Welcome to the Moonsorrow Interviews Compilation!
Here you will find more than one hundred Moonsorrow interviews, many of which have already disappeared from where they were originally posted. Check the Index and Contact pages above and the notes in the left column for more info.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Necromancer's Crypt / September 2017 (Lunar Womb)


Hi Henri,
This interview is a retrospective discussion with one of the pioneers of the DS genre or Hernri Sovali (instrumentalist, sound engineer, composer producer and a member of Moonsorrow and Finntroll, he has been working in the game industry as musician since 2004.
I must say that I run into your music exploring the network with the intent of expanding my DS music culture. The Lunar Wombs are one of the groups that not only hit me but also gave me the feeling of the group that puts a solid stylistic brick in the genre.

Thank you! When we (as Lunar Womb was first a collaboration between three people) started the project in 1994 we were mostly inspired by bands such as Tangerine Dream and Burzum. When the other people left the project after the first demo I wanted to bring more of my other influences to the project, namely the folk- and middle- age- elements combined with the ritualistic and meditative approach of the first demo.

There weren´t many bands of the genre at the time in the “Dungeon Synth”- scene albeit from Mortiis and the sporadic Norwegian offshoots (Wongraven, Neptune Towers, etc) , but I was heavily into projects such as Endvra, Puissance, Elend and Pazuzu which were a huge source of inspiration to me among classical, medieval and folk music in general. I guess that all molded Lunar Womb´s sound what it was to become before going much more folky and melodic in the last demo.

Ok then,
the Lunar Womb project was born in 1995 but only in 2015 it has been resurrected and remastered, in your bandcamp there is written that resembling it gave you the impression that it was dated , but I had the impression  that did not but that is only good music ...

It took me longer than I expected to finish “The Sleeping Green” and when I finally had got the last mixes ready in 2001 or so, I already felt the project sounding a bit too “outdated”, and our cassette label which was supposed to release it was already laid to rest a couple of years before. I was also quite busy with both Moonsorrow and Finntroll and decided to leave the album unreleased “until I think otherwise”.

Fast- forwarding to 2015, I accidentally stumbled across the original recordings again and thought that underneath the bad sound is still beating a strong vision which should be dug out. And that I should give the album it´s last rites, remaster it for good and let it rest eternally. After all, I had put very much effort and soul to it and I felt it still contained the same spirit that was burning (and still is) inside me years ago.
As we had now things like Bandcamp, Youtube and many others and I knew I wasn´t going to need any publisher anymore, I spent several full days decluttering the sound, restoring lost dynamics and fixing horrible engineering mistakes I had foolishly done fifteen years ago until I knew I couldn´t make it any better.

What has convinced you to remasterize "The Sleeping Green" and above all you can talk about your great musical passion that you have ? Can be considered a great relief even at a psychological level?

  <a href="http://worldoftrollhorn.bandcamp.com/album/the-sleeping-green">The Sleeping Green by Lunar Womb</a>

First of all I thought the album should be finally released to the public due to the abovementioned things in the previous answer, but as I had greatly improved in my technical skills during the years I thought I could also take it as a “technical challenge”. My passion for music that awakens feelings and paints pictures unseen is very deep, and as I had conjured everything from my mind back then I also hoped to evoke such visions within the listener´s mind.
I wanted the music to take me somewhere I felt I belonged, and I wanted to show people where that place was. In that sense, it was also a relief to finally show the possible listeners the map there. If the listener finds the same imageries, landscapes and long lost ages that I did, I feel I have succeeded on my humble task.

Does your job at Rovio Entertainment (if you still work with that company) have a lot of influence on your musician's creativity or is it the reverse?

It´s a double- edged sword, really. I have been working as a composer in the games industry since 2004 but I have always had some spare time to waste at work than after joining the Angry Birds, which is much more demanding job. I have worked there since 2013, and while I have become much more professional composer and music producer during the time, it also has sometimes negatively effected my workflow for what it comes to more “spiritual” compositional outbursts on my spare time due to exhaustion. (which also could be explained that during this time I have also started a small freelance mixing service and got two more kids, hah!) 
While doing music at Rovio, I find it very important to still make music which contains something else than just notes in certain order, which is sometimes consuming, as we´re speaking of creative work being done on constant schedules. However, I feel like working in such professional atmosphere feeds my creativity at the same time and pushes me to try different new things and techniques which I wouldn´t even dream of 4-5 years ago. And while I do that, I try to make sure there´s never a moment I couldn´t put a lot of my own touch to everything- for example, on the last soundtrack I made, I included influences from Burzum and Danzig to the package, haha!

Does music in the video game world have something special that can not be transmitted in the same way in DS ?

Absolutely not, if you ask me. There´s a lot video game music hugely resemblant to DS genre, and in fact I´ve been saying for years that some day I´ll write a lenghty essay on the topic pointing out parallels between the two musical forms, haha! To tear it down a bit, both genres are heavily drawing from the ambient genre, are basically existing to evoke feelings and tend to be repetitive and hypnotic on their roots- not so far away from early electronic and ambient music. And New Age too, if you prefer, which is just basically a (poor) spiritual attempt on both.

On the other hand, if we´re taking game music´s most known examples- be it either hanszimmeresque corny movie soundtrack style (CoD, I´m looking at you) or the classic 8/16- bit stuff, I can understand why comparisons to the feelings the DS genre may evoke within the listeners which game music cannot are rather justified. There is a lot of game music which can transmit the same sort of emotions a DS album can at it´s best, and I´d strongly suggest you to check out soundtracks from such classic games as “Myst”, “Diablo II”, “The Dig” and “Fallout II” to get a glimpse of game music in more DS/ dark ambient style, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons which combines the same elements Lunar Womb´s “Sleeping Green” is full of- only ten times better!

To be honest, I think it´s a shame that the mainstream game music in the 2010´s doesn´t necessarily bring forth such a strong atmosphere it used to do 10-15 years ago due to hollywoodizing/ “playing it safe”- reasons, but if you wander to the more indie side of things, there´s a lot of good things happening on the musical side which you could enjoy. Then again, isn´t this the case with everything, heh?

I do not really like video games and/or various fantasy stories etc. But...
Do you believe that the video games audience has a different, (I would say more superficial, approach) to the music ? or there are sensitive ears between game players that listen with  passion the music that accompanies the game itself?

I pity the fool who cannot surrender to the immersive grasp of fantasy world- after all, that´s what the whole DS genre is all about! ;)  What our societies have forgotten during the constant growth in both technology and efficiency is the art of storytelling and spirituality. Our roots are torn apart and replaced with fast food, homogenic cultures, reality TV and Cosmopolitan. Fantasy literature, movies and games are all part of the same revival as is the DS- genre: not only pure entertainment per se, but a clear indicator that the western society- no matter how well it works otherwise- has forgotten it´s own roots.

For some, it starts from Game of Thrones and for some the glimpse is revealed by a role- playing game while someone wants to understand Deathspell Omega´s lyrics better. But this all is a clear indicator that our world is lacking the depth it once had, and every day more and more people are starting to realize this. Our job as musicians is to take part of that call and strengthen the signal when it´s needed.

When you think about the music used in these forms of art, I believe it´s very much dependant on the game genre, though. It´s really hard to believe someone fully embracing any spirituality or superficiality in Mick Gordon´s (par excellent, mind you) Doom 2016 soundtrack, but am most certain that the more (medieval) fantasy- based the game is, the more it draws in certain types of people who are also much more sensitive to the music than, say, people who are more into Counter- Strike.

What do you think about the current development of the DS scene?
Is there any group you like in a particular way?

