Amorphis is currently touring through Europe again with their ‘Under the red cloud’ headline tour. Last year they released their 12th full length studio album and not so long ago they toured together with Nightwish as support act.
Before their show in Tilburg Tomi took some time to talk with me about their latest album, Finland, tattoos and more.
First of all, thank you so much for having this interview with me! I would like to start off by asking how you have been doing lately and how did the tour go so far?
“I’m fine! We have been touring now for two weeks and it has been great! We started in Germany and did a couple of shows in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Which is not totally new for us, but we haven’t played that many shows in Sweden, so that was fun.”
Did you get to see some places that you have never been to before?
“Yes, I got to see Bergen in Norway. A great and beautiful city and a great venue! They also had cool places there, like a record store and a club called ‘Garage’ a legendary place where all the black metal bands started their career.”
Do you always get the chance to go out and see some more of the cities you play in?
“It depends, sometimes (like in Bergen) the venue is very close to the city centre. And if the weather is good and it’s not too far I always try to go to the city centre. Because also it can be pretty boring to just stay inside! So yes I enjoy walking around, meet new people and get some coffee. I am not the kind of person who likes to visit museums or something, I rather just walk around or go to the gym if I can find a place where you don’t need to have a membership which can be quite challenging!
Some of my favourite countries that I visited while touring are Australia and Japan, because it’s so different than Finland. Australia is just exotic for us, it’s sunny and warm!”
What are your plans after the current tour?
“In May we will have a tour in South America, with 5 or 6 shows. And after that I think the Summer festival season will start, so we will be having some shows in Finland and the rest of Europe. We will go to Iceland for the first time and will also do one show in South Africa. It’s amazing that we have the opportunity to go there.
Maybe we will do some shows in the US next year. Going there is a little bit more complicated for us, because it’s so expensive.”
Do you prefer to play on the big festivals or the smaller venues?
“It depends, I like playing on a festival if we have a good time to go on stage. Because sometimes we have to play during the day or at the same time when for example Metallica plays on different stage. Then there will be just a couple of people watching us! But it’s so great if it’s a big festival when there are thousands of people screaming your bands name!
On the other hand I also like playing in smaller clubs, because it’s more intense and it’s easier to get contact with people. So I actually do like both. I also like to go to festivals myself, for example Roskilde festival in Denmark, which is the greatest festival on earth.”
Now let’s talk about your latest album, ‘Under the red cloud’. What is the story behind the album title?
“I always find it pretty hard to figure out a fitting album title. Usually I prefer short album titles. For this album we surely didn’t find a short one! The idea came from the guy who wrote the lyrics for the album (Pekka Kainulainen)
I think the title describes the atmosphere or the feeling of the album. The colour red represents the feeling for me that something ‘bad’ is coming in the future. Some people were afraid that it would be connected to communism or something but of course it has got nothing to do with that. We try to keep the politics out of our music.”
Do you think something bad will happen in the future?
“Yes, absolutely. I think there has always been wars and problems in the world, but somehow it feels really desperate at this moment. Unfortunately we live in really dangerous times now. We started our tour with Nightwish a day after those horrible things in Paris happened. A week after that we played in Paris ourselves. We were a little bit concerned that our show may be cancelled, because Nightwish shows are really big with around 10.000 people together it could be a good place for another attack. Luckily none of this happened.”
How was touring with Nightwish?
“It was a lot of fun! We have played with them before, but not on a big tour like this. It was a great chance for us as a band to play in really big venues. When being the opening band, you don’t really know what to expect. But we were a bit surprised of how much people were already there during our shows.”
But amorphis is a very big and famous band itself!
“Yes I know, but I really hope that we got some new fans. Because there were so many people!
The whole tour was really intense, we didn’t have a lot of days off. And on some days we did our own headline show when Nightwish had their days off. But at least it was a tour where we didn’t have any problems! Probably our tech-guys will have a different opinion about this, but for us it was maybe the first tour that we didn’t get sick at all!”
What would you still like to do with Amorphis? What are your thoughts about doing a couple of acoustic shows or shows with an orchestra for example?
“We actually did a couple of acoustic shows in Finland some years ago. Also one at a very special place, an old castle, which was a great experience. Personally I am not very interested in doing a show with an orchestra, but of course you never know what will happen in the future. This summer we will do one very special show in Finland, unfortunately I can’t say much about it! But it sure is going to be an unique show!”
Sounds like I need to go to Finland!
“Yes, you should! You have never been there before?”
No, can you recommend me some places to see when I go there?
“If you are interested in nature, it doesn’t really matter where you go in Finland, because there is beautiful nature everywhere. Even in Helsinki, you can enjoy walking around in the city, but you can also go for a walk in the forest.
If you come in winter, you should go to the north because there you will find a proper winter with lots of snow. It’s also great to go there during summer when the sun doesn’t even go down. Combine it with going to a festival with friends and suddenly you realize it’s already 7 o’clock in the morning!”
How would you explain the big amount of good metal bands that seem to be coming from Finland ?
“I have no idea! The same is for Sweden and Norway. I think it’s more common for people in those countries to listen to metal. During the nineties there were some really legendary bands coming from Finland, Norway and Sweden. I think they could have been an inspiration for a lot of people to start a band themselves.”
Can you tell me something about your tattoos? Are they usually done by the same tattoo artist?
“There is one artist, called Jarno Kantanen, who has done a lot of tattoos on me. He is running a tattoo shop ‘Tatuata’ in Helsinki. I have a couple of very big tattoos, for example on my back, a piece of a painting of the Finnish painter Akseli Gallen Kellela. And on my chest and stomach. That hurted so much! So lately I am more into getting smaller ones, because they are not that painful.
I have a lot of plans and ideas in my head for my next tattoos. On Instagram I found a lot of great tattoo artist from all over the world, the problem is that they usually have a huge waiting list. I was thinking of getting tattoos while on tour. But on the other hand that is not such a good idea because of the aftercare, there is a lot of dirty buses, showers etcetera.”
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me, Tomi! Is there anything left that you would like to say to us?
“I am looking forward to the show tonight! It’s nice to be back again in this nice venue in Tilburg and we are going to make a wonderful show. Thank you!”