When we were making the issue you are reading right now, the most amazing promo's kept landing on our desks, as is quite apparent if you look at the names in this issue. One of the great surprises for me personally was the interview opportunity with MOONSORROW. The band has many fans amongst our readers, and they are about to release yet another great album.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! You are about to release a new album. It’s been five years since your previous release, what have you been up to in between?
Well first we needed a year or so just to tour and refresh our thoughts. In late 2012 we already started to think about the new album and we even found the theme for it. We realized that we wanted to go to more mythological approach again. But Henri was busy with a Finntroll album and some kids were born etc. Once we finally got to work, the material didn´t sound good enough for us so we scrapped everything and started from the beginning again in 2014. 2015 was the real busy year when we finally put all the pieces together and made it happen!
Your new album is named Jumalten Aika, “The Age Of Gods”. What is the album about?
It´s about the time when people started forming religions and invented gods, to believe that gods made the people. Time when myths and stories were born to explain the existence off everything. That´s the start of the album. In the last song people have abandoned everything sacred and they are only run by greed.
You will be releasing this album with English translations in all physical releases. Is it important for fans to be aware of the message in these songs to fully appreciate it?
Sure! We don´t want to make it more difficult to comprehend our lyrics! haha! We put a lot of effort in our lyrics so why not share it with those who don´t understand Finnish as well.
What the significance is to you as Finns to keep your lyrics in Finnish, with so many of the other popular artists from the country using English as their primary language?
It´s very important, mainly because it feels more natural to us. Finnish is a very expressive and rich language so we can write much more significant stuff in our native tongue than trying our best in English.
What would you say is more important in your music, the message in the songs or the tone feel of the instrumentation and vocals? What makes a Moonsorrow song a Moonsorrow song?
I think it´s all of those. Although, i think the music can stand out for itself. We create images with our music. Something that anyone can understand while listening to our songs without understanding our lyrics. If you get visual sensations while listening to us, that´s a clear sign of a proper Mooonsorrow song. German have the perfect word for it "Kopfkino".
Where it comes to the stories and legends in your lyrics, how do you choose these stories, and to what extent are they true to any existing folklore?
With Jumalten Aika we actually took some real references from existing mythologies, Edda and Finnish Kalevala. But usually they are very subtle and mostly written by Ville from his own world. On the 2 previous albums there were practically no references to any mythologies.
What can you tell us about the sound on the new record? To me it sounds like a logical continuation of your earlier work, but did you make some changes?
It´s abit more harsh what comes to guitars and drums but also there are more acoustic elements than before.
There are new elements like more ritualistic rythms and singing. That´s quite new actually. Songwriting itself was renewed completely. This album was written more traditionally with dividing it into parts and pieces instead of constant epic flow like on V: Hävitetty.
How come your lyrics are in Finnish, yet your band name is in English?
Well this band was formed in 1995 and Henri and Ville first started with English material, quickly changing to Finnish but the name remained.
Where did you originally get the idea to start creating your unique sound by mixing folk, black and melodic sounds?
It was quite natural always. There were few bands doing it in Scandinavia already and it felt very easy to fit acoustic instruments into the mix since we already had loads of keyboards in our music as well.
The folk-based metal scene has really grown in the last decade. Which bands out there would you say best represent the folk-based subgenres?
I don´t really listen to Folk Metal, nor does anyone in the band. But if Folk Metal means that there are traditional music and instruments involved in large quantities, i would say Lumsk and Korpiklaani and Cruachan. Lots of the bands that are under label "Folk Metal" are not really in the category in my opinion. There are also many bands, perhaps hundreds of them that fit in the category but i really don´t like them. Much of the genre is total bullshit! Stupid, poorly played metal riffs with horrible fiddle melody on top.
When you look at the run you’ve had so far, with 8 releases since 2001, would you say the band has changed a lot over the years, or are you still true to your original core from the early days?
Sure we have changed with each album, but the progress has been steady and directional. We have learned new things and grown but we are still the same band we were in 2001.
Most of your records have a limited number of tracks, yet they are all really long tracks. How does a Moonsorrow song get created, why are they so long?
They just started to grow and grow! We learned how to write epic structures and they really work in our music and way to tell stories. When you learn how to arrange songs like that it´s very difficult to come back to normal rock structures. But yeah, if you lay some of our epic song on paper the structure follows the formulas of epic poetry with it´s ups and downs and inevitable change and ending.
If you look at your releases, is each album a theme with a red thread running through all (or most) songs, or are the tracks separate stories that stand alone?
It depends on the album. Usually there is a theme but not all are conceptual. Suden Uni, Kivenkantaja and Verisäkeet were more of individual songs, while Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa änd Hävietty were completely Conceptual.
How does a Moonsorrow live show look, what kind of experience do you offer the fans?
Agressive but atmospherical shows. Good light show to paint the picture of our music.
Where will we be able to see you live this year?
01/04/2016 FIN – Helsinki Virgin Oil Co
08/04/2016 BE – Bomal-sur-Ourthe Durbuy Rock Festival
09/04/2016 FR – Sélestat Tanzmatten
10/04/2016 NL – Amsterdam Melkweg
11/04/2016 FR – Paris La Trabendo
12/04/2016 FR – Bordeaux Barbey
13/04/2016 ES – Madrid Arena
14/04/2016 ES – Barcelona Razzmatazz2
15/04/2016 FR – Limoges CC John Lennon
16/04/2016 FR – Brest Carène
17/04/2016 FR – Rennes Antipode
18/04/2016 FR – Lyon CCO Villeurbanne
19/04/2016 FR – Metz Les Trinitaires
20/04/2016 UK – London Islington Academy
21/04/2016 UK – Manchester Club Academy
22/04/2016 IRE – Dublin Button Factory
23/04/2016 UK – Belfast Limelight 2
24/04/2016 UK – Glasgow Classic Grand
25/04/2016 UK – Leeds Stylus
26/04/2016 UK – Birmingham Academy 2
27/04/2016 UK – Bristol The Fleece
28/04/2016 UK – Southampton 1865
29/04/2016 DE – Bochum Matrix
07/05/2016 DE – Bornstedt Dark Troll Festival
17/06/2016 FI – Tampere Tampere Metal Meeting
18/06/2016 FR – Clisson Hellfest
19/06/2016 BE – Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting
09/07/2016 FI – Oulu Jalometalli
17/07/2016 FI – Joensuu Ilosaarirock
23/07/2016 FR – Simandre-sur-Suran Ragnard Rock Fest
06/08/2016 FI – Pori Porispere
12/08/2016 RO – Rasnov Rockstadt Extreme Fest
19/08/2016 DE – Dinkelsbühl Summer Breeze
And more to be confirmed!
Do you have any last words for our readers?
We worked very hard for this album, so we hope to see all of you on the road! Cheers!
Randy Gerritse & David Maloney