My knowledge of this lately- resurrected scene is rather minimal at the moment, though I am extremely pleased on the revival of these soundscapes. It seems that the Americans are mostly to be thanked for this, as I haven´t really been exposed on any European people doing this particular style lately...and with lately I mean the last 15 years, haha! For what it comes to any particular groups, Druadan Forest (though having been around since the 90´s), has made an awesome new DS- album which I had the opportunity to master at my studio just recently. It should be out on Werewolf Records soon, and I highly recommend to check it out when it´s released!

The biggest challenge in the whole DS- genre revival in my opinion comes from the fact that as these soundscapes were originally a product of the 90´s, it´s very hard to get the same hardware and sound over 20 years later. Nowadays you can get almost any instrument sampled digitally, but the more common late 80’s/ early 90’s hardware synths from Roland, Korg and Ensoniq are completely deglected as there is no demand for their cheap digital sounds which were popular back then. They aren´t too good to be “retro” but not too good to be useful either for most of the people, thus they are not available in various sample formats for now. But maybe times change in the future?

The computer and sample- based production of the 2010´s has surely brought us a lot of opportunities to use same sort of sounds digitally, but if they were used the exact same way that they were done in the 90´s, the sound would also be dull, outdated and quite poor. It is certainly pure art to balance the old and the new together in a way that is still respectful to the genre, yet with the worst technical flaws defeated.
And we also need to consider the fact that these original soundscapes weren´t necessarily the best of the best at the time- usually they were cheap digital synths with very synthetic- sounding imitations of real instruments and I´m certain the artists would had used more realistic- sounding and generally better- quality sounds if they had the opportunity to do it. Had the scene evolved and continued, who knows how the original concept of e.g. Mortiis would had sounded with today´s technology!

If the Lunar Womb project was continued as you think it would have evolved?

I believe it would had become something very Wardruna- like, yet not as warlike and ritualistic. Immersive soundscapes combined with traditional instruments, samples of nature and a ton of choirs. But definitely more into the dreamy and spiritual side of the bone, though. Lunar Womb was (is?) always about a lonely and long journey instead of a horde of barbarians chanting war hymns....Not that there´s anything wrong with that either, hah!

Are you satisfied with the re-issue of Lunar Womb  “Planets / The Astral Grief” by the Hollow Myths label?

I wasn´t planning to release the re- issue at all and it took quite a many persuading emails from them to finally get my acceptance on the matter. I was willing to do it in the end because I heard there were so many people asking for it in CD form and I wanted to give them the chance to get the music on CD instead of a random Youtube- link which they didn´t want. We have agreed that the initial amount will be 100 pieces and no more shall be printed ever again.

Are you also into techno music?

Among many other music styles- absolutely yes, and if counting ambient out of the context, my particular favourite subgenre is Goa Trance (and some Psytrance). It has the same element in common than in many other music genres I enjoy, which is meditative and hypnotic, slowly evolving minimalism. On top of that it´s also very atmospheric for what it comes to the production and has usually very widely utilized stereo image which drowns you to the soundscapes, resembling a lot of genres from ambient to even black metal.

The artwork from Rudolf Koivuof  of“The Sleeping Green ” is great … Are there other artists and illustrators whom you particularly like their work?

This couldn´t be an interview about 90´s Dungeon Synth without mentioning Theodor Kittelsen and John Bauer, haha! Especially Bauer´s work on Trolls has been a huge influence for me throughout the times. But for Finnish painters more than just Rudolf Koivu, I need definitely to mention Akseli Gallen- Kallela and Hugo Simberg as well. Especially Gallen- Kallela´s works have been heavily utilized in the Finnish metal scene since the 90´s in various demos, magazines and flyers. For what it comes to (painted) art in general, I have obviously always tended to be more drawn into the national- romantic era and find many particularly inspiring pieces from there despite of the identity of the artist.

Recently some musicians are rediscovering the sounds of the old synths of the 90s, of course technologies allow all this, according to you in this genre of music, how important is the atmosphere and the sound, compared to the musical ideas that are actually written?

As mentioned earlier, the technological possibilities of recreating the exact sound of a particular era has been around for some time already, and it may be a tempting idea for a young composer to pick up a sound and start mimicking. But with great power comes indeed a great responsibility, and without first understanding the form of art we are trying to create it is impossible to create nothing a but a bland shadow of it.

When you are creating something completely new or perhaps combining two things together (isn´t the early DS basically just “medieval ambient”, if you think about it?) for the first time, there are basically no rules. But if you´re trying to stay true to an original musical artform, be it anything from classical music to death metal, you need to first have an understanding of the basic characteristics of the genre. A skilled musician can arrange and produce any song into another style with stunning (and sometimes very amusing) results, but without first understanding what he is doing it´s impossible to convince anyone, leaving but a sour taste in mouth afterwards.

Be it any musical genre, both musical and production values are very important, and usually the more “strictly defined” the genre´s characteristical sound is, the more pinned down those values are.

Hollywood Metal / May 2016 (Lunar Womb)


Unearthed Arcana: Henri Sorvali and Forgotten Dungeon Synth

There are a billion things I could have asked Henri Sorvali. His work in Moonsorrow and Fintroll is usually a start but so is his work in video game composition or his enthusiasm for gaming. Additionally, I could have asked him about his role in the H&M clothing troll which overtook metal media a few years back. There are a billion things I want to ask Mr. Sorvali but since we has so few moments together, I might as well concetrate mostly on his dungeon synth project. I mean, would you expect anything less from me?
As reported in the last Dungeon Synth Digest, Lunar Womb was a dark ambient / medieval project created by Henri Sorvali and a few associates in the late 90’s. The project was never completed and sat on hard drives collecting digital dust. However, this year it was completed and released to a new generation which found an appreciation for the sound. The Sleeping Green not only represents a seminal project finally completed, but also an unsuspecting artifact of dungeon synth history in which the creator was surprised to learn that many people not only knew about, but were eager to celebrate. Henri was kind enough to make his way to our small hamlet and over pipes and cups of ale we were able to discuss music from ages past and dungeons of today.

