We always tend to explore more and do something different

Amorphis

At Graspop 2017 we were lucky enough to talk to a lot of great bands. Amorphis was one of those bands, a band that I used to listen to a lot in my younger years. What better place to talk to great musicians than at one of the best festivals in the world, with loud metal blasting in the background?

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

No problem, it’s my pleasure. There is nothing else to do here and we just waiting for the show and it’s great to be back at Graspop very nice festival I really like.

I agree, very nice festival. I have three favourite festivals, one of them is Dynamo. But this one and Wacken are the best I think.

Yeah absolutely and Hellfest also is becoming better all the time.

Still need to go.

Oh you haven't been? Yeah that is a great one Summer Breeze and Wacken. Rockhard is also nice, a bit small but the atmosphere is great.

I'll put it on my list. So how are things with Amorphis these days?

Well it is petty busy, since we released "Under the Red Cloud"

Yes, 2015

2015 autumn and we are pretty much touring all the time ever since  and we are still touring with the do the festivals and than we do one with Volbeat in a big arena, they are invited their friends and I think Michael likes our band and they asked if we wanna join? And of course we wanna join, its a great tour for us and its gonna go over 200 shows with " Under the red Cloud". I don't think we ever done this many shows with one album.

Oh wow, so its a full tour.

Yeah, it’s gonna be more than 200 and right after we finished the tour, we pretty much starting rehearsing the new songs and going to the studio at the beginning of November.

November?

Yeah November, so we have one month to practice. We are gonna start working with the songs during late summer.

Do you already have a lot stuff written?

Nah, we just started and mainly composed the songs, I written some ideas and new material, but nothing finished yet. I focus during the next 4 to 5 weeks and we are probably starting in August.

Once the tour has quiet down a bit?

Yeah, the tour ends end of September, so we should have most of the songs organised. Structure, melody and then we have a bit more than one month to go through random ideas and put it together and send it to Jens Bogren.

So this the second album he is going to produce?

Yeah it’s going very smooth with him. We have been looking for a producer like him, he listens to the songs, the structure and the small details and we thought why not. He had some spare time and we agreed let’s do a second album together.

What does he bring extra to the table?

It’s like having seventh person in the band, he has very strong authority, but not like a dictator. He is very strict when we are in the studio, with the drums, structure, vocals and how we should approach the songs. He has a lot of ideas and was basically what we have been looking for in a producer. Because we have been producing our albums, I think we did "Eclipse", well we did "Far from the Sun", "Silent Waters", "Skyforger" and even  "The Beginning of Times" we produced ourselves. So pretty much anything that did sound great to us we put in the song, but then we got bored with it and were looking for new directions. Then we used Peter Tägtgren, he has a very good vision for the overall sound, like how the guitar should sound, more heavier, but he was mainly focused on the sound and vocals but Jens is more focused on the tempo, sound structure and not the typical way verse – chorus – verse-chorus-solo-chorus and he was looking more for a musical approach and that is what we wanted.

Will the next album be similar structured as "Under the Red Cloud"?

Nobody knows (laughs)

Nobody knows?

I have not heard any riffs from Esa and just started by myself, but I don't think its gonna be like "Under the Red Cloud", as we always tend to explore more and do something different, but no drastic changes as its to hard on our fans to grasp it. We used to do it in the 90s.

I know that, I am one of the old school fan and saw your band a lot.

Well then you know what I mean and know the differences in our style over the years. But I guess this time new more musical ideas and with Jens, and even before Jens, we used to do complex stuff not just play the core tube, more details and everyone is excited about it. So I could see us exploring more the musicianship and of course using the instruments more detailed as we progressed over the years. But, too early to say at this stage (laughs).

So you had a bit of a change with band members? The bassist quit over some misunderstanding with the manager?

Yeah he had a bad relationship with our manager, but I think he was bit over exaggerating during the press release, because he was so pissed off, it was more in a personal manner. They knew each other already before, he was our manager and booking agent, so there was a little tension and a few clashes between them. But this is not my place to say, to me it seemed it was more a personal thing between them. But we are pretty easy going band and things were going great, he was not cheating or lying or anything like this, but in the end it was his decision to leave and I hope he sleeps better now.

How does it feel losing a band member over something like this?

It feels silly, as we were trying to talk about this for over year and asking him to please stay in the band. We asked him to please reconsider his decisions, he does not need to be in contact with the person he does not get along with. You don't have to come to the meetings, let us deal with it, but he is a man of principles. Maybe his barrel was full and he had to make this hard decision and I bet it was really difficult for him. Now he does not have a band, well I think he doesn't, but he is a good bass player, a professional, great stage presence, a a really nice guy, funny and I am sure he will find a new bad, but so far I haven't heard anything.

A few years ago you did some reunion shows of "Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes". How was this for the band?

We were talking about this many times and it never happened. But at some point it just felt right, maybe the 20 years milestone and also the fact we did the magic of mayhem thing instead of releasing a compilation album. we really liked some songs of the first three albums and it also helped to make it easier. It was a hell of a lot of fun, but it was a bit weird as we played all these famous songs during the magic of mayhem and now we had to look up these songs we haven't played in so long, but it turned out to be a classic album. It was great fun, but also filled a gap as the tour with "Circle" was coming to an end we really did not want to go back to the studio just yet because it would have been to soon to release another album. So we saw this eight months to one year coming up and we thought maybe we should do this reunion thing and it was really fun doing it.

Must be fun to revisit a version of your former self?

Oh yes and we really wanna do it more, we already did the "Eclipse" tour and a few shows in Finland and a tour in Europe. It was a really nice way to present a strong album to our fans and they appreciated it. I think it was mostly for the fans to be honest.

Yeah, you can still see the merchandise out there from that area.

Yeah its nice when someone pops up and says "Hey, I bought this shirt back in 94". There was a label in the US who really pushed it as well back then and there is still a lot of people who say "This is the original" and still having it in really good shape (laughs).

So we are out here at Graspop festival, what other bands are you going to see?

Well Deep Purple of course, it is one of my favourite bands throughout my life. I never listened to a band this often. We moved our departure time tomorrow morning just because of Deep Purple (laughs). Also it would have been nice to see Baroness, but arrived late. But Ministry would be nice to see.

It’s a interesting band to see.

Yeah absolutely, I have seen Ministry before. But Deep Purple I am really looking forward to. I heard the drummer had a heart stroke, I wish him and the band all the best. We played with them in Hungary three years ago. I was really good! Ian did not sing that many songs, but when he did, it was incredible. And there were a lot of solos. Just one of my favourites.

What is your favourite album of Deep Purple?

Probably "Fireball" and "Deep Purple in Rock, but then "Perfect Strangers" of course.

I can only agree, my dad had the records and I used to keep taking them out of the cupboard and look at the art work.

Well, thank you so much for your time talking to me, this has been great.

My pleasure.

Enjoy the festival.

You too, thank you.

Transcription by Pat from MyRockout Promotions

Randy Gerritse