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, June 8, 2011

Metal-Rules (Heart Of Metal) / August 2003


Answered by Marko and Ville

Finland´s own armored crusaders Moonsorrow, have been making themselves known by their three somewhat pompous epic Heathen Metal full-length albums thus far. Their latest battle saga titled KIVENKANTAJA (“Stonebearer”), really displayed more than well these young warriors´ true abilities to be one of the leaders of the genre and some of the best and finest troops in the ´Viking Metal´ department.
I had the pleasure to talk about their latest album with the band´s drummer, Marko, and vocalist/bassist, Ville, a while ago and found out the guys´ thoughts about the album and many other things as well. So, let´s drop all the battle axes and swords for a while now... Marko and Ville came to talk in peace, hah!

Since you have a very detailed history section about Moonsorrow on your homepage, I will leave any questions concerning the band´s history out of this interview, and rather concentrate on talking about some of the current activities and matters of Moonsorrow instead, if that´s ok with you guys?

So let´s start off with a couple of questions about your new album titled KIVENKANTAJA. First off, I´d like to know what each of you think of that particular album. Are you still happy with it the same way when the mixing was finished for it at Tico Tico studio?

Marko: Yes, why bother us to tell our history as it´s available straight from our website. KIVENKANTAJA is definitely our best effort to date, that´s for sure! There was like a month during which I didn´t listen to the album at all and then when we started to rehearse for the gigs I had to listen to some of the songs and bring some arrangements to my mind again, heh! I was stunned when I heard some songs really!

So, you could say Marko that you pretty much succeeded in captivating some really epic and chilling moments for this particular album?
Marko: The most chilling, yes. That was the purpose of course.
Ville: I definitely agree. If I didn’t have any Moonsorrow albums, KIVENKANTAJA would be the first to buy. What comes to the productional matters, we were very happy when leaving Tico Tico, and - except for the chorus on “Unohduksen Lapsi” (I didn’t like the mix in the first place). I still can’t find anything to complain about. The album sounds great, hell yeah it does!

Could you be a bit more specific with your somewhat ´praiseful´ yet kind of brave words about KIVENKANTAJA and tell to some of the readers of Metal-Rules.com who still haven´t got a chance to hear the album, what are some of those musical elements on the album that provide a listener an ultimate journey through the soundscapes of one of the most epic and strongest Viking/Heathen Metal albums put out ever by an ambitious group of musically visionary and hungry warriors?
Ville: We actually felt being quite free of expectations when putting the album together, and I guess that's the overall feeling of the album. It's an honest, simple piece of musical work. We took the cold metal a step further and added the increasing influence of folk and progressive music there. The grandeur was in the design, and I'm glad it caught up on the audience just as it did.

And if we expand this same topic to the most important thing, namely to the songs of KIVENKANTAJA, could each of you still say that you´re completely satisfied with the songs on it, both musically and lyrically as well? Or have some of those little ´fuck-ups´ on it, from your point of view of course, started already occurring... (if there´s any)?
Marko: No, as there isn´t any of those fuck-ups on KIVENKANTAJA. Of course there are some parts we could have focused more on the mixing, but they are such tiny little things here and there.
Ville: No fuck-ups, these few are among the best songs we’ve ever made. I even am satisfied with the lyrics this time.

Could it be said that you really put an extra effort into your lyrics this time around, like pushing yourself constantly to some goal-orientated direction in order to achieve a strong and most rhyming lyrical content for the songs as possible? And were there any lyrics that needed to be worked harder with than some others?
Ville: I always tend to put all my energy to the lyrics when I'm writing them, but yes, this time I managed to push myself a bit further mentally. The actual challenge is not to write a story, it is to fit the story into the music, but this time I somehow succeeded to come up with stories that were lines and verses from the beginning, and I think they are a lot more consistent than on previous albums because of that. None of the lyrics was particularly hard compared to each other, but I used a lot of time working with all the small details in "Raunioilla", "Unohduksen Lapsi" and "Tuulen Tytär".

What could you tell about the song writing process for KIVENKANTAJA? I believe to get all these songs done for KIVENKANTAJA was actually many ways harder and time-consuming, due to a larger and more variable use of different instruments on it, compared to your previous album VOIMASTA JA KUNNIASTA. Did you face any setbacks while composing and arranging some of those instruments for this album at the very early stage of your song writing?
Marko: We like to write and stress a little. We´re at our best then. The songs were written between August - November 2002, so it basically has only the new material, well, some parts were written before VOIMASTA... though and used in here. We experimented on some new instruments never before heard in Moonsorrow also - like violin, pedal-harmonium and female vocals.
Ville: These new elements were arranged by Henri and recorded separately. Supposedly there were no major setbacks at any point of the process.
Marko: Ragnarök Mobile ™ recording facilities were great help as the album is recorded in many different places and ultimately completed at Tico Tico studio.

Was Tico Tico somehow an obvious choice to go and record this new album there? The Tico Tico ´magic´ reigns supreme or what, eh?
Marko: Tico Tico is always the first choice. We always book them for the next albums after each one has completed so we never really have thought any other alternatives. Ahti Kortelainen is so nice and easy to work with so why to change. The next album is going to be recorded there also in 2004.

When you started thinking of the songs for this album, did you kind of have a thought haunting somewhere back in your minds that KIVENKANTAJA should have both the most colossal and most pompously epic sound and songs, let´s say, compared to your previous album VOIMASTA, which also was a very strong effort from you as far as its epic atmospheres were concerned?
Marko: Yes, there´s always the problem how to top the previous works, but so far we´ve succeeded in it. I think the next album is going to have more dynamic variations. We cannot always do the most bombastic and heaviest wall of sound thing you know. But don´t ya worry, “more is more”-motto to Hell with it! I´m personally going to concentrate on the more guitar-oriented stuff on next album, so it´s going to be a very interesting concept (although its time isn´t yet).
Ville: I don’t know if the purpose ever was to always make bigger and more cinematic music than on previous albums, but so far it has happened quite “easily” (if I could use that word?). I personally have no rush whatsoever to give a single thought on the next album, so we will have to see about that later.

Still, somehow I believe some tiny, but healthy pressures are always there, raising out of the shadows of your previous successful album and forcing you always to drive for the best things that you may or may be not able to come up with musically. Your previous album always seems to be the one that basically works out as a ground for your next effort. Do you guys agree, well, at least partly?
Marko: Yes, of course. We´re at our best under a little stress. Our every album is very different compared to each other and so shall be the next.

What impressed me a lot on KIVENKANTAJA is that you have very strong and well-arranged - almost breath-taking choir sections on this album; for example the opener song called “Raunioilla” is such a piece of masterpiece for having some of the finest choir sections I have ever heard on a metal album. Obviously all the time and efforts that you have put into your songs, could be said that have truly paid off you splendidly, correct? You just must be most satisfied with them. Am I right?!
Marko: Okay, if you ask from some real choir leader what would he think of these Moonsorrow dudes´ choir parts on KIVENKANTAJA, he would probably laugh his ass off! We of course, did our best with the choirs. We simply don´t have the budget to hire a real choir nor we wanted to. We like to sing. We like to sing very much (especially in the studio hungover!). Of course those choir parts don´t sound the same at the stage as there are only 4-5 guys singing, but it´s the same thing with the instrumentation (is this an English word?). We have a studio MS and a live MS. Same band, slightly different sound, tho.
Ville: We are definitely not professionals, so yes, we are very satisfied with the choir parts. All we need to do now is to learn to do the same thing live.

I assume that you may probably continue to pay attention more and more to those choir sections on your future efforts as well; especially now when you have sort of found ´a true winner´s recipe´ on KIVENKANTAJA! You see, well-executed choir parts can really give some ´extra vibes and kicks´ to a listener, so I strongly believe, especially in Moonsorrow´s case that those realtively pompous choir sections in your forth-coming songs won´t be ignored at all. I bet they are, however, an integral part of Moonsorrow´s basic sound already. Just correct me if I´m totally wrong concerning this...
Marko: Yes the choirs have worked out pretty well in the audience. They´re catchy and easy to singalong at our shows. That´s nice. One thing is sure, we never stop using harsh vocals. Also I don´t want Moonsorrow sound like Therion with all vocals by choirs/classical singers. We really try to avoid that opera-stuff. Anyway this doesn´t mean I don´t like Therion. Christofer has always done great albums. Really innovating.

When your songs started taking their somewhat lengthy shapes near by the final finishing moments on KIVENKANTAJA, I was just wondering was there any pre-planning for some of these songs in the Moonsorrow camp? I mean, the way you had set some sort of an optimal time-frame for these particular songs as far as their maximum length was concerned, kind of trying avoid adding too many parts into them for the sake of the length and keeping them better sort of in a decent length?
Marko: We never have worried about the length of the songs. In Epic Heathen Metal ™ it´s almost impossible to write a 4-minute song. Should I try one for the next album? Nah! The thing is that we don´t have a typical ´verse-chorus´ Pop song structure very often. On KIVENKANTAJA there are some choruses though. What I mean is that there isn´t any pre-planned song structures or arrangements. When we write, the songs change a lot on that process. We had something like 10 to 12 versions of “Jumalten Kaupunki”. We´ve always pre-produced our albums like 95 % ready before entering the studio, so we spend a lot of time for the compositions.

As you are talking about several different versions for just one song... I was just wondering whether it´s sometimes kind of hard to pick up the best one out of them all for a song, keeping in mind ´a cold fact´ that some of you may like some other part or version slightly better than some others? In which point does democracy step into the picture when you are about to make your decision what ´version´ or ´single part´ should be used for a certain song? You, however, consider Moonsorrow a democratic group, don´t you?
Marko: So far it´s been mostly Henri and me responsible (and this doesn´t mean Ville or Mitja shouldn´t do it) for composing the songs. We usually send half-ready mp3s and completing each others´ ideas. Then when the song has some quite finished structure we play it to the rest of the band. So it´s a lot of pre-producing work. We never compose at the rehearsals. We rehearse only when the whole song/songs are finished on the computer. This has proved to be best way to us.
Ville: No time frames, the songs just take shape. If we ever have a good song that is 20 minutes in length, we will use it!

