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, January 24, 2013

The Offering / September 2012


September 1st, 2012 (the day after Cleveland)

I doubt very very much it's actually Henri saying something there, basically because he wasn't present in that tour. But I don't know who else it is.

Moonsorrow Interview
After two years Moonsorrow has finally come back to the States to the delight of all their fans. Along for the ride to North America is Moonsorrow’s fellow heathens, Metsatöll from Estonia; the mighty Týr from the Faroe Islands and brothers in arms Korpiklaani. The last time Moonsorrow toured the States was in 2010 with Finntroll and Swallow the Sun where they all appeared on the first Finnish Metal Fest. Since then the men in Moonsorrow have been up to many adventures and drunken shenanigans and have released a new album titled “Varjoina Kuljemme Kuollleiden Maassa”. Alcohol was spilled everywhere, dances were made merry and not a single person was able to escape from the enchantment of the night. And this written interview is what is left prior to the massive metal wreckage in Joliet.
All aboard the Moonsorrow tour bus! I had the great privilege of talking to Ville Sorvali and Marko “Baron” Tarvonen. Occasionally, Henri Sorvali would stick his two cents in. As soon as I walked into the nifty tour bus with its flat screen television that I almost smacked my head on I was offered a beer to console my near death experience. Now that’s what I call Finnish hospitality! Baron proceeds to complain about the lack of alcohol and I proceeded to talk about what a beer snob I am and Ville high-fived me for wanting something stronger then piss water only to have one of the Moonsorrow men sneak off outside to “borrow” some pop and steal back their vodka from the Korpiklaani tour bus. “Shhh!” “They never expected it!” “What they don’t know won’t kill them.” In the midst of confusion and utter tom foolery is how this interview begins and ends. It begins with alcohol and ends with alcohol.
The Offering: Hei! (Finnish for Hello)
Marko Tarvonen: Hei!
Ville Sorvali: Hello!
TO: How’s the tour going so far?
MT: Pretty good. It’s very nice, honestly. We started in Canada and it was a terrific three shows. Yesterday was pretty good in Cleveland. But it’s only starting now.
TO: I recognize that. First week?
VS: First week.
MT: Anything could happen. Anything CAN happen.
TO: Anything CAN happen? Anything? So will you guys play any tricks on other bands?
MT: Well we’ll have to see for when the tour starts to roll and big stuff starts happening and of course the last show of course which is usually the case.
MT: So, uh looking forward to like uh…it’s Saturday for fuck’s sake!
VS and MT together: YEAH!
VS: Damn right. My drink is quite strong.
MT: That’s good!
VS: I accidentally poured a bit too much whiskey.
TO: You accidentally the whole thing?
MT: Now you’re going to play like shit.
VS: No. I’m going to play like an angel.
MT: Alright. Shit for that.
Henri Sorvali: Finally! So you’re going to flap your wings and fly away?
VS: You know I couldn’t fly away.
TO: I’ll just sing Charon’s “Little Angel” while you fly away.
(Ville Sorvali, Marko Tarvonen and Henri Sorvali snort loudly.)
VS: Yep.
TO: How do you guys prepare to get ready for the show?
MT: Like this.
VS: Like this.
TO: Lots of drinking I understand is the Finnish way.
MT: Lots of drinking, less talking.
TO: Less talking?
VS: Yes.
MT: I have to do both now because you’re doing the interview. (Laughs) Other than that I really don’t talk that much.
TO: I’m under the understanding that the more alcohol you give a Finn the more they talk? Is this true?
VS and MT: Yes, this true. (Laughing)
MT: It’s the only way to get the Finns, the Finish man to talk to you.
Moonsorrow laughs together
TO: What about hockey?
MT: No. (Firm No.)
TO: No, hockey?! You guys don’t do hockey? (Disappointed rabid Blackhawks fan)
MT: Yeah, but that’s only screaming!
VS: It’s not pretty.
