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, October 3, 2017

Vice / March 2015 (Strong Scene Productions)


We Spoke to the Guy Who Tricked the World Into Thinking That H&M Were Selling Neo-Nazi Metal T-Shirts

Henri Sorvali helped create an ingenious fake campaign poking fun at how metal subcultures are mass marketed.

So, the last 24 hours have been fucking weird. When I woke up this morning, it looked as though everyone's favorite source of cheap belts, H&M, had been sussed out for creating online profiles for a load of fake metal bands, peppered with the occasional bit of neo-nazi imagary, all in the interest of flogging some t-shirts.

In a news story that originally appeared on Metal Injection, and has since been reported by Fact, Complex and innumerable other sites, H&M had come under fire for potentially unleashing "one of the more ill-advised marketing campaigns in recent history."

They reported that H&M are currently selling a series of t-shirts with the logos of what appeared to be obscure metal bands on. However when you looked up the bands, they could all be traced back to a collective called Strong Scene Productions. If you visit their Facebook page, you do indeed see the band names from the shirts (MORTUS, MOTMROS, LANY, MYSTIC TRIANGLE et al) littered everywhere, alongside gig posters ($250-300 for an underground one day festival), biographies ("The purpose of Mortus is to serve the almighty Sathanas and spread the black semen of the holy goat onto all lands") and artwork that features a goth'd up version of the models featured above. But all of this was created en masse within the last week.

Metal Injection reported that some of these invented bands had ties with the National Socalist Black Metal scene—that is, to put it bluntly, raving neo-nazis. So, if this was all a marketing ploy by H&M, then somebody really, really fucked it. However, given that this time last year, H&M were forced to withdraw a line of vests featuring the Star of David with a skull in the middle following accusations of anti-semitism, the idea that someone from marketing sacked off the research aspect of their job once again didn't seem all that unlikely. Even so, something about it all didn't quite add up.
In now turns out, H&M had absolutely nothing to do with the making of these bands whatsoever. It was all a giant parody by those behind Strong Scene Productions who are, essentially, genuine metal fans who took one look at H&M's most recent “metal-inspired” items of clothing—complete with fake bands and patches that work from a brief of “generic heavy metal imagery”—and thought, "I'm done with high street chains badly commodifying my music." They decided to play a deep and brilliant joke on H&M, by actually creating the "bands," making them really right wing and then spreading them across the internet for the world to join the dots.

Henri Sorvali of Finnish metal band Moonsorrow/Finntroll is one of the people behind the idea. So, I got in touch to chat with him about the marvellous media shitstorm he helped create for one of the world's biggest retail outlets.

(Some very legit artwork for a totally real band, taken from Strong Scene Productions' Facebook page)

Noisey: OK real talk, Henri—do any of the bands on Strong Scene Productions actually exist?
No. Every single band was created on the basis of the patches in the H&M spring collection clothes.

Is this a backlash against the commodification of metal by mainstream retailers?
Partially, yes. But we also wanted to point out the fact that you cannot commercialize a subculture without actually knowing all the different aspects of it. Knowledge on your product is essential in marketing, and Strong Scene supports self-awareness and education for everyone on the matter. And no, I also haven't been hired for a job by H&M either, which the wildest rumors claimed!

This all seems like a lot of effort just to troll H&M. So the real question is, why bother?
The purpose of the group (consisting of literally tens of people from different areas of music and media around Scandinavia) was to create discussion on the fact that metal culture is more than just "cool" looking logos on fashionable clothes, and has many more aesthetic and ideological aspects in different subgenres than what some corporations are trying to express. The metal scene is varied, controversial and a sort of a wolf you can't chain into a leash and expect it to behave on your terms like a dog. Strong Scene as a collective has absolutely no political nor ideological intentions, and is only bringing the conversation to the level it should be discussed at. Think of us as the one-time "Yes Men" of metal music.

You're in a metal band yourself—Finntroll. Any connection between the subject matter on the albums (battling trolls etc) and the online trolling we see today?
While this would be a rather clever place to actually drum for Finntroll´s media publicity, this has nothing to do with that. You call this trolling, we call it cultural jamming. And Finntroll just kicks out the jams in other things!

Thanks Henri!

HeavyMusic.ru / March 2017


  It’s been a year since the release of “Jumalten Aika”, and Heavymusic team came back to Helsinki for having a chat with the guys from Moonsorrow again. The secrets of promo photos, old Finnish traditions, the end of the world and more — have a read our exclusive interview!

          So how was the tour going for you?
          Ville: Excellent!
          Mitja: Yeah, very good! It’s nice to tour in Finland as we didn’t do a proper Finnish tour, just played some festivals, and then we started touring in Europe when the album [Jumalten Aika] was released, so finally we’ve been touring a little bit more in Finland.
          Have you received any kind of special treatment from the homeland fans? Is there any difference in mentality?
          Ville: I don’t know if it’s different, it was just really good. We got a very good response from the audience, maybe it’s because we don’t do this so often they don’t get tired…
          Or they just miss you so much because you usually play in other countries!
          Ville: I don’t know why actually.
          We’re sitting here like we did almost a year ago. The same place, nearly the same time…
          Mitja: Right!
          …but at that time we didn’t have a chance to look at “Jumalten Aika” booklet. Now after taking a closer look we can say that your promo pictures have definitely caught our attention. Can you tell us about its making process?
          Ville: It was Markus’s idea. He wanted to do this maybe because he doesn’t like us that much *laughs* He wants us to suffer. It was really painful to do. In a way it was fun. How did we do it?
          Mitja: We were in theatre with some kind of a pool of mud and dirt.
          So you were in a closed space, not outside, right?
          Mitja: Yeah, we were indoors.
          Ville: We weren’t really at the graveyard or anything.
          *everybody laughs*
          Mitja: It was fucking cold at that time of the year, so being outside and trying to dig ground for the hole big enough for the guys…
          Markus doesn’t dislike you that much!
          *everybody laughs*

