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In nog geen twee jaar tijd is Korpiklaani uitgegroeid van een onbekende clan uit de Finse wouden tot een succesvolle folk metal band die holderdebolder de wereld rondreist om met hun vrolijke, aanstekelijke muziek elk publiek een waanzinnige feestavond te bezorgen. Dat men tussen al die concerten door ook nog tijd vond om zo vlug een vierde album op te nemen, mag een wonder heten. Enkele dagen voor de release van 'Tervaskanto' trad de band op tijdens het Belgische Graspop festival en enkele uren voor dit concert aanvangt tref ik de groep in de kleedkamer voor een gesprek.

Door: Vera | Archiveer onder different metal

I talked to the friendly guys right before and after their April 2006 gig in Holland and our meeting again is very hearty. We all gather round the table in the white cabin. Bass player Jarkko and singer/composer Jonne do the talking, while guitarist Cane adds some words from time to time. 2006 was the most successful year for Korpiklaani until now. Jonne tells what happened since April 2006: “We got so many offers to play live. Places where we played got bigger and festivals put us higher on the bill. We are not the first band on the day anymore” he laughs. Was there a kind of highlight? Jarkko says: “I think the overall highlight was that we were actually getting bigger. The realisation that people came to see us and that we can entertain people on a metal festival with our folk allied tunes. A metal crowd is perhaps our best audience.” They travel a lot now. Do they like the travelling or is it just something they have to get through while looking forward to the next gig? Jonne: “I don't mind too much about travelling, and the gigs are worth it”. Jarkko puts it this way: “When you are on tour the travelling is not so bad, because you have a concert here and there, but when you do those one day festivals, you travel three days and you play forty minutes. It is not a waste of time. Of course it is worth playing at festivals to convince some new audience, but if you have some other things to do and just waiting at the airport or sitting in a hotel, that's kind of frustrating.” The new album comes pretty fast after 'Tales Along This Road', wasn't it a problem to write new material all in between? Jonne told me that it worked out fine: “I wrote most of the material right after the previous album and got pretty much time, so I had months to work on songs at home.” Of course lyrics are focused on having a good time, drinking, partying, Finiish culture but Jarkko feels: “There are some items that might be darker, at least to me, they sound a bit darker lyrically, but still I think they are quite similar as on previous albums, dealing with our roots and drinking songs.”

I wondered if there was a special reason to call the album 'Tervaskanto'. Jonne explains: “We wanted to put a Finnish name on this album, because most of the songs are in Finnish. When I was thinking about a title, this song seemed to fit and strong enough for the album name. 'Tervaskanto' is a song about a tar, but it also means wise, old man”. All these Finnish elements are reflected in the artwork: the old man, the vast landscape, wolves, wooden houses, the shaman percussion image, antlers also used on stage, fixed at the microphone. The artwork was done by Jan Yrlund again, just like the former one. They also returned to the same Fantom Studio to record with Samu Oittinen, but this time Jonne did some additional guitar recordings in his own home studio. Finally the album was mastered at the renowned Finnvox Studios.

band image

Japan is on the schedule in autumn and that will be the first time for Korpiklaani. Jarkko tells: “There are three gigs, in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. But there will be some promotion days with interviews and stuff as well”. But first they are booked for many Summer festivals, like Party San, Earthshaker fest, Fun & Crust festival, Burgfolk 2007 (all in Germany) and Metalcamp (Slovenia) and Bloodstock Open Air (UK). Last years, folk metal has become more popular. What do they think about this sudden boom of the genre? Jonne laughs and tells: “I don't care so much about booms, but of course it is pretty good for us.” Jonne once contributed on Finntroll albums. He did the typical Joik chants. Jonne confirms: “Indeed, I was actually two years with them.”
Jarkko summarizes: “The album 'Tervaskanto' is coming out now, but we are not exactly touring for it now, because we have so many summer festivals to do. We will be touring around October, November. And hopefully there will be concerts in Belgium as well. I only know about three concerts in Czech Republic right now and Sweden. Czech Republic has been a good country for us, we have been there three times now, always organised by the Masters Of Rock. I think they like us (laughs). We are the first ones who played at the Winter Masters Of Rock festival, then Masters Of Rock Summer fest and then Masters Of Rock café.”

Are there bands you want to see today? Jarkko says: “Ozzy! Actually I am not even sure if I want to see him. I have been a huge fan of Black Sabbath for twenty years or so and I saw him with Black Sabbath, but not as solo artist. Maybe I better not see him, because I fear that he will drag all the goods things he has done in the past in the mud in the last years of his career.” Jonne interrupts: “I like him a lot!”. A lively discussion about Ozzy, Black Sabbath and Heaven And Hell went on for some time and went out of hand hehe. Big fun! To occlude I had a question about Sauna Open Air festival in Tampere. That name caught my eye. Is it just called that way because Finland is famous for saunas or can you really go to the sauna there as well in between gigs? Jarkko: “There has been a sauna backstage. Tomorrow there will be sauna too in Italy. It is a Finnish organizer. This Midsummer Festival is located at the lakeside. If you don't mind cold water in early June, you can take a dive. Rock Hard in Germany was a pretty nice festival too. I actually liked the amphitheatre at the riverside. We were there with the other Finns of Turisas and we drank all their beer hehe. They were not that happy about it.” With all the touring they have plans for a DVD, but it will take at least a year, before those plans will become reality. Jarkko: “We are going to film one festival this year, we will be headlining this. But there will not be a DVD from this summer; we have to work on it later. But of course we have the DVD of last year's Wacken festival which is included in the digipack version of the new album.” Tomorrow they have to play in Rome at Midsummer festival and almost every weekend a festival expects the guys to play till autumn. I said bye for now to the friendly guys and wished them the best! A few hours later they set the tent on fire with a proper setlist coming from various albums!

Be sure to purchase the digipack version of 'Tervaskanto', because a forty-five minutes DVD is included with recordings from Korpiklaani at Wacken Open Air 2006. These are the songs:

Journey Man
Happy Little Boozer
Tuli Kokko
Wooden Pints
Spring Dance
Hunting Song
Beer Beer
Midsummer Night
Il Lea Voibmi

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