Loaded with their new album “Till Death Unites Us”, Norther bounces back into the public eye and ear. Along with their new album, there is also a new man on the drums. Why Petri Lindroos is now the only founding member left and what further happened in Norther – the singer tells it by himself.
For those of you, who don´t know Norther (… so haven´t read our first STALKER 02/04) here is a little retrospect about their band history. The in 1996 as Requiem founded band – they guys were little teenager at that time – changed their line-up already two times before the first demo was recorded. Also afterwards wasn´t much calmness inside the band, which changed it´s name 2000 in Norther and got a record deal with Spinefarm in the same year. They experienced their first success outside of Finland with “Dreams Of Endless War” which was released in 2002 and along with that the steady line-up was there as well, which survived two further albums and stood steady until 2005.
Could you please describe the characters and personalities of the band members? Let´s start with Kristian Ranta (clean vocals & guitar):
Kristian is the guy who has to do all practical things in the band, so it´s his responsibility to take care all the "running errors" within Norther. He is also the "worrier" too. He is very hard working, reliable and very good drinking company.
What can you tell us about Tuomas Planman (keyboard)?
Hmm…Tuomas is the "artist" kinda guy in Norther. He gives the final touch to our songs and lately he has become very good drinking company too…
How would you describe Jukka Koskinen (bass)?
Jukka... well... He is the bass-player so what can you expect from a bass player?! (laughs) He is one of the "Drinker´s" in this band. He has been a very important band member since the beginning; I wouldn´t change him to anyone!
Heikki Saari (drums) is the new man in Norther. What was the problem with Toni Hallio?
Yes, Heikki is the new drummer in Norther. Toni said the first time, a long time ago, that he is not interested to play anymore and this would be the last album for him to record. We talked about that within the band and it was okay to everyone that he will quit. He was, together with me, the founding member and we played together over 10 years. Well, he left and we have no hard feelings toward each other, we are still very good friends.
How did you found Heikki?
When Toni left Norther, we had announcement in our web-pages and he was one of those who replayed to us.
What type of fellow is Heikki?
Heikki is young; he is 21 years old and a good drummer. We are happy to have him in Norther and he fits in the band perfectly…
Last but not least about yourself, Petri Lindroos (vocals & guitar) - who are you?
I´m the guy who doesn´t give a flying fuck about anything! (laughs) Nah, just kidding or maybe not. Actually Norther doesn´t give a flying fuck about anything. More about me, I just don´t know what to say… I´m a master in hevi karaoke and an even better drinking company I heard. (laughs)
What does Karaoke mean to you? It´s a kind of people´s sport in Finland, right?
In a way, yeah! I love karaoke, especially Heavy metal Karaoke in Corner bar here at HELLsinki! To me it´s a way to have good time in a bar without getting bored during the evening… Some people hate it, some people love it. I LOVE IT!!!
How can you deal with being in two very active bands, like Norther and Ensiferum?
I need very much alcohol to deal with in these two bands! Nah, it´s no problem because we handle all the gigs and other things together with Norther and Ensiferum so there are no double-bookings. We also share the same rehearsing room so that make things even easier.
And I was born rock´n´roll and drink whole night and sleep all day! (laughs)
Could you bring to your mind to play in a third band beside Norther and Ensiferum?
No!!! (screams it)
If you look back to Norther´s tour happenings. What was the weirdest happened to you until now?
There are many of those but one can remember right now, we had a gig here in Finland and in the front row, there was a young girl who started to tide my shoe-lashes together in the middle of the song and I was like: What the fuck!!! So I had to almost kick her to make her stop.
How come, that the Norther members are some of a very few Finnish bands without “very funny” artist names? I mean no Goofy, Washing machine, Razor, Wild One, Humptydumpty or something in Norther…
(laughs) We do have silly names but not on the albums. For example we have this Lord of the Rings theme in our band. I am Pippin, Kristian is the Ring, Tuomas is Gandalf, Jukka is Frodo and our ex-drummer was Gimli. We haven´t decided what character would fit to Heikki the best. T.b.a.!
“Till Death Unites Us” is a much diversified album. Are songs like „Evil Ladies“, „Scream“ and „Fuck You“ more the smirk faction? The rest seems to be more cynical and containing some heavy portion of frustration...
We are not more cynical than before nor frustrated either. For some parts it can be true and there is nothing really special about them but those songs kicks your fucking asses!
Was any guest musician involved in “Till Death Unites Us”?
Only these fucking Australian guys were doing shouts for “fuck you”. A band called “I killed the Proem queen”. They were recording their second album and just been there.
Let us talk about the artwork? It´s completely different to all forerunners. What is the story behind it? Is it related to a song on the new album?
It´s not related to any song and we wanted to have totally different kinda cover for this album, and we got it. It is also the most complicated cover-art we have had so far and we fucking love it. I hope our fans like it too.
The artwork of the Single “Scream” is pretty similar to the one on the album; just the girl on the cover sticks out. She reminds on the movie “Strangeland” where Dee Snider played the psychopath who sewed the mouth of his female victims. Is it homage to American horror movies?
No! In the first layout there was an old granny on the cover and we didn´t like that at all, so I think this is now a lot better.
On “Scream” is a special version of “Wasted Years” sung by Kristian. This song is dedicated it to his brother, Peter, who died…It´s very different from other Norther songs. Can you tell us more about this song and its two versions?
Kristian´s brother died right in the beginning of our recording sessions and Kristian was pretty fucked up by that for a while. He wrote that song before we went to studio and yeah, in a way it is different than the other songs in the album but not that different! The lyrics are dedicated to the memory of his brother and the clean vocal version was Kristian´s idea, he wanted to make a little bit more personal for himself.
You are all still young. Is this the time you would describe as your best time?
“Forever young, I want to be, forever young”! (sings and laugh) I think our best times are yet to come but we have had very good times too. Someday, Norther will rule the universe!
Many musicians dabble in being a producer – sooner or later. Could you imagine this for you as well?
Fuck yeah, I can see myself as a producer in the future. Actually we produced “till death unites us” all by ourselves.
I affirm that 99% of all human beings have any complexes. What is your biggest?
I belong to that 1% who doesn´t have any complexes!!!??? (laughter)
What are the plans for touring this year? Will you play on festivals?
No tours so far but we would like to do a tour or two!! Few festivals are confirmed for this summer and we hope to do much more of those. See you somewhere, sometime!
Author: Samira Alinto, Photos: Toni Härkönen hfr. Date: 2006-01-20