You no longer play live with Moonsorrow. Was that a decision made because of your commitment to other projects?
Not just because of that. My personal life and other music- related timesinks are keeping me extremely busy, but as I have written in my blog in August 2015, the decision was not only due to commitments to other projects but mostly because of my mental health. I have been suffering from depression since the late 90´s and touring makes it uncontrollable in a way that I have had to step out from those activities. If you´re interested to read more about the matter and my decisions leading to the situation, surf into here.
I initially reached out to you regarding Lunar Womb which was an electronic/ambient/synth project began in 1995. Who was involved with this project?
It all started with me, my cousin Ville and our mutual friend Kharadrai back in 1994, all of us being fans of ambient and electronic music. After releasing our (horrible) first cassette demo, “Planets”, we decided to split up, everyone concentrating on their own styles as we were all having a different ideas how to evolve. While Ville never continued his visions, Kharadrai made some very succesful and oppressing- sounding industrial/ ambient demos in the late 90´s and I continued with Lunar Womb alone until 1999. The second demo I made alone in 1997 wasn’t particularly very good due to a complete lack of equipment, but with Sleeping Green I had finally got a proper synth with proper sounds to materialize my visions the way I wanted to.
Your material from this project was made in the late 90’s but got archived until last year. What was your reaction when unearthing this project?
Going through my backups in early 2015, I stumbled upon the tracks, wondering if they still sound as outdated as I remembered. For my surprise, I realized that with a proper re- mastering these could actually be interesting to listen to….at least for myself, so I decided to give it a chance. I still find the vocals quite horrible and for what it comes to the production it´s definitely not matching the standards of today, but underneath the clumsiness there´s clearly an idea about what I was trying to achieve. If nothing else, I consider it as an important part of my musical history combined with my ideologies. I wasn´t planning to publish those, but when discussing about the tracks with comrade Velkaarn from Asmodian Coven- website, he insisted me to do so, so here we are over 15 years later, haha!
The sounds and melodies on The Sleeping Green are a combination of both work in the late 90’s but also finished and polished more recently. Was it easier to work on Lunar Womb with the recent technology as oppose to the late 90’s?
To correct the assumptions a bit, nothing has been re- recorded or musically modified from the original tracks. Everything you hear is recorded and mixed in 1999! The only thing done again was the mastering, which is basically the “last polishing” of the sound. It took me several weeks and countless hours to restore the music into a state it was possible to master again, and I doubt it could had never been done 15 years ago in a way it was done now- undoing a lot of earlier mistakes in the sound processing (e.g. stereo image overwidened into a phase cancellation, artificially too boosted hi and low frequencies) and trying to get some of the dynamics back with careful automation hell.
Could you give us some insight into the world of dark synth music made by metal musicians in the late 90’s? Were you aware of things like Burzum, Depressive Silence, Mortiis, and what seems like a bevy of musicians making dark synthscapes?
I first stumbled into Burzum´s synth pieces in 1994 but the real breakthrough for myself was Mortiis´ “Keiser av den Dimensjon Ukjent” a year later. I used to (and still do) listen to Cold Meat Industry- released albums as well, ranging from Aghast to Mortho(u)nd to Arcana and back and a lot of “real” ambient artists such as Steve Roach and Brian Eno, but the more medieval and national-romantic fantasy- themed style was definitely my cup of tea and that seemed to be also the case for many other metal musicians.
At some point in ´96/97 the “ambient side project”- thing got really popular, as every second black metal musician was announcing his new upcoming Casio project to be the most dark/ atmospheric/ conanthebarbarian around and there were countless of bad releases to try to avoid. Many of them were quickly forgotten, but some became gems that are still standing against time in their own uniqueness and feeling, of which a great example is the superb “Fjelltronen” of Wongraven, a.k.a Satyr. I find many parallels between ambient/ synth music and 2nd wave of black metal, both relying often on hypnotic soundscapes and otherworldy atmospheric layers of sonic mass- and many bands have already included those similar synth elements to their albums in a form of intros and interludes since the dawn of that 2nd wave of black metal. And as the metal audience is generally more keen into fantasy pop culture and even classical national- romantic themes than e.g. dubstep or reggae audience, it´s easy to see why the seemingly very different- sounding music has found a place in their hearts as well.
What was your reaction when you learned about the recent development in dungeon synth and a whole new generation of people following the paths made by solo musicians in the 90s? Did you ever think it would be a thing in 2016?
You know that warm, fuzzy feeling when you thought you had lost something dear, finding it again years later? That! But it´s not only nostalgia- tinted glasses, as I really love that sound. What really made me glad was that while the technical limitations are not hindering the productions like they used to do, the music I encountered was still made with a great respect to the genre´s original sound combined with the more modern possibilities. And for many things I could had predicted from the metal (and related) scene, I have to admit that the return of DUNGEON SYNTH wasn´t on that list, haha!
Have you had any recent favorite dungeon synth albums or artists?
As the whole re- movement of the genre was flying completely under the radar for me, I only have catched a small part of the new artists as we speak. From your blog, Faery Ring was really catching my attention, though!
Aside from Moonsorrow and Finntroll as well as being a music producer for Rovio Entertainment, you have recently opened up a mixing / Mastering operation called Trollhouse Audio. Who is the audience for this service?
More extreme black and death metal bands and projects who are interested on getting a proper, yet nasty and organic sound for their products- be it mixing, mastering or even both! The more evil the source material, the better, heh! I opened the service “unofficially” in April 2016 and have recently worked with a couple of Finnish black metal projects, and right now I´m mixing a full- length album of currently unannounced band to be released later this year.
I´m also very experienced on mixing on synth/ ambient/ neoclassical music, so if anyone reading this becomes interested, don´t hesitate to catch me on Twitter @trollhornmusic– I´m not that expensive, as it´s more of a very dear side- project for me among everything else, haha!
Do you have anymore freetime left? Do you like to pass that little bit you have with games or books? If so what has been keeping your interest lately?
Being a father of three kids, the concept of “free time” is rather unknown term for me, haha! While I´m not taking care of the more mundane things such as de- infecting a moldy woodshed or picking up small people from kindergarten after work, I still have some time for myself every now and then. Most of that I either spend in my studio room, playing computer games, writing and drawing while listening to music, building and modding computers and reading either about music production, philosophy/ psychology or fantasy literature. I do spend a lot of time in the nature in contrary to all the tech surrounding me, but I always take my family with me.
Just like every gamer who is a parent, I have a ton of unplayed or unfinished games in my shelf and on my Steam and GoG- accounts. Lately I´ve been playing..uh, a certain “older” version of World of Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic III, Day of the Tentacle remaster, Psychonauts and Hearthstone. I tend also to play with my kids as much as possible, and we just finished Curse of Monkey Island with my son, who thought it was the best game ever, heh!
Let us say I am starting a new longterm campaign for a tabletop RPG. Could be D&D, Pathfinder, or any other system and you are playing in my game. What type of character are you making. What should I expect during our games? Are you our fighter or are you casting spells in the back?
I´ve always been drawn more into the caster types. Basic swordfighting is so boring that I at least need to be a thief then, haha! For (A)D&D, I´d probably settle for a chaotic neutral Illusionist. Being a bit unstable, I´d love to do the unpredictable and amuse myself in expense of practicality. Not to mention the certain “unrelialibity” as a party member as well- a kind of D&D- version of good old Loke, if you prefer mythology, haha! Last time we played D&D, we used pre- defined sheets and I ended up getting a lawful good human mage. Yuck! It was so boring to be in character I started drinking heavily IRL and demanded my character to be an alcoholic so I could tweak my own gameplay even a bit more interesting.
I ask this to every dungeon synth creator but seeing how Lunar Womb just came out with a record, it would be natural for that entity to tour. What are your thoughts on a festival with this type of music. Could you see an interest in having a festival of all ambient synths?
There are a lot of festivals already dedicated to music which isn´t necessarily loud and overhyped, and I could easily see e.g. a stage or a tent dedicated to this type of music only in Wave Gothic Treffen or M´era Luna Festival. Ambient music festivals are existing, but for a festival solely dedicated to this subgenre, it would be quite hard to find bigger names every year to draw interest, as the scene is so small.
But who knows? Maybe some day there will be Dark Dungeons Open Air in a nice southern German field with live action roleplaying and mazes built from inflatable stone walls to solve and go through? Damn, the more I think it, someone has to do this!!!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Vice / March 2015 (Strong Scene Productions)


We Spoke to the Guy Who Tricked the World Into Thinking That H&M Were Selling Neo-Nazi Metal T-Shirts

Henri Sorvali helped create an ingenious fake campaign poking fun at how metal subcultures are mass marketed.

So, the last 24 hours have been fucking weird. When I woke up this morning, it looked as though everyone's favorite source of cheap belts, H&M, had been sussed out for creating online profiles for a load of fake metal bands, peppered with the occasional bit of neo-nazi imagary, all in the interest of flogging some t-shirts.

In a news story that originally appeared on Metal Injection, and has since been reported by Fact, Complex and innumerable other sites, H&M had come under fire for potentially unleashing "one of the more ill-advised marketing campaigns in recent history."

