Tapio Wilska of Finntroll interviewed by Boris Van Berlo
How does it feel to be back on the road and how is it going so far?
The start of the tour has been really good. When we got the album ready last fall we wanted to have some time off, and so we only did a few shows during the winter. But the past two months it is itching again to get back into the bus. The first shows were amazing, some shows were sold out like the shows in Holland. London was really good, so it has been a very good start for the tour, and one of the nicest things is that we have two bands touring with us, Ensiferum and The Wake, it are their first foreign shows, their first tour ever. So we are trying our best to make this a living hell for them.
So they are really enthusiastic, and this will also reflect back on you ….
… Yeah. We’re always doing this funny stuff when younger guys get on their first European tour. They notice on the first evening ‘okay, there is a hell of a lot free beer here’… so the Ensiferum guys and The Wake guys have been totally blasted drunk for the past three days (laughs) and it’s starting to show, people are beginning to crack already while we have 15 more shows left. It’s just been a continuous party since we left Helsinki seven in the morning two days back.
The ‘Nattfödd’ album isn’t released yet. Would you rather have it the other way, that the crowd would know the music. Or do you think that they will like the new songs anyway?
Hopefully! I would have preferred it much more when the album would be out a week or two already. But you cannot help these things.
Is this because of a delay?
Yeah. The tour start came after the release date had been set. But because of the fucking internet and people sharing things a lot of people have heard the album already and we do play a lot of new songs on this tour. Basically when we recorded them we were just fired up to play the songs in front of audiences and judging from these shows we have gotten a good response.
This was actually my next question, concerning the set list. You focus on the new album but also play enough older material?
It’s more or less the same from every album. Let’s say that one third of the show is new material, but there are some songs which we cannot leave out. So I think we now have a quite nice set list which is like something from all the albums.
The press already had the chance to hear the new album. Can you tell me something about the reactions so far?
It’s weird, we haven’t had even one bad review. The press has been very good to us, and we are getting great reviews from very weird magazines like ‘Orkus’, the German Gothic Magazine: 10 out of 10 and the album of the month. Also in the ‘Legacy’ magazine it’s the album of the month. But then again it’s a fucking good album so … (laughs)
For the people that are not really familiar with you, what have you been doing before you joined Finntroll?
I’ve basically been on the road for the past 10 years. It all started metal wise with the first band which I was in during the mid nineties, Nattvindens Gråt, together with the guys who are now in Nightwish. Then I did Wizzard, an 80’s heavy metal band where I played the bass. And I’ve also done some guest vocals for bands like Nightwish. At this point I am still in two bands with Finntroll now as the main thing but I have sort of my own band that has a totally different style of vocals, called Sethian and we released one album so far on Spinefarm.
On the ‘Visor Om Slutet’ album, did you do the vocals, or was it partly with Katla?
Yeah, we did it fifty-fifty and we wrote all the lyrics together.
How is Katla doing at the moment?
He’s okay, a few months back we sort of lost contact with him during this winter because he moved out up north in Finland to study at an art college. He does not live in the same town anymore, so we don’t meet that much. His condition when I last saw him was still the same, his voice is really harsh and it has not got any better, but the guy is doing ok and he is studying.
Did he participate in any way on the new album?
No, we talked about it when we started to write the album that when he wanted to contribute lyrics we were more than happy to take them, but he never send anything. The other thing is that we wanted to make this album a band effort. So we didn’t have any guest musicians, nobody from the outside. Our keyboard player and bass player produced the album and they were very strict in producing it, and wanted it to be a band album.
Next to the fact of losing vocalist Katla, there was also the tragic death of Somnium. Was it awkward to write new songs, to record a new album without them? Not only emotionally, but also practically?
Practically not, I don’t think so, no. Off course it was different not having him here anymore.
Because Somnium wrote a big part of the music, did you ever consider changing the name of the band when you were writing the new music without him, or did you want to keep the name Finntroll in memory of him and to honour him?
We wanted to continue as Finntroll because the band was a huge part of his life and still even though we lost him we wanted to proclaim the name and keep his thing going on, because the band meant a lot to him. We talked a lot about that, but then again we wanted to keep the band going on as a part of his legacy.
Where did the initial idea for the ‘Visor Om Slutet’ album came from?
From Somnium actually.
And was it something that was always planned for other projects or so?
No, even before I joined the band the guys talked about it a lot and all the guys wanted to try out new things and a new method of working, because this band has always been different. Somnium basically started to play riffs on a tape recorder and then Trollhorn and the guys arranged them into songs. Nowadays all the songwriters in the band have their own home studios and we make very precise arrangements. But on ‘Visor Om Slutet’ we wanted to try out something completely different. We just went into a cabin for a week and barricaded ourselves in there, drank a lot, we went to the sauna a lot, rolled in the snow naked a lot… and it was probably the most fun I ever had recording anything. This was a completely new way and when we sat there trying out ideas that sounded like crap we threw them away and if they sounded good we used them. I very much liked working like we did with the lyrics from Katla. We just start writing stuff and afterwards discussed where we wanted to go.
- TARJA TURUNEN: Daughter Naomi Can Be Heard On New Album
- TARJA - Colours In The Dark Album Artwork Revealed
- NIGHTWISH - Imaginaerum Movie Box With Jigsaw Up For Pre-Order; Limited To 250 Pieces
- CHILDREN OF BODOM Premier New Album's Title Track Online
- ENSIFERUM's Markus Toivonen - 'My Hearing Is Better Now...'; Band Back On The Road This Weekend
- OMNIUM GATHERUM Announce European Tour
- BATTLE BEAST Streaming New Album In Full