Finntroll interview (04/2007)
|With:||Vreth, Skrymer and Routa|
|Conducted by:||Baz Anderson (in person)|
First time in a while Finntroll have stepped foot on this countries grounds and so myself along with others have expectantly come along for the spectacle (concert review.) I was given the chance to meet and talk to a few members of the band before the show, and this is how it turned out:
Barry: Right then, its good to meet you - do you want to introduce yourselves and what you do..
Vreth: Right, hello, Vreth, vocals
Skrymer: Skrymer, guitars - guitar, haha
Barry: All right then, yes you have just got your new album out
Barry: How has it been received so far?
Vreth: It's been quite well, all the reviews have been like 9 and 10
Skrymer: except a few exceptions
Barry: Do you think it has come over very well then?
Vreth: Yep, yeh it seems like the sales are going good also because last week we entered the German charts - top 100
Skrymer: Top 100, what 90-odd? haha
Vreth: Yep, haha
Skrymer: But still
Vreth: Finland also it has been received quite well
Barry: It seems like quite a dark album, the first half definitely a lot darker then the last two albums especially, is there any reason behind this?
Vreth: Yeh, it felt like we should do this thing, it felt like a natural progression
Skrymer: More, more back to the first album, same kind of feeling
Barry: Yes, quite a few people are missing something like "Trollhammaren" off the last album that people like to jump up and down to
Skrymer: Well I think it still does, some elements are still there but not so.. what's the word
Vreth: It's not the main thing on this album
Skrymer: It's like all the lyrics and everything are not so.. I don't know..
Vreth: It wouldn't really fit the theme of the album
Barry: Yes, you [talking to Vreth] are quite new to the band aren't you, 2006..
Vreth: Yeh, its been a year now, exactly
Barry: Have you brought anything new to the band?
Vreth: I.. don't really know, I can't really say but maybe some new energy
Skrymer: Yeh, well you know, that probably could be one of the reasons why the new album sounds like it sounds, more back to the..
Vreth: Back to the roots
Skrymer: Back to the roots but more black metalish
Barry: Yes, this is the first date on the tour with Amon Amarth, how are you going to be enjoying touring with them?
Vreth: Well we were drinking with them yesterday and they are really nice guys
Barry: Do you like meeting with the fans after the set, you aren't headlining so after your set you can come out
Skrymer: Yeh that's brilliant
Vreth: Yeh we're probably going to hang around the bar
Skrymer: yYeh its brilliant to be supporting because you know, you play the show and drink up
Barry: Get it done with
Barry: Is there any place that you have played that really stand out to you?
Vreth: During my time I think the best show was the Summer Breeze festival, or the Finnish tour
Barry: How did you come across in America
Skrymer: Actually that was quite, I don't know, surprising - last year we played January there and I was expecting like 25 people or something
Barry: But you got a lot more?
Skrymer: Yeh with mosh pits going and stagediving
Barry: Can you tell the different between crowds in different countries?
Skrymer: It's not really that different, I guess similar kind of people listen to similar kind of music all over the world so maybe, I don't know, east Europe really gets out of hand
Vreth: For example in Hungary there was this really huge moshpit going and "raa raa raa" and you compare it to Finland and there people standing there with their arms.. [he crossed them and adopted a 'geekish' voice] "yeh, this is really good, I like this, yeh"
Skrymer: Haha yeh, after a song [adopting an overly plain voice] "I like it"
Barry: Haha, have you not had chance to play anything from the new album, is this the first night you'll be doing something from it?
Skrymer: No we played on the Finnish tour
Vreth: And we played two songs on the christmas tour also - in the summer we also played some new songs at Wacken and Summer Breeze so we have been playing a little bit from the new album
Barry: Do you still like to play stuff from the first album?
Vreth: Yeh, the first album the songs..
Skrymer: We play the first album songs and the new album songs and they..
Vreth: Fit together
Skrymer: Work together really well
Barry: I am presuming that you still play a fair amount from the 'middle two' albums?
Vreth: Yeh, we play quite a lot - I think its now the "Nattfödd" album is that one that doesn't really fit into the set
Skrymer: Haha yeh, but you know there still some songs..