          How did you feel with all that ground in your hair and even in your mouth?
          Ville: Dirty.
          Was it tasty?
          *everybody laughs*
          Ville: I was the one who had the dirt in my mouth, so I can tell you it wasn’t especially tasty. I wouldn’t use that word to describe it.
          You wouldn’t repeat that, right?
          Ville: No, probably not.
          *At that point Mitja shows us a photo of Markus lying on the ground in the pool half-naked*
          Mitja: So there’s Markus.
          He is trying to be so stoic…
          Ville: He doesn’t have to try to be stoic.
          Well, let’s move to the next question. Using of folk melodies has always been a strong feature of your music. Do you in some way rearrange any old Finnish melodies or do you write your own stuff?
          Ville: We’d like to think that all those melodies are originals, and that we’ve come up with them. Of course, there’s only a certain number of ways how you can combine these a few notes that are used in traditional Scandinavian music, so every melody sounds a bit like the next melody in a way, but we don’t use melodies that are known as traditional or anything. We try to come up with the new ones.
          The new ones sound like the old ones, and it’s really good! Ok, now I want to ask you about phenomenon which can be called “blood memory”. It means a special state of mind when you suddenly feel like traveling back in time and looking on the world with your ancestors’ eyes. Have you ever experienced such a feeling and if yes, what was the reason for it?
          Mitja: A good question. I don’t think I have. I tried to, but I don’t think it really happened to me. Although many times I try to depict in my head how things were before and so on, but I haven’t had any experience like this.
          Sometimes when you’re listening to music, you can imagine all this stuff they sing about and sometimes it just happens…
          Mitja: Well, when I usually listen to the music I see some kind of landscapes and colors but nothing very concrete.
          Ville: When I was writing the lyrics, I really tried to see the world with my ancestors’ eyes, but of course it’s a bit difficult, because the surroundings are totally different. Those people didn’t use to live in the cities, for example. They didn’t have running water or electricity or anything.
          How about escaping to the forest?
          Ville: I was doing some inner research in forests and Arctic areas, but that’s a different story.
          Ok, it will be the question for the next interview! Do you have any favorite Finnish traditions or customs?
          Ville: Drinking.
          Mitja: Customs?..
          *At that point our interview is interrupted with a loud “Whee!” from Marko who is riding an equipment trolley driven by one of the technicians. They say “Oh, you’re having an interview! Sorry!” and zoom off. Everybody laughs*
          Mitja: I would say… Just fishing *laughs* It’s not really a tradition, but…
          Ville: It’s not really a tradition, because it was crucial for quite many people’s living back in those days. You had to fish to get something to eat. Nowadays it’s just a hobby, because other people fish for us, we just go to the supermarket and buy that fish, and it’s actually pretty sad.
          The nature has always had a great influence on your music, if not to say the greatest. What do you think modern people should learn from the nature?
          Ville: Respect.
          Mitja: Yeah. Respect and I think it would be good to anybody to go in the woods by yourself completely alone and stay for a couple of nights with yourself and nature. It teaches you a lot about yourself usually.
          Ville: And I think people should definitely understand that even though we have all these big cities, we have these supermarkets that stock the food for us, we have smartphones and everything, we still totally and mostly depend on the nature. All these parts that are used in the smartphones *nods in the direction of smartphones recording the interview* come from the nature originally. So we’re just kind of visitors here. If we fuck up the planet, the planet doesn’t care, I think, but then we fuck up ourselves. People should really understand that before it’s too late. It’s not supposed to be a lecture or anything but that’s what just came up to my mind.
          You have developed two concepts of the end of the world on your albums. It will die in the fire or plunge into eternal cold according to “Hävitetty” and “Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleden Maassa” respectively. In your opinion, what will be the real end of the word?
          Ville: Stupidity. There are lots of possible scenarios, I don’t think if it’s actually gonna happen but… It’s not gonna happen during my life, I hope. People will eventually reeducate themselves.
          Mitja: Yeah, people are lucky enough to live until they do, but I think some asteroid will destroy our planet before we can do it.
          So it can be better for us than dying from our own hands…
          Mitja: I don’t know if it’s good for anything but... I hope it’s gonna happen soon, maybe tomorrow.
          Ville: It would be good for the other life forms on this planet, if we get rid of ourselves, but I’m not gonna get rid of myself, I don’t need that. Some things have gone a bit out of hand.

          Can you guys compare yourself with any kind of nature phenomena?
          Mitja: What do you mean?
          Anything like rain, storm, snow, Northern lights… maybe rainbow?
          Mitja: *laughs* Ok, we’re rainbows…
          Ville: I would like to be a stone. They are quite cool. They don’t really disturb anyone.
          Yeah, just lying on the ground…
          Mitja: Growing some mold…
          *everybody laughs*
          Ville: Unless there’s a landslide. Then they disturb quite a lot.
          Mitja, what about you? Rainbow was your first answer…
          Mitja: No-no-no…
          Ville: A unicorn.
          Mitja: Yeah, a unicorn. *laughs* No, I would say… mist.
          Nowadays many people think it’s important to have a warrior spirit. With regard to all events which are happening in the world what’s your opinion about that and do you consider yourself as warriors?
          Ville: No.
          Mitja: Not really. You need to have some stamina to go through everyday life, but I don’t value people who are over-aggressive and take whatever they want.
          Well, it’s maybe about defending their own interests and even overcoming yourself every day, doing something you don’t like to, but you have to…
          Mitja: Yeah, when you need to take stuff in your hands then of course, not just physically but in general. But I value wisdom more than being just a fighter.
          Ville: I think that’s one of the most important features of human kind that we actually have, if we want to. We have the ability to coexist and make compromises that benefit everyone. In theory.
          This year marks a centenary of Finnish independence. In order to commemorate this event one web-site called musicfinland.fi has made a special playlist which includes one hundred songs of different Finnish artists who has made bright and lasting international impression. Unfortunately, no Moonsorrow songs were included…
          Ville: I haven’t checked the list.
          …so if you could choose one song to be in this list, which song would it be?
          Ville: That’s a very good question.
          Mitja: I would choose “Tulimyrsky”.
          Ville: Yeah, because it’s the longest.
          The next question might be a tricky one, but we want you to be honest. Does Moonsorrow give you enough space for artistic expression, or do you sometimes feel the need to bring your material to any side projects?
          Ville: So far it has for me. I don’t really feel a need to do something else. I might do something else now and then just for fun, but I don’t think Moonsorrow limits my artistic expression.
          Mitja: Yeah, we all write all kinds of material and every material has its place somewhere, not maybe in Moonsorrow, but we want to write some Lakupaavi [punk/grindcore side project including the members of Moonsorrow] stuff definitely not under Moonsorrow’s name.
          Well, it must be continued!
          Ville: But no one knows when.
          Mitja: Time is also limited. I find it extremely difficult to find the time for other projects, and when I do, it’s always battle against time schedules and stuff.
          What kind of projects do you do?
          Mitja: Well, I have an old band called Shadow Cut, and we tried to make some new songs but... it’s impossible to find time for it. I have some ideas for other projects, but it never happens because nobody finds time.
          Do you at least have any volunteers to help you with this or do you do everything by yourself?
          Mitja: Yeas, it’s always with other people. I am not good enough with the computers to make music by myself, it’so slow. After seeing how Henri [Sorwali, the mastermind of Moonsorrow] works and how he can by hands play just drum kit in one minute, and then all the instruments in few minutes, while I’m still trying to struggle with the kick drum, not even be able to make a complete drum feel for one song.
          So no majesty of Burzum or Falkenbach for you?
          Mitja: *laughs* No.
          And now we have two special questions. The first is for you, Ville. Which part of being a musician excites you the most: playing the instrument, writing the lyrics or doing the vocals?
          Ville: All of those, really. I’m in a very different mood in all those different aspects. When I play the show, I’m in the mood for playing the show, when I do vocals in the studio, I’m in that mood... I enjoy all of that in a very different way, I can even compare it, I’m really sorry.
          The second question goes for you, Mitja. According to some pictures, which have been made during the shootings of “The Home Of The Wind” documentary, one of your hobbies is sailing. Can you tell us more about it?
          Ville: And sinking ships…
          *everybody laughs*
          Mitja: Yeah, I own a really old wooden boat with a friend of mine. It’s great to have it during the summer because Helsinki and the archipelago around us are really beautiful, and just in a few minutes you’re in a completely different environment. The ocean is a very interesting element for me, it’s quite scary and beautiful and all things at the same time.
          Ville: And the constant threat of drowning…
          Mitja: Yeah, it’s always there.
          Ville: It really puts you in perspective. Man versus the nature.
          Mitja: In my case it’s usually man versus the engine.
          *everybody laughs*
          Is it that old?
          Mitja: Yes. It’s from 60s and the engine looks like… it needs a lot of maintenance this summer, or I’m really gonna drown.
          Well, retro style is quite popular nowadays.
          MItja: Yeah, they don’t do boats like this anymore.
          Ville: I wonder why…
          Mitja: I too wonder why, because…
          Ville: It’s a nice boat.
          Mitja: Yeah, it has spirit. When it’s old and made of wood, it’s so much better to sleep and better to look at compared to fiberglass boats.
          We have mentioned the making of your documentary. What is its current state, have the shootings already been finished?
          Ville: Yeah, the main guy behind it has just mentioned that now he’s finally finished with all the material. Let’s see!
          Mitja: Yeah, it’s in the editing phase right now. He shot the previous week, they came to Tampere to shoot some material, and I’m delivering them some old footage as well, so they started to edit it. I guess they’ve edited some parts already.
          Great news! Can’t wait to see the result!
          Ville: Me neither.
          And which part of the shootings you liked best?
          Ville: I only did a couple of interviews so I gave a lot of background information but I wasn’t filmed during that. Interviews and all of that were really nice, they had good questions, and obviously they made a good background work. It was really nice to work with people who know what they are doing and know what band they are dealing with.
          Mitja: It feels sometimes like they know the band better than we do.
          Because probably you’ve already forgotten some things.
          Mitja: Yeah, yeah.
          That’s the fan’s nature, I guess, to know everything and even more…
          Mitja: But it was strange when every time they asked me to talk about paganism, it always started raining. We had a session on an island, and just when I was starting to answer their questions it started pouring down like hell. The next day we went on a hill and when I was just about to start again, it started to rain.
          So you aren’t the mist, you’re the rain!
          Mitja: Yeah, right.
          Or maybe you have some secret knowledge which is not meant to be shared…
          Ville: Or it’s so crappy it shouldn’t be shared.
          And now here’s our last question for today. What is the most peculiar thing you can’t live without while being on tour?
          Ville: Hmm, let me think… *after a long pause* I don’t have any esoteric artefacts in my bunk in the bus…
          Mitja: I do.
          Ville: I just have my music I listen to, that’s it. I don’t even have books. I have one book on this tour, but I’ve already read it before the tour, so I just lent it to other people.
          What was the book?
          Ville: It was a very short book about an American tour from the prospective of a roadie. It was really short and I actually read it. I bought it for the tour, but I actually read before the tour.
          Mitja: Well, I don’t really need many things. It happened to me once when all my possessions were stolen from the bus, with all my clothes and stuff. I did have my wallet and phone in my pockets, but everything else I lost. As long as somebody provides you with drinks and food, then I’ll be fine. It was horrible to be in the US without clothes, because when we arrived to Hollywood my clothes looked horrible. It was so dirty after two weeks of touring, and I thought “Ok, I’m gonna go and buy some new stuff from H&M”, but they were closed. It was Sunday or just the late hours, and the only shop that was opened was Armani shop…
          Ville: Yeah, in Hollywood.
          As long as you have a good credit card you’re fine.
          Mitja: I’ve bought Armani sweater and shirts and stuff, and it cost like hell. It was like a completely different person when I came back to them.
          I bet you made a lot of fun on him!
          Ville: He doesn’t really have to dress up differently for us to make fun on him…
          So that’s it! Thanks for the answers and have a good show tonight!
          Questions: Olga Degteva, Maria Meledyakhina