Could you imagine and describe our readers a bit if there was ever going to be a 20-min. long Moonsorrow song, what kind of musical elements would definitely be involved with it? A wide use of imagination is more than welcomed now... ;)
Ville: A 20-minute song would be the most epic piece we'd ever done. I don't know if it would actually differ from the rest of the Moonsorrow material, but I think it would contain a bit more "non-metal" influences than what we're used to. It would be a metal song, for sure, but with more down-to-earth folk music display contrasted with the megalomaniac proportions of 70's progressive rock, and perhaps also something that we've never done so far. The song would consist of many parts and it would have a complex and musically unorthodox structure. A wider use of imagination occurs when we actually do that.

I assume strongly that to get some of your multi-instrumental songs to work out in a live situation is a relatively tough task in itself, as you possess such a large arsenal of them on your albums.
Marko: Yes like I said before our sound is a bit different on stage. One would call it harsher or grimmer. All of the keyboards are re-arranged into live situation as Eurén (our live keyboardist) has only two hands, so he cannot do all the 70 instruments per song, hah! Playing with DAT is also out of question, that´s for Pop stars! It can also kill all the intensity of live set. Ville: When we play live, we are more of a rock band than an orchestra. We re-arrange the songs for 5-6 guys instead of 80 (that would indeed be quite a lot of people on stage), because we have no philharmonics or a Russian male choir in our use. These are no compromises, it’s a whole different situation actually. Playing live is playing live.

Are there some songs on your albums that you cannot ever perform in a live situation because of such a large amount different instruments (+ choirs) that have been used for creating them for your albums?
Marko: No there aren´t any. We´re gonna play some of the songs we never have played live before in the near future. Some really epic stuff! *hint*

As you seem to developing toward even more pompous and epic sounds with each new album you put out, I guess your next album may be even harder and more time-consuming task to pull together, if it´s gonna be anything along with the lines of KIVENKANTAJA? How about just only one "soundtrack-ish" song for the whole album - sort of ´An Ultimate Battle Song´ made by the mighty heathen warriors Moonsorrow all the way far from the North, Finland? An album composed and arranged the same way like Edge of Sanity did with their CRIMSON album? I bet it would be something extraordinary in the metal scene as you have proved to be such professionals and masters in that ´epic´ department already.
Marko: We have discussed about doing a theme album with only one song on it. Of course it´s very risky thing to do something like that. It could turn out totally corny or it could blow everybody´s heads off. Also you never know what are we gonna do next. We might do a fast and ugly firestorm as well next. We´ll see…
Ville: When we do that you know that it’s our last album.

How come?! What do you mean by that? Explain, please...
Ville: Nothing serious really. We have merely discussed that if we should do a swansong album (that is, if we knew it was to be the last album), we should cover the whole thing with one EPIC track. We'll see about that.

When you composing music for Moonsorrow, do you always think of the whole creative process as some sort of a huge challenge for yourself? And what do you personally consider the most difficult challenge for yourself when you are driven and determined to write ´a 100% perfect Moonsorrow´ -tune if you know what I mean by all this?
Marko: It´s always very challenging to write new songs as we don´t play a 3-chord easy listening Pop-Rock. However, we had found out a perfect meter to measure a song´s feeling: hand hair! They always tend to raise out of your skin when we´ve achieved the most perfect tunes, heh!

I guess by this ´spine chilling and hair raising´ -description you actually mean such songs as “Raunioilla” and “Jumalten Kaupunki” that are really colossally moving, shamelessly epic songs from start to finish, right?
Marko: Yes but one can get the same kicks from any of our songs.

While I was reading your lyrics from your two recent albums, it seems that you always pay a lot of attention to them in order to make them stand out equally with the music? I guess to write them in Finnish isn´t that easy task for you at all, as some people may think, even if it´s your home language. To make them rhyme nicely and effortlessly with the music itself is quite hard actually; just correct me if I´m wrong...
Ville: I pay a lot of attention to the lyrics for sure. Of course they have to be good as themselves; it has to be a good story with lively poetic expression, but they also have to flow with the music. This indeed is the hard part because they have to fit the verses and the lines have to be divided by the beat. That’s why I always write the lyrics afterwards. I start listening to a new song and let my imagination free, and the first lines are just something that comes to my mind from the music.

So, there´s no other way for you to write lyrics for the band? Have you ever had lyrics ready for some of your upcoming songs beforehand? I mean, even before one single riff has been composed for some particular song? On the other hand, what kind of things inspire you to write your lyrics for Moonsorrow? How could you say you have developed over the years as a lyric writer anyway?
Ville: I always write the lyrics after the music, and I like it that way. I doubt if it would ever even work out any other way. Of course I might have some lines before any of the music is done, and I might start building the lyrics on those few lines, but it's always the music guiding the lyrics and not the other way round. The inspirational things, they are various. I listen to a lot of music, I read books, I watch movies and I'm interested in all sorts of things. Anything might light the spark in me and sometimes nothing will. I feel that while losing my ability to compose music, I have quite positively developed as a lyric writer. I'm happy to have learned to use a wider scale of ideas, influences and methods of working.

If you had a possibility to live some historical event all over again, what would that ´special event´ be, and what reasons made you to pick that certain event in the first place?
Marko: To see my own birth. What could be greater than to see something like that as a fly on the ceiling!
Ville: The Iron Age in Finland. I am very fascinated about the surroundings and I would like to see if they were at all like what I’ve read.

Do you believe you could write a whole album based on that particular, historical event even if you should do it under some other moniker than Moonsorrow?
Marko: My solo album will carry that theme, hah!
Ville: Yes, we will definitely not start to sing about Marko’s birth in Moonsorrow. And the other, well, I don’t think I’ll have to write a solo album about that...

You recently shot a new promotional video for the song “Jumalten Kaupunki...” off your KIVENKANTAJA album. In that particular clip, you used a bunch of volunteers for the script of that shooting and as far as I´m told, you shot it at a quite extraordinary environment as well, but i'll let you do all the detailed explaining about it from this very moment on...
Marko: This is kind of music video to make once in a history of Heavy Metal! We got this huge TV-studio for one weekend for free because Mitja has studied and worked there previously. So he got some of his fellows to assist on the production (or “production”). We set the staging ourselves and shoot some shit with two expensive cameras. Also we got these guys who are mad about Viking and all the medieval stuff acting some sword fights. Sounds cool huh?!

So when will it be available for other curious eyes? Are you going to put it available through your own website as well, the same way you have your debut video clip (“Sankaritarina”) available via www.moonsorrow.com? What about any cable TV -channels? Have you pondered any of them to make it ´visible´ through some of them?
Marko: You mean “Sankarihauta” (don´t worry, even I don´t remember which one is which, hah!). If any channel wants to show it then they will. We´re going to put both videos as bonus material for upcoming re-release of our debut album “Suden Uni”.

You also have some side projects going on. Would each of you enlighten us a bit about them as well, what´s up with them and what are your ´roles´ in general in them?
Marko: Right now I concentrate on Death Metal band called Chaosbreed in which I play the guitar. Also I think we´re doing a new The Wicked album with Necrotron and Mr. Fistoffeles later this year. There are also a bunch of other projects in the closet waiting for their time to unleash...

As for Chaosbreed, what I have heard, you also start getting a bit busier gig-wise, having sort of a mini-tour in sight here in Finland with ´a relatively known (heh, I suppose...)´ Swedish, definitely old-school Death Metal act later this year. But I´ll let you reveal more about it if you want to...
Marko: No I don´t want to reveal anything concerning on that as nothing is sure yet. But I can tell you that Low Frequency Records is going to release “Unleashed Carnage” mini-CD this summer (well, it´s out already: www.risingrealm.com) . There´s one bonus track also that´s not available through net. The debut albums will be recorded in September in Sunlight studio with Thomas Skogsberg. Details soon at www.chaosbreed.net
Ville: In December we will record the debut album of Amoral. It’s a Death Metal band in which I play the bass in that line-up, and it´s quite technical material for me actually. I am also the drummer of May Withers, a dismal Rock band, but we are still just talking instead of recording our second demo. Then there are numerous, more or less active projects, some of which will be revealed later.

Do you see Amoral as some sort of an ideal channel for yourself to direct some of your other ambitions and perversions into that are kind of ´out of question´ in Moonsorrow?
Ville: Quite so, yes. I've learned to enjoy technical playing, and Amoral is a channel to improve my abilities. Some of the bass lines in Amoral are quite tricky, you know, and something like that wouldn't quite fit in Moonsorrow. I practically never practice or improve my technique at home, so learning the songs of Amoral keeps me in decent shape.

When you made the decision to sign to Spikefarm Records, what kind of expectations did you have about that deal in question back in the day? Has Spikefarm Records also been able to fulfill your expectations about all the terms you agreed with them when signing a contract with them? Or were there some things in the contact that kind of haven´t been answered to your expectations concerning your deal with them?
Marko: Back then the expectations were that somebody pays a studio for you and releases an album. Spikefarm has done a good job with us and nowadays as we have also proved our potentiality in the markets they have approached us with a better deal.

How many albums is this new deal for with Spikefarm? And do you think that it´s only better for Moonsorrow to stick with a familiar domestic label rather than going far out fishing? Could you possibly name some advantages and disadvantages to staying with Sami Tenetz´s label as well?
Marko: We´re most likely to sign for two new albums and that re-release. As for us it´s the best to stay with Finnish label because I see it like we´re as Finnish band as one can be so this is by all means the easiest way to work. It´s great to have a company in the same town we´re living in. We can visit their office whenever we want and discuss about things or to just hang around (greetings to Mr. Fistoffeles!). Of course being on a big European label would open doors for touring more easily but we´re not a touring kind of band anyway so it´s not a big deal for us.

Do you have any idea what the label manager of Spikefarm Records named Sami Tenetz expected from you as a band? Could it be said that he´s also pleased how things have been working out between both parties so far? Any areas between your cooperation where some improvement and progression could be done from your point of view?
Marko: At first he seemed only focusing on the other bands than us and the whole release of VOIMASTA JA KUNNIASTA was very rushed after all, lacking a good promotion and everything. However, for our surprise the album sold pretty well. With KIVENKANTAJA everything was in a good order and schedules were done right. They paid much more attention for promoting the album and maybe they will get us to tours as well.

