Finntroll interview ‘The new Album’ and more…

By: Nick
Photography: (Paganfest 2010)

During Heidenfest, we had the chance to talk to vocalist Vreth of Finntroll. He proved to be in a good and chatty mood, immediately after we met he started to talk about how nice it was to be back in Holland. Since it wouldd probably be snowing back home in Finland, he was glad he could enjoy the (relatively) nice weather in Holland. When we finally found a quiet spot where we could sit, we had of course a lot to talk about! You can read everything, from the previous album to the upcoming album, from social media to performing.

So how are you doing?
Given the circumstances, we’re doing pretty well. We’ve just arrived here and the trip was very tiresome. We like to travel with the tourbus, somebody drives you, and you can sleep in the bus. When you’re on those kind of tours, you stay in the town you play so you can hang around at the bar as long as you like. I came home 6.30 in the morning today, but at the moment the hangover is pretty much gone.

And how is the tour going so far?
Oh it’s really nice! I like the shows. It’s so fun because we’ve toured with all these bands before, though it has been ages ago since we last toured with Korpiklaani. It’s great to see the guys again, and party after the shows. It feels like coming home when you’re on a tour like Heidenfest.

What do you like more? To play in a big venue like 013, or in the more smaller venues?
Actually, I enjoy both, though there are some differences between the two. Because at the small venues, when you are on the really, really small stages, you can really can have that contact with the audience, you can almost smell the audience. It gives room for different kind of interactions.
On the opposite, with the big venues, you have these big crowds. 1000 of hands in the air, and you can hear them all sing along.

Do you adapt your shows to the kind of venue you’re playing in?
Usually the small stages are really hot, so sometimes we can’t play that many fast songs in a row because it would kill you.

A few months ago, you re-released Nifelvind as a tour-edition, with several cover songs as a bonus. What was the reason to do that?
It wasn’t really planned, but it happened when Metal Hammer Germany contacted us to do a Metallica-cover for a tribute album. The reason for this was that the Black Album of Metallica was released 20 years ago. There were still some songs left to choose from. We picked one of the songs and started recording.
Because we were touring so much for the normal Nifelvind-Album in Europe, we wanted to do something special for the next tour, release the tour edition and play some of these covers. Actually, it turned out a bit bigger than we expected beforehand, but it was nice and fun to do.

There were 3 covers on this album, how did you choose which song to cover?
For example, the Oingo Boingo cover, this band has been such a great inspiration for Finntroll. Therefore we decided to do a real tribute to Oinga Boinga and Danny Elfman (one of the bandmembers). And also, I’ve never heard a Oinga Boinga cover before, so that was another reason. Furthermore, that stuff is so weird, so you can do whatever you want, you really can go crazy with those songs.
And the Pet Shop Boys, we listen so much to 80’s, 90’s classics when drinking with friends. And this song works so well as a metal song. Therefore we thought that this has to be made into a Finntroll-cover.

And is this a one-time-opportunity only, or are we going to see you covering songs more often?
I have no idea! We have so many ideas.. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re going to do it again. We can do whatever we want with Finntroll anyway, so there’s no limit.

Finntroll is one of the bands who made Folk-metal to what it is today. Do you also feel like that?
Yes, sort of! But it’s also weird, because I don’t consider Finntroll to be a folk-metalband. I think Finntroll is a metalband with folk influences. For example, a band like Eluveitie is so folk, that’s probably the most folk-metalband ever.
Even though we sort of created the whole scene, it feels like we’re just a metalband with folk influences.

How do you feel about bands that are clearly influenced by Finntroll? Have you listened to them?
Some of them I have heard, though I’m not really into folk-metal. I prefer the old Norwegian stuff like Enslaved, Isengard, that kind of stuff. That’s my kind of folk-metal. Some bands have really good riffs, but it’s not really my thing.

So, we heard you’re working on a new album, how far are you?
Up until now we’ve finished 8 songs. We’re going to do 2 or 3 more, maybe even more, but we don’t know yet. These are all pre-productions. We’ve been rehearsing the songs at home. 80% of the album is finished.

What can we expect from this album? Is it in the same direction as Nifelvind?
Yeah, sort of, but not really. We’re going more towards the era of Midnattens widunder and that kind of stuff. The new album is, in my opinion, more riff-based. Nifelvind was more based upon melodies. The new album is more metal, more Rock & Roll and more groove.
However, we don’t have a title for the new album, we don’t even have a working title for the album. So far, it’s just called ‘The new album’, haha!
The new album will be released in spring, or at least before summer. This is because we want to be in time for the summer festivals, and maybe do a short tour beforehand.