Vreth: Yeh that really fit, but its..
Skrymer: It's the nice thing about having more albums, then you get to pick the best songs you want to play
Barry: What about that album that doesn't really fit in then?
Skrymer: It's the lyrics
Vreth: Yeh the lyrics. everyone speaks Swedish and the first time I read the lyrics "what the fuck is this?" but now I have changed them and made them back into Swedish again
Skrymer: It makes more sense
Vreth: And I am really happy that Katla is back writing the lyrics
Vreth: It's proper lyrics
Barry: So why is it Swedish when you are a Finnish band on the whole?
Vreth: Well you know Finland is a bilingual country with two official languages, and the Swedish part is like 8% or something like that of the whole population is Swedish, but still the first singer we had was a fellow Swedish and the Swedish language fits better with the music
Vreth: Yeh because the Swedish pronunciation is more like..
Skrymer: Yeh and Finnish is not really, musical, in my opinion its not a very musical sounding language - what's the word, it doesn't.. fll..
Vreth: It's not floo..
Skrymer: It doesn't flow. haha. it suits really well for punk rockers
Barry: Have you had a proudest moment, biggest show, anything like that?
Vreth: Biggest show was Wacken last summer
Skrymer: Yeh, Wacken
Vreth: Yeh, 60,000
Skrymer: It was pretty cool
Vreth: Everyone was like when we came out onto the stage [makes a large audience cheering noise]
Skrymer: Oh my fucking god
Vreth: Because we were used to it in the summer playing for crowds like 10-15 thousand. there was like three times more people then in my home town! hahaha
Skrymer: Hahaha - yeh, I kind of thought everyone was watching Motörhead on the next stage..
Barry: Any shows or festivals that you are looking forward to playing in the future?
Vreth: Yeh, we have like in a month we are going to Japan for the first time, that and the Iceland show
Vreth: Yeh, and Mexico is also going to be nice
Skrymer: Haven't been there, have no idea what to expect, throwing bottles at us. Japan is going to be really nice but really strange
Barry: Haha yeh, it will be so much different over there
Skrymer: Yeh, guys with suits on and suitcases, haha
Skrymer: I've heard some weird stories about Japan
Barry: Have you ever had to miss shows because of bus breaking down or anything like that?
Vreth: No, no its been..
Skrymer: We're kinda lucky
Vreth: No! There was some time but I wasn't in the band then
Skrymer: yeh we played..
Vreth: In Belgium because the roof fell down
Skrymer: Yeh that was christmas fest two thousand and..
Skrymer: Four I think - there's Deicide there sound checking and everything and "Pffff!" [sound of a roof falling through]
Skrymer: These concrete pieces just fell in front of the stage
Skrymer: It's a good job that didn't happen like three hours later - Deicide playing and like [makes a splatting sound], that was lucky.
Barry: Any countries that you haven't been to yet that you really want to go to?
Vreth: Poland, yeh
Skrymer: Yeh definitely Poland
Vreth: South Africa
Skrymer: South A.. no..
Vreth: Hahaha - I don't think the black metal scene in South Africa is..
Skrymer: Yeh, its kind of.. African black metal
Skrymer: Haha - so there anywhere else?
Vreth: I don't know..
Skrymer: As long as we get to play somewhere really, haha, and now here maybe, and Ireland tomorrow
Vreth: yeh that's going to be nice
Skrymer: Tonight, we never really would play, we played once in Birmingham
Barry: Was that the first time you was over here, when was your first time here?
Skrymer: Underworld.. ah..
Vreth: [shouting to the rest of the band sat a few meters away on another table] when did we play Underworld first time?
[voice from in the background] - why?
[another voice from the background] - 2003
Barry: How was that then coming over for the first time?
Skrymer: How was it? if I remember correctly it was very nice, although if I remember there was some like plastic horns. fucking hell. we are not Vikings!
Barry: So when you was breaking out of Finland, was Germany the first place that you got a lot of fans?
Skrymer: Yeh, of course
Barry: So which other countries did you start getting big in?
Skrymer: Are there any?