MT: (screams and imitates a Finnsh hockey fan) GAHHH AHHHHHHHHHH!!! (Tarvonen stand up and flails arms up and down) COME ON!!!!!
TO: How different is touring in Europe in comparison to touring here in North Anmerica?
MT: Better hospitality.
VS: Better alcohol!
MT: Showers!
VS: Russia and all the slavic countries have really bad showers. They’re still living in the medieval ages.
MT: Kind of. The venues here don’t have showers.
TO: I have heard from the band that I’m wearing right now (points to Turisas shirt) that England has the worst showers in the world.
VS: That’s right. After centuries they still couldn’t figure out how to mix the water. They have got hot and cold in separate.
MT: Separate. Separate taps. I don’t see how that works.
TO: So it really is that bad.
VS: Unbelievably. It’s very medieval.
TO: It is very medieval.
MT: Yeah, it is.
TO: Does it make you miss your sauna?
VS: Everything does. (sigh) I’m missing it right now. I don’t have one but I’m missing it.
MT: You miss sauna?
VS: Yeah, MY sauna!
MT: With this heat outside?
VS: Yes!
MT: I don’t miss sauna. You go outside it’s already a sauna.
VS: You can’t be naked in the public!
TO: Sure you can but, you’ll get arrested.
VS: Yeah, exactly.
TO: You can if you wanted to.
MT: Why do you have such laws in here? Why can’t you be naked?!
TO: Honestly, I don’t want to live here either.
VS: Come to Finland. Actually, I don’t think you can be naked on the streets in Finland either.
MT: You can. Course they’ll give you shit and ask that you to leave. But you can.
TO: Yeah, my Finnish is very limited. I can swear proficiently and say thank you.
VS: That’s enough!
TO: I can say kiitos, perkele, vittu, paska and that’s about it.
VS: Can you order beer?
TO: No I cannot. Do you want to teach me?
VS: Yeah! Olut, kiitos! Actually you don’t have to say the kiitos. Just olut.
TO: Olut.
VS: Yes!
MT: Beer! But you have to snap your fingers.
TO: What are you guys listening to currently?
VS: Right now?
TO: Yes.
VS: There is no music playing? (Laughs)
TO: Smart ass! It doesn’t have to be heavy metal? But I mean on your free time what do you listen to?
MT: Psychedelic. Mmmm…shit like drug related shit. Anything you can find.
TO: Techno.
MT: Yeah.
Moonsorrow Interview
Henri Sorvali, Marko Tarvonen and Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow
TO: What about you? (Points to Ville)
VS: I’m forced to listen to his bullshit.
(Moonsorrow laughs)
MT: I didn’t ask you.
VS: Unfortunately.
MT: I’m the DJ.
TO: So one day when I was on YouTube I came across Finnish rap and I couldn’t stop laughing.
VS: Finnish rap?
TO: Yes, Finnish rap.
MT: That’s cool.
TO: Can you answer this question? What do Finns have to rap about? How can you be ghetto in Finland?
VS: Things are not a roseberry either for some people. There are a lot of unfortunate people.
TO: Well I understand that. It’s the economy. It’s affecting everyone no matter what country you live in.
VS: But anyway, I think Finish rap is cool.
MT: That is something I can accept. The worst thing. The worst thing is Finnish reggae. THAT IS HORRIBLE!!!! WHAT KIND OF SHIT IS THAT?!
TO: I thought there was nothing worse than Finnish rap.
MT: They’re pretending to be Caribbean whatever. (snorts)
TO: In the video they were all ghetto like this and riding in a white low rider car and they had bandanas on their shaven heads and they were making gang signs and singing in Finnish and dancing with a bunch of bitch and hoes and putting money in their thongs and tits. They had bling as big as my head. I just don’t understand why would you want to be America?
MT: This is a turning point! We’ll never recover!! We must drink more.
(Tour manager enter the tour bus)
VS: We’re going to make you an alcoholic.
MT: I’m already an alcoholic. You made me an alcoholic.
MT: More drinking!
VS: We’ll make you an even more alcoholic. I want to see that part of you.
MT: Who was the one who was having eight shots with Eluveitie?
VS: In where?