They reported that H&M are currently selling a series of t-shirts with the logos of what appeared to be obscure metal bands on. However when you looked up the bands, they could all be traced back to a collective called Strong Scene Productions. If you visit their Facebook page, you do indeed see the band names from the shirts (MORTUS, MOTMROS, LANY, MYSTIC TRIANGLE et al) littered everywhere, alongside gig posters ($250-300 for an underground one day festival), biographies ("The purpose of Mortus is to serve the almighty Sathanas and spread the black semen of the holy goat onto all lands") and artwork that features a goth'd up version of the models featured above. But all of this was created en masse within the last week.

Metal Injection reported that some of these invented bands had ties with the National Socalist Black Metal scene—that is, to put it bluntly, raving neo-nazis. So, if this was all a marketing ploy by H&M, then somebody really, really fucked it. However, given that this time last year, H&M were forced to withdraw a line of vests featuring the Star of David with a skull in the middle following accusations of anti-semitism, the idea that someone from marketing sacked off the research aspect of their job once again didn't seem all that unlikely. Even so, something about it all didn't quite add up.
In now turns out, H&M had absolutely nothing to do with the making of these bands whatsoever. It was all a giant parody by those behind Strong Scene Productions who are, essentially, genuine metal fans who took one look at H&M's most recent “metal-inspired” items of clothing—complete with fake bands and patches that work from a brief of “generic heavy metal imagery”—and thought, "I'm done with high street chains badly commodifying my music." They decided to play a deep and brilliant joke on H&M, by actually creating the "bands," making them really right wing and then spreading them across the internet for the world to join the dots.

Henri Sorvali of Finnish metal band Moonsorrow/Finntroll is one of the people behind the idea. So, I got in touch to chat with him about the marvellous media shitstorm he helped create for one of the world's biggest retail outlets.

(Some very legit artwork for a totally real band, taken from Strong Scene Productions' Facebook page)

Noisey: OK real talk, Henri—do any of the bands on Strong Scene Productions actually exist?
No. Every single band was created on the basis of the patches in the H&M spring collection clothes.

Is this a backlash against the commodification of metal by mainstream retailers?
Partially, yes. But we also wanted to point out the fact that you cannot commercialize a subculture without actually knowing all the different aspects of it. Knowledge on your product is essential in marketing, and Strong Scene supports self-awareness and education for everyone on the matter. And no, I also haven't been hired for a job by H&M either, which the wildest rumors claimed!

This all seems like a lot of effort just to troll H&M. So the real question is, why bother?
The purpose of the group (consisting of literally tens of people from different areas of music and media around Scandinavia) was to create discussion on the fact that metal culture is more than just "cool" looking logos on fashionable clothes, and has many more aesthetic and ideological aspects in different subgenres than what some corporations are trying to express. The metal scene is varied, controversial and a sort of a wolf you can't chain into a leash and expect it to behave on your terms like a dog. Strong Scene as a collective has absolutely no political nor ideological intentions, and is only bringing the conversation to the level it should be discussed at. Think of us as the one-time "Yes Men" of metal music.

You're in a metal band yourself—Finntroll. Any connection between the subject matter on the albums (battling trolls etc) and the online trolling we see today?
While this would be a rather clever place to actually drum for Finntroll´s media publicity, this has nothing to do with that. You call this trolling, we call it cultural jamming. And Finntroll just kicks out the jams in other things!

Thanks Henri!

HeavyMusic.ru / March 2017


  It’s been a year since the release of “Jumalten Aika”, and Heavymusic team came back to Helsinki for having a chat with the guys from Moonsorrow again. The secrets of promo photos, old Finnish traditions, the end of the world and more — have a read our exclusive interview!

          So how was the tour going for you?
          Ville: Excellent!
          Mitja: Yeah, very good! It’s nice to tour in Finland as we didn’t do a proper Finnish tour, just played some festivals, and then we started touring in Europe when the album [Jumalten Aika] was released, so finally we’ve been touring a little bit more in Finland.
          Have you received any kind of special treatment from the homeland fans? Is there any difference in mentality?
          Ville: I don’t know if it’s different, it was just really good. We got a very good response from the audience, maybe it’s because we don’t do this so often they don’t get tired…
          Or they just miss you so much because you usually play in other countries!
          Ville: I don’t know why actually.
          We’re sitting here like we did almost a year ago. The same place, nearly the same time…
          Mitja: Right!
          …but at that time we didn’t have a chance to look at “Jumalten Aika” booklet. Now after taking a closer look we can say that your promo pictures have definitely caught our attention. Can you tell us about its making process?
          Ville: It was Markus’s idea. He wanted to do this maybe because he doesn’t like us that much *laughs* He wants us to suffer. It was really painful to do. In a way it was fun. How did we do it?
          Mitja: We were in theatre with some kind of a pool of mud and dirt.
          So you were in a closed space, not outside, right?
          Mitja: Yeah, we were indoors.
          Ville: We weren’t really at the graveyard or anything.
          *everybody laughs*
          Mitja: It was fucking cold at that time of the year, so being outside and trying to dig ground for the hole big enough for the guys…
          Markus doesn’t dislike you that much!
          *everybody laughs*

          How did you feel with all that ground in your hair and even in your mouth?
          Ville: Dirty.
          Was it tasty?
          *everybody laughs*
          Ville: I was the one who had the dirt in my mouth, so I can tell you it wasn’t especially tasty. I wouldn’t use that word to describe it.
          You wouldn’t repeat that, right?
          Ville: No, probably not.
          *At that point Mitja shows us a photo of Markus lying on the ground in the pool half-naked*
          Mitja: So there’s Markus.
          He is trying to be so stoic…
          Ville: He doesn’t have to try to be stoic.
          Well, let’s move to the next question. Using of folk melodies has always been a strong feature of your music. Do you in some way rearrange any old Finnish melodies or do you write your own stuff?
          Ville: We’d like to think that all those melodies are originals, and that we’ve come up with them. Of course, there’s only a certain number of ways how you can combine these a few notes that are used in traditional Scandinavian music, so every melody sounds a bit like the next melody in a way, but we don’t use melodies that are known as traditional or anything. We try to come up with the new ones.
          The new ones sound like the old ones, and it’s really good! Ok, now I want to ask you about phenomenon which can be called “blood memory”. It means a special state of mind when you suddenly feel like traveling back in time and looking on the world with your ancestors’ eyes. Have you ever experienced such a feeling and if yes, what was the reason for it?
          Mitja: A good question. I don’t think I have. I tried to, but I don’t think it really happened to me. Although many times I try to depict in my head how things were before and so on, but I haven’t had any experience like this.
          Sometimes when you’re listening to music, you can imagine all this stuff they sing about and sometimes it just happens…
          Mitja: Well, when I usually listen to the music I see some kind of landscapes and colors but nothing very concrete.
          Ville: When I was writing the lyrics, I really tried to see the world with my ancestors’ eyes, but of course it’s a bit difficult, because the surroundings are totally different. Those people didn’t use to live in the cities, for example. They didn’t have running water or electricity or anything.
          How about escaping to the forest?
          Ville: I was doing some inner research in forests and Arctic areas, but that’s a different story.
          Ok, it will be the question for the next interview! Do you have any favorite Finnish traditions or customs?
          Ville: Drinking.
          Mitja: Customs?..
          *At that point our interview is interrupted with a loud “Whee!” from Marko who is riding an equipment trolley driven by one of the technicians. They say “Oh, you’re having an interview! Sorry!” and zoom off. Everybody laughs*
          Mitja: I would say… Just fishing *laughs* It’s not really a tradition, but…
          Ville: It’s not really a tradition, because it was crucial for quite many people’s living back in those days. You had to fish to get something to eat. Nowadays it’s just a hobby, because other people fish for us, we just go to the supermarket and buy that fish, and it’s actually pretty sad.
          The nature has always had a great influence on your music, if not to say the greatest. What do you think modern people should learn from the nature?
          Ville: Respect.
          Mitja: Yeah. Respect and I think it would be good to anybody to go in the woods by yourself completely alone and stay for a couple of nights with yourself and nature. It teaches you a lot about yourself usually.
          Ville: And I think people should definitely understand that even though we have all these big cities, we have these supermarkets that stock the food for us, we have smartphones and everything, we still totally and mostly depend on the nature. All these parts that are used in the smartphones *nods in the direction of smartphones recording the interview* come from the nature originally. So we’re just kind of visitors here. If we fuck up the planet, the planet doesn’t care, I think, but then we fuck up ourselves. People should really understand that before it’s too late. It’s not supposed to be a lecture or anything but that’s what just came up to my mind.
          You have developed two concepts of the end of the world on your albums. It will die in the fire or plunge into eternal cold according to “Hävitetty” and “Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleden Maassa” respectively. In your opinion, what will be the real end of the word?
          Ville: Stupidity. There are lots of possible scenarios, I don’t think if it’s actually gonna happen but… It’s not gonna happen during my life, I hope. People will eventually reeducate themselves.
          Mitja: Yeah, people are lucky enough to live until they do, but I think some asteroid will destroy our planet before we can do it.
          So it can be better for us than dying from our own hands…
          Mitja: I don’t know if it’s good for anything but... I hope it’s gonna happen soon, maybe tomorrow.
          Ville: It would be good for the other life forms on this planet, if we get rid of ourselves, but I’m not gonna get rid of myself, I don’t need that. Some things have gone a bit out of hand.

