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, July 26, 2011

Ratatosk Online / July 2007


RatatoskOnline had an interview with the Finnish metal band Moonsorrow. We talked with Ville Sorvali (vocals) and Marko Tarvonen (drummer).

Welcome here in Friesland, here at Wâldrock. You performed just now, how did it go?

Marko: Well, it was a pretty interesting show. It was quite early, of course it’s better to play early, than to play late. Last weekend we played at Full Force Festival in Germany and we played at 3 o’ clock in the night. That was quite ridiculous, just waiting for the show. Cause we don’t drink so much before the gig, so we had nothing to do before the gig, just waiting waiting.

How did you enjoy the Dutch crowd here?

Ville: Well I think they were a bit tired, because all the previous times we were in Holland, the crowd was absolutely insane. Well, it’s too early anyway, it was too early for us, we didn’t really get on fire, because we just arrived here to the change-over. We arrived here, set up the stuff at the stage and started to play. We had no time to like gather ourselves.

Marko: I was like sweating even before the gig because of all the hassle.

Moonsorrow is not very familiar here in Holland, some people do know it, look at the crowd, but a lot of people didn’t know Moonsorrow, so can you tell me something about the beginning of Moonsorrow, who you are and what you are doing?

Ville: The beginning dates back to 1995 actually, when it was formed by me and my cousin Henry. It was just a project for like 5 years. When we got the record deal, we decided to start up a real band, and he was the first to join us. And I think it went that way, that, we didn’t actually ask him to be our drummer, but he introduced himself as our new drummer. I think it was that way.

Marko: I liked their demo so much, and they did the demo with drum machine, and I liked it so much, and I said to the guys that when you are getting signed, I will be your drummer, I will help you out. And the rest is history.

So you are now together for five-ten years?

Marko: As a band we existed for like 6 or 7 years. We did our first gig in the year 2000.

You are only singing in Finnish, is that for a special reason?

Ville: We are a Finnish band.

Yes, but Finntroll is also a Finnish band, and they sing in Swedish.

Ville: Because Swedish is also an official language in Finland.

Marko: When the band got started, the very first lyrics were in English. But very soon they changed to Finnish, that represent…Like he said: we are Finnish to the heart, and what could be a more better way to express ourselves than singing in Finnish. And it’s ofcourse very much fun too, because people don’t know Finnish, and there are several places where people are so interested in Finnish language that they have started to study Finnish because of our band. That is quite funny.

But you describe your music as ‘Epic Heathen Music’, but in the media it’s often described as Viking Metal. How do you feel about that?

Ville: It is quite funny, because we made one theme album that partly dealt with Vikings and we’ve done five albums. I don’t know where did the type came from, actually.

Marko: I think its just a genre for the record stores, where they put those albums, here’s trash metal, death metal, black metal, and this tiny little shelf is Viking metal. That’s where our records very often put. But I don’t care, whatever, if people want to call it Pagan metal, Viking metal, even Folk metal, today we are not very much folk metal anymore, we used to have folk parts on our songs, before even more, but not very much today.

You also write very long songs. For example, I probably don’t pronounce it right: ‘Jaasta syntynyt Varjojen Virta’ that takes about thirty minutes. That is just one song. Why do you make a song that is 30 minutes?

Ville: Well, because we can. I don’t know. Simple question, simple answer. No seriously, we make the stuff we want to do, and if we feel like the song we have written halfway is already 15 minutes, we are not going to stop, we know its only halfway and we are going to write 15 minutes more.

Where do you get your inspiration for the lyrics?

Ville: For the lyrics…in general they are all bordered by paganism somehow, but lately they have been a bit more abstract and didn’t deal with any historical or mythological stuff that you would expect your every day Viking metal band to deal with. I guess for the new album, the first song very much deals with the personal misery when you are trying to seek for the meaning of life and you actually know that you cannot find it, you just go from point A to point B, because you think it might be better in point B, and you go to point C and so forth, and you realise that the best you ever had was point A, and you can’t return there anymore.

Marko: Obviously, it’s very different than all those every second so-called Viking metal bands, they are singing, like: I have a sword in my hand, I’m going to Walhalla, or something like that. We don’t have stuff like that. That is very easy to write, lyrics like that. We like to think more what we are singing. All mythological aspects they are quite like adapted into this day.

Because your last album is called: Viides Luku – Hävitetty (Fifth Chapter – Destruction). So is it all about misery, or are there even some happy parts in it?

Ville: The title and the cover and everything mainly come from the second track, that might have some hints from the state of the world as it is now. Nothing political. Climate changes and mainly about the general state of war we are having now. Human kind is causing it’s own destruction slowly and so be it. I’m not really worried about it. This state we have is so rotten anyway, that is better for everyone for it to end.

Marko: It’s the end of the world concept through the whole album.

How did you evolve as a band, because the first cd was Suden Uni (Wolves Dream). So how did you evolve as a band, cause you had 5 more cd’s. How did it go? Where did you get your inspiration for that? Do you make a record every year or do you try to do that?

Ville: Well, it’s actually, I think, if you consider the development of the band or whatever, of course we have taken huge steps as musicians, song writers or even as people playing in a band. But I think it’s mainly because we didn’t try to make an album every year. We only made it when we felt like it. We never felt like we had any kind of time table from the record label, or anything. For instance, our new album was out in the beginning of this year, and we don’t have any plans when to make the next one, we told the record label we don’t have any plans and they said: ok, do it when you like. And I think that is what kept us active, because we didn’t feel pressured by any uptime force. Or not even by us.

