2 weeks ago, Estonian newspaper Eesti Päevaleht published a long interview with Piret Järvis-Milder. The conversation touched many interesting subjects, including Vanilla Ninja’s comeback.
Who came up with the idea that Vanilla Ninja should reunite again?
It could have been the end of 2018, when our former producer, David Brandes, called Lenna and asked whether we might have been interested in making a new album. Then, in January 2019, together with Lenna we flew to Germany, discussed the matter, sang in the first demos and decided to go on with it!
Did you also consider the option of Maarja’s return to the band?
Not really, because Maarja lives in America now and it would have been too difficult to form the band over such a long distance.
How much power has gone into Vanilla Ninja’s comeback?
The pace is now slower for a while, but there are some busy times behind us. We had been preparing and recording the new material since 2019, and now, there are 14 new songs ready. They are going to be released on our comeback album “Encore” on October 8th. This year we already met twice for video shoots – once in Estonia and once in Berlin. At the end of June, our first single in 13 years, “Gotta Get It Right”, was finally released. A lot of work has been done, and now we have reached the phase where we have to let the world know we are back. Since I have a child under the age of one at home, I have been doing a lot of preparations late in the evening and at night, when the baby is asleep and I have the first few hours in a day to be on my own. So, some lyrics were born at night, and sometimes I had to practice playing an instrument at night and so on.
What has been the most surprising about the reunion?
That despite everything, we got this record done! First of all, we live in different parts of Europe. Our studio is located in Germany, Triinu lives in Switzerland, Katrin in Portugal, Lenna in Setomaa and I in Tallinn. Then came corona that made any journeys impossible for a long time. We recorded the album remotely, in order not to come in contact with each other. And on top of that, I had a baby, and so did Lenna. It has been a rather crazy undertaking and such a recording process could not have been foreseen, but at the same time it gave confidence that everything was possible.
What do you feel when you are standing on a stage after such a long break, with a guitar in hand?
We have not been able to perform yet. The first goal is to rediscover our old listeners and introduce ourselves to the new ones. Moreover, the pandemic has made the tour planning quite dubious, so it makes more sense to wait for more certain times. But at the moment, in terms of touring, we are aiming more for the next year and, most importantly, summer. Hopefully, by that time our music will have found enough listeners who would want to come to watch and listen to us live.
How often are you asked why are Vanilla Ninja doing that again?
There are many reasons, actually. The times of the band’s activity were definitely among the most beautiful and important in my life, and I still have a hard time believing we did so well back then and managed to pursue a really successful international career. This is something that most Estonian musicians dream of, and with such an offer made, it would have been foolish to miss the opportunity. When David came up with the idea of the reunion, I felt such a nice breath of nostalgia, that yes, I want to feel it all again. Being in an international music environment is very exciting and, what is there to hide – also a lot of fun. Difficult as well, but the challenge is just a bonus.
There are not many famous bands whose return was more successful than the start. What do you expect from the comeback?
I do not know if it is really necessary to outdo ourselves and conquer all the world charts. Throughout my long life, I have been wondering if the top is the right place to be. It is often lonely and sad, at least in the world of entertainment. It is now far more important for me to enjoy the process and not so much to push for the top of the charts. It is important for me that I get to make good music with this super nice bunch of women and travel around with them. It brings so much excitement to life. Let life be an adventure. In fact, it is also the case that girl and women bands somehow give up too quickly, set against the male ensembles. U2, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, and the list could be going on, have been peacefully operating for decades. But there are no female bands of the same calibre and time of activity that could be compared. Although we live in times when women fight for equal treatment and equal rights, there is no such balance in the music world. Raising children and taking care of the house eventually fall on women and at some point, they are left out, while men can have fun and rock on. I hope that Vanilla Ninja can make a difference here and show that next to children and families you can also make a career in music.
How is your husband Egert participating in your band’s comeback, as a musician?
As travelling has been difficult over the course of last year and we could not always go to our studio in Germany to record, Egert helped us record the vocals for a few songs here in Estonia. Also, since I had not held a guitar in years, he has given me quite a few guitar lessons. So he has been an absolutely irreplaceable helper to me.
Which of the world’s musicians would you like to perform with – if you could ask a goldfish to grant you such a wish?
I am the kind of musician that does not dream of performances that much. Instead, I enjoy the whole creative process preceding going on stage – songwriting and working at the studio, this is why I cannot really dream of performing with anyone. However, I would be very happy if I got a chance to write songs with a few of my favourites. That would be mega. Well, for example, I could sip some wine in the rehearsal room, discuss the world’s issues and then write some songs with the singer of the American rock band Incubus, Brandon Boyd.
Source: Eesti Päevaleht