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Moonsorrow

Het vijfde studioalbum van de innovatieve Finnen van Moonsorrow 'V: Hävitetty' is een groeiplaat. Muziek verdeeld over twee lange aan de natuur gewijde epossen die aanvankelijk je petje te boven gaan, maar dan door zijn ingenieuze nuances en details uitgroeit tot een verslavend hoorspel waar je meer en meer bezeten door wordt. Een reis doorheen een verlaten woestenij waar de natuurkrachten plots een einde kunnen maken aan alles en anderzijds de bron van alle leven en geluk zijn. Met muzikanten die zo'n grensverleggende muziek maken staan we bij Lords of Metal altijd op de eerste rij om ze wat meer te laten vertellen over wat hen drijft, wat hen boeit en hoe dit sublieme album uiteindelijk werd wat het geworden is. Aan het woord is de enthousiaste gitarist Mitja Harvilahti.

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder black metal

band imageWell, with 'V: Hävitetty' you even surpassed the previous album. Seems like an adventurous trip through wastelands and nature, sometimes lovely, sometimes harsh… what do you think?
That's right! We always want to surpass our previous album. It is kind of a driving force to us, to do things differently and better every time on many levels, depending the direction we take. When we find out that we have nothing more to give, then we better not do any albums anymore. Luckily we are
in a position where we have so many alternatives, what kind of album we can make, because of the broad selection of elements that are present in our music. The presence of nature seems to be clear on our all records, and when I listen to this album the images that it creates in my mind have always
something to do with nature. However the lyrics on the 'V: Hävitetty' album are more concentrated on the end of the world, in universal and personal point of view.

I just listened to the album all weekend long and we should make a statement to the metal fans out there: do not judge before twenty spins…isn't it?
Hell yeah! You know, I just recently started to really get into the album, and I have been working on the songs!! So it really needs some deep listening. At first I wasn't even sure if I'm satisfied with it or not, but now I can honestly say that I love the album as much as our previous works. But that is the case always when you make an album. At first you only hear the “process” of making it, small mistakes and things you would wanted to do differently and so on..

I am truly fond of lengthy epics (as long as they are excited of course), but how did you come to choose for only two tracks of thirty and 26 minutes?
At first we did not choose that. We had been planning to make an album that would have more live potential and more and shorter songs, but soon we realized that the stuff we had done so far sounded so epic that there was no turning back. And of course we did not want to quit the good process because everything sounded so good. So it is just how it came out.

On 'Verisäkeet' the main theme throughout the album was blood. What is it this time? Is there a general concept or not?
The general concept on the record is the end of the world. The first song is written from a personal point of view and the second one can be understood in many ways.

'Tuleen Ajettu Maa' means 'A Land Driven Into The Fire'. Which land? Can you tell a bit about the spiritual thoughts you have with this track?
There are lots of reflections and metaphors from what is happening in the world today. It is about people who fight for the gods that they don't even know. It also handles the subject of general destruction created by human race. If you want you can find metaphors about the U.S. foreign policy and Jihadists, but it is definitely not a actual political song. We would never make one. You can understand it in so many ways.

In the past basic lines came from one or two musicians and songs were written on computer, later developed by rehearsals. Did you work this way again? Did it demand a different approach?
That is the way we worked again. This time Henri wrote pretty much all the music, so this is a very personal album for him. He made very good demo versions of the album like always. We have so many track and instruments so it comes handy in the studio to check if something is missing by listening to the demos. We started to rehearse together about one week before the studio to make sure everybody knows what to do.

As usual the subject of paganism can be found in lyrics and themes. Any more details on your life as a pagan would be fine…
At first I must say that I am not a religious pagan, in the way that I would re-create the ancient way to perform the Finnish pagan religion. To me to live in a modern society as a pagan means to respect the values and traditions, keep them alive and pass them on to my children (if I ever get any). It is also important to know where our forefathers came from and how they lived and died and what they believed in. And the most important thing to me is to understand and make known that there was a lively culture before Christianity destroyed and replaced the old belief systems and traditions.

Can your music be seen as a soundtrack to nature (I feel it that way)?
It definitely can! I think that the solid ground in our music and lyrics is in nature, because that is also sacred core in the paganism.

