The name of your band is Turisas. Why did you choose this name?
"Turisas is a war god, worshipped especially in the Häme region in Finland before Christianity. The problem with Finnish mythology, is that there are less sources of written knowledge about it compared with other cultures, which results in dissenting information and uncertainty about facts. The name itself has several writing appearances depending on the source (Tursas, Turisas, Turilas and Turri), all meaning pretty much the same. The etymology of the word is somewhat complex: Tursas refers to mythological giants, Iku-Turso is somekind of a sea-monster according to folk poetry, while Meri-Tursas again appears in old spells as a breeder of disease. The name Turisas stands also pretty near to the Scandinavian, and better known, fellow-colleagues Týr and Thor. Also the þurs-giants in Edda poetry are remarkably close in pronounciation to Turisas. I've always been really facinated about history and mythologies and somehow a war god just happened to suite our musical style."
How do you look back on the recordings of your debut-cd?
"It was a really long and stressful period. Sometimes I even thought what the point was in putting so much effort on one album. It was a hell of a job, doing all the orchestrations, choir arrangements and such – which actually took most of the time. But it paid off. Working with Terje was great. Of course it took some time before we started to know each other and what we both were looking for, but after that things went really smooth when it comes to working together. Terje is really dedicated to his work and has tons of good ideas. The whole session actually ended in a pretty strange way, when we ran out of studio time and money, he gave us the extra time we needed for free because we both felt that the album should be finished properly, even without the financial backup from the label. I hope to work with Terje soon again."
How is the response from the people and the press?
"The reactions have been great! We have received a huge amount of nines and tens out of reviews, which is completely over our expectations. We knew that we would get some attention by being slightly different in sound than anyone else, but could never expect such a great reaction."
Your band mixes a number of styles, particularly those of Fintroll and Bal-Sagoth.
"We have very Viking parts, pagan parts, folkish parts, then all kind of weird parts but the main character in our sound is something more bombastic. Lots of brass instruments, a bit of a soundtrack-style expression that makes Turisas sound like, well... the God of War. To me, the most important thing is to be able to capture atmospheres and feelings so that you can actually get a picture of the story or idea by just listening to the music. As you may notice, we used a lot of crazy things in the studio. Looping, Hammond's, bongos here and there, vibraphones and jazzy weird parts and so on. I'm not afraid to do something different like this. In my opinion those little 'crossover inserts' don't break the full soundpicture in any way. They are just another style of approach, trying to build up that certain atmosphere through a different expression, but still supporting the story and the content of the whole song, both musically and lyrically. We have never made any tactical plans like "Let's do a mixture of this and this…” We've always been doing what sounds cool to us, not trying to copy a number of styles from other bands. I think the Turisas-sound has been quite similar since the very beginning of this band, even the first songs we wrote dealt with wars and battles, had this bombastic epic feel in them, but also lot's of folk influences."
Why did you choose the name 'Battle Metal' for this cd?
"First of all, we have the title track called 'Battle Metal', which is kind of the most pure Turisas anthem on the album. 'Battle Metal' is also referring to the metal used in battles, in other words swords, shields, axes, spears, morning stars, armours and so on. The term in it self has much power in it, it's simple and punchy and it kind of describes the contents on the album in a very straight-forward manner."
Your demo included the great coversong 'These Were The Days' but it is missing from your cd. Why?
"We left it out so the people who supported us back then when we were complete underground, would have something the other ones don't. We printed 500 copies of that demo and it has been sold out for years now. I think it's cool that these people who bought that demo back then have the cover song, which many don't. Of course one can find the song in no time on the net, but still. The 'Heart of Turisas'-demo is both a classic and a rare collectable. It's a big hail to all our long-time fans."
The artwork seems to fit the cd. How did you come up with this cover?
"It does fit the cd! I think we had the ideas in mind already before Niklas Sundin, who is responsible for the artwork, came along. Niklas also had great ideas, and of course the biggest job was done by him, even if the outline for the cover concept was by us. We simply mailed ideas back and forth. I presented the ideas I had for Niklas and he did a few sketches on those and then we just started mailing and trying out things. He put up the images on the net and I could say what I thought about them."
What feeling did you want the cover to represent?
"The first idea was the colour-scheme: reddish-fiery-bronze –something. Also we wanted it to be intense, no huge landscapes or anything. The cover artwork was supposed to show battle preparations, give the viewer a hint that soon things start happening. This is kind of to support the idea of 'Battle Metal' being a debut album and an opening so to say. I always enjoy images that include more than there physically is. Then the image has a point, since it makes you come up with your own conclusions, not just note the things there is to see. The other starting point was to have weaponry on the cover to support the title."
What can we expect from you live?
"We try to add interesting elements in our live shows as well like maybe small bits of theathre or additional musicians and so. The problem is that concerts are so badly paid, that so far we've always ended loosing money and paying for things ourselves, since extra people and things usually cost something extra to fix. But it's not about the money, it's about trying to give our fans a concert as entertaining as possible. I think we where thirteen people on stage at best when we played live last time at Tuska Open Air in Helsinki. We had three extra drummers also singing some choir parts and doing performance things and also two dancing girls in fur-bikinis hahaha. Turisas is wild on stage, all the costumes, the extra people, session musicians make the show an unforgettable experience."
Do you have anything special lined-up, such as festivals or a tour?
"We have a few gigs coming up; the only one confirmed is Baltic Sun III, A pagan/folk festival in Riga/Latvia. You can read all the latest info on our website www.turisas.com."
Any last words to our readers?
"Check out our album 'Battle Metal', visit our homepage and remember not to watch too much Olympic games. You never know what it might do to you."