Metallus / March 2016


Moonsorrow: “L’Età Degli Dei” – Intervista a Ville Sorvali

Forti della prossima pubblicazione dell’album “Jumalten Aika”, letteralmente “L’Età Degli Dei”, abbiamo raggiunto telefonicamente Ville Sorvali (basso e voce) per parlare di questo album e di un gruppo che arriva a quindici anni di storia mantenendo una coerenza invidiabile.

Ciao e benvenuto su Metallus! Grazie mille per il tuo tempo. Come stai?
Molto bene, grazie! Figurati, è un piacere.

Sono passati cinque anni dal vostro ultimo disco prima di “Jumalten Aika”:cos’è successo in questo lasso di tempo?
Beh, è che siamo dei pigroni… Abbiamo cominciato a lavorare a questo disco nel 2012 ma ad un certo punto abbiamo capito che il materiale che avevamo composto fino a quel momento non ci andava più bene quindi abbiamo ricominciato da zero, dopo un break per trovare la direzione giusta. Siamo arrivati nel 2014 capendo che le canzoni che stavamo componendo erano quelle giuste, ciò che volevamo.

C’è un forte legame fra questo “Jumalten Aika” e i primi dischi, più di quello che c’era fra gli ultimi dischi e i precedenti. Cosa puoi dirci a riguardo?
Volevamo fare un album più grezzo ed energico, ma volevamo anche evitare di comporre un unico lungo brano. Volevamo comporre cinque canzoni diverse fra di loro, di modo che le singole canzoni potessero essere ascoltate e apprezzate anche in modo singolo, non necessariamente inserite nel flusso dell’album.

Penso che il black metal sia ancora forte e chiaro nella vostra musica: ti chiedo cosa è per te, artista, il black metal al giorno d’oggi?
Ci sono tanti elementi satanici nella nostra musica ma non solo per questo può essere considerato black metal. Siamo tutti cresciuti col black metal degli anni ’90, quello originale, che è stato importante per tutti noi. Direi che il black metal sia qualcosa di emozionale che non puoi spiegare a chi non sa cosa sia il black metal: io ci ho provato e credimi quando ti dico che è inutile. O ti tocca dentro o non ti tocca c’è poco da fare.

Leggendo la press release ho trovato una frase che mi ha molto colpito e che dice “successfully avoiding the stereotypical “It’s party time!” kind of folk metal”. Pensi che sia stato fatto un uso troppo disinvolto degli elementi folk nella musica metal?
Quando si è iniziato a proporre folk metal, subito molti gruppi hanno iniziato a riprodurre in modo abbastanza sbrigativo quello che inizialmente era un approccio originale al metal e alla musica tradizionale. Il problema fondamentale è che ci sono un sacco di band che non hanno propri pezzi originali ma tende a copiare in maniera sterile altri gruppi. Per me è fastidioso il fatto che questi gruppi non vogliano proporre un loro sound personale e che utilizzino questo approccio “It’s party-time! folk metal”. Non vogliamo essere accomunati a loro: abbiamo usato alcune melodie folk più accessibili e allegre in tre album e probabilmente abbiamo contribuito anche a creare questo mostro di folk metal. Ma siamo stanchi di quello, vogliamo fare qualcosa di diverso, senza comunque rinnegare la strada che abbiamo intrapreso anni fa.

Parlando del disco, potresti parlarci dei testi di questo nuovo lavoro?
Volevamo costruire le storie dell’album basandoci su miti esistenti ma senza ricalcarne esattamente la storia che tutti ormai conoscono. Ne abbiamo preso degli elementi, li abbiamo interpretati e abbiamo costruito delle storie attorno ad essi. Penso che il tema generale di questo “Jumalten Aika” sia il tempo in cui gli umani cominciarono a chiedersi e a spiegare cosa succedeva intorno a loro, specie dal punto di vista dei fenomeni naturali: qui è quando crearono gli dei e gli dei diventarono parte dell’umanità.

