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.

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

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