Speaking of touring, you just did Nummirock festival which obviously could be considered as some sort of success for the band, correct? Any ´wild & hot´ stories to be shared with the readers of Metal-Rules.com from that particular event?
Marko: The show was pretty intense and we were very drunk (as every Finn on the Midsummer´s Eve). The crowd was amazingly crazy and we had lots of fun. Mitja and our mixing guy had this “joke fight” and it kinda got out of their hands. Result: Mitja broke his neck and his little finger. They rushed to the hospital next morning. Luckily the neck was only strained and he got this very stupid looking neck support! He´s alright now...

Next up, you´ll be doing both Tuska festival on 11th of July - and only one day after that, you will also travel to Ilosaarirock festival and conquer the stage over there. What kind of expectations does each of you have about those forth-coming events, well, besides lots of hard boozing and self-blasphemy sessions, of course?
Marko: I don´t think we will booze so much before those shows. We never go on stage totally wasted (except Nummirock). I don´t see it very amusing thing to do for the paying audience. Of course it could look funny but after two fucked-up songs it gets boring. So, we´re quite a sober band onstage. Our national TV will be in Tuska doing some document and they´re going to record all the shows, so we´ve to prepare ourselves very well.

If you got your own headlining tour arranged some day, what bands would you personally like to take on tour with you?
Marko: I could tour with whomever, but to answer to your question, it would be with Thyrfing, Rapture and Ajattara.

Can you say or at least make some constructive speculation how important of a band Moonsorrow is for Sami anyway? Does he treat and care for you equally with some other bands on his label or do you sometimes even feel you are in some sort of a special yet privileged position on his list of ´the most important bands for Spikefarm for some reason or the other?
Marko: Nowadays we seem to be a very important band in Spike´s roster and I think we have earned that position through hard work. I don´t think any label boss gives you any good response if you just wank off at home everyday playing some Play Station only. We´ve worked hard with Moonsorrow on our own and they seem to appreciate that very much.

So could you actually claim that you are, if not the biggest band, then at least one of the biggest bands on Spikefarm? I guess bands on Spikefarm such as Finntroll and Kalmah seem to be in an equal position with Moonsorrow if overall the popularity of Spike -bands can be measured by record selling indicators and stuff like that?
Marko: I´m sorry Luxi but I don´t see much point talking about this because personally I´m not interested in who´s selling and how many albums. And who´s the most important band to someone. I really don´t care. I could never say no to money but still I´ve never done music for the money. If I was I´d do some disco shit or something.

You are not the only band from Finland churning out folkish sounding Viking Metal. Bands like Turisas, Ensiferum, Cadacross and of course Finntroll, are also sharing that relatively Folk -inspired playground with you - some musically and some even conceptually. What do you guys honestly think of your warrior mates musically?
Marko: Some of them I like very much. Some of them are very talented. Some of them are unproductive. Still we´re good friends with all of them.
Ville: ‘nuff said.

What about some other Viking/Folk -sounding acts outside of Finland that you like? I guess you might have a fistful of recommendations under your warrior helmets, so feel free to raise a toast for those warriors next...
Marko: Without categorizing my greetings to Thyrfing, Ultima Thule, Midgårds Söner, Skyclad, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and the “big B”!

I know it´s always hard to predict the future, but what will be behind the next corner for the Moonsorrow -camp within a year? I bet you have already been pondering your next ´warplan´ at least a little bit as far as your musical crusade will continue from KIVENKANTAJA on toward the next year? Is there still something you would like to make musically with Moonsorrow - like trying out some totally new instruments and sounds in Moonsorrow?
Marko: As I said before we´re re-releasing SUDEN UNI with some serious bonus material for example two music videos, bonus song, and perhaps some live footage too. And totally new cover artwork as a crown. The new Moonsorrow album sees the day in the beginning of 2005 so I hope everybody into Epic Heathen Metal ™ can wait for that. It´s gonna crush!!!

Your music obviously isn´t meant for everyone, so I was wondering whether there are some countries there that are kind of tough to conquer by your very pompous ´Heathen Viking Metal´ symphonies?
Marko: Of course we have the most fans in the northern countries and in Europe and pretty much in the States too. Also I´ve received many emails from the South America. I guess there´s much to conquer but we´re not that kind of band. We do our shit and if somebody somewhere likes it, good...! We would love to play abroad Finland, but so far we haven´t been so lucky. Maybe next year...

Are some of these countries in question the ones you´d like to play live some day, too?
Marko: I´d like to play wherever.

Can you remember what´s the most hilarious and amusing thing you have been able to read about Moonsorrow during all these years? Something into vein of raping young girls onstage while you are performing or something alike?
Marko: The reviews of Moonsorrow albums in Close Up magazine! Try to find them and you know why, hah!

Well, I guess that´s all I can think of now. If there´s anything vitally worth-mentioning or anything you´d like to add to this interview about Moonsorrow that I may have left out of my questions, then feel free to answer. I, however, want to thank you guys for your time and wish you all the best with Moonsorrow in the future!! Thank you Marko and Ville; I raise a horn full of warrior´s nectar for you... kippis!!

Marko: Kiitti vitusti Luxi (jälleen kerran)! Lisää simaa...!!! Ville: Kiitti niin perkeleesti, ja sori että tähän vastailemiseen meni niin kauan... Enjoy the summer, it's only once in a year!

Holy Metal / May 2003

Link 1 | Link 2

Interview from Holy Metal (www.holymetal.it), May 2003

Answered by Marko Tarvonen

First of all, congratulations for your new album, I really liked it and I found it a big improvement from Voimasta Ja Kunniasta to it. But unfortunately I need to start with a boring question. Could you tell me more about history of Moonsorrow?

- Thanks alot! Here comes our history straigth from our website: (you can read it in the History section)

This time we can surely talk about a true viking metal album, influenced by Bathory but also from band like Finntroll, do you agree?

- Nah. You can call it viking metal if you want to but we call it Epic Heathen Metal. I don´t see any Finntroll influences in MS, some Bathory of course.

I seen, on your website, that you write a messagge in memory of Somnium. So I think there's a good relationship between you and Finntroll. Is it the same for other finnish band? Which are the ones you appreciated and why?

- Yes. Teemu was our good friend and we´ve very good relationship with all the other members too. There´s so many Finnish bands we´re friends with so it´s rather boring to list them.

I'm really interesting in folklore and popular tradition and it's really easy to find a lot of part that quote about this aspect in your music. Could you tell me more about finnish tradition?

- Finnish traditions today are in drinking booze and going to sauna. I don´t see many people interested in our history ancient pagan beliefs, craftsmanship or whatever...

Here in italy folklore is enclosed in museums and livin just throu some nostalgic clubs. How is situation there?

- Yes we have museums too (well who doesn´t?) and I know some members from the re-enactment groups who organize the middle age markets and spread the information from the good ol times. Of course we have some bands who play traditional folk music.

Now let's talk about Kivenkantaja. What's the meaning of this name and the meaning of cover album?

- Kivenkantaja means Stonebearer and it represents the whole burden of life itself (not the guy who carries the stones, heh!). We wanted this real rune stone pictured in the cover so we contacted this guild who make these stones just for hobby and they made it for us.

You choose to write your lyrics in Finnish, is it a way for consolidate your relationship with Finnish tradition? Could you explain to our readers what your lyrics talkin about?

- Of course. Finnish fits the best in Moonsorrow´s music (as we started in English but soon changed to Finnish) and it´s so beautiful language so why not. Translations can be found on the album covers or from our website.

What's your relationship with religion and nature? Are you pagan?

- I can say that every member in Moonsorrow is anti-christian. Some of us are more interested in paganism some less. Nature of course controls the human life, it´s the greatest factor and it must be respected. Otherwise we´re all doomed.

It's really hard for a writer to understand the true souls of a song, expecially when song is really complex like yours. So could you make a track by track review?

- Does the song have soul? Sorry... I´m a bit busy now...

What about production of the album? How much time you worked to this album?

- We worked very intensively with this album. We started writing the songs in summer 2002 and we spent one month in the studio Tico Tico in Nov/Dec 2002.

There is a thin line in a kind of music like viking metal (or folk-black metal, or any kind of description you prefere) between bands with a great ironic approach (I think about Finntroll or Die Apokalyptischen Reiter for example) and "serious" bands. What's Moonsorrow position and how much you believe in your music?

- I don´t see anything funny in MS nor I want to. We´ll leave the parody thing for others.

What can you tell me about a Moonsorrow show? Do you prefere an epic attitude or a more heavy approach? And when you will be in Italy, if you plan to go here?

- Well there´s a difference between the “studio Moonsorrow” and the “live Moonsorrow”. On stage we´re trying our best to arrange the songs for the live situation. It doesn´t sound exactly the same than on the album because there are only five guys on stage. On the album if you count every single instrument we´ve played we would need like 50 players on stage to produce the exact sound. We dont´want that and it´s of course quite impossible to manage. I think we sound much heavier and somehow brutal on stage.

Last question is just a curiosity: what Moonsorrow doin in their life? Do you live only with your music?

- We do everything else than living from our music. We have our day jobs, studies and families to take care of. So we´re living quite normal city life. Are you surprised? : )

Thanks for your attention, now you can read what do you want to our readers and your fans!

- Thanks for the intie and your support. Check out our website at www.moonsorrow.com

17.5.2003 MOONSORROW

Piuttosto deludente l'intervista con i Moonsorrow. Inizialmente si sarebbe dovuta svolgere con il cantante della band (piuttosto loquace anche via e-mail), poi purtroppo alcuni problemi hanno fatto sì che a rispondermi sia stato Marko Tarvonen, evidentemente poco propenso a curare il lato promozionale dei Moonsorrow. Ma tant'è, eccovi qui le sue risposte.