Parliamo un po’ delle canzoni. Adoro la title-track, con le sue tastiere che riportano alla mente il sound black metal degli anni ’90: era il vostro proposito?
Hai assolutamente ragione, sai? Volevamo cominciare il CD con qualcosa di classicamente Moonsorrow ma che poi cambiasse molto repentinamente. Ci sono sicuramente molte influenze di quel tipo di black metal. L’inizio è quasi allegro e rassicurante ma poi all’improvviso qualcosa di malefico spunta da dietro l’angolo

La mia canzone preferita è la seconda, “Ruttolehto” , specie per la sezione centrale, molto d’atmosfera…
Quella sezione del brano rappresenta una sorta di trance sciamanica, qualcosa che non avevamo mai fatto prima. Ecco perché abbiamo chiamato Jonne Järvelä dei Korpiklaani quasi come fosse un reverendo per officiare questa cerimonia: siamo molto soddisfatti del risultato finale.

Un altro brano che adoro è la finale “Ihmisen Aika (Kumarrus Pimeyteen)”, con quel suono potente di batteria, epico, che mi ricorda qualcosa di classico come i Cirith Ungol e i Manilla Road: ci sono legami con questa musica degli anni ’80?
Il principale compositore, Henri (Sorvali) non ascolta tanto quel genera di musica ma di sicuro la conosce. Siamo arrivati a un punto in cui sapevamo di voler includere dell’heavy metal nell’album: il classic heavy metal (non il power) è ciò da cui tutti noi deriviamo e ciò da cui tutte le sottocategorie di metal derivano. E’ stato come fare un tributo al classic heavy metal.

Nella limited edition ci sono un paio di cover (“Soulless” dei Grave e “Non Serviam” dei Rotting Christ): perché queste canzoni?
Le abbiamo scelte spontaneamente il primo giorno di registrazioni in studio perché sono canzoni importanti per noi: siamo stati influenzati da questi gruppi prima che i Moonsorrow nascessero. Sono canzoni grandiose e volevamo rendergli il dovuto rispettoso tributo però trattandole alla maniera dei Moonsorrow, ovviamente, che significa portare il sound originale al nostro livello.

Avete prodotto il disco: cosa puoi dirci riguardo questo processo?
La maggior parte della produzione era stata fatta prima della registrazione: quando scriviamo e arrangiamo le canzoni ci immaginiamo già come devono suonare i vari elementi così, occupandoci della maggior parte delle cose prima, in studio possiamo dedicarci soltanto a usare strumentazioni professionali per ottenere il meglio da ciò che suoniamo e riprodurre la musica arrangiata che avevamo sui demo. Non so da dove vengono tutti i dettagli del suono che abbiamo sul disco ma è ciò che avevamo in mente prima di incidere e questa è la filosofia dei Moonsorrow nel 2016.

So che sarete in tour coi Korpiklaani in aprile: vi vedremo anche in Italia?
Ho appena controllato e sfortunatamente stavolta non passeremo lì da voi: penso che nel prossimo tour o per qualche festival ci sarà l’opportunità, spero. Il problema è che il tempo è sempre tiranno e noi vorremmo venire in Italia perché abbiamo molti fan lì e ci piace il vostro pubblico.

Il vostro primo disco, “Suden Uni”, è uscito quindici anni fa e secondo me è stato chiudere un cerchio, per quanto riguarda il sound, con questo “Jumalten Aika”: come puoi descrivere la vostra evoluzione di sound e della band da quell’album ad ora?
L’evoluzione che abbiamo avuto era impensabile, ai tempi, perché ogni volta che registravamo un album dimenticavamo ciò che avevamo fatto in precedenza per concentrarci su ciò cui stavamo lavorando in quel momento. Ci sono stati drammatici cambi di sound come per esempio fra “Kivenkantaja” e “Verisäkeet”: due album completamente differenti. Penso che l’evoluzione principale sia stata arrivare a canzoni atmosferiche, epiche, dalle molte sfaccettature riuscendo poi però a ripulirle da tutte le cose non necessarie.

Quali sono le sfide e le difficoltà di suonare dal vivo canzoni così lunghe?
Prima delle prove per i live dobbiamo sempre compiere molti ri-arrangiamenti: pensa che in alcune canzoni ci sono 100 tracce separate ma le persone sul palco sono comunque solo 5 perciò è problematico. Considera che non vogliamo usare assolutamente delle basi. Ci siamo dovuti rendere conto di quali sono le melodie e le parti essenziali ed importanti delle canzoni e i suoni di tastiera che fanno rendere la canzone. Un lavoraccio, ma alla fine devi memorizzare la canzone in questa maniera e questa posso dirti che è la vera sfida, portare on stage queste canzoni.

Grazie mille. Puoi lasciare un messaggio ai fan italiani!
Scusate per il tempo trascorso dall’ultimo album e per la nostra prossima mancanza in Italia durante il tour ma prometto che verremo presto da voi e che i Moonsorrow vi amano. Grazie mille.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tales of Touring Terror (Pure Grain Audio) / February 2017


While onboard the 7th annual 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise we caught up with the guys in the Finnish Pagan Metal band Moonsorrow and asked them to tell us about their most frightening tour story ever. The result is this tale of terrible events leading up to the bands first show in Lithuania.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

HeavyMusic.ru / April 2016


After five long years the musical world finally received some great news from Finnish pagan crusaders Moonsorrow. Those who are living in the age of men got a unique chance to witness "The Age of the Gods" since it is the exact name for Moonsorrow new opus. HeavyMusic talked to the frontman Ville Sorvali and the guitarist Mitja Harvilahti just before the release gig on April, 1 in Helsinki, and discussed new material and more - please, have a read!

