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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Moon TV - April 2002

This is Moonsorrow's first ever appearance on TV. It features the premiere of their first video clip, "Sankarihauta", and an interview in Finnish (subtitles are welcome!) with Marko and Ville. Originally broadcasted on April 15th 2002. More info in chapter 3.2 of the Unofficial Moonsorrow Biography:

More info in English
Más información en castellano

(Note: the pitch in the first half -the videoclip- has been raised in order to avoid copyright issues.)

Campus Entertainment / May 2012

Link 1 - Link 2

Sunday, 06 May 2012 16:24

Business with a Touch of Art: Ville Sorvali between Moonsorrow and Metalheim Agency

Written by Theo Teräväinen

Considering the high uncertainty of the business field nowadays, it takes a serious portion of courage to dive into music business and furthermore, to stay there for years. The music industry is a constant whirlpool, spinning and changing all the time. Working with music has become an exciting venture but indeed not that easy to handle.
Ville Sorvali is an outstanding example of pursuing passion for music by combining a job in the music business and being an active musician. He had been working in the field for years already when in 2008 they founded Metalheim Agency together with Teemu Suominen. Nowadays Ville is a booking agent and producer at Metalheim and the bands for which he is currently booking shows include famous names such as Deathchain, Enochian Crescent, Kiuas and Sotajumala. On top of that, Ville is the bass guitarist and vocalist of the thriving Finnish band Moonsorrow.
How does Ville feel about the music industry and its state nowadays? He reveals his attitude and experience in an interview with CE News.

Hello Ville! First of all, how did you decide to go into music business?

I was always driven by music, but actually starting to work with it (other than just playing) happened by a series of accidents. We were running a small fanzine with friends in late 90’s, and when we quit I was asked to write articles by a few magazines. During the course of time I became the editor in Inferno and when I was eventually relieved from the position I started to send applications to magazines, record labels, agencies etc. just for the fun of it. I was hired by Firebox Records for a short period of time, during which I also started to write articles for Soundi. Then Teemu (Suominen) asked me to help with promotion in his newly founded company, and when he eventually resigned from Live Nation Finland (with whom he had been working for a while as a booking agent) we decided to set up Metalheim. So I definitely didn’t plan this from the start, but I’m more than happy to be here now.

Metalheim Festival

Could you describe a typical day spent working for Metalheim? In contrast, have you had any extraordinary situations?

The typical day passes mainly with emails and phone calls, and sorting out show info and such on my laptop. And if all goes well regarding a show that I’m setting up, nothing particularly exciting will happen. Sometimes I have meetings with people that lead me out of the office (or from home, since I’m also working from home at times). I also go to see a lot of shows, either by our artists or by bands that I’ve been hinted to see. Extraordinary situations happen now and then but they are also not of a more exciting nature than an artist calling me in the middle of the night because their hotel reservation is missing or about some other miscommunication.

Which artists have you worked with over the years?

We’ve had a handful of artists on the roster of Metalheim, and apart from those I’m working with currently, I’ve also had a history with the likes of Profane Omen, Insomnium, Korpiklaani, MyGrain and such. I’ve also produced a few albums for Profane Omen, Dauntless, The Chant and then some. Musician-wise my main activity has always been Moonsorrow, in which I play bass and do vocals, but curiously I’ve also played with Amoral and a number of more or less interesting side projects.

What is then your connection with the bands that you are booking for? Is it important for you to be closer with the artists and like their music or is it all pure business?

I would never like to work with an artist whose music I don’t like, because then the work wouldn’t serve its purpose to the full extent. I am passionate about what I do, and always aim to build a good working relationship with the bands I’m working with. As I’m an artist myself, I will always look at things on the artist’s perspective and try to find the best solutions for both the client and the company.

‘Obviously it is not personal, it is business, but without the humane touch it wouldn’t make much sense.’

You are also a successful musician. How do you combine your passion for the art with the art of business? Is it hard to balance?

As a musician, I think I have a lot of perspective for both the artist and business sides of things. There are reasonable ways to make business with art, but the art should always come first. Selling a genuine product is infinitely more satisfying than selling something you don’t really believe in. The balance is sometimes hard to find, but I guess I’ve managed pretty well so far. Haven’t sold my soul yet. (smiles)

As an artist, can you think of a certain gig that you will never forget?

