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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lords of Metal / Winter 2005


The elements of nature intrigue humans for ages. It is an indisputable fact that laws of nature and mysteries go hand in hand and reign over life on earth. Myths and legends are based on experiences of our ancestors and comprise a treasure of wisdom. It is enriching to think this over in this shallow society. As soundtrack for these thoughts we choose ‘Verisäkeet’ of Moonsorrow, some of the Finns who integrate the values of paganism into their life. Ville Sorvali (vocals, bass) goes a bit deeper into this material.

Text: Vera

First of all, congratulations with the epic masterpiece 'Verisäkeet'. How long did it take to write and arrange it?

We wrote the material in two months last summer, started with a couple of riffs and worked on them until we were satisfied (which took until the last rehearsal before the studio and further). The songs spent most of the time at Henri's computer and were then brought to the rehearsals for arranging.

When did Moonsorrow come into being and was the musical intention of making Viking pagan metal already in mind from the beginning?

We formed the band in 1995 with Henri. Back then it was basically just another project, but the musical intention was the same as now. An important turning point was in 2000 when it became a real band.

How did you get in touch with the way of living as a pagan and what were the main things that attract you?

I found myself being interested in history and old myths in my teens, and I used to do a lot of reading and thinking. I was never introduced to any pagan "way of living", but this interest just gradually developed and transformed, making me what I am now. The main thing that attracted me was the fascination of the myths and history in general and how primordial cultures viewed their whole world through nature.

What are the important things in life for pagans?

Nature, knowing your past and respecting those who deserve it.

Where in Finland are you based? Do you live in a city or in smaller places on the countryside?

The whole band lives in the capital area (cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa). Despite the one million people around here, it's relatively peaceful and close to nature.

The former album 'Kivenkantaja' seemed to have some progressive elements. What must I understand by that? More complex? Less black metal or what? What do you consider as your own progressive influences?

Progressive influences may make the music more complex, but initially the point of progressive music is in the progression (going forward, developing) and it doesn't have to mean weird measures or tempo changes. We've been listening a lot to seventies prog rock (King Crimson, Yes, ELP) and it has made its way to the music we make. On ‘Kivenkantaja’ it was just a bit more apparent than now.

As I am informed well, the basic lines of a song come from one or two musicians and are developed on computer and so. Isn't it difficult to play live as a band then?

No, of course not. The final arrangements are made collectively as a band, and of course we also rehearse (sometimes more, sometimes less) before we go on the road.

What does 'Verisäkeet' mean?

Translates to "Bloodverses", where the blood is the main theme throughout the album.

The lyrics are all in Finnish which augments the authenticity. But pardon then my next questions to explain what the songs are about:

- Karhunkynsi

The war song. Men and beasts of the forest stand against those who once conquered our beautiful land and nature.

- Haaska

The presence of death. "Ultimately we're all dead men", whether we accept it or not.

- Pimeä

An abstract lyric about human fears, portrayed through darkness.

- Jotunheim

The power of nature. Jotunheim symbolises the untouched wild where no man shall pass and cannot control.

- Kaiku

The song of our ancestors.

I guess there is a general theme on the album, can you tell a bit more about that?

The main theme is in the "bloodverses", our roots on the other hand and on the other death. There is a story in each lyric, but the storylines are more abstract than previously.

Do you feel like a minority in Scandinavia as pagans or is there more interest in roots culture and ancestors than we expect?

The Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland) are 90% Christian. Of course we are a minority, he he. But it's also true that there is a wide interest for these kind of subjects and many people want to discover their roots. The society is Christian, but it's mostly harmless and people believe out of habit.

What are your comments on the hectic, 'cultivated', shallow, consummating world we are living in, in other words, the society?

I hate it. Despise it. People are so damn busy that they can't stop for a moment. Money makes the world go round and nothing else matters. Everything is about profit, profit and more profit. It makes me sick.

Where was the album recorded, when, about mix and mastering process a few words if you please…

It was recorded in Tico-Tico Studio (Kemi, Finland) in September 2004, and the man behind the desk was Ahti Kortelainen. We used three weeks for the recordings and one week for the mixing. After the sweaty writing process, the recording session was pretty much relaxed and we had time for everything. We recorded eight hours a day and spent the free time mainly drinking (what else can you do in Kemi?). Mastering was done by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios.

Was this the first time over there or a repeating fact because of earlier satisfaction with things?

We have been totally content with Tico-Tico since our first album in 2000, so we haven't really felt a need to record our albums anywhere else. Ahti is a super-professional and we get well along with him. It's work, but also great fun.

Are there (concrete) plans to play live? In Finland or hopefully abroad!

We play live as much as we can (which doesn't obviously seem that much, hehe). We're doing some club gigs in Finland during the spring and hopefully some festivals in the summer. Check out the live calendar at www.moonsorrow.com for updates.

The music is that rich because of many rather special, but in this case exceptionally used instruments like accordion, mouth harp, fiddle, tin whistle, and more. Who plays all those instruments or is it sampled?

All the instruments that are separately credited are played, and those that are not are synth instruments (sampled or not). Henri plays most of the folk instruments and then we have some contributors on more demanding parts.

Nature is one of the most expressive sources of your music. Any comments on that?

In the end it all comes down to nature. There is nothing else. It inspires our music and with our music we want to pay it respect.

Also the impressive heroic choirs are done by the band, or am I wrong?

Yes they are, there are five non-professional choir singers in the band plus two contributors (our regular session guitarist and our sound technician). Never felt we should use something else.

As I was listening to 'Verisäkeet' I got little flames of reminiscence of the following bands: Immortal, Empyrium, Bathory… Can you find yourself in that?

Bathory has always been the number one influence, no point in denying that, heh. Also the influence of early 90's black metal got more obvious this time. I can find ourselves having similarities with mentioned, but if speaking in genres we are somewhere else again.

It may be interesting to tell something about the Warmead recipe…

It's an old Viking recipe slightly adapted by Henri, and the traditional drink of Moonsorrow. Requires some patience to make it, but it's highly recommended. http://www.moonsorrow.com/2005/html/warmead.html

You once did a tour in Croatia and Hungary. Was it a fine experience and how come these were the chosen places to go?

It was a very fine experience as our first trip abroad with the band. In Croatia we had a strange show with no lights on the stage (!) and in Hungary we played our biggest concert so far (for 2000 people). We also spent some extra days in tropical Budapest, which was fun. We chose these countries because they were the first offered. Not a typical start for the world conquest, but it's not a typical band, haha…

I truly hope you keep making records like 'Verisäkeet', do you have an idea for yourself already in which direction the band will evolve?

Not even the slightest hint, so to say. We will start thinking about the new material later and now we concentrate on the few concerts and free beer. The next release will be something different again, but if you like Moonsorrow, I guarantee it will be definite quality!

And to you the final words of this interview…

Thank you for your support. Keep it metal!

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