          HeavyMusic: How did your recent tour in China go? Do you have any special memories, feelings, impressions?
          Mitja: China is great. It is always interesting. It is nothing like you can see in Europe or anything in the world. Basically, wherever you go, it will be interesting and exciting. The tour was great in every aspect, lots of travelling. Maybe too much travelling and too little sleep, but it is always worth to go there.
          Ville: It is a nice country. I have gone there on holiday as well.
          HM: Speaking about new material, how did the new album change your perception of the previous ones?
          Mitja: I guess we always change it because we don’t feel like we are on a road to somewhere... let’s say, we don’t want to hear anything we have done before, we tend to start from scratch and of course the material would sound like Moonsorrow. I mean there is no point in taking something that happened before, add something new and then try to find a perfect recipe for a Moonsorrow album, this just doesn’t work.
          HM: Please, tell us a bit about your new video. How did you find the artists for making it?
          Ville: Initially we had an access to two options but I do not know where the options came from.
          Mitja: It is just that we heard there are a couple of companies that are very skilled and can do something interesting and in the end we chose one of them. Though you never know what you would get with all this money invested.
          Ville: They also had a really good attitude to it [the making of a video] so, I guess, we trusted that they would make it as good as they could. I was involved from the beginning, which was just a couple of months ago. I met up with the main guys in Belgrade where we discussed the script – the general line and then freehand, because I do not know anything about music videos. Overall, I think they did a great job.
          HM: True. Well, it was your first experience of a change from a musician to an actor. How did the shootings go?
          Ville: I can tell you it hurt. It really hurt, as I has had to be in chains for several hours, constantly trying to break free, so it hurt my wrists. I am not even sure I can play today (at that moment Mitja tries to console him). It was a really fun experience as I have never done anything like that before. Still, I am sure I will not become an actor, I would rather stay in my accustomed role.
          HM: So you realized this at the shootings, didn’t you?
          Ville: No-no… actually I would like to do that type of thing more from time to time but I do not know if anyone would want me for their movie…
          HM: Right. If we turn back to the new album, we know that the music that was created between 2012 and 2014 was ditched completely. What did it sound like and why did not you like it?
          Ville: It sounded boring.
          Mitja: It just did not have the spirit. It was not about good stuff, bad stuff or anything, it simply lacked the spirit.
          Ville: Also, it did not go the same direction we wanted to go as Moonsorrow. It is really impossible to explain but that is how it is.
          HM: Music industry has gone through a certain evolution in the past several years. How has it changed your ways of working on a new material and promoting it after the recording for you as a band?
          Ville: Not much.
          Mitja: You see it because the promotion is done differently today; it has become more aggressive nowadays. After the release, there are a lot of versions to cater about for different kinds of groups of people, and this might be the biggest change for us as we do not normally share a lot of digital singles.
          Ville: It did not change our approach to our music. We just do it the same way as always. It could be a commercial suicide or whatever but I do not think many of the metal bands out there care about this.
          HM: From your point of view, how do music videos go along with the impressions people get from listening to music? Sometimes the images from videos can distract the listeners from direct music associations.
          Mitja: That is exactly the point why we will probably never make a music video, and we used to say “Never! No music videos. At all!” many times, but this one is an exception to it. Actually, I think we were kind of forced to make a video. But if we had had our management said “Let’s make a music video” and we had been still in need of shortening our songs, we would have never made one. So it was cool we had this song [“Suden Tunti”] for it. Actually, when I read the script I realized ‘ok, if they can make this script into a video, it is going to be great’, because if you do not capture the whole essence of the song…
          HM: …then it would feel like a fake?
          Mitja: Yes. Usually music videos are crap, most of them, like 98%, are completely shitty…
          Ville: They are useless.
          Mitja: …yes, with wasted money and compromises to make them. I made other music videos as I do camera and lights stuff, and I have always hated the fact that you spend like 20 hours a day working on a video, and it still ends up being a crap no matter what, because the result is just not satisfying.
          Ville: And it is not all about money, you also need a vision. Funny thing about this video and the song I read from our Facebook page – and I probably should not read this as it just makes me angry at how stupid people can be – some people say that now when Moonsorrow makes a music video, the song for it is much shorter than usual (because of the video). And I was like ‘we made the song long before we decided to make a video out of it, and if you do not like the song, that is fine, but it is not the fault of the video’.
          HM: 2015 saw a 20th anniversary of Moonsorrow. With a relation (or completely no relation) to that, have you ever thought about doing a 'very special' Moonsorrow show, for example acoustic one or one with an orchestra?
          Mitja: It is too late!
          Ville: We turned 20 last year but we just forgot about it.
          Mitja: It was knocking in my head for many times, but then I heard people commenting like ‘all these bands making these anniversary shows, they suck!’ And we in the band…we did not even discuss it, but seeing people’s opinions about bands playing their whatever golden era albums or having anniversary shows, I do not think we would have made such a show, even if we had not forgotten about it. I think the best birthday present is this album [“Jumalten Aika”] finally, and it is much more important than any special show.
          HM: True. Can you recall in what moment in time you realized that Moonsorrow has gained some solid attention and success from the audience?
          Ville: I do not think there was a single moment, as our uphill was pretty modest. There was never really kind of a moment when something happened and we started to sell a lot of albums. We still do not, if you get what I mean. It is very slow growth, we never realized something happened. Of course, now it feels really weird sometimes, especially if we look back at our first demo and return to nowadays when we are sitting here waiting to play for the sold-out Virgin Oil... something must have happened! I do not know what, and it feels strange.
          Mitja: We never made any big decisions, we never pushed the band at those times when a band gets a record deal and it feels it has gotten big or something…we never did anything about it, we never started touring when it was needed, we toured when we could. And it actually went good, things were going better and better all the time but it did not explode and it is fine.
          Ville: It is actually very good.
          Mitja: And we never felt there is going to be any decline after it.
          HM: ...after the rise?
          Ville: Yes. I personally know some people who have gone really high in their musical careers, and then came down very fast. You could see that this hurts them. It all messes with your head.

          HM: How do you feel about the fact that some fans do not pay enough attention to the lyrics as they do not understand Finnish?
          Ville: I do not really mind, music is the most important part. I have the feeling that the music transmits the message of the lyrics by itself as well.
          HM: Speaking about the lyrics again, do you know what the song will be about in advance or is it a moment of inspiration?
          Ville: I do not think I ever got any divine intervention in my head, like ‘now you are going to write a song about this’, it just gradually develops. We keep a discussion with Henri about the themes, so it is not completely my decision, and I am guided by all other people in the band. I just do the final execution.
          Mitja: This album is a little bit different from the previous one; that one was a concept album, and we already had some images drawn pretty much for it, and we knew what would happen there and how the storyline is going to go, so it sounded differently from what we had on [the latest] album. Of course, we had some themes, but how to ‘execute’ them was pretty much personal as long as it falls within the general frame.
          Ville: The frame was basically that we wanted to write an album about myths and approach the myths in a different light – that was the main theme everyone has agreed upon. And I guess I did smaller details within it. Of course, I could not have done it all by myself. I gained a lot of inspiration from the others.
          HM: And this is a nice thing from your side to point it out!
          HM: You made two covers on Grave and Rotting Christ songs. If you were to choose one Moonsorrow song to cover by these bands, which one would it be?

          Ville: I would like to hear Grave covering “Tulimyrsky".
          Mitja: I would like to hear Rotting Christ covering “Kaiku”.
          HM: Are there any bands or musicians you would like to work with?
          Ville: The guys in the band (laughing).
          Mitja: This is really hard to say, because we know a lot of musicians who are great people, it is in which way we could do something together…
          HM: Probably song collaborations or guesting on each other albums?
          Mitja: Well, guests…vocalists especially are interesting.
          Ville: Well, we already have Jonne on the new album, for example, it was the idea I personally wanted to experiment with, and we will do a live song to try it today.
          HM: Very much looking forward to it. We think it must be very interesting.
          Ville: He was the most interesting character for this album…he has his thing.
          Mitja: He has something in his voice that none of us have. When we heard him in the studio we literally got chills on our arms and thought ‘oh shit!’.
          Ville: None of us has such a voice, because none of us does drugs or smokes that much (laughing).
          HM: This is definitely informative :) We are aware of Henri’s firm opinion about not playing live. What does performing songs live on stage means to you?
          Ville: I love it – cannot say much more!
          Mitja: Yes, it is something you grow kind of addicted to – at least I do. Sometimes it is very hard to deal with not playing live between tours and shows – I get hooked on it very badly. In daily life I am more of a calm and settled person but on the stage it changes completely. It is not acting, but I rather become a completely another person while playing live.
          HM: Thank you for such honesty. Can you tell us what is your biggest dream related to Moonsorrow?
          (At that point David, the manager of the band, enters the room, a friendly brawl happens and the interviewers are properly informed that the biggest dream of Moonsorrow was, is and apparently will be to get as much on David’s nerves as possible. Finita la commedia!)
          HM: They say one should try everything in life. Is there anything you would never try?
          Mitja: There is a saying in Finnish…but we’d better not talk about it.
          Ville: There are a lot of stupid things I would not try to do…
          HM: And on the other way around, what would you say everyone should try?
          Mitja: Chinese food in China.
          Ville: Chinese food in China! It is very different from ours.
          HM: Cockroaches and scorpions?
          Mitja: More like guts and penises.
          Ville: And it is worth trying.
          HM: Our last question is about Finnish winter which, as we know, is very long and dark. Would you mind sharing some tips on how to survive it?
          Ville: Drink. For many Finnish people it is kind of a method of survival in the darkness, they start to drink more.
          HM: Living in Russia we can totally imagine that.
          Ville: Yes, I was about to come to that – the same in Russia.