          Can you guys compare yourself with any kind of nature phenomena?
          Mitja: What do you mean?
          Anything like rain, storm, snow, Northern lights… maybe rainbow?
          Mitja: *laughs* Ok, we’re rainbows…
          Ville: I would like to be a stone. They are quite cool. They don’t really disturb anyone.
          Yeah, just lying on the ground…
          Mitja: Growing some mold…
          *everybody laughs*
          Ville: Unless there’s a landslide. Then they disturb quite a lot.
          Mitja, what about you? Rainbow was your first answer…
          Mitja: No-no-no…
          Ville: A unicorn.
          Mitja: Yeah, a unicorn. *laughs* No, I would say… mist.
          Nowadays many people think it’s important to have a warrior spirit. With regard to all events which are happening in the world what’s your opinion about that and do you consider yourself as warriors?
          Ville: No.
          Mitja: Not really. You need to have some stamina to go through everyday life, but I don’t value people who are over-aggressive and take whatever they want.
          Well, it’s maybe about defending their own interests and even overcoming yourself every day, doing something you don’t like to, but you have to…
          Mitja: Yeah, when you need to take stuff in your hands then of course, not just physically but in general. But I value wisdom more than being just a fighter.
          Ville: I think that’s one of the most important features of human kind that we actually have, if we want to. We have the ability to coexist and make compromises that benefit everyone. In theory.
          This year marks a centenary of Finnish independence. In order to commemorate this event one web-site called musicfinland.fi has made a special playlist which includes one hundred songs of different Finnish artists who has made bright and lasting international impression. Unfortunately, no Moonsorrow songs were included…
          Ville: I haven’t checked the list.
          …so if you could choose one song to be in this list, which song would it be?
          Ville: That’s a very good question.
          Mitja: I would choose “Tulimyrsky”.
          Ville: Yeah, because it’s the longest.
          The next question might be a tricky one, but we want you to be honest. Does Moonsorrow give you enough space for artistic expression, or do you sometimes feel the need to bring your material to any side projects?
          Ville: So far it has for me. I don’t really feel a need to do something else. I might do something else now and then just for fun, but I don’t think Moonsorrow limits my artistic expression.
          Mitja: Yeah, we all write all kinds of material and every material has its place somewhere, not maybe in Moonsorrow, but we want to write some Lakupaavi [punk/grindcore side project including the members of Moonsorrow] stuff definitely not under Moonsorrow’s name.
          Well, it must be continued!
          Ville: But no one knows when.
          Mitja: Time is also limited. I find it extremely difficult to find the time for other projects, and when I do, it’s always battle against time schedules and stuff.
          What kind of projects do you do?
          Mitja: Well, I have an old band called Shadow Cut, and we tried to make some new songs but... it’s impossible to find time for it. I have some ideas for other projects, but it never happens because nobody finds time.
          Do you at least have any volunteers to help you with this or do you do everything by yourself?
          Mitja: Yeas, it’s always with other people. I am not good enough with the computers to make music by myself, it’so slow. After seeing how Henri [Sorwali, the mastermind of Moonsorrow] works and how he can by hands play just drum kit in one minute, and then all the instruments in few minutes, while I’m still trying to struggle with the kick drum, not even be able to make a complete drum feel for one song.
          So no majesty of Burzum or Falkenbach for you?
          Mitja: *laughs* No.
          And now we have two special questions. The first is for you, Ville. Which part of being a musician excites you the most: playing the instrument, writing the lyrics or doing the vocals?
          Ville: All of those, really. I’m in a very different mood in all those different aspects. When I play the show, I’m in the mood for playing the show, when I do vocals in the studio, I’m in that mood... I enjoy all of that in a very different way, I can even compare it, I’m really sorry.
          The second question goes for you, Mitja. According to some pictures, which have been made during the shootings of “The Home Of The Wind” documentary, one of your hobbies is sailing. Can you tell us more about it?
          Ville: And sinking ships…
          *everybody laughs*
          Mitja: Yeah, I own a really old wooden boat with a friend of mine. It’s great to have it during the summer because Helsinki and the archipelago around us are really beautiful, and just in a few minutes you’re in a completely different environment. The ocean is a very interesting element for me, it’s quite scary and beautiful and all things at the same time.
          Ville: And the constant threat of drowning…
          Mitja: Yeah, it’s always there.
          Ville: It really puts you in perspective. Man versus the nature.
          Mitja: In my case it’s usually man versus the engine.
          *everybody laughs*
          Is it that old?
          Mitja: Yes. It’s from 60s and the engine looks like… it needs a lot of maintenance this summer, or I’m really gonna drown.
          Well, retro style is quite popular nowadays.
          MItja: Yeah, they don’t do boats like this anymore.
          Ville: I wonder why…
          Mitja: I too wonder why, because…
          Ville: It’s a nice boat.
          Mitja: Yeah, it has spirit. When it’s old and made of wood, it’s so much better to sleep and better to look at compared to fiberglass boats.
          We have mentioned the making of your documentary. What is its current state, have the shootings already been finished?
          Ville: Yeah, the main guy behind it has just mentioned that now he’s finally finished with all the material. Let’s see!
          Mitja: Yeah, it’s in the editing phase right now. He shot the previous week, they came to Tampere to shoot some material, and I’m delivering them some old footage as well, so they started to edit it. I guess they’ve edited some parts already.
          Great news! Can’t wait to see the result!
          Ville: Me neither.
          And which part of the shootings you liked best?
          Ville: I only did a couple of interviews so I gave a lot of background information but I wasn’t filmed during that. Interviews and all of that were really nice, they had good questions, and obviously they made a good background work. It was really nice to work with people who know what they are doing and know what band they are dealing with.
          Mitja: It feels sometimes like they know the band better than we do.
          Because probably you’ve already forgotten some things.
          Mitja: Yeah, yeah.
          That’s the fan’s nature, I guess, to know everything and even more…
          Mitja: But it was strange when every time they asked me to talk about paganism, it always started raining. We had a session on an island, and just when I was starting to answer their questions it started pouring down like hell. The next day we went on a hill and when I was just about to start again, it started to rain.
          So you aren’t the mist, you’re the rain!
          Mitja: Yeah, right.
          Or maybe you have some secret knowledge which is not meant to be shared…
          Ville: Or it’s so crappy it shouldn’t be shared.
          And now here’s our last question for today. What is the most peculiar thing you can’t live without while being on tour?
          Ville: Hmm, let me think… *after a long pause* I don’t have any esoteric artefacts in my bunk in the bus…
          Mitja: I do.
          Ville: I just have my music I listen to, that’s it. I don’t even have books. I have one book on this tour, but I’ve already read it before the tour, so I just lent it to other people.
          What was the book?
          Ville: It was a very short book about an American tour from the prospective of a roadie. It was really short and I actually read it. I bought it for the tour, but I actually read before the tour.
          Mitja: Well, I don’t really need many things. It happened to me once when all my possessions were stolen from the bus, with all my clothes and stuff. I did have my wallet and phone in my pockets, but everything else I lost. As long as somebody provides you with drinks and food, then I’ll be fine. It was horrible to be in the US without clothes, because when we arrived to Hollywood my clothes looked horrible. It was so dirty after two weeks of touring, and I thought “Ok, I’m gonna go and buy some new stuff from H&M”, but they were closed. It was Sunday or just the late hours, and the only shop that was opened was Armani shop…
          Ville: Yeah, in Hollywood.
          As long as you have a good credit card you’re fine.
          Mitja: I’ve bought Armani sweater and shirts and stuff, and it cost like hell. It was like a completely different person when I came back to them.
          I bet you made a lot of fun on him!
          Ville: He doesn’t really have to dress up differently for us to make fun on him…
          So that’s it! Thanks for the answers and have a good show tonight!
          Questions: Olga Degteva, Maria Meledyakhina

