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Finntroll - when Trolls take a whip (interview part I)

It was such a perfect plan: in my early childhood I learned to play the accordion, my growls sound pretty evil, currently I study Swedish – finally I could become a FINNTROLL bandmember! But then reality bites: FINNTROLL got a new singer and just finished recording their new album... Tundra alias Sami and Trollhorn alias Henri tried to cheer me up chatting about the upcoming CD, after that Marina has the new frontman Vreth opening up to STALKER ... just read on!

So you just finished recording your new album – so what´s different, what´s new?
Sami: Pretty much the same old twisted stuff with something new and evil (laughs)
Henri: The basics are the same but it has a lot of different wacky schizoid evil things lurking behind every corner.

How does the new singer Vreth fit in, what´s different working with him?
Sami: He´s perfect (laughs) what can I say...
Henri: Super!
Sami: ... it was a glad surprise for us all, he took his job as seriously as he could.
Henri: Yeah, and he did a lot of things no-one even really expected him to do, he was really into recording that album - he was proving himself to be extremely worthy being part of the Finntroll horde!

I heard rumours about a new and very special recording technique you developed in the studio... (read more about the so-called “Nazi Mode” in the Interview with Vreth)
(long pause)
Sami: Yeah... what can I say... when shit hit the fan...
Henri: Shit really did hit the fan, and when we realized we spent a lot of futile time just wanking around, and things didn´t get done as they should have been so. We all had our problems with performing our duties, some more, some less, everybody deserved a virtual beating, so to say. We had a meeting on that matter an realized that we have to start whip people´s asses because otherwise we never get this album done. And apparently the whipping helped, and we could almost meet the schedule; we were much more in a hurry and tried to unstretch the timetable again, and we almost succeeded. The album was done, and actually still one day left for those mixing days so we almost achieved to unstretch the timetable even more than we were supposed to do in first place.

Was this situation much different to the previous albums?
Sami: Not really actually, because we had more time than ever to succeed but – if you have time, that usually works against you (laughs) you end up smoking more cigarettes than usual, DVDs, you name it...

How much time did you spend in studio altogether?
Sami: If we count the pre-production... months and months
Henri: Yeah, we had a lot of pre-production, starting about May or April when the first drafts were made
Sami: First drafts were made a couple of years ago, actually.
Henri: Yeah, but I mean the Demo, when we started the garage-preproduction.
Sami: And then we spent like four or five weeks....
Henri: Five weeks in Sonic Pump Studio, and that doesn´t include the preproduction, which we had to do because if we haven´t, we would be really really screwed up.

How does your creative process work, do you come up with riffs or something?
Sami: Actually... no riffs with Finntroll... (laughs)
Henri: We do parts which may include two or three riffs, but not average normal guitar playing riffs; they are usually made from melodies and chord progressions, and the guitars are usually arranged after the song is composed.
Sami: Usually we have some kind of concept for a song, and most of the time it´s like decoration, add things and feelings and shit...

So the last thing added are lyrics and vocals?
Henri: Actually not in this case, because the old singer Katla, who is responsible for the lyrics, kept sending us material when it was ready, so we knew the lyrics for many songs before we started composing or molding them. We could build up more ideas on the basis of the actual lyrics, a lyrical timing thing that we could for example add to the whole band to make those rhythmic hooks, so to say.

What was Nino Laurenne´s role in the production process?
Sami: He built the set up, the guitar sounds, the drums, everything...
Henri: ... and then he mixed it. Well, not totally, but he mixed the basic rockband stuff, like guitar, drums. And then we added that spice with the synths and vocals and so on. But he is responsible for the overall sound of the mix.

How long did that take?
Henri: He spent one day for building the mixing desk set up, for example... we always put the guitars through the mixing desk from ProTools, we always use the same channels, he doesn´t do any kind of mixing in ProTools, so whatever song he loads from ProTools, the overall sound will pretty much stay the same... that setup demanded one day, and after that it was always half a day or 3-4 hours to build the basis of the song we were doing, and after that it took half a day or even a whole day to mix it completely. And then the next day, the next song and so on...
Sami: He got a little bit intimidated when he saw those 50 tracks of synth, and we decided it´s better for us and for him to mix the overall balance of synths, and we had a chance to affect the overall sound a bit.
Henri: No offence to our earlier mixing guys, but this time it was really really smooth, Nino let us do a lot of stuff alone, and he didn´t have this attitude “I´m a mixer, I know how things are done”. He really trusted us and gave us free hands to do whatever we wanted to do in mixing. But of course he wanted to say the last word, so to say, if it was total crap, but apparently it wasn´t.
Sami: And if you heard our previous albums you know there is always something ... (laughs)
Henri: ... a lot of nasty evil smelling things around the album, you´ll notice them!

Finally, your new singer... well, he looks a bit different to the previous ones, so are you planning to forcefeed him?
Sami: We don´t have to force him...
Henri: A couple of years with Finntroll does a miracle to people!
Sami: Exactly!

The new FINNTROLL CD will be release end of March 2007, but they will play a bit of the new stuff already during their small X-mas-tour – so don´t miss it!

Author: Klaudia Weber, Photos: Diana Nitschke
Date: 2006-12-07

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