          HeavyMusic.ru would like to thank Ville and Mitja for the interview!
          See Moonsorrow on the tour on the following dates:
          04.01.16 – Virgin Oil, Helsinki, FI
          04.08.16 – Durbuy Rock Festival, Bomal-sur-Ourthe, BE *
          04.09.16 – Les Tanzmatten, Selestat, FR *
          04.10.16 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL**
          04.11.16 – Le Trabendo, Paris, FR *
          04.12.16 – Rock School Barbey, Bordeaux, FR *
          04.13.16 – Arena, Madrid, ES *
          04.14.16 – Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, ES *
          04.15.16 – CC John Lennon, Limoges, FR
          04.16.16 – Carène, Brest, FR *
          04.17.16 – Antipode, Rennes, FR *
          04.18.16 – CCO Villeurbanne, Lyon, FR *
          04.19.16 – Les Trinitaires, Metz, FR *
          04.20.16 – O2 Islington Academy, London, UK *
          04.21.16 – Club Academy, Manchester, UK *
          04.22.16 – The Button Factory, Dublin, IRE *
          04.23.16 – The Limelight 2, Belfast, UK *
          04.24.16 – The Classic Grand, Glasgow, UK *
          04.25.16 – Leeds Uni Stylus, Leeds, UK *
          04.26.16 – Academy 2, Birmingham, UK *
          04.27.16 – The Fleece, Bristol, UK *
          04.28.16 – The 1865, Southampton, UK *
          04.29.16 – Matrix, Bochum, DE *
          05 07.16 Dark Troll Fest, Germany
          06.17.16 Tampere Metal Meeting, Finland
          06.18.16 Hellfest, France
          06.19.16 Graspop, Belgium
          07.09.16 Jalometalli Festival, Finland
          07.17.16 Ilosaarirock, Finland
          07.23.16 Ragnard Rock, France
          08.06.16 Porispere Festival, Finland
          08.12.16 Rockstadt Extreme, Romania
          08.19-20.16 Summer Breeze, Germany
          * w/ Korpiklaani
          ** w/ Heidevolk
          Interviewers – Maria Meledyakhina & Olga Degteva
          Photos – Abel ‘Grilo’ do Demo & Olga Degteva