Skrymer: Holland has been pretty good lately
Vreth: France, yeh, and we looked for the pre-sales for the European tour now and when you look and compare the German shows to the Dutch shows, there is like three times more tickets booked for Amsterdam for example
Skrymer: yeh, I don't know, for some reason we managed to play really good shows in Holland quite a few times, really nice, I like that way of making more fanSkrymer: play live shows, play a cool live shows and then its like the old way of, you know, not like hyping some band and then you go and see them and its shit
Barry: So who are you main influences then, because Finntroll are so different?
Skrymer: Hahaha, oh!
Skrymer: A whole bunch of Swedish death metal bands, Swedish/Norwegian black metal bands, 70's progressive
Vreth: Progressive music, classical artists
Skrymer: Yeh, music, like, soundtracks, Danny Elfman is probably really big for a keyboard player. I guess that's why its so..
Vreth: Still like punk
Barry: Do you listen to bands when you are on tour? is there any bands at the moment that really have your attention?
Skrymer: Oh, Clutch, for me though
Vreth: Yeh, on the Finnish tour there was like two albums going around on the CD player, Jethro Tull and the other was the new Clutch, hahaha
Skrymer: Hahaha. occasionally you know, there's like bus driving music
Vreth: But its better, like, to listen to something that's not really that metal, because then like..
Skrymer: You are playing from a show and then on the bus, its like I don't know
Vreth: It's not nice..
Skrymer: don't want to bring work to home, haha, we do listen to that sort of music..
Vreth: I guess if you would all the time like when you get into the bus or something you would listen to Behemoth or something similar - [makes rasping sound]
Barry: So do you like other kinds of music?
Skrymer: Well it doesn't really matter, if it's good it's good, if it's shit it's shit - maybe Euro disco..
Vreth: that's quite off limits. but everyone in the band has their own favorite artists, everybody listens to lots of stuff
Skrymer: it's like the basic basic bands that everybody likes and then there's a whole bunch of..
Barry: Do you know what age it was when you knew you wanted to be in a band like this?
Vreth: I think I was 3 years old or something, me and my friend we started a band, he was 6 years and I was 5 and we had this rock band so I think it started quite early, we were all running around, we made our own guitars and I played keyboard and he played drums, Scorpions covers and stuff like that
Barry: What sort of stuff did you used to listen to when you was growing up?
Vreth: Well I was, at least I was listening to lots of Whitesnake, Alice Cooper and Scorpions - I remember the first album I bought was 1988, I was 6 years then when the "Trash", Alice Cooper "Trash" album came out.. Black Sabbath
Skrymer: for me it was, I don't know..
Skrymer: several punk bands, some, like, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Stooges
Barry: What about Judas Priest?
Vreth: No I have never really gotten..
Skrymer: That's the common thing we have in this band, no one really listens to..
Vreth: Like that kind of metal
Skrymer: "Waaa" [with a high pitched voice impersonating Rob Halford or a heavy/power metal singer]
Vreth: No like Manowar and Judas Priest
Barry: The whole power metal thing then?
Skrymer: Yeh, yeh. for me when I really found metal music it was 1989, Bolt Thrower "Realm Of Chaos" heard it the first time - "ah, that's the shit", that's what I want to do. of course Dismember, Entombed, old Swedish death metal. before that I was more like cock rock and retro.. Black Sabbath
Barry: How do you think metalheads in general have changed over time?
Vreth: Oh I think the metalheads..
Skrymer: It's getting more like narrow with respect to the music, it's like you listen to only certain kinds, genre..
Vreth: And I think that metalheads are getting younger and younger all the time, it's..
Skrymer: Yeh, it's getting more like "I only listen to Swedish death, punk, black" - what, what's that? - "yeh, I don't like that" - that sounds exactly like the other one
Vreth: But they don't come from Norway or Sweden so..
Skrymer: Yeh, it's not from this particular part of.. it's kind of sad, because, I don't know, if you listen to older metal bands they have influences from like Black Sabbath and all that older stuff. now it's like people take influences from all like..