Prima di tutto congratulazioni per il vostro album. Mi è piaciuto veramente molto e ho notato un grosso passo avanti rispetto a Voimasta Ja Kunniasta. Sfortunatamente devo iniziare con una domanda noiosa. Puoi dirmi qualcosa sulla storia dei Moonsorrow?
Intanto ti ringrazio per i complimenti!
La saga dei Moonsorrow inizia alla fine del 1995, quando i cugini Sorvali, Henri e Ville, si uniscono con l'idea di creare un gruppo folk-epic metal. Quasi subito hanno registrato il primo demo, "Thorns of Ice". Misteriosamente metà del materiale registrato è scomparso dopo la registrazione così il materiale è rimasto irrealizzato. Nella primavera del 1997 esce il primo demo ufficiale "Metsa", un grande esempio di epic metal che ha avuto buone risposte da parte del pubblico. Dopo Metsa un promo senza titolo venne registrato ma visto che non era considerato all'altezza non venne mai pubblicato. All'inizio del 99 abbiamo registrato "Tama Ikuinen Talvi" e firmato un contratto con la Plasmatica Records. Nello stesso periodo sono entrato nella band come batterista. Uno dei sogni della band era realizzare finalmente un disco e quell'anno registrammo "Suden Uni", che consolidò ancora di più il sound dei Moonsorrow, epic pagan folk metal. Nel frattempo, per completare la line-up si aggiunsero Mitja Harvilahti e Lord Euren, così riuscimmo a suonare anche il nostro primo live.
Dopo aver concluso il contratto con la Plasmatica Records abbiamo cercato una nuova etichetta, trovandola nella Spikefarm Records. Con loro abbiamo registrato Voimasta Ja Kunniasta il 26 novembre 2001. L'album è un vero e proprio attacco di epic metal che è entrato nel cuore dei nostri fans e ha convinto la stampa. L'album è stato anche supportato da una serie di date dal vivo. Il passo successivo è stato quello di entrare negli storici Tico Tico Studios e iniziare a registrare Kivenkataja. Ci abbiamo messo 3 settimane di duro lavoro, ma alla fine il disco era completo. Henri ha introdotto elementi vintage, come i sintetizzatori moogs e gli hammonds che hanno dato ancora più sapore alle nostre canzoni.

Questa volta possiamo sicuramente parlare di un disco di vero Viking Metal, influenzato da Bathory ma anche da band come i Finntroll. Sei d'accordo?
Non proprio. Tu puoi chiamarlo Vikin Metal se vuoi, noi lo chiamiamo Epic Heathen Metal. L'influenza di Bathory c'è sicuramente, quella dei Finntroll non direi..

Ho visto nel vostro sito che avete scritto un messaggio in memoria di Somnium (il chitarrista dei Finntroll morto alcune settimane fa). Penso ci sia un buon rapporto tra voi e i Finntroll quindi. E'lo stesso con altre band finlandesi?
Sì, Teemu era un nostro grande amico e abbiamo un buon rapporto con gli altri membri dei Finntroll. Abbiamo molti amici anche in altri gruppi, ma sono talmente tanti che sarebbe noioso scriverli tutti quanti.

Sono particolarmente interessato al folklore e alle tradizioni popolari e ho trovato molti richiami a questo aspetto nella vostra musica. Cosa puoi dirmi riguardo al folklore finlandese?
Attualmente la tradizione finlandese si riduce alle sbornie da alcool e andare in una sauna..Non vedo molto interesse qui nelle nostre antiche tradizioni pagane, nell'artigianato locale o qualunque cosa simile.(Più continuo a riflettere su questa risposta e più mi chiedo cosa mai volesse dirmi..)

Qui in Italia il folklore è rinchiuso nei musei e rivive giusto attraverso qualche club di nostalgici. Com'è la tradizione lì?
Ovviamente anche qui abbiamo dei musei (chi non ne ha?) e so che ci sono molte organizzazioni che organizzano mercatini medievali e diffondono le informazioni sulla nostra tradizione. E poi abbiamo alcune band che suonano musica folk tradizionale.

Ora parliamo del nuovo album, Kivenkantaja. Qual'è il significato del nome e della copertina del disco?
Kivenkantaja significa "Portatore di pietre" e rappresenta l'intero peso della vita (non il ragazzo che porta le pietre heh!). Per la copertina volevamo questa vera runa, disegnata su una roccia e così abbiamo contattato una corporazione che fa questo per hobby e lorol'hanoo disegnata per noi.

Avete scelto di scrivere i vostri testi in finlandese. E'un modo per consolidare la votra relazione con la tradizione finlandese? Puoi spiegare ai nostri lettori di cosa parlano i testi?
Certamente, il finlandese si sposa nel migliore dei modi con la musica dei Moonsorrow (avevamo iniziato scrivendo testi in inglese ma abbiamo cambiato molto presto e abbiamo cominciato a scrivere nella nostra lingua) e poi è un linguaggio così bello, quindi perchè non usarlo? La traduzione dei nostri testi in inglese potete trovarli sia nel booklet del disco che nel nostro sito ufficiale.

Qual'è il vostro rapporto con la religione e la natura? Siete pagani?
Posso dirti che tutti i membri dei Moonsorrow sono anti-cristiani. Qualcuno di noi è più interessato al paganesimo, altri meno. La natura certamente controlla la vita umana, è la cosa più importante e deve essere rispettata. Comunque sia siamo tutti condannati..

E'piuttosto difficile capire la vera anima di una canzone, specialmente quando sono complesse come le vostre. Potresti commentarci il vostro album traccia per traccia?
Le canzoni hanno un'anima? Mi dispiace non penso di poterti rispondere..(E chi mi dovrebbe rispondere?)

Cosa puoi dirmi sulla produzione del disco? Quanto tempo avete lavorato a questo disco?
Abbiamo lavorato molto intensamente alla realizzazione del disco, iniziando a scrivere le canzoni nell'estate del 2002. Poi abbiamo passato un mese nei Tico Tico studios, a novembre-dicembre, sempre del 2002.

C'è una sottile linea, in un genere come il Viking Metal (o Folk Metal), che divide band con un approccio ironico come i Finntroll o i Die Apokalyptischen Reiter e le band "serie. Qual'è la posizione dei Moonsorrow?
Non c'è nulla di divertente nella nostra musica. Preferiamo lasciare le parodie agli altri..

Cosa puoi dirmi riguardo ai vostri live? Preferite un attitudine epic o uno più heavy? Avete in programma di suonare anche qui in Italia?
Beh, c'è una differenza tra i Moonsorrow "da studio" e i Moonsorrow "da palco". On stage proviamo ad arrangiare nel migliore dei modi le nostre canzoni adattandole alla situazione live. Come puoi immaginare, dal vivo le nostre canzoni suonano in modo diverso rispetto all'album perchè noi siamo solo in 5 sul palco e se conti ogni singolo strumento presente sul disco ti accorgi che dovremmo essere almeno in 50 per avere lo stesso sound. Non vogliamo questo e poi sarebbe logicamente impossibile da organizzare. Penso che il nostro suono dal vivo sia molto più heavy e in qualche modo anche brutale, dal vivo.

L'ultima domanda è più che altro una curiosità : cosa fanno i Moonsorrow nella vita di tutti i giorni? Vivete soltanto con la vostra musica?
Facciamo tutt'altro che vivere con la nostra musica. Abbiamo i nostri lavori, i nostri studi e dobbiamo occuparci delle nostre famiglie. Viviamo una normalissima vita cittadina. Sei sorpreso? :-)

Grazie per l'attenzione, lascio a te l'ultima parola!
Grazie a te per l'intervista e per il supporto che ci hai dato! Veniteci a trovare sul nostro sito,

Pure Holocaust / March 2003


Answered by Mitja Harvilahti

1.- Tell us something about Finnland. Which costumes do you have, are they different from the rest of the european countries?

Good question for a start!! My knowledge on clothing and costumes is very limited but i´ll try to get to the point: Finland is a fucking cold country, so our historical costumes are thick and warm. When people in Samoan Ilands wear some bikini kind of stuff made of hay and flowers, we´ll have to wear fur and layered clothes. I guess every country has its own way to dress but i´m not too familiar with that stuff. Gotta go to museum to check it out..

2.- How is your new work "Kivenkantaja"?

Kivenkantaja is Bigger, Better, and more folkish than its predecessors "voimasta Ja Kunniasta" and "suden Uni". It´s very epic and there is a strong melancholic atmosphere through the album. Songs are even longer than before and there are new elements musicwise and other to find. You´ll be surprised perhaps.

3.- What do you expect from Moonsorrow with "Kivenkantaja"? What do you want to say?

I don´t want to expect anything really. the more it succeedes the better it feels, so i don´t set any goals for our succes. I only know how much we worked for this album and i know that people can hear it when they listen to it. As far as i´ve heard, people have liked it very much. Because this album is more progressive, and in a way more difficoult to listen than V&K, i thought it would get some negative critique from those who like the faster stuff. But only very positive response so far.

4.- Tell us about your new album "Kivenkantaja", its theme, technics, time of recording and some anecdotes.

"Kivenkantaja" (Stonebearer) is a melancholic album. It´s theme is mostly about anger and sorrow expressed in a very poetic "Moonsorrow" way. It was recorded at very famous Tico-Tico studio in Freezingly cold town called Kemi in the southern Lapland. The actual recording process including mixing took some 3 weeks, wich was just about enough for us. There are often more than 100 tracks in one song and truckloads of instruments, so we are very lucky to have such an experienced engineer as Ahti Kortelainen is to work with us. We did alot experimenting with different instruments and sounds before going to studio, so we didn´t have to mess with them there. My favourite instrument on this album is so called "polkuharmooni" a traditional harmonium that you can hear at the end of the song "jumalten kaupunki".

5.- Looking back to the last works of Moonsorrow, are you satisfied?

Yes i´m very satisfied. there have been alot of development on every record and we have improved our sound and consept every time and still there is nothing to be ashamed of.

6.- Talking about the recovering of your culture, is it something that becomes with family, the school, the state?

I guess all of those are important. Finland might be the most americanized country in europe, but i think our traditions still stick in us surprisingly well. There are so many levels in recovery of culture like arts and music. The most important thing is to realize that we have something important in our culture to take care of and develop instead of worshipping the big wheel of globalization.