Inferno / March 2016


”Folk metal on pahinta mahdollista kuraa” – haastattelussa Moonsorrow

Padot ovat viimein auenneet, ja Moonsorrow purjehtii taivaanrantaan kevyemmässä lastissa. Jumalten ajasta ihmisen aikaan on pitkä matka.
Folkmetalli on ruma sana. Kun Moonsorrow’n basisti-laulaja Ville Sorvali ja kitaristi Mitja Harvilahti puhuvat yhtyettään inspiroivasta musiikista, he puhuvat mieluiten kansanmusiikkivaikutteista. Ihan nolojen väärinkäsitysten välttämiseksi.
– Folkmetallista on tullut jotenkin niin perverssiä, Sorvali sanoo. – Koko juttu on käsitetty täysin väärin.
– Folk metal on pahinta mahdollista kuraa sekä ulkomusiikillisesti että musiikillisesti, Harvilahti jatkaa. – Se on eskapistista, teutonista hilipatihippanmeininkiä ja larppausta. Vaatteet, kaljanjuominen ja sarvienkalistelu ovat jättäneet musiikin varjoonsa.
Sorvali lisää, että kaiken lisäksi folk metal -leima lyödään usein ihan vääriin bändeihin.
– Me ollaan bändien kesken nimetty huviksemme ”folkmetallin Big 5”, Sorvali sanoo. – Siihen kuuluvat Moonsorrow, Turisas, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani ja Finntroll. Näistä viidestä yhtyeestä folkmetallia edustaa Korpiklaani. Ei mikään muu.
Asia selvä. Moonsorrow ei soita folkmetallia. Moonsorrow soittaa pakanametallia. Piste.
On ymmärrettävää, että Moonsorrow haluaa irti mainitusta genrestä. Alan bändien määrä on lisääntynyt räjähdysmäisesti, ja sen myötä skenestä on tullut kliseinen ja korni. Liian usein yhtyeen imago on näyttävä, mutta rintapanssareiden ja kilpien takaa ei löydy mitään.
Siitä huolimatta sana ”folk” viittaa kansanperinteisiin, ja ne ovat tärkeitä myös Moonsorrow’lle, jonka muinaisajan mausteilla ryyditetty musiikki kiinnostaa varsin suurta ihmisjoukkoa ympäri maailman. Kansanperinteissä ei ole mitään kirottavaa.
– Hyviäkin folk metal -bändejä on, Harvilahti sanoo. – Ne tekevät todella monipuolista musiikkia. Harva genre pystyy yhdistelemään yhtä monia eri elementtejä. Sanoituksissa on historiaa ja fantasiaa, musiikissa metallia ja kansanmusiikkia. Kaikki tuo on nivottu yhteen houkuttelevaksi kokonaisuudeksi.
Sorvali toteaa, että puhuttiinpa sitten folkmetallista, viikinkimetallista (josta Moonsorrow haluaa myös sanoutua irti) tai pakanametallista, musiikin kulttuurinen aspekti on erittäin tärkeä.
– Ihmisiä kiinnostaa sellaisessa musiikissa se, että bändit menevät ajassa taaksepäin ja laulavat enemmän tai vähemmän todellisista historiallisista tapahtumista. Se nostaa esiin tuntemuksia, joita ihmiset ovat kokeneet jo kauan ennen sähkökitaran keksimistä.
Vaiheikas kaari
Moonsorrow alkaa olla siinä iässä, että sen uralle voi merkitä historiallisia tapahtumia. Ensimmäinen on hetki, kun Ville ja Henri Sorvali perustivat Moonsorrow’n vuonna 1995. Kahden serkuksen projektina käynnistynyt bändi teki ensimmäiset demonsa 90-luvun lopulla.
Muutaman ensimmäisen vuoden aikana Moonsorrow’sta kasvoi bändi. Rumpali Marko Tarvonen liittyi Sorvalien seuraan ennen debyyttialbumi Suden unen äänityksiä (2000). Mitja Harvilahti puolestaan ehti mukaan Voimasta ja kunniasta -albumille (2001), joka oli Moonsorrow’n toinen pitkäsoitto ja ensimmäinen levytys Spinefarmille. Kosketinsoittaja Markus Eurén liittyi bändiin samaan aikaan Harvilahden kanssa. Kolmas albumi Kivenkantaja ilmestyi 2003.
Nykyinen miehitys saatiin kokoon, kun Henri Sorvali kyllästyi keikkailuun ja jättäytyi pois kiertueilta Moonsorrow’n luovaksi harmaaksi eminenssiksi, säveltäjäksi ja tuottajaksi. Hänen tilalleen keikkakitaristiksi liittyi Janne Perttilä.
Seuraavaksi ilmestyivät ”pitkäsoiton” käsitteen uudelleen määritellyt albumi Verisäkeet (2005), V: Hävitetty (2007) ja albuminmittainen ep-levy Tulimyrsky (2008).
Helmikuussa 2011 julkaistu Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa jäi Moonsorrow’n viimeiseksi Spinefarmille tehdyksi levyksi. Seuraavana vuonna yhtye ilmoitti tehneensä diilin Century Media Recordsin kanssa. Jämerä välitilinpäätös oli neljätoista vinyylilevyä sisältänyt Heritage: 1995–2008 – The Collected Works -boksi, jonka Blood Music julkaisi vuonna 2014.
Seuraava Moonsorrow-albumi julkaistaan vasta neljä vuotta Century Median kanssa tehdyn levytyssopimuksen jälkeen. Jumalten aika ilmestyy aprillipäivänä 2016.
Tässä vaiheessa Moonsorrow on siirtynyt uudelle vuosikymmenelle. Bändi vietti viime vuonna 20-vuotisjuhlaansa. Tai jos tarkkoja ollaan, ei viettänyt.
– Me ei muistettu juhlia, Harvilahti sanoo. – Kyllä se ajatus hiukan kutkutteli takaraivossa, mutta juhlat jäivät järjestämättä. Aika menee niin nopeasti. Varsinkin viimeiset kahdeksan vuotta on mennyt ihan vilauksessa.
Sorvali naurahtaa, että aina välillä mieleen iskeytyy sellainen järisyttävä fakta, että Moonsorrow’n jäsenenä on tullut oltua reippaasti yli puolet elämästä.
– Vaikka se on pitkä aika, pystyn kyllä hahmottamaan bändin tähänastisen kaaren. Odotuksiin nähden se on ollut äärettömän tapahtumarikas matka.
Sorvali jatkaa, että pitkälle tiellä on kohdattu monia yllätyksiä, ja ne ovat olleet voittopuolisesti positiivisia.
– Ekalla lennolla Meksikoon me naureskeltiin, että eipä tullut aikoinaan demoja tehdessä mieleen, että soitetaan vielä joskus Meksikossa ja vieläpä suomenkielistä musaa. Tässä on saanut tehdä kaikenlaisia Kiinan-reissuja. Kaikesta sellaisesta voi olla vain yllättynyt ja kiitollinen.
”Karttanörtiksi” tunnustautuva Sorvali kertoo laatineensa listan maista, joissa on käynyt. Niitä on kaikkiaan 42, ja yli kolmessakymmenessä on vierailtu Moonsorrow’n kanssa.
– Rundeilla saattaa joskus nähdä jotain paikkojakin, Harvilahti huomauttaa. – Minulla kääntyy kiertueilla rytmi sellaiseksi, että menen heti keikan jälkeen nukkumaan ja herään kahdeksalta aamulla. Silloin jää aikaa katsella ympärilleen. Se reissu, joka me tehtiin Finntrollin kanssa Jenkeissä, oli mulle kuin lomamatka.
– Toisaalta Australiassa mentiin aina suoraan keikalta hotelliin, ja lento lähti heti seuraavana aamuna. Ja jos multa kysytään, Saksassa ei ole mitään muuta kuin lentokenttiä, moottoriteitä ja huoltoasemia, joista Ville ostaa BiFiä. Sitten siellä on festareita ja huonoja hotelleja. Siinä kaikki, mitä olen nähnyt Saksassa viimeksi kuluneen kymmenen vuoden aikana.
– BiFi on teollisesti survottu ja kasaan sullottu saksalainen epämakkara, Sorvali täsmentää.
Epämakkara on ihmisen ajan ruokaa, Moonsorrow jumalten ajan musiikkia.
Primitiivinen tunnelma
Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa -levyn ja Jumalten ajan välissä kului yllättävän paljon aikaa. Ville Sorvali kertoo, että Jumalten ajan säveltäminen aloitettiin jo 2012, heti edellisen levyn ilmestymistä seuranneena vuonna. Se oli kuitenkin varaslähtö. Kappaleita kyllä syntyi, mutta aikansa tahkottuaan Moonsorrow joutui myöntämään, ettei niistä tullut sellaisia kuin piti.
– Se oli sellaista tylsää ja menevää musiikkia, Harvilahti muistelee. – Siinä ei ollut sitä tarttumapintaa eikä syvyyttä, jota me kaivattiin.
Moonsorrow kaipasi jonkinlaista muutosta, mutta ei tiennyt, mihin suuntaan olisi pitänyt lähteä.
– Tietoisesti me ei yritetty tehdä mitään tietynlaista, Sorvali sanoo. – Taisi kuitenkin käydä niin, että bändi alkoi alitajuisesti tehdä uudelleen toista tai kolmatta levyään. Eihän sellainen oikein skulannut, kun niistä oli kulunut aikaa jo kymmenen vuotta.