Vreth: I think that's good with Finntroll because we have incorporated into the music like, on this new album we have like reggae, Jewish traditional music, yeh reggae and industrial
Vreth: Punk and black, and Caribbean rhythms and incorporated it all
Barry: Finntroll's popularity is going up and up then?
Skrymer: Hopefully, so we don't have to quit doing this, haha
Barry: Are you at the point where you can just make your money from your music?
Skrymer: Of course that would be the ideal
Vreth: Yeh, but we can almost live on it now this year
Skrymer: Yeh it will be enough if you get enough to pay our rent and buy food
Vreth: You know but I am happy with the situation because you can manage, would you say that we had the same amount of money as like a regular 8, 8 to 4 worker
Skrymer: Yeh, if we would be working in like a supermarket
Vreth: Yeh, we can manage. but the bad thing is that some times we have to stretch the money
Vreth: At least him and me, we are really bad at keeping money in our pockets, it's like it burns
Barry: Do you guys go on the internet and read..
Skrymer: Of course
Vreth: You have to check like with the new album for example, what the reactions are like
Skrymer: See if people are trying to get sort of the point that we're trying to get with the album
Vreth: Because they sometimes like really miss the point and don't get the concept at all
Skrymer: Like "yeh, you guys are playing rally good Viking metal" fuck you, we're from Finland, we're not Vikings
Barry: You really distance yourself from the whole Viking metal
Vreth: Yeh, we're not, we don't want to be any Vikings
Skrymer: Because I don't know, we don't sing about that
Vreth: That's not our thing
Skrymer: Yeh - in Finland there never was any Vikings so what would we end up singing about Vikings..
Vreth: Yeh, like maybe three
Skrymer: Yeh three - as slaves, hahaha
Vreth: Hahaha. imagine there was Vikings or something like that, so I think it's stupid to pretend to be a Viking metal band if the country your from doesn't have them
Barry: I always find it so amusing how there seems to be so many people in England that really like Viking metal, but come on - the Vikings invaded us!
Skrymer: Hahaha, but for them [Amon Amarth] for example, you know, they are like, Vikings because they are Swedish, you know we still do have Vikings we just call them Norwegian, Danish and Swedish. its funny to see like, I don't know, Italian black metal band singing in Norwegian - point being the Norwegian ones are singing about their history, you might have thought they would have read some Italian history or something
Barry: Do you have any preparations before you come on tour then?
Skrymer: Few rehearsals
Vreth: Oh this preparation for this tour was awful because we're it still feels like we are still on the Finnish tour
Skrymer: Which ended like last Sunday
Vreth: Yeh Sunday, we had like 5 shows in Finland?
Skrymer: Yeh 5 shows
Vreth: But we had only 4 days off..
Skrymer: Still haven't recovered
Vreth: At the start of the tour, like 2 days ago also - not really any preparations..
Skrymer: Yeh, get yourselves to feel really really fucking bad
Vreth: Because I really don't like flying in planes when I have a hangover, but I really for some reason had to get really ridiculously wasted on Thursday, so I was like [makes dying man sound] yesterday when we were in the plane - "oh fuck no, not again"..
Skrymer: Why did I do this to myself again?
Barry: Before every show then are there any preparations, any special rituals?
Skrymer: Drink a few bottles of red wine, it's perfect to drink before the show. your brain tells you that yeh you should play that, it's like I don't know..
Barry: Have you ever had any weird experiences on tour at any time?
Skrymer: Easter time? really bizarre happeningSkrymer: I don't know its all kind of bizarre
Vreth: Haha, we had a really nice thing going on here on the Easter tour, we got, yeh on Easter..
Skrymer: We got like eggs..
Vreth: Like backstage we got lots of eggs then one day we started to paint them
Skrymer: Yeh like band members painted of eggs..
Barry: Ensiferum were here on Easter Sunday if you like them..
Vreth: They're friends
Barry: Yeh of course, on the DVD thing you did the happy birthday thing, haha
Skrymer: How was that show? did they play like.. where did they play?
Barry: One show was in London, one show was in Bradford and the other was in either Ireland or Northern Ireland
Vreth: It was in Dublin actually
Barry: It was really great in Bradford, the people were really up for it
Skrymer: It's really awful I think we got like.. um.. what's that word..