There are quite a few actually, but I guess the ultimate “Spinal Tap” moment during my career (with Moonsorrow) took place at a small Lithuanian festival in 2005. We were supposed to travel there first by ferry to Estonia and then by van through Latvia to Lithuania, but when we got to the ferry terminal our other guitarist didn’t have his passport so we had to go without him. So already on the ferry there were only 4 of us instead of 5. During the van ride I started losing my voice, and eventually lost it completely, having to write text messages on my phone to the other members asking if they knew any of the lyrics. Eventually our drummer agreed to do the vocals, because he at least knew the right arrangements, if not the lyrics. During the show both the guitar and the bass cabinets broke down, so all the audience could hear for most of the time was the drums, the keyboards, and the drummer singing complete nonsense from behind his kit. Someone has it on video, but I haven’t got hold of it. Later in the evening a member of the audience came to me saying that it was the best show he had ever seen! How cool is that?

Sounds like quite an experience! So, you have played in countries all over the world but where have you had the most supportive audience? Do you prefer touring in Finland to touring abroad?

Touring in Finland is completely different from touring abroad, because in Finland you just don’t do weekdays (which in this case are Sunday-Tuesday) because of apparent lack of audience. However some weekend shows can be really mindblowing, but it all depends on the current conjunction of planets and other celestial bodies. The audience in Finland is really supportive when it has had its alcohol. Some audiences abroad that have really made an impression have been in countries like Russia or Mexico, where people just go absolutely nuts when a live band is playing. The latest out-of-this-world experience was in two cities in northeastern China where no other western band had ever played before. Visiting places like that is something that I really like to do.

Ville on stage with Moonsorrow
Photo by Cecil

Can you explain the basic process of producing a live event in Finland?

If you’re the one who organizes the actual event, you have to book the bands, book the venue and virtually book everything and hire all the personnel the venue doesn’t provide as part of the deal. You might also have to deal with such issues as local transport and accommodation, in case it isn’t in the contract that the booking agency from which you bought the bands will handle that, and also be prepared to actually work in person during the event because there is always something that goes wrong. If you instead work as a producer for the booking agent (some booking agents are also producers themselves), you have to take care that everything goes well for your band attending the event. It starts with getting the contract signed, the riders approved, sending posters to the organizer to help promote the event if necessary, and ends with compiling an itinerary for the band (based on venue info) so that the band only has to know when to be where and to play. In between you might have to hire a crew, a driver and a car and provide the band with a hotel at the location (or whatever they prefer).

Is it beneficial to work in the music industry, both revenue-wise and personally?

For me, it is definitely beneficial on a personal level, because I always loved music and wanted to work with it in all possible ways. It gives a lot of meaning to my life, so to say. Revenue-wise, however, it is sometimes hard to make ends meet. We made our first money with the band somewhere around the release of our 4th album, so I’d definitely not advise anyone to mistake making music as an easy way to get rich. Working for the band (agency, crew etc.) gives a slightly more stable income, but the whole business (on this level) runs with such a small budget that no one is really buying new cars with the money the bands generate. You have to have the right passion for it, there are easier ways to make money anyway.

‘There are reasonable ways to make business with art, but the art should always come first.’

Do you think that your perception of music has changed ever since you started working for Metalheim?

I have worked in the music business for a long time before Metalheim, so I can’t really say that it has affected my perception in any way. Certainly, when I was younger and only played music for the fun of it and didn’t care about anything else, I was a lot more eager to check out all the new bands and virtually listened to music 24/7. Now when I even involuntarily hear new music, I’m probably not that active in finding it anymore.

‘My passion for the art hasn’t changed, I still adore music and everything it has to offer, I’m just an “insider” now if you could put it that way.’

What are the pros and cons of working in the music industry in your opinion?

The definite pro is that I get to work with the thing that I love the most: music. And as said, I have an easier access to new music, which is obviously crucial for the business itself anyway. The con is that I get to see the dirty side of it, and have to deal with money. It is not necessarily uplifting to see how little everyone gets paid after all the expenses, the artist usually having the worst hand. It is also hard to accept that some people are indeed in the business only because of the business and not the art.

So what comes next for you? Any specific ambitions for the future?

I recently started as a booking agent for four bands, so I’m doing my best to improve on that field and gain more reputation. It is enough of a challenge for now, but I still won’t stop expanding my knowledge and skill all about the music business, wanting to explore every side of it. As with the band, we have a few summer festivals and possibly a tour in the fall, after which we will sit down and maybe talk about the future a bit further.

CE News wishes Ville future success in all of his ventures. We thank Ville for this informative interview and hope to stay in touch from now on!

Text and interview by Gabriela Stoycheva
Photos by Gabriela Stoycheva and Cecil

Last modified on Sunday, 06 May 2012 16:29