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.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ultimate Metal / October 2002


Finnish Epic Heathen Metal gods almost completed writing new songs for their yet untitled album now. But I asked their vocalist and bassman Ville Sorvali about second Moonsorrow's opus and the band's history...

Two wonderful CD's within a year. How in the world was it possible for Moonsorrow to record such masterpieces like "Suden Uni" and "Voimasta ja Kunniasta"?

Well, the primary reason for why those cd's were both released in 2001 was that "Suden Uni" was delayed for a year or so. Most of it was composed already in 1999 anyway. So our pace is not that fast after all; we use the time we need to reach the best possible result, there's no use of rushing things. I'm glad that you consider our recordings masterpieces, yet we couldn't have made them if the gods hadn't guided us!

You can clearly hear some influence of Enslaved or Einherjer on your debut album "Suden Uni". Do you find that you are often compared to the Norwegians?

We sure have been compared to a variety of bands, heh. There are influences from both Enslaved and Einherjer in our musical work, we won't deny that, but after all we create our own music from the very foundation. Comparisons to Bathory are certainly the most reasonable we've heard, after all it is our collective icon.

Now you represent your own style. But what in fact is it that you are playing? You call your style Epic Heathen Metal. Could you decipher this slogan for me?

Hmm, in my opinion we have always represented our own style. However I get your point. Epic heathen metal is what we play, and it means what it says. It's 'epic' because of the atmosphere, 'heathen' because of the message and 'metal' because of the core. There's absolutely nothing more one needs to describe our music with.

Your compositions are usually long, complex, and very well arranged. How does this process take place?

It is either Henri or Baron who brings the basic idea for a song. The most useful of the ideas are developed, often by time, and some of them grow to be full musical pieces in the end. Henri is employed in pre-arranging the pieces, but the final arrangement is laid down by the whole band. Further details about the process are simply boring, there is no mystique in it, heh.

Your "Voimasta ja Kunniasta" is overwhelmingly accepted. Are you also as satisfied?

We are satisfied, but of course there are always aspects to improve, our next album will be even better and blah blah. But the response has certainly surprised us, we could never have thought people would like the album as much as they do!

Tell me, why do you sing in Finnish?

Would you believe if I said this is a question no foreign interviewer forgets to ask..? And it is always more and more simple to give an answer. We are a Finnish band, the subjects we deal with are of a Finnish nature, we are proud of our Finnish heritage and we love our Finnish tongue. There are no such reasons for us to sing in any other language, that's about it.

Your last composition on this album "Sankaritarina" begins with two verses of the eddaic poem "Havamal". Why did you use it? Did it fit to the concept of the song, or was there another reason?

The simple reason was because it was perfect for the concept. I know it's a cliché to use verses from Edda, those two in particular, and I have never actually planned doing it. Those two verses just came to my mind while I started writing the lyrics for "Sankaritarina", although in the end I did make my own translation. Hávamál is a collection of some very wise words and deserves to be promoted anyway.

I'm greatly impressed by your lyrics. They're tiny literary masterpieces! Is it easy for you to write such a wonderful texts?

Well, thank you! Writing lyrics is not easy, nor is it hard. It just happens if it is to happen. Unfortunately I can't explain how... heheh. I only know that the most fruitful time to begin writing is when I have a complete composition to write to, because then I can grasp the atmosphere in its entirety and develop a story that flows with the music.

I won't ask about Avather and Blastmore from Thyrane, everybody knows them; but who is Janne Pertilla, who had helped you so greatly on "Voimasta
ja Kunniasta"?

Janne Perttilä is a friend of us, who plays in such bands as The Sinkage, Rytmihäiriö and zillions of others. By the time of "Suden Uni" he, for some reason, visited us in the studio and ended up singing choirs with us. And it worked so fine that we decided to invite him for "Voimasta ja Kunniasta" as well. His powerful voice is an integral part of our drunken viking choirs.

Let's go back to the beginning of Moonsorrow. Between the first and second album, you released a demo "Tama Ikuinen Talvi" on CD. Tell me how this came about.

Sagitarius Productions had wanted to release the demo ever since it had been recorded, but the project was delayed because they didn't have the resources back then. In 2001 they approached us on the issue, and we had no reason to refuse. Our only demand was some studio time to re-record the vocals and improve from the original sound quality by remixing and -mastering the tracks. All of this was smoothly taken care of.

Henri Sorvalli also plays the keyboard for Finntroll. This group is decidedly more well-known than Moonsorrow. Which of those two bands is more important to him?

We are all very serious and dedicated about Moonsorrow, and even though we have our other bands and projects, they all finish second. Including Finntroll.

As far as I know, other group members are also involved in different projets, not necessarilly metal. Could you tell me what other projects you
are in?

Yes, this is true. Our musical ambitions are too enormous to be bordered inside Moonsorrow, and after all it's good for the band members to express themselves in various ways, so we will always have
some more or less important projects around. Some of the primal examples at present are Finntroll, Larharyhmä (dirty punk/rock), Luokkasota (prog), The Sinkage (death), Tyrant (black), Gorewinter (battleblack) and May Withers (rocking metal).

Henri and you bear the same surname, but you two don't look like twin-brothers. Are you related to each other?

Yes we are, in fact we are cousins. Our adopted middle-names Seponpoika (the son of Seppo) and Urponpoika (the son of Urpo) refer to our respective fathers. We certainly don't look like brothers, you got that right... heheh.

By the way, is that true that Henri teaches music at a school?

Yes, that is true. As far as I'm concerned, he teaches the band projects at his former school, Sibelius high.

During the first years of Moonsorrow, only the two of you played. So that is the influence of the remaining band-members? Do they have their bring in their own style, or do they just carryout what you and Henry tell
them to do?

Moonsorrow was founded by the two of us, but it certainly is a band of five members now. As I said previously, all of us are involved in arranging, and Baron in particular has also been of a great help in
song-writing. The Moonsorrow-sound derives from the collective, it couldn't work if any of us were muted.

You don't play a lot of concerts, do you? Are you going to change this and go on the tour more often?

No, we haven't played a lot of concerts... yet. We have finally got a booking agency behind us, so it should change things. Extensive touring is not in our foremost plans, but I assure the time will come.

To finish off, tell me how work on your third album is going? I'm sure you've started it already.

But no, we haven't started working on our next album... We have gathered some ideas, yet we have decided not to start hassling with them immediately. Right now we concentrate on sharpening our live
condition, and the periods of creation will follow when the impulse is at its strongest. We have no particular hurry, because our next studio time is booked for November 2002.

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