MT: I caught them having the pre-ritual shots of vodka before the show. The only problem is that I could them get them all together so I would have a shot with four of them and then a shot with two of them and then a shot by myself. And then three of them?
TO: Is Anna Murphy a light-weight?
MT: Are you fucking kidding me? With a last name like Murphy? That girl pretty much drank everyone under the table.
VS: She’s a hot girl.
Everyone laughs
VS: Where were we?
TO: We were having a tender metal moment.
VS: I’m going to pity you when you have to write all this down.
TO: It’s ok. I live for shit like this. This is soo much better than asking you guy so what are your influences? What is your band based on? Why are you called Moonsorrow? I’m sorry you guys don’t want to hear that.
MT: Yeah, fuck that shit.
VS: We don’t answer those questions.
TO: You don’t want to hear that.
MT: Hell no! We don’t need that shit. No one is interested in that shit.
TO: You’ve heard that a million fucking times.
VS &TM: Yeah! It’s so refreshing.
TO: I like asking different things.
MT: Just don’t ask. Keep it recording. (points to phone)
VS: There you go! The real life of Moonsorrow!!
TO: Who else have you played with? I also like Omnium Gatherum. I think it would be awesome if they toured here.
VS: We have played festivals with them. We have played with lots of bands.
TO: What is the breakfast of campaigns for Finns?
MT: Whiskey and coke!!
TO: Not vodka!
MT: Nope. Whisky and coke.
VS: I love Mojitoes.
TO: I love vodka!
MT: Have you tasted the Fisherman’s and vodka in here?
TO: Nope. But Keijo of Rotten Sound told me to put gummy fish in licorice alcohol.
MT: It’s great.
VS: No. It’s awful!
MT: If you don’t like that we have an even worse version in Finland.
TO: Really?
MT: Yeah, it’s very salty and very licorice.
TO: I don’t like eating licorice but I like drinking it.
VS: I like drinking. In all forms.
MT: They love it in Finland. Salmiakk.
MT: Now we have a question for you?
TO: Shoot.
MT: Don’t you want to hear what we think of our last album? (laughs)
VS: It’s fucking awesome! Epic!
VS: I really have something to say. We clearly got the inspiration for the album from supernatural forces like Darth Vader.
TO: And drinking!
VS: Darth Vader drinking. You have not seen Darth Vader drink.
MT: Anyway, it’s a science-fiction album. Like conception.
VS: Post Christan science fiction. (Laughs)
TO: So no Kalevala, no Vainamoinen.
VS: No, no. They’re all dead. We write music from the times when Vainamoinen was already dead.
MT: So I saw two transformers yesterday. I saw this one crazy homeless couple dressed up in metal cans and had shinny gunnels and transformer symbols they made out of duct tape and pieces of aluminum.
TO: That’s weird. I guess that answers the question of what’s the craziest thing you have seen on tour so far.
MT: They were the craziest.
VS: No, I think the guy we saw in New York.
MT: Yeah. You’re right.
VS: He was probably the best out of all of them. Well he was really nice. He looked like Woody Allen. Woody Allen from Hell.
MT: From Hell.
VS: And he had a facial tattoo. You don’t see facial tattoos that often but then there are some. But then again you don’t see tattoos like that ever. It looked like he made it himself because it was really bad quality. He had a bat on his forehead, a spiderweb all over.
TO: Maybe he was in jail.
VS: No, no. It was great. He as a really cool guy.
MT: What a joke! If you’re reading this interview you’re the best. Because he was coming to the show anyway. Chances are he’s going to read this or comment about this.
TO: Who did the artwork for the album?
VS: It was a photographer by the name of Juha Arvid Helminen. We had ideas of the concept album. Every page of the album is part of the story. So it starts with the cover and ends with the back of it. And we discussed how the story line goes when I sat down with the photographer. We made sketches of what happens. So it is more like a movie anyway.
TO: Kittos. Thank you very much for this interview. It was great just hanging out with you guys.
VS: No problem!