7.- What do you think of you being stigmatized as nazi? What's your opinion about this political thoughts?

What's your opinion about this political thoughts? This is one question that pops up very often for some reason. Usually i ignore this because i don´t want to mix music and politics with this band. First of all, I hope I´m NOT stigmatized as a nazi. And why would i be? There is no nazism whatsoever in my ideology or in Moonsorrow´s ideology. Why would i respect those who stole the ancient peaceful symbols (swastika, suncross) and turned them into the symbols of murder and facism? Why would i respect those who caused so much devastation in Scandinavia and even killed some of my relatives that were only civilians? Being proud of your roots and cultural heritage doesen´t make anybody a nazi.

8.- How do you think "Kivenkantaja" will reach your fans?

Quite well i think. We have a better distribution this time, so there are more potential record stores and listeners.

9.- What is the relation between "Kivenkantaja" and the rest of Moonsorrow's works?

Kivenkantaja is a kind of a new page in Moonsorrow´s saga. "Voimasta ja kunniasta" was clearly a consept album and "kivenkantaja" continues from where V&K ended.

10.- Has it been good or bad for you to make your music so similar to Finntroll and Ensiferum?

We don´t make our music intentionally similar to those bands. We are part of the same genre. We all have elements incommon like folk-music wich is the solid base for all these bands, but we all have our own style. Ensiferum for example is much more power metal oriented than we are. And Finntroll is more humorous and "humppa"(style of folk music in Finland) influenced. But yes, we have supported each other very much, so in that way it has been good to have bands with similar style in Finland.

11.- What do you think about your music getting as far as Southamerica and so well being?

I´m simply amazed about it!

Since we sing in Finnish, it sounds funny to me that we sell most of our records abroad. I´m just grateful and proud of it.

12.- The first works of Moonsorrow were Black Metal, but nowadays that style is going away and you're nearest to Viking Metal, why is that?

Hard to say. I think it was very natural to go this way because this folk "thing" gave an exrta egde to our sound and lyrics. Pure black metal jus wasn´t the thing that came out from moonsorrow. And of course these pagan themes are very important to us.

13.- Which bands have influenced you in all of your works?

Oh well, bands like Bathory of course. Enslaved have also been influental, as well as some other scandinavian Folk and metal bands, but one very important band in our all albums have been King Crimson and few other proge bands. Now with Kivenkantaja you can hear their influence clearer than ever.

14.- What are the lyrics about, nordic mythology and something else?

The lyrics are very poetic and usually fictional but sometimes roughly linked to some historical event. The lyrics are not usually based on some certain mythology anymore. Ville Sorvali who writes the lyrics is a very talented writer and he really manages to deliver the pagan mood and strong atmosphere that are needed in Moonsorrow´s music.To me it´s quite hard to tell what the lyrics are all about but i see them as mythical and epic tales from the times when myths were alive and christianity hadn´t been rooted in our soil.

15.- Have you ever played live, if it is so, How was the audience reception?

Audience have been extremely good for us for the last 2 years, and it still shocks me everytime when people sing along in our gigs and bang their heads insanely. Nothing can beat the feeling of being onstage. Not even sex!

16.- If you've played live, have you done it only in Finnland or other countries of Europe too?

So far we only have played in Finland, but hopefully we get gigs abroad someday soon.

17.- Typical question, Do you know something about Chile?

Well of course i do! I even have some friends from chile. I hope to get there someday and see the mountains and drink too much chilean vine!

18.- Finally. Some words to Moonsorrow fans.

Stay Pagan listen to metal and drink mead! See you on tour or in Walhalla! Check out our website www.moonsorrow.cjb.net to get Henri´s recipe for the ultimate WAR MEAD!

Crimson Dawn / December 2002

Link 1 - Link 2

Answered by Henri Sorvali

Interview with Henri Urponpoika Sorvali (Moonsorrow) 16.12.2002

Text: CaT & Kris

C&K: As far as we know,the band was recently in studio recording the new album, so what's the name of it and how many tracks it includes? (if it's not a secret :)

Henri: The name of the album is called "Kivenkantaja", which stands for "Stonebearer" in English. It was actually mastered today (today is 16th of December 2002 :) - Kris), thus making it absolutely complete, fokken majestic and EPIC as Hell!!!!!! The album will contain 6 tracks, and the total running time is 53:48, so we're not exactly try to challenge old Napalm Death here, heh.

C&K: Where was the album recorded and how long did it take? Any funny crap happened while recording session? :)

Henri: The album was recorded in Tico-Tico studios in Kemi, north Finland, as usual. We were so satisfied with Ahti's engineering skills, as well as a person, of course, that we didn't see any other options when choosing the studio. It took us 11 days to play everything and 4 days to mix it. It was pretty hard job, as we had something like 70-90 tracks on each song, but we made it after all!

Any funny crap? Shitloads, including lots of beer... (Whenever there is beer, there is funny crap, as you might know ;) And of course Autopsy's "Mental Funeral" is always listened at full volume in Moonsorrow-crew's parties! Check the studio-diary out from our webpages, at http://hem.passagen.se/metalmusique/moon/moonsorrow_studiodiary.html and find out, why did Ville fight some imaginary dragons, how badly we thrashed the hotel-lounge or why yours truly was trying to find someone particular to get him beaten into a pulp in a bar at 3:30 am.!

C&K: What was the source of inspiration for this album? Is there any special concept or theme on the new album?

Henri: For me, the inspiration came pretty much from "older" records this time, as I was basically only listening to classical film scores, Richard Wagner's various works as well as Rick Wakeman's solo albums and old Folk music. So I really wasn't so keen on metal as a "musical inspiration" (which actually has never been my mug of mead, as I really don't listen to any music in order to get inspired to compose something similar...as long as we are speaking about the passion in making music and not the job.) What it comes to Marko, or "Baron", if you prefer, he was,as far as I know, inspired mostly by old prog such as Rick Wakeman and ELP, and metal such as Bathory or Iron Maiden. And I think that these influences can be heard in the forthcoming album, too. For the concept or theme I really can't say anything, as they are Ville's things.... I just make music. :)

C&K: Do you think that Moonsorrow's style changed on the new album?

Henri: Yes and no. We still are the same band that produced "Suden Uni", or Hel, even "Metsä"-demo, but by all means, I could never have dreamt of using Mellotrons of Moogs in our music back then, although we have always found them extremely interesting and cool instruments, as we all have listened to 70's prog for very long. However, I'd say we definitely carry the same concept, ideas and ideals, but now musically expressed in more "mature" and "daring" way, as we didn't want to go for the "safe" way, so to say. And of course in my opinion we have always had this bombastic "more is more"-attitude for what it comes to the arrangements, heh.

C&K: Will we have a pleasure of hearing the drunk vikings choir doing the backing vocals again? :) And maybe some interesting guest appearances?

Henri: Yes, and this time there are way more of them! On the choir-side, guest appearances are pretty limited this time, as the Thyrane-guys (who basically are the Kemi-scene, if not counting the trendy faggots from Sonata Arctica *spit* ) had to be in Savonlinna for recording their upcoming (godly) album, but of course there was our "official drunken Viking" Janne Perttilä again. He's very good and professional singer, so he adds some real singing in our quasimusical howling, heheh. Also Lord Eurén took a plane from Helsinki to participate on the choirs, as well as our Swedish webmaster Stefan and his brother Robert came to shout and clap their hands.
What it comes to other visitors, we have Hittavainen from Shaman playing some fiddle in three songs and an old friend of mine singing the last song.

C&K: Who'll do/has already done the cover art?

Henri: The cover art was made by a certain group who are specialized on that certain kind of ancient art. I won't reveal here how it will look like, as it's going to be a surprise, but I can assure that if you're into the Viking age, you will most likely like it!

C&K: Is it planned to release the album outside Finland and if it's possible to define, when? 'cause in most cases Europe gets albums at least with 2 months delay from the Finnish release and we all envy you damn much. :)

Henri: Of course! And trust me, it won't take something like two months, if counting on Spinefarm's way of taking care of things.They are fast and professional in these matters.

C&K: Do you have something like a tour or at least a couple of festival appearances outside Finland in mind?

Henri: Actually, I don't know. There has been discussion about a small tour inside Finland with Ajattara and some other (maybe foreign) band, but I don't think we're going to tour outside Finland's borders. But of course single gigs can be arranged abroad, be it a festival-appearance or just a single club-gig with some other bands. The problem is, that, as we're not so big band, the organizators are not willing to pay us much, but we can't either afford to go to a gig if we don't get all the expences paid. It's frustrating to go play a gig just to loose money, you know. Trust me, as we're all pretty experienced on this matter...

C&K: In your opinion, can the fact that you sing in Finnish become an obstacle when promoting the band in other countries?

Henri: Has Burzum, Enslaved, Horna or every second Norwegian band had any obstacles caused by their performing language? ;) Besides, I think that it's more like a bonus if you play Pagan metal and use in your native language in the lyrics and the titles. And of course there is this certain fact about no-one ever getting any sense from the vocalist's growls and screechs anyway, heh.

C&K: Are you going to make a promovideo from this album? If yes, what would your dream video look like a clip with some story behind it or just band playing?

Henri: A video would be nice, but as our songs are not the shortest around, it would pretty frustrating to edit the songs to last for 4-5 minutes, as they tend to lose their musical meaning then in my opinion. If we ever did one, though, it must be done very professionally and good-looking. This kind of band has all the elements of failuring the video lurking behind, as there is a very fine line between "pompous and dramatic" and "pathetic and laughable". If I could choose, it wouldn't be a "story" but more like a scenario, or "sum" of the story of the song. And of course it would include forests, castles, horses, swords, battles, fire, and things like that with no guitars etc. at all. Now imagine how easy it would be to turn a great, Ýberpompous video-idea into a massive pile of world's most pathetic crap a'la Grave Digger or Rhapsody. Got the point? ;)

C&K: Which bands you would most of all like to tour with?

Henri: I would love to tour with Bal-Sagoth, as they are one of my favourite bands and most likely are a killer band on stage. Also Thyfing would be really nice, as they are our friends and make some fokken great music! From the Finnish scene, a tour with Ajattara, Ensiferum (they are pretty known as very good and energetic live band) or maybe Thyrane would be nice.

