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Finntroll: Birthday cake for a plastic world
The sixth album named “Nifelvind” out and a European tour – those Finnish Trolls put on again their furs and war paint to show mankind where they have their Trollhammaren. Right before the live-premiere of “Nifelvind” (review and photos here ) and despite the arctic climate, STALKER (supported by Austrian Radio Agora “For Those About To Rock”) managed to get hold of those rather shy nocturnal creatures, namely shouter Vreth and “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” keyboarder Trollhorn, and to drag them out of their cave in front of a microphone.
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What do you Trolls do in winter to be happy?
Vreth: Stay inside.
Trollhorn: Doing this “going-downhill-on-a-piece-of-plastic” with the family, rolling in the snow (laughter)
You made a new CD – how long did it take to record it?
Vreth: We got five weeks, but it was three weeks of recording, the rest was for mixing and mastering – pretty much
Trollhorn: Yeah pretty much
Did you compose the songs before going to the studio?
Trollhorn: Yes we always compose the songs before going to studio. If we made the music in the studio, that would end up in quite horrible results (laughter)
How long did it take to make the music?
Trollhorn: I think the first song was composed last March. I did three songs in March while I was on sick-leave from work – my job is to write music for games.... It had nothing to do with that, one morning I woke up and had a huge fever, but that went away after like two days, and I still had those two weeks still of my sick leave, and nothing to do. So I dug up some old riffs to see what I could do with those, and suddenly I just made three songs in something like two days. After that we got it to the band.
So how is Finntroll working on songs? You make the first part and then the band?
Trollhorn: Well, yeah, it depends. Someone has the idea, then I´ll be the one basically who takes this idea and makes a song out of it. Really really roughly said. Basically someone makes a song which then goes through Trollhorn-filter. (laughter) And then we discuss about it with the band. No song would be – even though I am pretty much the one being responsible for them - none of those songs would sound the same without the band commenting everything and having their ideas. Even though I spent some days alone in studio mixing, it went through the band, discussing everybody´s opinion. But of course at some point you really have to draw a line and say “fuck off, that´s it!”, otherwise we would still be mixing the album...
Who was writing the texts?
Vreth: Well, basically we could say it´s me for this one. It´s like me, or Katla (first Finntroll-singer, the ed.) and Trollhorn who do the vocal part. Katla comes up with the concept of the album, what should be written into songs.
What is the topic of this album?
Vreth: Myths and legends, you know, myths, even when they are thousands of years old they can be relevant today, the same themes but in other words
What would you say is the difference of Nifelvind to the previous albums?
Trollhorn: Do you remember the first time you made a birthday cake? Do you remember the last time you did it? THAT´s the difference! You finally know what and how to do it – it´s bigger, better, everything. More moist...
By the way, did you need to use the so-called “Nazi-mode” in studio, like last time? Somebody needed to be locked up? (laughter)
Trollhorn: Well, no names mentioned... the guitarist and the bass player!! (laughter)
OK, at least you haven´t mentioned any names... (laughter)
Trollhorn: Well, we all have our good and our bad days, and when we have bad days we tolerate it at some point, and after that it goes into the Nazi mode – sometimes it happens.
That means you had a lot of fun in the studio?
Vreth: (sarcastically) Well ….
Trollhorn: If you consider “showing up barb wire into your cock hole” fun, then YES. It´s like a love-and-hate relationship. There is forgetting about having time with my family, what I like very much... basically I could work in studio every single day. It´s always super fun, it´s excellent, it´s relaxing, stressing. It´s what makes me feel alive.
I noticed, in the recent past you have already used two keyboards for live-shows, and now with this new album Finntroll has officially two keyboarders – how come?
Trollhorn: It´s kind of... well, if I haven´t ever stopped doing live-gigs we would never have Virta in our line up in the first place. But then, Virta was and is so much band member already, it would just be too stupid, like... “I´m sorry but you cannot come here any more. And period”....
Vreth: He also knew so much of the new stuff already when we came to the studio
Trollhorn: Yeah, this was the other aspect of the whole thing
Vreth: And also on the last album, he was there throughout the whole thing...
Trollhorn: He is a very very good musician!
Vreth: So he knows all the stuff, so why not letting him do something when he is just sitting there ...
Trollhorn: It was just natural that he became part of it – he was already part of the Finntroll community, now he is OFFICIALLY part of the Finntroll community!
How do you find all those Metal tunes?
Trollhorn: We listen to some old records – and then we steal them! (laughter) Well, we do not find melodies, somehow melodies are just forced into our heads, and then we have to spew them out.
Were you, Vreth, also more involved in the songwriting process? Last time you had just joined as the new singer...
Trollhorn: Yeah, you will always be “the new singer”! For the rest of your days!
Vreth: Yeah always “the new guy”...
OK, but now there is another “new guy” in the band...so...
Vreth: Last time when I came in there were perhaps five songs, demo versions, half finished versions – of course when I came in, the lyrics were written right after I joined, so... I think I had more courage to say something this time. Now I am also mastering the Finnish language a little bit better, so it´s easier to say something ...
Trollhorn: Yeah. You contributed a lot of riffs we unfortunately did no use this time (laughter) No it´s not what you think! We always have shitloads of riffs left over from an album, but not because they are bad or something, just because they did not fit any songs, or because we could not make any songs out of those riffs. They were good riffs, but they did not fit the concept, the context of a party killer song, or you have two really good riffs, but you cannot make a really good song out of just two riffs, and this is why they were left out.
What is the biggest difference for you, comparing studio work and live shows?
Vreth: Thousand people
Trollhorn: Drunkenness. (laughter) Nervousness. Having to move shitloads of stuff
Vreth: In studio you can redo anything you want
What would be your favorite place to stop by on a EU tour?
Vreth: Well, there are a couple of good places, Amsterdam is pretty good for example, and of course there are some places I have never been before and I am looking forward to, like Slovakia, because Eastern Europe usually rocks! After being on the road for 3,5 weeks in Europe, we have 2 weeks off, then we are going to the US for one month... last time there were some misunderstandings, bad communication, and we were there on our own. Now it is a big tour with another band, which is better because we have bigger venues and better places to play, loads more tickets sold – it is better this time.
Basically for me it´s looking like Finnish bands are more and more taking over the music scene, at least in Europe – is it a similar situation in the States, like an invasion from Europe?
Vreth: Yeah actually this is really happening now. Metal fans in the States are pretty fed up with all that kind of Metal core Death core they have...
Vreth: Yeah Plastic Core (laughter)
Trollhorn: They are longing for something which is inside them… well, the whole thing started to evolve from Northern Europe, spreading to central Europe... people are longing for the roots, having something to grab on in this modern plastic world with lots of problems, people are getting more and more confused about what they are, what they are living in,and they are grabbing to their past, because this is something they surely know about. In the States you get the same thing because it is the melting pot of all kinds of people, the land without any culture, and if people there feel they are more attracted to their European roots in first place, like “my grandfather was Austrian, my grandfather was Swedish” or whatever, they are really digging for that.
So you think that Trolls can cure this plastic world?
Trollhorn: Well, not Trolls alone, we also need some Napalm... (laughter)
Author: Klaudia Weber & Ralf Dieter Abraham (Radio Agora), photos: K. Weber, Jarmo Katila
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