Power of Metal.dk / September 2012


September 23rd, 2012 (last day of Manala North American Tour, featuring Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Týr and Metsatöll)

Interview with Ville Sorvali and Mitja Harvilahti - MoonsorrowOctober 2012

Power of Metal: How are you guys doing this evening, ready for the show?

-Mitja: Yes, getting ready and well...

- Ville: Getting ready for going home as well, yeah. As you see we're going to have to pack everything. The last days are always the most frustrating part of the tour cause you have to collect all your stuff... all around the bus.

PoM: This is the last day of the tour?

- Ville: This is the last one.

PoM: Any crazy stories so far?

-Mitja: There have been a lot of crazy, crazy stories. Some of them we can't tell.

- Ville: Most of them we can't even classify.

-Mitja: On this tour, a lot of things have happened. A lot of interesting stories, a lot of crazy people we have met. (laughs) I don't think we can even tell those stories, they we're a little bit too bizarre.

- Ville: Yeah, bizarre exactly. At least I managed to get really wasted yesterday in New York. Just warmed up a couple of hours ago.

PoM: What do you think of the American crowd, how do they differ from the Finnish crowd?

-Mitja: Well, the American crowd I would say they are very energetic. They give a lot of energy to the band because we work very hard on stage to give the best performance we can for the audience and the American crowd is the best you can find, definitely.

-Ville: That's right. It's the 6th member of the band, the audience, it really is. If the audience is boring it's pretty hard to play live. But here it's really easy to just play and enjoy yourself on stage.

-Mitja: It doesn't feel like work.

PoM: Throughout the years, who has usually taken responsibility when it comes to writing the music and lyrics of the albums?

-Ville: That would be Henri - the guy who is not with us.

-Mitja: Yeah but you do all the lyrics.

-Ville: I do all the lyrics, yeah. (laughs)

-Mitja: Henri is responsible for 90% of the music.

-Ville: Our drummer Marko and I contribute in writing, but whatever we do he still rearranges so it fits the Moonsorrow pattern. So he really is the guy behind the sound.

PoM: Was it a conscious decision to evolve the music the way it did after ?Voimasta ja Kunniasta? or was it natural progression? It seemed to have drifted away from the folky and ?paganistic? nature of the first two albums into a more epic direction as a whole.

-Mitja: Yeah. I mean it was always an obvious choice for us to take the direction that we did because the second and the third album are quite symphonic and quite orchestrated, then we decided we really want to go back for more organic sound, more raw sound. We really didn't want the over pompous production to be present in our music so much anymore.

-Ville: Yeah, after those albums we kind of felt like we've done it all already - we want to do something different.

PoM: Have you played any bits of ?V: H?itetty? live?

-Mitja: Yeah, half of it, the second song. The first one we'd never played live. We never even tried it at the rehearsal place.

-Ville: We didn't actually even record it in one take. It's too long to remember. (laughs)

PoM: Where do you draw the inspiration to the stories told in your songs?

-Ville: I have a mouth full of nuts. Please start... (laughs)

-Mitja: No, you have to finish your nuts, I'm sorry. (laughs) Take your time, I'm not answering this question. It's one of the most difficult questions to answer. (laughs) It's obvious, but still, it takes a long time...

-Ville: ...yeah. Inspiration to the music, lyrics or both?

PoM: I'll go with both. (laughs)

-Ville: For the music, that's quite hard because that's Henri. When he writes music and I write the lyrics; we don't even have to communicate with each other and that's how we have this weird link - that we do stuff which fits together. In any case, maybe because we've been writing music together for... almost 20 years. (pause) I think our main inspiration sources are old legends, history, stuff like deep respect for nature and the concept of paganism; That is hard to explain, I'm not even going to try. It's definitely stuff that doesn't fit the world we live in now. I'm not sure if I've said anything sensitive, but... (laughs)

PoM: It must be difficult to create lengthy, functional pieces of art. What the Hell possesses a person when that happens? How do you do it?

-Ville: I would say that in the case of this band, it would be even more difficult to try to make short songs, if that makes sense. We are just somehow driven to do that in what we are doing.

-Mitja: When you start writing epics like this, you learn how to work with the structures, how to build up the tension and stuff. We started making longer and longer and more complex songs until the point that we already made an album with 2 songs, and then we had to go back a little bit. I think we had found our formula and the form that our music is and will be. It will always be pretty much long songs. We can move from shorter to longer, which ever way we want, but making a 6 minute Moonsorrow song, it doesn't seem like it's happening very fast.

-Ville: I wouldn't say that we have any sort of time limit. For example, if we for some weird reason came up with a 3 minute song that could really fix the concept of Moonsorrow, then we would use it, of course. I would compare the music to the story, even the song in itself, even without the lyrics, it's a story. If you have a book that has 300 pages, you don't stop reading after you've read 60 pages, the story isn't finished yet. (laughs) It doesn't make any sense to me.