C&K: Is it possible one day to hear Moonsorrow taking part in somebody's tribute album? What kind of tribute would that be?

Henri: First of all, I'd really like to express my humble opinion about the fact that 99% of the "tributes" aren't nothing else but a lame excuse to copy the tributed band as closely as you can. And I mean, why? Have you ever heard a Motörhead tribute album? If yes, can you please explain me why almost all the bands and especially the singers are desperately trying to sound exactly like Lemmy and co.? I think, that when you make a cover song, it is a shame to not put something your own into it. For example, Terra Firma's version of MotÆrhead's "Bomber" is incredible, 70's styled killer hippie song. (!!!!) Bathory's "Ace of Spades" sounds like it was written by Quorthon himself. Oh, you get the point. What I was trying to say, that no, you really can't see us tributing half-heartedly some old band with our "version" of their song, the only difference being screechy vocals and some synth. If we do a cover-version, it must sound like US. Period. And thus the opportunity to see us on some lame umpteenth Venom- or Metallica-tribute album is pretty much close to zero, unless there is a song we really want to do in our style.

C&K: I know that most of the metal bands become really annoyed when being compared to some other bands. What does Moonsorrow think of all that?

Henri: We don't, as long as anyone doesn't compare us to Finntroll, which irritates us (and especially me) pretty much. Of course there are some similarities, but Finntroll is WAY more "joyous" music than Moonsorrow, and it irritates us a lot if someone finds too much joy or happiness from Moonsorrow's music, as I personally think us as a very gloomy and "dark side of the folk-music"-kind of band. Well, this shall be fixed as soon as Kivenkantaja will be released, heh. Anyway, comparisons with Bathory or Bal-Sagoth are not so "far", but in the end I think that at least with this upcoming album we have most definitely found our own style. To sum this up; People can compare our music to Elton John for what I care, because it really has nothing to do with our own opinions, whether they find resemblances with A-ha or Cannibal Corpse.

C&K: Was there any special story behind making the complete Suden Uni album available for download at mp3.com?

Henri: Yes. That Peruvian bastard no-business-talent-whatsoever Carlos from Plasmatica Records (spit on him) took an extra pressing of the "Suden Uni"-album without telling us anything, to flee away for paying the royalties. (What a dishonourable subhuman.) We found this out, and mailed the fucking retard to send our payment immediately, or we will come and visit him with some baseball bats. He kept promising and promising, "yes, I send you money" for over a month and finally, when nothing (surprisingly) happened, we put the "Suden Uni" to the internet for free download, because we thought that people want to hear and buy the album but because of Carlos they can't, so let's put it into a free download and simultaneously show Carlos that "if we don't get our money, you won't get any profits either". We're mostly likely getting rid of him soon anyway, as he has violated so many parts of the deal that we can pretty surely sue his poor ass and have the legal rights to the album all by ourselves. Besides, this unloyal cunt owes us 2000 euros, so there really are millions of reasons why this unprofessional dick should be beaten into a pulp and get his money.
Happy for the explanation? :)

C&K: What do you think of all so-called fantasy metal bands?

Henri: It depends pretty much of the band. Some bands, like Summoning, Heresiarh or Bal-Sagoth can escape the ridiculousness as they do a great job with their stuff, but unfortunately there are some too many "Tolkien-inspired" bands, who pour their musical crap into the recording industry, playing those a-thousand-times-heard-so-called-medieval-melodies with drum-machine and singing about Sauron and the Uruk-Hai, trying dramatically to sound as much Summoning as possible. Besides, fantasy is most often situated in the Power Metal scene, and I really can't stand that cheesy crap. :)

C&K: Can we expect Moonsorrow playing at summer festivals in 2003 in Finland?

Henri: Most likely, but at this time of the year it's pretty impossible to predict anything.

C&K: The question I always wanted to ask (hihi) Is that an absolute necessity for the pagan to be evil or it's just for metalscene and a common pagan is as mean as a teddybear? :)

Henri: Heh, I get your point. However, Paganism has nothing to do with the concept of Christian, or any kind of "evil". It's more about things like honour, harmony, enjoying of life and being yourself. I, for example am propably as mean as a teddybear (with similar outlooks, hih), as I have never found the "celebration of supreme evil" or whatever to be intelligent enough. The whole concept of being a walking asshole isn't based on any religion anyway. :) Why to be "good" or "evil" when you can just be yourself? As much as I hate Christian "goody-two-shoes"-attitude, I despise even more
the "evil" attitude. It's just plain stupidity. We all have our nice and mean sides.

C&K: When you're on stage, do you look at the audience? If yes, what is more pleasant to see cute girls in the first row or moshing big men? :)

Henri: Of course! I think that the band must have contact with the audience, as nothing is more lame than see a band on stage who just keep on staring their instruments or the floor. We try to have that contact with the audience, as the both parties enjoy it. For the latter part of the question; I actually prefer "big men" in the first row as our music is very powerful, somehow violent and requires an audience who is metaphorically kinda "similar" to it. Then again, if I played in The Back Passage Boys or whatsoever, it would be most embarrassing to see those long-haired men in the front row. It all depends on the music. ;)

C&K: Does Moonsorrow already have crazy fans who stand at the front of your houses crying for autographs? :)

Henri: Luckily no. I prefer privacy extremely much, and can't even stand any ass-lickers or idiots, who think we're so great because we have this band. People who don't know us as persons, people who don't realize that we would do this even we didn't have a record deal. So I really strongly dislike the concept of the word "fan", if it has something to do with non-musical things. Besides, we have sold like 7000 albums so far, so I don't think there are any crazy Japanese fans in the near future standing in our front yards, heh.

C&K: Have you already decided what you wanna get as a Christmas present?

Henri: The ultimate present would a huge sack of peace of mind, with some additional good literature. And maybe a new calendar would be nice.

C&K: Now the finale :) We thank you veeeeery much for the interview and waiting either for Moonsorrow coming here to play or we will come to Finland ourselves! We're leaving this final point to you, you're allowed to ask us smth equally stupid to the interview or/and say some cool and clever stuff to people who will (maybe?) read all that :)

Henri: I tried really hard to invent a really stupid question, but it didn't seem to go very well, as I couldn't come up with anything. :( Anyway, thanks for the interview, and KEEP ON ROTTING IN THE FREE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Metal Daze / 2002


Answered by Ville Sorvali

Tell us a little about the lyrics on your newest album Voimasta ja Kunniasta (Of Strength and Honour). Does the songs follow a common storyline?

- Yes, there is a story behind the lyrics. However, it does not entirely progress in the direction of the music, but there are glimpses of the whole scattered along the way. The main character of the album is a warrior who dies fighting for his village, and the innermost wisdom of the lyrical concept lies in the words 'strength' and 'honour'. Rest assured I hope everyone to construct his/her own story on this foundation, because, after all, the aim is to entertain.

What made you write all your songs in finnish?

- Honesty, willingness to pay homage to our Finnish roots, a poet's desire to find the most comprehensive form of expression. The music we play requires Finnish-written lyrics, but for the sake of all foreign listeners, I promise to trouble myself with a proper English translation every time.

Have you played in any other bands besides Moonsorrow?

- Certainly, however I reckon most of them being only projects of no seriousness whatsoever; after all, I'm constantly just seeking for new channels of expression. The actual bands I currently hassle with besides Moonsorrow are May Withers and Amoral.

What do you think about the present metal-scene? Do you feel that it's easy or hard for a band such as yours to reach a bigger audience?

- The present metal scene is pretty ok, if you ask me (oh yes how banal). A relatively narrow corner has now been generally accepted, but no, the "true" underground spirit of metal will never die. Metal seldom reaches a bigger audience, and I really don't think that your local Moonsorrow would ever be among the most popular bands. Our current sales can be counted in thousands anyway.

You like to call your music Epic Heathen Metal so what do you think about the badly used definition Viking Metal?

- Firstly, I think the term "viking metal" has been inflated and overly corrupted, with 90% of the bands not knowing shit of what they're talking about. Secondly, our concept is not "viking" but more generally heathen, involving a wider spectrum of traditions and beliefs. And yes, it is also important to emphasize the word 'epic' here.

What's your all time favourite album and latest record purchase?

- Aww it's impossible to pick one album and raise it above all the others... Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" initiated me into metal, but also Slayer's "Reign in Blood" and Bathory's "Hammerheart" in turn adjusted the direction of my life on a vast scale; and all in all there must be a dozen albums I look upon as classics. My latest actual purchase was Cruachan's "The Middle Kingdom". I know I should've bought it when it was released, but luckily I found this second-handed digipak of a total mint condition now.

Who are your musical rawmodels?

- There are quite many of those I look upon with great respect, but even though some of them might be real virtuosos, none of them have so much impressed me with their skill than with the very feeling that is present within their performance. The bass players that have influenced me the most are Tony Levin, Steve DiGiorgio and Nocturno Culto, and two of my many favourite vocalists are Mikael Åkerfeldt and Håkan Hemlin. Quorthon has obviously influenced me in crafting epics.

Who do you prefer, Blind Guardian or Lord Belial?

- Neither. I have to admit I don't particularly enjoy the music of either band, yet it seems that the genre represented by Lord Belial can still give me slightly more than the genre of Blind Guardian. Even though all talk about "genres" only annoys me in the end...

Metal Daze thanks Ville and wishes he and all the other guys in Moonsorrow good luck in the future.


Daemonstration webzine / Spring 2002


Answered by Ville Sorvali


Heathen hails! This is Ville Seponpoika Sorvali speaking, and on behalf on Moonsorrow I declare it to be an honour to be included in the company of Daemonstration webzine!


Moonsorrow came to existence in late 1995 by me and Henri Urponpoika Sorvali, after which we recorded four demo tapes and released two of them ("Metsä" in 1997 and "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" in 1999). In the spring of 1999 Plasmatica Records signed us, we started working on our debut album and, later on, three more members joined Moonsorrow. The rest of the legend you'll hear in the next question.