Metallus / March 2016


Moonsorrow: “L’Età Degli Dei” – Intervista a Ville Sorvali

Forti della prossima pubblicazione dell’album “Jumalten Aika”, letteralmente “L’Età Degli Dei”, abbiamo raggiunto telefonicamente Ville Sorvali (basso e voce) per parlare di questo album e di un gruppo che arriva a quindici anni di storia mantenendo una coerenza invidiabile.

Ciao e benvenuto su Metallus! Grazie mille per il tuo tempo. Come stai?
Molto bene, grazie! Figurati, è un piacere.

Sono passati cinque anni dal vostro ultimo disco prima di “Jumalten Aika”:cos’è successo in questo lasso di tempo?
Beh, è che siamo dei pigroni… Abbiamo cominciato a lavorare a questo disco nel 2012 ma ad un certo punto abbiamo capito che il materiale che avevamo composto fino a quel momento non ci andava più bene quindi abbiamo ricominciato da zero, dopo un break per trovare la direzione giusta. Siamo arrivati nel 2014 capendo che le canzoni che stavamo componendo erano quelle giuste, ciò che volevamo.

C’è un forte legame fra questo “Jumalten Aika” e i primi dischi, più di quello che c’era fra gli ultimi dischi e i precedenti. Cosa puoi dirci a riguardo?
Volevamo fare un album più grezzo ed energico, ma volevamo anche evitare di comporre un unico lungo brano. Volevamo comporre cinque canzoni diverse fra di loro, di modo che le singole canzoni potessero essere ascoltate e apprezzate anche in modo singolo, non necessariamente inserite nel flusso dell’album.

Penso che il black metal sia ancora forte e chiaro nella vostra musica: ti chiedo cosa è per te, artista, il black metal al giorno d’oggi?
Ci sono tanti elementi satanici nella nostra musica ma non solo per questo può essere considerato black metal. Siamo tutti cresciuti col black metal degli anni ’90, quello originale, che è stato importante per tutti noi. Direi che il black metal sia qualcosa di emozionale che non puoi spiegare a chi non sa cosa sia il black metal: io ci ho provato e credimi quando ti dico che è inutile. O ti tocca dentro o non ti tocca c’è poco da fare.

Leggendo la press release ho trovato una frase che mi ha molto colpito e che dice “successfully avoiding the stereotypical “It’s party time!” kind of folk metal”. Pensi che sia stato fatto un uso troppo disinvolto degli elementi folk nella musica metal?
Quando si è iniziato a proporre folk metal, subito molti gruppi hanno iniziato a riprodurre in modo abbastanza sbrigativo quello che inizialmente era un approccio originale al metal e alla musica tradizionale. Il problema fondamentale è che ci sono un sacco di band che non hanno propri pezzi originali ma tende a copiare in maniera sterile altri gruppi. Per me è fastidioso il fatto che questi gruppi non vogliano proporre un loro sound personale e che utilizzino questo approccio “It’s party-time! folk metal”. Non vogliamo essere accomunati a loro: abbiamo usato alcune melodie folk più accessibili e allegre in tre album e probabilmente abbiamo contribuito anche a creare questo mostro di folk metal. Ma siamo stanchi di quello, vogliamo fare qualcosa di diverso, senza comunque rinnegare la strada che abbiamo intrapreso anni fa.

Parlando del disco, potresti parlarci dei testi di questo nuovo lavoro?
Volevamo costruire le storie dell’album basandoci su miti esistenti ma senza ricalcarne esattamente la storia che tutti ormai conoscono. Ne abbiamo preso degli elementi, li abbiamo interpretati e abbiamo costruito delle storie attorno ad essi. Penso che il tema generale di questo “Jumalten Aika” sia il tempo in cui gli umani cominciarono a chiedersi e a spiegare cosa succedeva intorno a loro, specie dal punto di vista dei fenomeni naturali: qui è quando crearono gli dei e gli dei diventarono parte dell’umanità.

Parliamo un po’ delle canzoni. Adoro la title-track, con le sue tastiere che riportano alla mente il sound black metal degli anni ’90: era il vostro proposito?
Hai assolutamente ragione, sai? Volevamo cominciare il CD con qualcosa di classicamente Moonsorrow ma che poi cambiasse molto repentinamente. Ci sono sicuramente molte influenze di quel tipo di black metal. L’inizio è quasi allegro e rassicurante ma poi all’improvviso qualcosa di malefico spunta da dietro l’angolo

La mia canzone preferita è la seconda, “Ruttolehto” , specie per la sezione centrale, molto d’atmosfera…
Quella sezione del brano rappresenta una sorta di trance sciamanica, qualcosa che non avevamo mai fatto prima. Ecco perché abbiamo chiamato Jonne Järvelä dei Korpiklaani quasi come fosse un reverendo per officiare questa cerimonia: siamo molto soddisfatti del risultato finale.

Un altro brano che adoro è la finale “Ihmisen Aika (Kumarrus Pimeyteen)”, con quel suono potente di batteria, epico, che mi ricorda qualcosa di classico come i Cirith Ungol e i Manilla Road: ci sono legami con questa musica degli anni ’80?
Il principale compositore, Henri (Sorvali) non ascolta tanto quel genera di musica ma di sicuro la conosce. Siamo arrivati a un punto in cui sapevamo di voler includere dell’heavy metal nell’album: il classic heavy metal (non il power) è ciò da cui tutti noi deriviamo e ciò da cui tutte le sottocategorie di metal derivano. E’ stato come fare un tributo al classic heavy metal.

Nella limited edition ci sono un paio di cover (“Soulless” dei Grave e “Non Serviam” dei Rotting Christ): perché queste canzoni?
Le abbiamo scelte spontaneamente il primo giorno di registrazioni in studio perché sono canzoni importanti per noi: siamo stati influenzati da questi gruppi prima che i Moonsorrow nascessero. Sono canzoni grandiose e volevamo rendergli il dovuto rispettoso tributo però trattandole alla maniera dei Moonsorrow, ovviamente, che significa portare il sound originale al nostro livello.