What is the best thing that happened to the band so far?

Marko: I think it was him (guitarist enters)

And who are you?

Guitarist: Mitja, hello.

Marko: It’s the best thing that ever happened to the band.

Mitja: I agree.

So what is your part in the band?

Mitja: I’m the kind of a second spiritual leader after Timo Rautiainen, who is sitting here.

Who is he?

Mitja: He is kind of a spare Jesus in Finland . But also a very nice guy and a very appreciated heavy metal musician.

Is he still alive?

Mitja: Life and well, live and kicking.

Because it’s one of those pictures you put on your mantelpiece when someone’s died.

Ville: It was on our rider at Tuska, to have this at the back of the stage. He is traveling with us on every show.

You played in quite some countries, for example Croatia. Do you experience any differences between the crowds in countries?

Ville: O yeah, there are lots of differences. If you can compare between the crazy Canadian or Russian people or maybe to the lame Swedish festival audience. We have only played once in Sweden, it was 10.30 in the morning. I can’t really say…But yeah of course there are differences, and differences how they react to the band, headband or having mosh pits, fists in the air or anything. It is divers between the countries.

Marko: But to be very honest our music is not really head banging or stage diving music. We know that a lot of the audience appreciate it in the way that they are just listening to it.

That’s just something that you’ll have to take with the concert, just see how it goes. When you get into the fire of your playing, the crowd will also get into their fire.

Ville: We weren’t really set on fire today as usual. Usually the gigs are really energetic, but today arriving here a few minutes before the show and having so much technical problems…

Marko: And also waking up very early. That is not always does not do some good for your feelings to do a show very early.

What can we expect from you in the future? You already said that you don’t plan to make a cd in the near future.

Ville: We have plans, but nothing set in stone.

Marko: We have plans to do a mini-album, though, in the next winter. Next January or February. It will consist of one or two new songs, not so long songs, like very much shorter as on Hävitetty. And also a couple of old demo songs, like rearranged. And actually one cover song from Metallica: For whom the bell tolls. We have recorded it already, but it hasn’t been released yet. But the mini-album would be the perfect release for it. It doesn’t sound Metallica at all.

Is it in Finnish?

Ville: No, because there is a very good reason not to meddle in any Metallica song. Just play, don’t claim any arrangement-rights or anything. There’s a reason, their lawyers will be up your ass.

Marko: Of course, we could try to get the rights for translation in Finnish but it would take years I guess.

It’s time to round it up now: Are there any certain things that you would like to do in the future, play with some band, or have a guest performance at your band from another band member?

Marko: Well, our first European Tour with Primordial was very good, and we liked the guys in Primordial. I would very much like to do another tour with them. And actually, there is talk about it. You guys don’t even know it. This week I got an e-mail from America to do a little tour with Primordial in the US.
You don’t have any other big plans in the future?

Marko: No, we’re just taking it day by day. Just finishing this summer period, this festival period. I don’t know what we are going to do in the winter, except that mini-album. Maybe next year will be much more quiet for Moonsorrow. Who knows if we are going to do an European Tour as well.

Ville: I was planning to have a complete football season next summer with my amateur team, so I hope we don’t have too many festivals.

Do you have any other Scandinavian bands that we might not have heard of, which you like?

Marko: Poets of the Fall, I have it here, I will play it. This will band will make it in Europe some day. It’s very huge in Finland.

Ville: This band is very clever, they did their album all by themselves. It’s number one in the hit charts so they get all the money.

Marko: It’s pop-rock, but I like them. Kind of The Cure meets some rock.

(Music is playing)

Ville: We’re like 23% metal guys. We used to be a lot more hardcore metal fans, but I think we’re just growing up.

Are you going to walk round on the festival here today, you’re not going to leave in five minutes?

Ville:Yes, we are. Obituary and Testament are playing. My childhood heroes.

Marko: It’s crazy. We are much younger than those guys, and now we are playing at the same festivals with our childhood heroes.

Must be weird.

Ville: Actually, it is. In Partisan, two years ago, we played just before Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse and Entombed. It was great. My row of three my absolute favorites of all-times.

It must be very awkward to meet them backstage and see how they are normally.

Marko: It was very touching to meet those guys backstage and talk with them.

Ville: Actually, the guitar players of Napalm Death and Entombed ended up at our hotel room drinking beer. It’s like a very weird situation.

Marko: They were making Mumin troll jokes to Napalm Death guys. And of course they don’t know Mumin Trolls. And the joke is: Why are the Mumin trolls so fat, because Tove Jansson forgot to draw them assholes. Try to explain that joke to the British, who don’t know Mumin Trolls. I think they thought we were weird people.

Ville: Which we are.

You are from Scandinavia so you must be.

Ville: yeah.

Marko. Its not so weird, it’s just boring.

So that is why you make music?

Marko: That is why we drink.

And make music.

Ville: That is why we drink and make music. Making music is actually like..

Marko: It is a good therapy.

Ville: I don’t want to sound dramatic but it is sort of an escape from everything. Our everyday lives are more or less boring. Everyone’s every day lives are boring. The music is what we use to escape it.

Marko: Speaking of the climate, because we have very long winter time in Finland, I feel, we have our most creative time during the winter. Almost all the best ideas come in the winter, because we have nothing to do except to write music.

Thank you very much for this interview and thank you for Poets of the Fall.

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