The first one was "Suden Uni", recorded in early 2000 and eventually released in 2001. After that we moved our camp to Spikefarm Records and released our second album "Voimasta ja Kunniasta", also in 2001. In between of these two albums Sagitarius Productions only released a rework of our last demo "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi", so we actually don't yet have three albums in our discography, only two. Our both albums will deliver you the most epic metal you've heard for a while; heavy, pagan-spirited and with ever-increasing progressive elements. For a lot faster interpretation of the same basic idea, there is "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi".


What you just mentioned is a major influential source indeed, but how could our creativeness be limited to that? We are also influenced by nature, literature, human life and, quite evidently, other musical works.


It all dwells in our hearts. We are proud of our heathen ancestors and this is our homage to their enduring spirit.


We do have our kindred souls, but not all of them are inside the musical circles. Anyway we are in good terms with most of the bands we know; the scene in Finland is desicively honest and musicians support each other.


But of course we have something new to offer. We do follow established traditions, but we are very passionate of doing it all our own way. Someday the world will experience the most epic metal ever done and that will be our ultimate achievement.


We have two festival shows this summer, and in November we will start recording our third opus. Other than that, I can't tell. May the legend continue...


Thank you, friend, for this noble interview. May the gods be with you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Metal Guide / May 2002


Answered by Ville Sorvali

1) Congratulations for your latest album. Tell us all the latest news from the band.

Thank you. The latest news is that we haven't done anything special with Moonsorrow lately. We've played a couple of gigs and the next booked one ought to be in July. There is no pressure (yet) to write material for our next album or anything, so we rather relax when we can.

2) How long do you exist as a band, and which were the previous musical experiences of the band members?

Moonsorrow was formed in 1995, and with this line-up it has functioned since 2000. All of us had our musical backgrounds before Moonsorrow, but there are no specific projects to mention. Henri has had the most musical education of us, whereas I haven't studied music (almost) at all.

3) How would you describe the sound of Moonsorrow to those that haven't heard you before?

Epic heathen metal. That should say it all and the rest is up to the listeners. To ease the task, think of Bathory and Braveheart and you'll get the picture.

4) What do the lyrics talk about and who writes them? Which are your favorite lyrics subjects?

The lyrics deal with various subjects from a heathen point of view. I am responsible for (the most of) them. Generally speaking, "Voimasta ja Kunniasta" is a conceptual album around such themes as battle, treachery, nature, life, death... and strength and honour. I don't know if there's a favourite subject for me, but all of the stuff I write is close to my heart, otherwise I wouldn't write about it.

5) How do you write the music and the lyrics of the new songs? Is there a team effort or anyone comes up with new ideas or songs?

Usually it is Henri or Baron who brings the main ideas of the songs, and then Henri pre-arranges them on his computer. The ideas are discussed among the band and the best ones will eventually develop into complete musical pieces. I write the lyrics when I get inspired by the music. The team effort steps into the picture at the point of arranging, in which we all take part simultaneously.

6) You have used many strange instruments and techniques, such as mouth harp, accordion or handclaps. How easy was to "marry" this Epic atmosphere, with the aggressive music and those instruments? How easy would it be when it comes to live performances?

All of these instruments are a natural part of our arrangements, we haven't forced anything to sound, so there have been no difficulties whatsoever. If something sounds like it could use some accordion, we will arrange accordion to the part, and if something doesn't sound like it could use some accordion, we will not arrange accordion to it. In live situations we are far more stripped to the core, as we only have the basic instruments available, and so the live arrangements naturally differ from studio arrangements. We never try to reconstruct the album atmosphere in live situations, we will generate a live atmosphere instead.

7) You have the lyrics and the album title in Finnish. Do you believe that the atmosphere and the mood of the album is expressed better in Finnish or in English?

The atmosphere is definitely expressed better in Finnish. Finnish is the language of Moonsorrow (despite of the English title). Consider it from any point of view you wish to consider it from, but we are a Finnish band and the themes require Finnish as the language.

8) Which is the reaction of the fans in your live shows? You prefer playing in smaller clubs or bigger stadiums and why?

The latest live shows of Moonsorrow have been very successful, and by this I don't mean they would've been sold out. For example, last month we played for about 20 people, but the atmosphere was just so great that I couldn't ask for any better. A successful gig depends quite much on the audience itself, not on the number of people present. It doesn't matter where you play, what matters is that for whom you play.

9) What had the fans and the press had to say about the new album?

The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, which has surprised us quite a lot. We never thought people could like the album as much as they do, but what the heck, of course we are happier this way. The support we have got builds a solid foundation for the process of making the next album.

10) Which are your influences as a band and as individuals? Which was your first experience with Metal music?

As a band Moonsorrow is primarily influenced by Bathory, Finnish folk music and the spirit of metal. As for individual influences, I can only speak on my behalf. Besides Bathory, my favourites include Iron Maiden, Slayer, King Crimson, Slayer, Darkthrone, Nordman, Pan.Thy.Monium and many many others. I mostly enjoy metal and folk music, but there are bands to my liking in various other genres as well. My first experience of metal was an Iron Maiden song aired on MTV in 1988. I was literally swept away by the atmosphere of that song, and that moment changed my life permanently.

11) What has made you decide to become a musician and a band member?

Music has always meant a lot to me. I definitely do not consider myself a musical person, but I was interested in playing (and creating) music at a young age and coincidences followed. I formed my first band in 1993 just for the sake of having fun and expressing myself, and since then I have continuously been involved in various musical projects. Once again I got swept away and now I'm afraid I couldn't live without it anymore. I don't expect money or fame, I just play because I love it.

12) Which was your first Metal album, and which is the all time classic album that you still like to hear on your free time?

My first metal albums were Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and the entire catalogue of Metallica until the black album. I bought them in 1991 if I remember correctly. There are many all time classics in my record collection, and I listen to them on a regular basis, for example Slayer's "Reign in Blood", Bathory's viking albums and (almost) every single Iron Maiden.

13) Some of the bigger names of Metal are from Finland. How do you explain that the Metal scene in Finland is growing so fast?

That is true, and I have often wondered how did it happen. It's not enough that something down here must inspire these bands, but something 'up there' must also pay attention to them!

14) How do you feel about the Internet and the way that bands can promote themselves easily, but also their music can be ripped twice as easily?

Oh, the internet thing. It's a double-edged sword, you know. On the other hand it's good and on the other hand not; you just explained why. I download recorded material only for the sake of checking it out, and if it's good, I'll go out and buy the album. I just wish everyone could remember that if they don't support the music, there is a big chance that there won't be more of that music for long.

15) Ok guys, we wish you the best. The last words of this interview belong to you.

Thank you for showing your support for Moonsorrow! Raise your sword in the name of metal, pledge to the gods and drink a lot of mead!!!

Interview by Vic Tzougrakis

Monday, June 6, 2011

Voices from the dark side / May 2002

Link 1 - Link 2

Answered by Ville Sorvali

MOONSORROW were started in autumn 1995 by the Sorvali cousins Henri and Ville. After the release of two demos and an album back in 2000 entitled “Suden Uni”, they released their latest heathen-hearted opus “Voimasta Ja Kunniasta” on Spikefarm Records. This album was reason enough to contact Ville Seponpoika Sorvali, the vocalist and bass-player of Moonsorrow to get a more detailed picture of what MOONSORROW stands for. And I have not been disappointed…

Heilsa Ville! How are you today?

"Heathen hails to you, Nhashi! It's a sunny day outside and I'm listening to "Hell Awaits" by SLAYER so I'm definitely fine, thank you."

Your second album is out for half a year now. All reviews I got to know on "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" were very positive. What kind of reactions did you expect when you had finished the album? Are you still satisfied with the album or is there something you would have changed?

"We could never have expected such a positive response for "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta", that's for sure. "Suden Uni" was much more straight-forward in all aspects, and we were afraid if our audience would have a hard time accepting such an epic and progressive album as "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" is. However people seem to appreciate what we've done, and that is good because we appreciate it ourselves. Of course there are bits and pieces on "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" for all of us that are not entirely satisfying, but then again, what would there be left to be done after a perfect album?"

Whose ideas were the photos in the CD?

"The idea was collectively processed within the band - we wanted to bring the concept of the whole album to the uttermost perfection."

I am simply asking because in my opinion these pictures look rather dull and are the only negative point on your release. Have not too many people used an overdose of artificial blood? I personally think your pictures would fit better to a Hollywood movie than to a pagan album, but I think you will not agree?

"This is your opinion and I respect that, but one thing is for sure - we have never used artificial blood. If Braveheart fits your conception of an ordinary Hollywood movie, then yes, those pictures would fit better to a Hollywood-movie. Those pictures are at the culmination point of Metal clichés and so be it."

Your first album was released on Plasmatica Records, a rather small label. How do you look upon your first album "Suden Uni", the contract with aforementioned label and the work it has done for you?

"Suden Uni" was recorded in an 'inexperienced' phase, so to speak. We had just taken a step towards the live sound of MOONSORROW with Baron Tarwonen and it seemed so fluent to write and rehearse for the album. It is far from perfect, but I like it as it is.The contract with Plasmatica was good on paper, but it did not work out - let me say that their resources did not quite meet our demands. It was an educative experience, and I'm not of the kind who would not be thankful for that."

Before you had released two demos - "Metsä" and "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" - the latter one to be re-released by Tommi Launonen (Sagittarius Prod.) last year. As they led to your first contract they seem to have fulfilled what they were supposed to. What were your main influences when you started? Besides, you recorded two promos (one of them entitled "Thorns Of Ice") that were never officially released - why? What is your opinion on the demos today? Whose idea was it to re-release "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" on CD - yours or Tommi´s? Why did you re-record it partly? Are you satisfied with the way the re-release turned out? Will there be a chance to get hands on the other recordings that have not been released yet? (Hey Nhashi - take a deep breath before you go on, hahaha - Frank)

"When we started with MOONSORROW, our main influences were supposedly ENSLAVED, EMPEROR and BATHORY. We just wanted to create music to support our pagan views and we did what we were able of. I am proud of the demos because they were the first milestones on the path of MOONSORROW. To be honest, I even like them.The re-release of "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" was an idea of Sagittarius Productions. They actually wanted to release the demo ever since it was recorded, but they did not approach us with an offer until 2001. By then we had already decided that we should make some improvements to the original recording, because our level of dissatisfaction on the vocals and on the mix was just too high. The re-recording lead to better results, which is quite natural because time had elapsed. The two missing demos were not released mainly because of major technologic fuck-ups. The mastering process erased the other half of "Thorns Of Ice" and the mix ruined the sound on the promo. There is simply no chance of getting hold of the erased material on "Thorns Of Ice", and we have not planned to release the preserved material either. It would be a hoax."