Avete prodotto il disco: cosa puoi dirci riguardo questo processo?
La maggior parte della produzione era stata fatta prima della registrazione: quando scriviamo e arrangiamo le canzoni ci immaginiamo già come devono suonare i vari elementi così, occupandoci della maggior parte delle cose prima, in studio possiamo dedicarci soltanto a usare strumentazioni professionali per ottenere il meglio da ciò che suoniamo e riprodurre la musica arrangiata che avevamo sui demo. Non so da dove vengono tutti i dettagli del suono che abbiamo sul disco ma è ciò che avevamo in mente prima di incidere e questa è la filosofia dei Moonsorrow nel 2016.

So che sarete in tour coi Korpiklaani in aprile: vi vedremo anche in Italia?
Ho appena controllato e sfortunatamente stavolta non passeremo lì da voi: penso che nel prossimo tour o per qualche festival ci sarà l’opportunità, spero. Il problema è che il tempo è sempre tiranno e noi vorremmo venire in Italia perché abbiamo molti fan lì e ci piace il vostro pubblico.

Il vostro primo disco, “Suden Uni”, è uscito quindici anni fa e secondo me è stato chiudere un cerchio, per quanto riguarda il sound, con questo “Jumalten Aika”: come puoi descrivere la vostra evoluzione di sound e della band da quell’album ad ora?
L’evoluzione che abbiamo avuto era impensabile, ai tempi, perché ogni volta che registravamo un album dimenticavamo ciò che avevamo fatto in precedenza per concentrarci su ciò cui stavamo lavorando in quel momento. Ci sono stati drammatici cambi di sound come per esempio fra “Kivenkantaja” e “Verisäkeet”: due album completamente differenti. Penso che l’evoluzione principale sia stata arrivare a canzoni atmosferiche, epiche, dalle molte sfaccettature riuscendo poi però a ripulirle da tutte le cose non necessarie.

Quali sono le sfide e le difficoltà di suonare dal vivo canzoni così lunghe?
Prima delle prove per i live dobbiamo sempre compiere molti ri-arrangiamenti: pensa che in alcune canzoni ci sono 100 tracce separate ma le persone sul palco sono comunque solo 5 perciò è problematico. Considera che non vogliamo usare assolutamente delle basi. Ci siamo dovuti rendere conto di quali sono le melodie e le parti essenziali ed importanti delle canzoni e i suoni di tastiera che fanno rendere la canzone. Un lavoraccio, ma alla fine devi memorizzare la canzone in questa maniera e questa posso dirti che è la vera sfida, portare on stage queste canzoni.

Grazie mille. Puoi lasciare un messaggio ai fan italiani!
Scusate per il tempo trascorso dall’ultimo album e per la nostra prossima mancanza in Italia durante il tour ma prometto che verremo presto da voi e che i Moonsorrow vi amano. Grazie mille.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tales of Touring Terror (Pure Grain Audio) / February 2017


While onboard the 7th annual 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise we caught up with the guys in the Finnish Pagan Metal band Moonsorrow and asked them to tell us about their most frightening tour story ever. The result is this tale of terrible events leading up to the bands first show in Lithuania.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

HeavyMusic.ru / April 2016


After five long years the musical world finally received some great news from Finnish pagan crusaders Moonsorrow. Those who are living in the age of men got a unique chance to witness "The Age of the Gods" since it is the exact name for Moonsorrow new opus. HeavyMusic talked to the frontman Ville Sorvali and the guitarist Mitja Harvilahti just before the release gig on April, 1 in Helsinki, and discussed new material and more - please, have a read!

          HeavyMusic: How did your recent tour in China go? Do you have any special memories, feelings, impressions?
          Mitja: China is great. It is always interesting. It is nothing like you can see in Europe or anything in the world. Basically, wherever you go, it will be interesting and exciting. The tour was great in every aspect, lots of travelling. Maybe too much travelling and too little sleep, but it is always worth to go there.
          Ville: It is a nice country. I have gone there on holiday as well.
          HM: Speaking about new material, how did the new album change your perception of the previous ones?
          Mitja: I guess we always change it because we don’t feel like we are on a road to somewhere... let’s say, we don’t want to hear anything we have done before, we tend to start from scratch and of course the material would sound like Moonsorrow. I mean there is no point in taking something that happened before, add something new and then try to find a perfect recipe for a Moonsorrow album, this just doesn’t work.
          HM: Please, tell us a bit about your new video. How did you find the artists for making it?
          Ville: Initially we had an access to two options but I do not know where the options came from.
          Mitja: It is just that we heard there are a couple of companies that are very skilled and can do something interesting and in the end we chose one of them. Though you never know what you would get with all this money invested.
          Ville: They also had a really good attitude to it [the making of a video] so, I guess, we trusted that they would make it as good as they could. I was involved from the beginning, which was just a couple of months ago. I met up with the main guys in Belgrade where we discussed the script – the general line and then freehand, because I do not know anything about music videos. Overall, I think they did a great job.
          HM: True. Well, it was your first experience of a change from a musician to an actor. How did the shootings go?
          Ville: I can tell you it hurt. It really hurt, as I has had to be in chains for several hours, constantly trying to break free, so it hurt my wrists. I am not even sure I can play today (at that moment Mitja tries to console him). It was a really fun experience as I have never done anything like that before. Still, I am sure I will not become an actor, I would rather stay in my accustomed role.
          HM: So you realized this at the shootings, didn’t you?
          Ville: No-no… actually I would like to do that type of thing more from time to time but I do not know if anyone would want me for their movie…
          HM: Right. If we turn back to the new album, we know that the music that was created between 2012 and 2014 was ditched completely. What did it sound like and why did not you like it?
          Ville: It sounded boring.
          Mitja: It just did not have the spirit. It was not about good stuff, bad stuff or anything, it simply lacked the spirit.
          Ville: Also, it did not go the same direction we wanted to go as Moonsorrow. It is really impossible to explain but that is how it is.
          HM: Music industry has gone through a certain evolution in the past several years. How has it changed your ways of working on a new material and promoting it after the recording for you as a band?
          Ville: Not much.
          Mitja: You see it because the promotion is done differently today; it has become more aggressive nowadays. After the release, there are a lot of versions to cater about for different kinds of groups of people, and this might be the biggest change for us as we do not normally share a lot of digital singles.
          Ville: It did not change our approach to our music. We just do it the same way as always. It could be a commercial suicide or whatever but I do not think many of the metal bands out there care about this.
          HM: From your point of view, how do music videos go along with the impressions people get from listening to music? Sometimes the images from videos can distract the listeners from direct music associations.
          Mitja: That is exactly the point why we will probably never make a music video, and we used to say “Never! No music videos. At all!” many times, but this one is an exception to it. Actually, I think we were kind of forced to make a video. But if we had had our management said “Let’s make a music video” and we had been still in need of shortening our songs, we would have never made one. So it was cool we had this song [“Suden Tunti”] for it. Actually, when I read the script I realized ‘ok, if they can make this script into a video, it is going to be great’, because if you do not capture the whole essence of the song…
          HM: …then it would feel like a fake?
          Mitja: Yes. Usually music videos are crap, most of them, like 98%, are completely shitty…
          Ville: They are useless.
          Mitja: …yes, with wasted money and compromises to make them. I made other music videos as I do camera and lights stuff, and I have always hated the fact that you spend like 20 hours a day working on a video, and it still ends up being a crap no matter what, because the result is just not satisfying.
          Ville: And it is not all about money, you also need a vision. Funny thing about this video and the song I read from our Facebook page – and I probably should not read this as it just makes me angry at how stupid people can be – some people say that now when Moonsorrow makes a music video, the song for it is much shorter than usual (because of the video). And I was like ‘we made the song long before we decided to make a video out of it, and if you do not like the song, that is fine, but it is not the fault of the video’.
          HM: 2015 saw a 20th anniversary of Moonsorrow. With a relation (or completely no relation) to that, have you ever thought about doing a 'very special' Moonsorrow show, for example acoustic one or one with an orchestra?
          Mitja: It is too late!
          Ville: We turned 20 last year but we just forgot about it.
          Mitja: It was knocking in my head for many times, but then I heard people commenting like ‘all these bands making these anniversary shows, they suck!’ And we in the band…we did not even discuss it, but seeing people’s opinions about bands playing their whatever golden era albums or having anniversary shows, I do not think we would have made such a show, even if we had not forgotten about it. I think the best birthday present is this album [“Jumalten Aika”] finally, and it is much more important than any special show.
          HM: True. Can you recall in what moment in time you realized that Moonsorrow has gained some solid attention and success from the audience?
          Ville: I do not think there was a single moment, as our uphill was pretty modest. There was never really kind of a moment when something happened and we started to sell a lot of albums. We still do not, if you get what I mean. It is very slow growth, we never realized something happened. Of course, now it feels really weird sometimes, especially if we look back at our first demo and return to nowadays when we are sitting here waiting to play for the sold-out Virgin Oil... something must have happened! I do not know what, and it feels strange.
          Mitja: We never made any big decisions, we never pushed the band at those times when a band gets a record deal and it feels it has gotten big or something…we never did anything about it, we never started touring when it was needed, we toured when we could. And it actually went good, things were going better and better all the time but it did not explode and it is fine.
          Ville: It is actually very good.
          Mitja: And we never felt there is going to be any decline after it.
          HM: ...after the rise?
          Ville: Yes. I personally know some people who have gone really high in their musical careers, and then came down very fast. You could see that this hurts them. It all messes with your head.

