Moonsorrow - a new world is born when the old world dies
On the occasion of the open listening session of their new album "Hävitetty", two of the Moonsorrow folks, together with their colleagues of Swallow The Sun, were travelling all the way to Hamburg. The luggage Ville Sorvali & Marco Tarvonen were carrying, was so unusual that besides STALKER, already some other nosy journalists were lurking around...
Ville: I can actually answer all your questions before you ask them.
Ok! Ville: Why are the songs so long? Why are you singing in Finnish?
Well, go on? Ville: What is your favorite football team in Hamburg? St. Pauli! Ok, start the interview.
It’s actually about the new album. The title (Hävitetty) means destroyed, right? Ville: Something like that, yeah. It’s not the official translation…
What is it? Ville: Ravaged.
Why did you choose this as the title for the album? Ville: Because the album is about the end of the world. Actually I think Marko came up with it. Marko: Yep!
How? Marko: Well, I was the first who started it! The end of the world is here.There are definite signs in the world that we’re going down.
What are the signs? Marko: Religions caused all the wars. Everything good on this planet vanished. Ville: I notice that you are trying to get us to say something we don’t want to say. I can see it!
Damn! I guess you got me. Ville: I’m a journalist too. I’m sorry! Ok, you want something different?
Yes. Ville: Ok! The world isn’t really a good place to live, and the whole new album is reflecting that. It’s full of melancholy and depression… Marko: …or aggression… Ville: Aggression through depression.
Aggression towards what? Ville: I don’t know. We’re not aggressive people but it’s more a… Marko: It’s a mental thing. Ville: The message is against were the world is going and the way we live today. The album concludes the end of the world as we know it now. It’s not the whole point of the album.
Do you also present some way to change the whole thing or is it just “you fucked it up!”? Ville: No. The album ends with even more depression and just gets more hopeless towards the end. And in the end everything is lost and the world is gone. When you listen to the album from the beginning to the end, a new world is born.
What kind of new world? Ville: In the beginning I took these few verses from Scandinavian mythology to describe that a new world is born when the old world dies. And when the new world is born it starts gradually going towards this shit we are living in and the world ends again.
Are there still humans in this new world? Ville: Yes. When the new world begins we still have hope but then it just turns in to what we are experiencing now. Marko: I believe this whole thing comes and goes in cycles. If you compare the modern times with the times of Rome, for example, there was the glory of Rome and then the destruction of Rome and I guess they too were thinking that this is the end. And through this all a new world will be born… And it was born.
So our time could be described as the American empire, or? Ville: It’s not about the western, modern society but about the whole thing. It’s happening everywhere.
So do you think there’s a culture that could be worth or that could be able to rule like an empire without being destroyed? Ville: I don’t know why you should build any empires. There shouldn’t be any.
In my opinion there is already in a way. Ville: There is, and that’s why it’s going to get destroyed… ultimately. And then a new one will be born. It’s very sad! But we’re not building a new world. Our music reflects the feelings in today’s world and maybe the old cliché that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
So, with these opinions, it sounds like getting new children into this world isn’t really such a good thing? Ville: Well, yes. But what can we do? Even if we know things are going for the worse, we’re just five people who can only shout our words in the wind and hope that someone listens.
But often it’s only taken one person to change the world. Ville: I know. But I don’t believe that we can. But getting back to having children, even if you feel that you’re living in fucked up times, you have to believe in the future. Marko: We’re not preaching what’s the truth and what’s not. We have our own views.
But if you really believe in what you’re saying on the album, you should commit suicide then! Ville: I chose not to commit suicide because I want to live and see what’s going to happen! Even though I know that everything is and will be fucked up and the world is going to end, I still believe in the future. I want to see a better future for me and my children.
Let’s talk about your personal lives. What is the best thing in your lives and what is the thing that makes you write this kind of music? Marko: This band wouldn’t be here today without this fucked up society these days. Because our fans are consumers buying the music. They are, for example, making this interview possible. Of course it wouldn’t make any sense to have a small community somewhere deep in the Finnish woods, with just the band and our closest friends. Trying to survive there could never work. But that would be the most desirable thing if everything wasn’t depending so much on other stuff. I guess this is all getting too deep…
Then talk about some more happy things. Ville: We are getting a certain joy from the band as a means to express our negative feelings.It’s like therapy. I think for all the musicians in the world, making music is good therapy.
Except for some types of music… Both: What kind?
Folk music. (Laughs) I don’t think they have those feelings behind that. Ville: I don’t know. Every person in the world has both positive and negative feelings.
On the last album you had five songs and on this album you have two songs of which one song is in two parts. So, what will it be one the next album? Only one? Ville: Yes, that’s it! There will be only one three minute song and it’s going to be a radio hit! No… Like we’ve said, there will come a time when we will make an album that is just one song, but the next one won’t be it. Whenever we make the album with just one song it will be the end.
OH?! Ville: But it will not be the next one.
So, how will the next album be different from this album? Ville: 25 songs!
Ah, so you’re going in to punk! (Laughter) Marko: We could do it! You’ll never know what the future will bring.
Could you describe to the readers who don’t know you a little about the members personalities? Ville: Why don’t they know the members? What’s wrong with your readers?
(Laughter) Marko: I’m taking care of everything! (Laughter) There are some roles. For instance, Henri is the main songwriter, Ville writes the lyrics and I’m the drummer and my only goal is to bring some more contradiction in the band and make everyone argue with each other. And I also take part in organizing gigs for us so that we have at least one show a year… or two… or a hundred.
Isn’t that the labels job? Marko: Yes, but we don’t have a manager, as we don’t think a band like Moonsorrow needs a manager, because we are strong enough to take care of the business by ourselves. But we have our booking agencies in Finland and in Europe and we have contacts in Canada and the U.S.A. to get this depressive, melancholic, end of the world stuff out to the public. And the label is taking care of the business part. They’re collecting all the grapes of our hard work and are laughing all the way to the bank! And giving us just a small percent of all they sell. And we’re not laughing… Ville: Yes, but everyone has their small roles. Like our guitarist Mitja has to entertain the band using fire extinguishers. Running naked in the hallway of the hotel and stuff like that! But the thing is that, even if we might not have equal roles when it comes to the serious business, but as a band we really need everyone! I don’t think we would feel the same if some member of the band changed.
So what are you doing when you’re not with the band? Marko: I’m doing this miserable day job, in a miserable American company in Finland, which is a miserable country with miserable people…! ( Laughter) This is the only free time I have! No, I’m trying to be a very normal person. There’s not too much to tell. I just live a normal family life Ville: I also have a very boring life. I have two small cats which I got about a week ago. They are very cute! They are fighting and they’re fucking annoying destroying everything. I work for a music magazine in Finland. I also work as a roadie and do all kinds of different stuff to save my ass. And in my free time I play Football Manager!
The computer game? Ville : Yes! Whenever I have time away from everything and I’m free from all the stress in the world, I play Football Manager and I feel releaved. Marko: You feel like a god! Ville: Yes!
Author: Samira Alinto, photos: hfr., trans. K. Weber Date: 2006-12-17