When can we expect the next release? Will it be another album on Spikefarm? Do you think it has been a good choice to change the label between the first and second album?

"And once again we will head to the almighty Tico Tico Studio, this time in November, so expect the third MOONSORROW album in early 2003 or so. We just extended our contract with Spikefarm, so they will also be found behind that release. Switching to them in the first place was nothing but a good choice."

I know that you have played a few gigs in Finland? Is there a chance to see you live one day in Germany and the rest of Europe? Do you actually enjoy to play live or is it rather a "necessary evil" in your opinion?

"So far we have played only 10 gigs, and all of them inside the borders of Finland. I'd like to say there will be a chance to see us live abroad, but at the moment I can't make a promise. Touring depends solely on our booking agency and local promoters and so far no one out there has been interested to invest in our performance. To answer the second part of the question, yes, we do enjoy playing live. We wouldn't do it for so little money if we didn't."

So is there anything special one can expect when attending at one of your shows? Your live-pics on the homepage looked quite bloody, so to say. Anything special?

"There's nothing really 'special' on our live shows, because anything 'special' would require a much bigger budget than what we possess. We just play louder than hell and bang our heads covered with blood. I dare say we are an intense live band, and I hope no one leaves our gig disappointed."

You are responsible for all the lyrics. When did you first get interested in pagan stuff and northern mythology? Does this interest have an influence on your everyday-life? Are all members of MOONSORROW pagan or is it merely a personal thing for you and a good-selling point as an image for the rest of the band?

"I have been interested in myths and legends since a child, and my interest was fully sparked in the age of 16 or so. I guess I can also say that I have always been a heathen, because I have never felt like turning into one, but incidentally I did not dig deeper into the ideology until around the time we started with MOONSORROW. Naturally my beliefs and interests are present in my everyday life - I live according to what I am. I won't talk on behalf of the other members of MOONSORROW, because I would likely say something that is to be corrected. Let me just say that there are NO selling points within MOONSORROW."

So if this question is not too private, I'd like to know what direct influence it has in your everyday-life.

"No, the question is not too private, but it's hard to answer it nonetheless. Perhaps it has to do with the way I am perceived by the outside world, but more than that it has to do with the way I perceive the outside world. My beliefs are personal - I will share my views with people who are interested, but I will not try to turn anyone's head. Moreover I don't consider it too important to wear symbols or to perform sacrifices, if not of sheer reverence, for the gods are well aware of those who follow their path."

Is there a special concept on "Voimasta Ju Kunniasta"? If so, please explain it to us.

"The lyrics on "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" form a story. There are various viewpoints to observe it from, but the overall starting point is the concept of a brave warrior. In the beginning he returns home after a long journey, and in the end we attend his funeral. The songs themselves deal with the turning points in his life and in the life of his treacherous brother, portraying simple values and emotions in human life. The intention is to take the listener on this journey with us and send his / her imagination a thousand years back in time."

So the main intention is to tell a story that can be followed by the listener and give him a good hour to leave behind his allday-problems but not to teach anything?

"I wouldn't say quite so. The main goal is to entertain, but besides entertainment there is also content in the story. I only guide people to think about it and leave the rest up to them."

Please define the words "strength" and "honour".

"Strength: Quality of being strong before difficult decisions and conflicts. Ability of protecting oneself and other people. The foundation of leadership. Honour: Good personal character or reputation. Quality of acting according to certain values (a code of honour) and not selling those values at any cost. Ability not to falter in defeat. Being true to oneself and other people."

I don't know why but for me MOONSORROW sound real - unlike bands like ENSIFERUM for example who are too much into party-stuff in my opinion. Why do you think this is so? Am I wrong if I attest MOONSORROW a kind of national-romantic approach? How important is your origin for you?

"Thank you for saying those words. If MOONSORROW sounds real, that is because MOONSORROW is real - we have never tried to be anything we are not. We know what we represent and we are honest with it, that's all. Our approach is certainly national romantic. I am proud of my Finnish roots to the extent of fennomania, so yes, my origin plays an important role in my whole being."

Could you imagine to live somewhere else than in Finland then?

"I could imagine that, but that doesn't mean I would wish it to happen. From all the places I have visited, Finland remains the dearest for me."

Have you ever faced problems with your reference to the pagan past? In Germany you are allegedly accused of being "nazi" rather fast if you tend to have interests in those subjects. The use of the "S"-rune (like you did for MOONSORROW ) in a logo would even fasten that process.

"Of course there are always people accusing us to be nazis, but what can you say? People are stupid. (Doubtless!!!!! – Nhashi) We are national romantic heathen souls, and there is no room for national socialism in our hearts. People always seem to forget (or not to know) that it was nazis who draw those parallels and that real paganism has never had anything to do with such bullshit. It is a shame upon all heathen brothers and sisters that nazis once adopted and shaped pagan ideology for their own purposes."

In the sixth song 'Sankaritarina' you quote Havamal 75/76. How important is the Edda actually for the Finish mythology? Correct me if I am wrong - but as far as I know the importance of the Edda sinks dramatically the further east one comes in Scandinavia? Finish actually does neither belong to the Indo-German language nor to the cultural group.

"The importance of Edda in the Finnish mythology can be discussed after forever, if you insist, because there are fewer documents of the belief systems in prehistoric Finland than of Scandinavian ones. The general understanding of the whole matter is that there were (at least) four different mythological foundations in Finland during the iron age: the Karelian religion in the east, Asatrú (the "viking religion") along the coast, the Tavastian religion in inner Finland and the Samic religion up north. The three first together form the basis of my own belief system. And to set one thing straight - I had no obligations to quote anything, it just happened that those verses fit the concept of "Sankaritarina" perfectly."

Is there a kind of reviving the heathenish way of life in Finland? In many areas people tend to discover their roots to get a way of life beyond that superficial and American way that most people lead nowadays. Are you involved in anything like this? What is your opinion on this movement anyway? Can heathenism / paganism offer anything to the civilised human in the 21st century?

"There are some more or less organized pagan movements in Finland, but because of my individual ideological foundation, I am not a part of any of them. I appreciate the aims of these movements as long as they concentrate on the essential, and I am happy for each person who discovers his / her roots and forsakes the plastic culture of our time. I believe that paganism would deliver freedom for the "civilised human", but the "civilised human" is not ready to accept that."

Is there actually a need for organized pagan movements? I mean one of the main critics of the Easter religions is of course the fact that they do not support any form of individualism. Your boundaries to earth and nature are on the other hand something very individual.

"I wouldn't say there's a need for any organizations by means of practising pagan religions, but they are of course valuable when we want their message to reach more people. I do not support any kind of converting, but people must be told about alternatives for their religion before they can make a decent choice. Paganism is individual for everyone who understands what it is about."

Finland has since the birth of the extreme Metal-scene always had some outstanding bands - just to mention BEHERIT as the gods of all time or bands like DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED etc. - and there have always been bands that were different to many other bands. Among my last discoveries were WYRD, AJATTARA or CLANDESTINE BLAZE. Please let me know your opinion about those bands. What do you think is the reason that, although all bands did not invent a new genre of course, it seems that Finish bands are more innovative than bands from other (European) countries? Was it maybe the influence of Finland itself in this case? Is one of the reasons that Finland lies at the periphery of Europa and therefore trends etc. do not reach Finland as fast as the European mainland? Are there any bands you would advise us to have an eye on or two? (Nhashi!!!! It seems you couldn't stop yourself once more, huh?! - Frank)

"I have been asked to speculate the influential environment of Finland a thousand times, and I still haven't found the ultimate truth about it. Perhaps it is that Finnish bands are particularly innovative, and if it is, the reason must be in the surroundings - be it history, location or whatever. Of the bands that you listed BEHERIT stands for innovation and AJATTARA for rediscovery. They both rock. DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED and CLANDESTINE BLAZE have their moments, and I reckon never actually hearing WYRD. I would advise you to have an eye on MOTHER DEPTH, THE SINKAGE and KHARADRAI."

WYRD are a Finnish band from Hyvinkää and have yet released two demos and a CD entitled “Heathen”. As far as I know this is the band of one guy from AZAGHAL and HIN ONDE. Most Finish people seem to be involved in more than one band. Is this true for the MOONSORROW-members as well?

"The AZAGHAL-fellows are the extreme example of the inbred Finnish Metal scene. Many people around are involved in more than one band, but none in so many as them, I believe. It is true that the musical involvement of any of us does not limit to MOONSORROW, but only on rare occasion that has made us even discuss of priorities."

Something completely different. When I gathered information for the interview I read that DARKTHRONE and IRON MAIDEN are among your favourite bands. As IRON MAIDEN and MOONBLOOD are my fave bands of all time, I wonder which is your favourite MAIDEN-album? Have you had the chance to see them on stage?

"My favourite MAIDEN-album must be "Somewhere In Time", but "Brave New World" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" finish threateningly close. Unfortunately I have never seen IRON MAIDEN on stage; I had the opportunity twice, but managed to miss it. I promise I will correct the situation the next time they come over to Finland! Although you didn't ask about DARKTHRONE, I haven't been interested in their comings and goings since "Total Death"." (Which might be a mistake in the case of “Ravishing Grimness” but beside the albums from “A Blaze …” until “Panzerfaust” mark Darkthrone's golden era for sure. – NHASHI)

Thanks again for your time and your patience. Any wise heathen-hearted words for our readers?

"Thank you for this interview, it was truly a pleasure to travel through these questions. Hereby I pledge to "Voices From The Darkside" and proudly I say: Follow to wherever your hearts lead you and together we will raise our swords for a new pagan age to come!"