          HM: How do you feel about the fact that some fans do not pay enough attention to the lyrics as they do not understand Finnish?
          Ville: I do not really mind, music is the most important part. I have the feeling that the music transmits the message of the lyrics by itself as well.
          HM: Speaking about the lyrics again, do you know what the song will be about in advance or is it a moment of inspiration?
          Ville: I do not think I ever got any divine intervention in my head, like ‘now you are going to write a song about this’, it just gradually develops. We keep a discussion with Henri about the themes, so it is not completely my decision, and I am guided by all other people in the band. I just do the final execution.
          Mitja: This album is a little bit different from the previous one; that one was a concept album, and we already had some images drawn pretty much for it, and we knew what would happen there and how the storyline is going to go, so it sounded differently from what we had on [the latest] album. Of course, we had some themes, but how to ‘execute’ them was pretty much personal as long as it falls within the general frame.
          Ville: The frame was basically that we wanted to write an album about myths and approach the myths in a different light – that was the main theme everyone has agreed upon. And I guess I did smaller details within it. Of course, I could not have done it all by myself. I gained a lot of inspiration from the others.
          HM: And this is a nice thing from your side to point it out!
          HM: You made two covers on Grave and Rotting Christ songs. If you were to choose one Moonsorrow song to cover by these bands, which one would it be?

          Ville: I would like to hear Grave covering “Tulimyrsky".
          Mitja: I would like to hear Rotting Christ covering “Kaiku”.
          HM: Are there any bands or musicians you would like to work with?
          Ville: The guys in the band (laughing).
          Mitja: This is really hard to say, because we know a lot of musicians who are great people, it is in which way we could do something together…
          HM: Probably song collaborations or guesting on each other albums?
          Mitja: Well, guests…vocalists especially are interesting.
          Ville: Well, we already have Jonne on the new album, for example, it was the idea I personally wanted to experiment with, and we will do a live song to try it today.
          HM: Very much looking forward to it. We think it must be very interesting.
          Ville: He was the most interesting character for this album…he has his thing.
          Mitja: He has something in his voice that none of us have. When we heard him in the studio we literally got chills on our arms and thought ‘oh shit!’.
          Ville: None of us has such a voice, because none of us does drugs or smokes that much (laughing).
          HM: This is definitely informative :) We are aware of Henri’s firm opinion about not playing live. What does performing songs live on stage means to you?
          Ville: I love it – cannot say much more!
          Mitja: Yes, it is something you grow kind of addicted to – at least I do. Sometimes it is very hard to deal with not playing live between tours and shows – I get hooked on it very badly. In daily life I am more of a calm and settled person but on the stage it changes completely. It is not acting, but I rather become a completely another person while playing live.
          HM: Thank you for such honesty. Can you tell us what is your biggest dream related to Moonsorrow?
          (At that point David, the manager of the band, enters the room, a friendly brawl happens and the interviewers are properly informed that the biggest dream of Moonsorrow was, is and apparently will be to get as much on David’s nerves as possible. Finita la commedia!)
          HM: They say one should try everything in life. Is there anything you would never try?
          Mitja: There is a saying in Finnish…but we’d better not talk about it.
          Ville: There are a lot of stupid things I would not try to do…
          HM: And on the other way around, what would you say everyone should try?
          Mitja: Chinese food in China.
          Ville: Chinese food in China! It is very different from ours.
          HM: Cockroaches and scorpions?
          Mitja: More like guts and penises.
          Ville: And it is worth trying.
          HM: Our last question is about Finnish winter which, as we know, is very long and dark. Would you mind sharing some tips on how to survive it?
          Ville: Drink. For many Finnish people it is kind of a method of survival in the darkness, they start to drink more.
          HM: Living in Russia we can totally imagine that.
          Ville: Yes, I was about to come to that – the same in Russia.

          HeavyMusic.ru would like to thank Ville and Mitja for the interview!
          See Moonsorrow on the tour on the following dates:
          04.01.16 – Virgin Oil, Helsinki, FI
          04.08.16 – Durbuy Rock Festival, Bomal-sur-Ourthe, BE *
          04.09.16 – Les Tanzmatten, Selestat, FR *
          04.10.16 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL**
          04.11.16 – Le Trabendo, Paris, FR *
          04.12.16 – Rock School Barbey, Bordeaux, FR *
          04.13.16 – Arena, Madrid, ES *
          04.14.16 – Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, ES *
          04.15.16 – CC John Lennon, Limoges, FR
          04.16.16 – Carène, Brest, FR *
          04.17.16 – Antipode, Rennes, FR *
          04.18.16 – CCO Villeurbanne, Lyon, FR *
          04.19.16 – Les Trinitaires, Metz, FR *
          04.20.16 – O2 Islington Academy, London, UK *
          04.21.16 – Club Academy, Manchester, UK *
          04.22.16 – The Button Factory, Dublin, IRE *
          04.23.16 – The Limelight 2, Belfast, UK *
          04.24.16 – The Classic Grand, Glasgow, UK *
          04.25.16 – Leeds Uni Stylus, Leeds, UK *
          04.26.16 – Academy 2, Birmingham, UK *
          04.27.16 – The Fleece, Bristol, UK *
          04.28.16 – The 1865, Southampton, UK *
          04.29.16 – Matrix, Bochum, DE *
          05 07.16 Dark Troll Fest, Germany
          06.17.16 Tampere Metal Meeting, Finland
          06.18.16 Hellfest, France
          06.19.16 Graspop, Belgium
          07.09.16 Jalometalli Festival, Finland
          07.17.16 Ilosaarirock, Finland
          07.23.16 Ragnard Rock, France
          08.06.16 Porispere Festival, Finland
          08.12.16 Rockstadt Extreme, Romania
          08.19-20.16 Summer Breeze, Germany
          * w/ Korpiklaani
          ** w/ Heidevolk
          Interviewers – Maria Meledyakhina & Olga Degteva
          Photos – Abel ‘Grilo’ do Demo & Olga Degteva