave Metality some insight on Trees of Eternity's highly anticipated debut album.

Here's how it went:

Hey Aleah!  Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. How’s everything been as the album is starting to take shape? 

You are welcome. Well, the very fact that it is starting to take shape is reason enough to be happy, it has been a slow one to get off the ground…

How did Trees of Eternity start? Did the idea come about after featuring in Swallow the Sun’s “New Moon”?

In a way, yes. Actually I had been dreaming up the concept for a more than a year before that, I had a crystal clear image in my mind of a band with a heavy but beautiful doom metal inspired sound, but with clean and dreamy vocals. The majority of female fronted metal bands tend to have “power vocals” or a more operatic soprano sound, and I really wanted to create something more along the lines of what I myself would want to listen to, as I tend to like things more introverted, fragile and mystical..
Anyway, Juha had heard my solo stuff online and at some point he wrote me a mail asking if I would be interested in singing the part of a ghost of a drowned girl on one of their upcoming songs, as he thought my voice would be perfect for it. We booked a date for him to come to Sweden and work on the song with me, and meanwhile I wrote something I thought could work as a foundation for the song. However, when Juha heard it upon arrival he showed me his arm and said, “I have goosebumps all over, this deserves to be a project all of its own!”. And so it became Trees of Eternity’s first song “My Requiem” instead, while we did something completely different for Swallow the Sun.

We’ve been kept updated with the studio lineup through your page! So far you’ve announced that Kai Hahto (Wintersun, Swallow the Sun) will be behind the drums, as well as Fredrik Norrman (October Tide, ex-Katatonia) on guitar, as well Jens Bogren handling the mixing. How has the recording process been going so far? 

We really have had some major speed bumps in the road slowing down the process of this album being completed, but finally we are getting there and things are sounding promising indeed. We are as you can see working with some excellent musicians, but also some interesting guests as well as our number one choice for producer, so we feel very fortunate.  We really can’t wait to get this all done, pressed and out to our fans who have supported us with super-human patience..

How would you compare Trees of Eternity to Swallow the Sun, both in terms of its sound and the way its music is written? 

The major difference is that Swallow the Sun really is a straight metal band while Trees of Eternity is more difficult to define, though it of course has strong metal influences.
The process of creation is also very different as in Swallow the Sun Juha is the mastermind and basically composes all the music from start to finish, while in Trees of Eternity we are two strong-willed people who are used to composing all our own stuff ;). Most songs start out with a backbone written by me - a melody, chords and lyrics that I come up with on the acoustic guitar, and then I give to Juha to “dress” with basically whatever he pleases, as I trust his artistic judgement and taste. All of the demos we have released were written this way. However, there are also songs on the album done the opposite way, where Juha presents me with with an instrumental outline and I add a vocal melody and lyrics to it, sometimes changing a chord or two of his original idea to suite the melody better. Occasionally Juha even has loose ideas for vocal melodies when he writes the foundation of the song, and with some modification some of these make it through as well.

Apart from the Trees of Eternity demos on Youtube, there are also a number of songs that you’ve recorded yourself. Are you looking to further develop a solo career of some sort, or could we see some of that material on the Trees of Eternity album?

I have never really worked on pushing my “Aleah” solo songs to a label or building a career around them, but writing my solo material is an important outlet for me on a personal level. In Trees of Eternity I deal with more existential issues of life and death and the soul’s journey trying to deal with the dense darkness of being human.. My solo songs are more an expression of personal experiences and thoughts, wounds and struggles, although the line between them may not be quite that clear cut and the concepts do blend into each other. Since I completed the writing process for this Trees album I have started writing solo songs again, and I do plan to put an album out this time, whether I choose to go through the machinery or a label or not. Also, the solo songs I wrote pre Trees of Eternity were never produced at all (the ones released on the net were actually only meant as demos) so this time I want to develop the acoustics more and maybe add some strings and loops.

When you’re not busy with music, what do you spend your time doing?

I earn a living as a photographer and a web designer, and the art form of photography is a huge passion of mine while other interests include animals, nature, literature, psychology, philosophy, the occult/spirituality and the area of science where physics borders on metaphysics.. Personal development is also a very important thing for me, to witness and become conscious of who we are on the inside, to dare to face our own shadows and grow through it.  

On a practical level, for the last couple of years most of my life has been focused on either music or photography, but I want to keep growing as a person, learning new things and having new experiences, so I plan to try out some new directions and learn new skills in other areas of interest too. For instance, I have been working on a line of jewelry that I should be making available fairly soon.
Actually, I really dislike the way people tend to define themselves through their line of work, like the words “I AM a web designer”. I mean, I most certainly AM not a web designer, even if I DO web design ;) Why limit ourselves in such a way, when as people we are all so much complex and multi-layered than being just one thing…?

Photo: Aleah L Stanbridge Photography, /

When did you start developing an interest in singing?

I have loved singing for as long as I can remember, but I have never had any formal training.. it is just an expression of what is inside me.
I wrote my first song when I was 8.. I still remember it, haha, though I am afraid it is not quite on the level of Mozart. The next one I wrote when I was about 13-14 and after that I have more or less continued, with breaks in between when I have not have much time for music because of other endeavours such as studies, travels and work.

I can imagine you having a relatively eclectic taste in music. What have you been listening to these days? Anticipating any upcoming albums?

You are right about that, I love many types of music. Generally I do go for a sound that is a bit more down-tempo, often of the heavier yet melodic kind. I love bands like Alcest, Antimatter, My Dying Bride, Lethian Dreams, The Foreshadowing, Solstafir, Novembers Doom, Opeth etc, as well as non metal melancholic acts like Dead Can Dance, Elend, Woven Hand, Slowdive, Mazzy Star, Tori Amos and Lorelei. But depending on my mood I really can listen to anything ranging from pop acts like Lana Del Rey and Hurts to Beethoven and Chopin, Satyricon and Primordial or electronic progressive dance music and ambient.

Regarding collaborations we have a couple of guests on the Trees of Eternity album that I am very excited about as I am a fan of both their bands. It is what you might call a collaboration exchange, so it looks as if I will be featuring on their upcoming albums too. I can unfortunately not reveal any names yet though.. Fingers crossed that it all works out!

Any final comments for and its readers?

Life is too short to spend a half our lives doing what we don’t love. Follow your heart, you passions and your inspiration, for they will take you towards your true destiny.

Thank you so much for your time! We’re looking forward to the Trees of Eternity album!


Keep up with Aleah and Trees of Eternity:

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