PoM: Have you heard any complaints from the fans about the length of the songs, saying they're too long?

-Mitja: Yes.

-Ville: Of course there are always people who'll complain about anything that we do. Of course it's natural.

(interview gets interrupted)

-Mitja: Yeah, so... uhhh what was the question again? (laughs)

PoM: Complaints from fans... (laughs)

-Mitja: Of course some people don't like overly epic music.

-Ville: You can't please everyone.

-Mitja: ...and we don't care because we only write the music we want to. That's the only way to make good music. If we start listening to the record label's opinion, the manager's opinion, the audience's opinion, it would never work because then it would not be our music anymore.

-Ville: We want to write music we can also listen to ourselves.

PoM: How would you describe your music to someone who is unfamiliar with this band?

-Mitja: One of the other questions that's most horrible to answer.

-Ville: Try. (laugh)

-Mitja: Well okay, I'll try... (pause) Moonsorrow's music is metal that has elements from traditional Scandinavian music and for example folk music, like ummm, progressive rock and black metal...

-Ville: ...traditional Scandinavian music like progressive rock?!

(both laugh)

-Mitja: Oh no... Well, yes! Exactly. (laughs) What else?

-Ville: Black metal.

-Mitja: Yes.

-Ville: There's a lot of black metal in it actually. And I think that the fans acknowledge that, pretty much. On this bill for example, we are the black sheep of the crew.

(mumbling in the background)

-Ville: No, I'm not black.

-Mitja: You're just a sheep.

-Ville: I'm just a sheep. (laughs)

PoM: As a little sidetrack, what are the future plans for Lakupaavi? (side project of Moonsorrow) Could you give us an update?

-Mitja: Well, the update has been the same since we recorded. I have... I'd say 20 songs that are brilliant. But we can't release them right now.

-Ville: I also have a few. One of them is a blues song, actually. We will record them when the time is right. We just have to feel like it. It's like, 'oh we're going to do it', and then we go to the studio or whatever.

-Mitja: Actually we're not even allowed to have it done because there's a record contract which says that only two members of the band can be in the same (other) band.

-Ville: Oh, yeah, yeah. I don't think they would mind. (laughs)

-Mitja: Maybe they won't, let's not tell them. (laughs)

PoM: You appeared on Finnish TV last year at the time of your latest album (Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa)...

-Ville: Oh yeah, that was a really awkward moment. I've never been on a broadcast that reaches 1 or 2 million people.

PoM: There were talks of covering a song called 'Rekkamies'...

-Both: Ahhh!

PoM: Is that really in planning or was that merely a jest?

-Mitja: Well...

-Ville: It's actually a song that we could cover but...

-Mitja: ...it's not impossible. It was requested by the guy who was interviewed before us on the same program and well, we might do it. Moonsorrow with some truck samples sounds a little bit strange but still, it might work.

-Ville: Vikings do not have trucks... (laughs)

PoM: It might not be too awkward, I think. Ensiferum just did a cover of Bamboleo.

-Ville: Yeeeah they have done some crazy stuff over the years. They are the fun band, we are not. We are dead serious and fucking depressing.

(both laugh)

PoM: Nah... So what's going to happen after this tour?

-Mitja: Oh, after this tour we have one other show coming up in the Netherlands and then...

-Ville: ...and then we will just relax and try to make our livers work again.

-Mitja: Yeah and start negotiating about a lot of stuff like a DVD...

-Ville: ...and then a new album.

-Mitja: And the new album as well. We have to start coming up with ideas - slowly start putting it together. That's the main part, anyway.

-Ville: Yeah. I can promise that it will be out before 2020. (laughs)

PoM: What would you like to say to the fans out there?

-Ville: You're good at this...

-Mitja: The message that I would like to say is: I hope you enjoy our music and I really hope you'll always come to our shows because we really want to play live and we want to see them, too.

Finnish Undergröund Rädiö / August 2012

...interviewed by Narri
with Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow
filmed by Nick Knudsen
@ Rocky Point Cantina, Tempe AZ
August 15, 2012
US Tour 2012