Vreth: Um.. blank brains, sorry..
Skrymer: But like people tend to put us and Ensiferum in this really same category - which is more like riding horses and swinging swords and..
[by this time Routa had come and sat and joined in]
Routa: And we are getting branches on your face
Skrymer: It's more like ripping and dismembering people, eating them and..
Barry: Chasing weak Christian blood..
Routa: It's not even that much about anti-Christianity or religions at all
Vreth: The new album hasn't even got any anti-Christian themes at all
Routa: Although that we don't like them though
Routa: We aint no friends of Jesus
Skrymer: Yeh well its like people can believe what the fuck they want and you know, its not our point to say what to believe and what's not and, you know..
Skrymer: You know, find your own way of a release..
Vreth: But it was really nice because we were laughing so hard in the summer, we were like ok there's one anti-Christian thing and it's the hidden track on the song and Katla, he was like "yeeh! I managed to do a whole album without any" and the Christian killing things and like "what?! waagh!!" we listened to them and what the fuck is this, this last song? - you couldn't stay off that..
Skrymer: Because the whole albums basically ends to the lyrics and then the troll came down from the, from his big stone and walked to the christian's ugly fucking church and burned it down..
Routa: But anyway its the hidden track
Barry: Do you think you are maturing as a band then as you are making more albums and touring?
Routa: We're definitely touring but not so sure that we are going to make much more albums - its, its pain in the ass the whole fucking birth process of the album
Skrymer: Not actually, not this one
Routa: Yeh but I mean the composing process was really fucking long, there's songs that for example Sami.. um.. Tundra! the bass player
Vreth: [makes a big gasping sound] Revealed his secret identity! haha
Routa: He made a few songs that have been on his fucking computer for 6 years already, something like that you know - all of the songs are like from, its not like we made the album like "ok right we're going to make a new album" there's songs from like..
Skrymer: Yeh and there's leftovers..
Routa: Yeh the leftovers from somewhere
Skrymer: Which I think we are going to start to see what we are going to do about them
Vreth: Because I think soon there's going to be starting some at least Trollhorn is going to start composing his own song
Skrymer: I think that in the next two years there's going to be a new album
Routa: The next album will.. we don't have to wait four years for the next album
Vreth: Haha. I would probably say, like, in two years
Skrymer: It's like everyone got excited about it again - you know it's like [adopting a funny high pitched voice] "ooo - making music is fucking nice again"
Barry: Are you interested in releasing a live album or DVD any time?
Routa: First plans are for a DVD at the end of the year
Skrymer: We're actually like shooting, a friend of ours has been shooting..
Vreth: I brought my video camera also in the summer so I have quite a lot of..
Routa: Thing is we don't want to release live DVD, you know with maybe one live show and then music video and..
Skrymer: And then some stupid "yeh, we're guys were drinking backstage.."
Routa: We want to make a DVD which has like..
Routa: Yeh that you get what you are paying for
Vreth: Yeh. I was actually thinking with Tundra also that we would put like an audio, audio CD on it with unreleased stupid things that we have done on it, stuff like that
Routa: Where are you doing the interview to?
Barry: For Metal Storm
Vreth: Metal Storm.. oh yeh!..
Routa: The toenail thing..
Vreth: I am actually a member there
Routa: Me too but I can't remember my password. haha. yeh, I have been checking it out, it is one of the better online metal communities..
Vreth: And there are great articles also
Routa: There's only like one in Finland that's full of..
Skrymer: It's getting annoying - it's like blood pressure goes to fucking 300 when you read something from there
Vreth: [adopting a geekish voice] "You didn't have, like, proper folk instruments on your album, why not?" and there's like 16 year old guys that don't know anything.
Barry: Final message for the Metal Storm readers?
Routa: Message for the readers? best wishes readers, all the best, all the best.
Barry: I'll see you on the stage then!
Thanks go to Louise at Maid Of Metal Publicity for this opportunity,
and of course thanks to Vreth, Skrymer and Routa for their time.
Conducted and transcribed by Barry Anderson
||Posted on 21.04.2007 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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