What are your main sources of inspiration when writing the new album?
Everything, you know! For some reasons, Nifelvind has that 80’s vibes, with a lot of keyboard sounds and such. Right now, we are going back even more, to the 70’s, with 70’s popmusic and disco and such. It’s going to be something in-between Behemoth and Boney M I think, hahaha. No, I’m a bit joking, it’s not going to sound disco, but the melodies sounds like they’re from the 70’s.

Are you still working on new songs when on tour?
No, not when on tour. There is no time to do that. You’re stuck in a small van, so there’s no room to take your guitar out; it will take too much space.

During this tour, a new song is played from the upcoming album, what are the reactions on this new song thus far?
Usually when you play a new song, the reactions are like ‘what the fuck is this?’. Right now, the first one and a half minute are like that, but after that, everybody is going crazy. And it’s weird, because I’ve never seen such a reaction to playing new songs.

How do you decide which songs are going to be on the setlist and which don’t?
Usually the feeling before the show depends on which songs are going to be on the setlist. This means we don’t play the same songs every night. Usually, after a whole tour, the setlist stays more or less the same. However, sometimes things don’t work for this tour. After a week, the setlist is more or less finialized.
However, in this context, when we’re only doing 3 shows, it’s more like playing at the festivals. We go with the vibe of the crowd, see what other bands play and such. Then, an hour before the show, we write the setlist.

Do you also listen to the fans when deciding what you’re playing?
Yes! Sometimes, you have to play songs not just for yourselves, but if the people out there likes it, and they give the nice feedback, then of course you want to play that song. And also, in the setlist we’ve put some question marks at some places; if people start shouting a song they want to hear, we can play it at those spots. So we decide the final setlist on stage.

Do you have your own favorite song to play?
Right now I have to say the new song is my favorite. It’s so nice to have something fresh. Usually I like to play the more older stuff, songs like ‘Svartberg’, which is one of my favorite Finntroll-songs.

A couple of years ago, we heard some rumors that you might release a live-DVD, but up until today, we’ve never heard more of it. Is it still going to be released?
Well, the DVD.. Let’s say it’s going to be released. Last year we’d probably say that it isn’t going to be released, but now, we know for sure it’s going to be. We haven’t decided on a date yet, and the cover still isn’t finished, but it’s edited and mixed. Let’s say, and this is just a guess, it will be released within the next year.

You’re really active on social media. Do you see the upcoming of social media as a good thing? And if so, why?
Yeah, it’s a good channel. Especially nowadays. Albumsales are not enough anymore, you don’t really sell that much. So you need to get the word out there. Because everybody is just downloading the music, listen to it a couple of times, and then listen to new music. Everybody is so intolerant to music nowadays. An album lasts like 3 weeks, before the next album is downloaded and the other is forgotten.
It’s really good to be out there, to keep up the buzz. Actually, I wasn’t that active at first, but Century Media asked me if I could be more active. I tried, 3 years ago, updated it once in a while. Still, they asked me to be more active, and now I’m hooked, doing stupid updates all the time.
I use social media to keep in touch with the fans, but most of the time, I use if for promotion since I have so many other bands. Finntroll doesn’t need that much promotion, but my other bands do.

What are these other bands, and what is your role within these bands?
I’m the singer in all the bands, and in one band I play bass as well. It’s all different stuff, a couple of death metal bands, but the most are more black metal.
And it’s all quite serious. With my other band, ‘The Iniquity Descent’, we released the first full-length album this year. We released it this year, because this year is quite calm with Finntroll. And I don’t have to be involved all the time with these bands, so I can do some small touring through Finland in the weekends for example.

I’m not sure if you are aware of the fact that you, as a person, are really popular, especially amongst girls. Does you notice that kind of affection from girls?
I don’t notice it much anymore, I’m getting quite used to it. I like to be nice to all the fans, taking pictures with them, write some autographs or maybe a hug or something. But in the beginning, when I joined Finntroll, then I enjoyed it more.
When I joined Finntroll, it was pretty difficult, since the previous vocalist was such a strong character. Everybody was talking crap about me, since they didn’t think I was able to replace him. However, this isn’t a problem anymore and people seem to have forgotten that Finntroll had this big trollish guy as a frontman.

Ok, that were all the questions. Is there still something you want to say to the readers of, or your fans in general?
Well yes! Check the news about the album, and stay tuned for the live-DVD we shot in Amsterdam! It’s going to be released, that’s for sure. And drink beer!