Selitys pitkälle julkaisuvälille löytyy matkan tästä mutkasta. Kun toimimaton tavara oli hävitetty, uuteen alkuun ei päästykään ihan noin vain.
– Koskaan ennen ei ole ollut sellaista tilannetta, Harvilahti kertoo. – Me jahkattiin ja jahkattiin, mutta asiat eivät menneet eteenpäin. Äänitettiin jotain, mutta seuraavana päivänä se oli kadonnut tai muuttanut muotoaan.
– Siinä oli tosiaan pitkä blokki. Mutta kun se lopulta aukesi, musaa alkoi tulla aika sujuvasti. Siis meidän mittapuulla, Sorvali sanoo. – Sovitusvaihtoehtoja oli tietenkin aivan helvetisti, ja mehän mennään studioon aina valmiin matskun kanssa. No, Henu sai tuskailla kappaleet lopulliseen muotoonsa.
”Henu” on Moonsorrow’n primus motor Henri Sorvali. Hän sanoo uuden albumin tiedotteessa, että Jumalten ajalla on enemmän kansanmusiikkivaikutteita kuin edellisillä levyillä ja ne ovat integroituneet lujemmin kiinni yleissoundiin.
Ville Sorvali kertoo, että folkelementit nousivat pintaan siinä vaiheessa, kun kuvainnollinen pöytä puhdistettiin käyttökelvottomista kappaleista.
– Me tajuttiin, että juuri kansanmusiikkivaikutteet tekevät tästä bändistä Moonsorrow’n. Ja nyt ei puhuta mistään folk metal -vaikutteista vaan kunnon kansanmusiikista kaikkine jouhikoineen ja jodlauksineen.
”Kunnon kansanmusiikki” on juuri se elementti, jolla Moonsorrow haluaa erottua toisiaan apinoivista muinaismetalliyhtyeistä. Se ottaa mieluummin mallia 1900-luvun alussa tehdyistä perinnemusiikkiäänitteistä.
Autenttista vaikutelmaa tavoiteltiin vierailevien muusikoiden avulla. Korpiklaanin Jonne Järvelä laulaa levyllä samaanityyliin, ja hänen bändissään ennen vaikuttanut Hittavainen soittaa perinteisiä jousi- ja puhallinsoittimia. Traditionaalisen karjankutsulaulun luikauttaa Helena Haaparanta.
– Ne jutut toivat kokonaissoundiin paljon lisää, Sorvali sanoo. – Levyllä on alkukantainen tunnelma, ja se sopii Moonsorrow’lle. Jumalten aika ei ole mikään tyhmä heavy metal -levy.
Uusilla raiteilla
Ensimmäinen vaikutelma Jumalten aika -albumista on, että kaikki ei ole ihan niin kuin ennen. Levyn kappaleet ovat helpommin hahmotettavissa kuin edellisten levyjen materiaali.
Muutos on hienovarainen mutta selkeä – jopa niin selkeä, että Sorvali ja Harvilahti suostuvat myöntämään, että Jumalten aika koostuu ”biiseistä”, niin banaalilta kuin tuo sana näin eeppisessä asiayhteydessä kuulostaakin.
Harvilahti sanoo, että lähtökohtana oli entistä riffivetoisempien kappaleiden kirjoittaminen. Se tuntui hyvältä vastapainolta edellisen levyn kitaravalleille ja maalailulle.
Vaikka musiikin ääriviivat ovat selkeämmät, se on yhä massiivista ja mittavaa. Jumalten aika ei kuitenkaan katkaise kehitystä, joka alkoi Verisäkeiden aikaan.
– Verisäkeet-levyä tehdessä me oltiin saatu Henun kanssa valmiiksi pari kymmenminuuttista biisiä, Sorvali muistelee. – Alettiin sitten heittää läppää, että pitäisikö tehdä levy, jonka kaikki biisit ovat näin pitkiä. Se oli vitsi, mutta siitä se lähti. Hävitetyllä olikin sitten puolituntisia biisejä. Sitä on vaikea selittää. Ne vain syntyvät.
Jumalten ajan Suden tunti on Moonsorrow’n ensimmäinen alle kymmenminuuttinen kappale vuosiin, mutta bändi ei edelleenkään tavoittele säveltäessään radiosoiton ihannemittaa. Ja jos tavoittelisi, tuskin onnistuisi. Eikä ainakaan soisi radiossa.
– Kun on kerran hiffannut, miten tällaista musiikkia tehdään, siitä on vaikeaa palata takaisin rockbiisin peruskaavaan, Harvilahti sanoo. – Musiikista tulee ikään kun juna, joka kulkee eteenpäin. Se tekee omista rakenteistaan eeppisiä.
Vaikka junamatka on turhan moderni allegoria Moonsorrow’n kaltaisen yhtyeen uralle, Ville Sorvali ilahtuu rinnastuksesta. Hän ohjaa sen raiteelle, joka vie aina Jumalten ajan asemalle asti.
– Edellisillä levyillä musiikki oli kuin tavarajuna, joka ei koskaan pysähtynyt ja johon heitettiin jatkuvasti lisää tavaraa. Nyt junasta on purettu lastia ja se saattaa pysähdelläkin aina välillä.
Myyttien pauloissa
Jumalten ajalla on kaikkiaan viisi kappaletta, joista jokainen kertoo oman tarinansa. Halutessaan kappaleiden voi nähdä kietoutuvan yhteen löyhäksi temaattiseksi kokonaisuudeksi, mutta se ei ole välttämätöntä. Biisit seisovat myös omilla jaloillaan.
Sanoittaja Ville Sorvali kertoo, että edelliset Moonsorrow-albumit olivat niin tukevasi konseptuaalisia, ettei hän halunnut kirjoittaa Jumalten ajasta sellaista. Mutta vaikka monumentaalisuuden aiheuttama ähky painoi lyyrikkoa, myös Jumalten aika on tarkoin harkittu kokonaisuus. Teeman muotoutuminen kesti kauan, mutta lopulta ydinajatus selkeni.
– Jumalten aikakaudella jumalat loivat ihmiset. Sitten ihmiset oppivat puhumaan, laulamaan ja lopulta kirjoittamaan. He alkoivat tehdä tarinaa siitä, miten heidät on luotu. Lopulta ihmiset alkoivat ajatella, että olivat itse asiassa luoneet jumalat. Kun ihminen jätti jumalat taakseen ja alkoi hallita maailmaa, syntyi ahneutta ja eripuraa.
Jumalten aika alkaa levyn nimikappaleella ja päättyy kuusitoistaminuuttiseen teokseen nimeltä Ihmisen aika (Kumarrus pimeään). Ainakin paperilla kokonaisuus näyttää kertovan maallistumisesta.
– Naulan kantaan. Niin jumalten ja ihmisen aika nivoutuvat yhteen, Sorvali sanoo.
Hän kertoo pureutuneensa sanoituksissa erilaisiin myytteihin ja tehneensä tulkintoja niiden merkityksistä.
– Ensimmäisen ja viimeisen kappaleen välissä käsitellään taruja, joilla muinaisaikojen ihmiset selittivät esimerkiksi luonnonilmiöitä. Levyllä kerrotaan myös siitä, miten ihmiset etsivät tietoa ennen kuin tieteellinen lähestymistapa on keksitty.
– Kalevalastakin nappasin levylle yhden tarinan. Kun pääsin peruskoulun Kalevala-traumasta eroon, huomasin sen olevan helvetin mielenkiintoinen opus. Useimmissa on kuitenkin pohjalla yleinen skandinaavinen mytologia. Olen lukenut sekä proosa- että runomuotoisen Eddan. Runo-Eddasta en kyllä tajunnut hevonhelvettiä.
Muinaisuskon ajasta ammentaminen voi olla pelkkää imagon rakentamista tai sitten jotakin syvällisempää. Millainen merkitys esikristillisen ajan hengenelämällä on Moonsorrow’n jäsenille?
– Maallisia ihmisiähän me ollaan, mutta ne asiat kiinnostavat ja ohjailevat meitä. Moonsorrow’n musiikin ydinajatus on vanhan kansan viisaus ja kunnioitus luontoa kohtaan, Sorvali sanoo.
– En ole uskonnollinen ihminen vaan ateisti, mutta minullakin on pyhiä arvoja, Harvilahti jatkaa. – Luonnon ja elämän kunnioittaminen ovat sellaisia, ja ne ovat pyhiä arvoja myös pakanauskossa.
Se riittää, jos tarkoitus ei ole pelata rooleilla. On elettävä ajan ehdoilla, ja aika on muuttanut asioita.
– Ennen ihmiset olivat luonnon armoilla, Sorvali sanoo. – Jos oli helvetin kylmä, mentiin sisälle, sytytettiin tuli kaikkiin pesiin ja vedettiin turkista päälle. Jos oli pimeä, sytytettiin soihdut. Pihalla oli karjaa, josta sai maitoa ja lihaa, ja maassa kasvoi juureksia.
– Nykyihminen on niin vieraantunut tuollaisesta ajattelusta. Lähdepä tästä metsästämään jotakin, Sorvali sanoo ja viittaa ikkunasta näkyvään Helsingin Pasilaan. – Citykanin saatat saada ammuttua, mutta siinäpä se.
Juttu on julkaistu Infernon numerossa 3/2016.