Did you return to the Tico Tico studios again? In other words, please tell me some details about the recording process…
For sure we did! To the cold, windy, and alcohol oriented town called Kemi! This time we had lots of time to be in the studio, because we actually had almost unlimited studio-budget. The people at Spinefarm know our way of working so well that they knew we wouldn't be there too long anyway. So this time there were some couple days that we mostly played playstation and relaxed while playing. Before we've had a huge stress because of the tight schedule. We have recorded albums only in ten days even including the mixing process, and with the HUGE amount of tracks we always have, it has been very tight and professional work. We always plan our studio days at least one month before even going there to make sure everything will get done in time. The 'V: Hävitetty' album was completely produced by Henri Sorvali. Musically it is like his child really. He also did the final mix in the studio with help of the engineer Ahti Kortelainen, whose role was this time only as an engineer and supervisor to make sure that we get the best sound possible.

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The cover/artwork fits the whole, as it expresses all facets of nature: fragile (bird) and devastating (volcano/forces of nature). But it is more interesting to hear your interpretation of the artwork and who is responsible for it?
We wanted to have the cover art depict the ravaged land of fire and darkness to suit the lyrics. At first we thought of having two elements on the album: the ice and the fire, but it seemed so cliché that we left that comparison loosely to the lyrics and music. The artwork is done by Travis Smith and I am totally satisfied with the final layout. Best one so far. We have always had a lots of problems with the covers but this time it seems like everything went like planned.

You are working at a new website. When will it be on line and what can we expect?
It will be online January 10th. Expect lots of nudity, gothic chicks and motorcycles!

Last time it was diverting to read the tour diary and studio diary. Until then (2005) you did not play live that much, but in the meantime things have changed for the better I guess. Can you tell a bit more about those tour experiences?
Yeah, we have been touring quite much, during the couple last years and that is the thing I enjoy most about playing in a band. Among others we played in the States and Canada in January and we also had a two week European tour which was a really great experience indeed but maybe a bit too short. I have loads of great edited video footage from our trips abroad and in Finland so I hope that someday we will release a DVD where we can use it.

Please do! In January you will tour Canada. Any details and prospects on that?
That's going to be very interesting. We played already in Montreal in January 2006 and the response was FANTASTIC! Really great and exalted audience. I never expected anything like that. Some of the venues on the upcoming tour are quite big so I am a little worried if we draw enough people. But we'll see. It is really a dream come true to get to tour there as a headliner. Two years ago I thought that we would never make it to North America but things luckily changed!

I saw you live in April 2006 with Mourning Beloveth and Primordial, a superb tour package. Can you give us some more details about that tour and maybe some exceptional things that happened during that tour?
That was a kick ass tour! We came along really well with the bands and everything went smoothly. Most of the guys were drinking every day till nine am... Except me! The nightliner we had was so comfortable that I found myself in the bed every night quite early. On the next tour I will try to party a little harder... During the two weeks on the road we watched the first Rambo movie for at least ten times! And occasionally multiple times per day. It is funny how you can really cut down your brain activity on tour!

I am glad to find out that you come to Summer Breeze 2007! Are you looking forward to that, did you play there before?
We have never played there before and I heard that we were voted for one of the most wanted bands in the festival, so I naturally have very high expectations towards it.

One naughty question: the setlist… what is it going to be in future?
Nobody knows for now, and we try to play a different set on every gig. We are rehearsing the 'Tuleen Ajettu Maa' right now and we will edit it a bit to make it more suitable for the gigs.

Since I keep on discovering new bands too… your music is absolutely unique and not comparable to anyone else, but if I have to give some guidelines to readers, I think fans of Solstafir and Agalloch will love your music too. Do you know those bands? Do you agree on that?
I haven't heard Agalloch yet, so I'll check it out. Solstafir I know very well. We have played with them once and we had some plans to tour together but nothing happened. It is a great band indeed. Yes, I think we might share some fan-base nowadays, but there also seems to be many Moonsorrow fans that like 'Voimasta Ja Kunniasta' album more that our latest releases. The super epic shit is not for everyone for sure.

Is anyone of you involved in side projects or other bands or are there plans in that direction?
We all have many active or inactive side projects. I have been lately playing in a black metal band called Shadow Cut. And in a band called Itäväylä which is a weird mix of retro electronic music,
western rock and doom metal. It is a really interesting project for me. Henri just finished a new album with Finntroll and we all play in a band called Lakupaavi, which is a humorous, politically incorrect grind/punk group.

If you have another news to mention for us, now is the moment, please do…
We will start an European tour in March 2007, so I hope to see everybody there.

That is good news indeed! What was the most important fact of 2006?
Britney has a shaved beaver! JÉE! ehh....

Uch.. What are the brand new challenges for Moonsorrow in 2007?
To tour as much as possible. That is the ultimate task for us.

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