Heidenfest-interview Turisas

By: Dorien
Photography: Dorien

Turisas has divided their fans with the last album Stand up and Fight! Some fans like the new style, the other one longs for the days of Battle Metal. Folk-metal.nl spoke Turisas at Heidenfest. Though the interview was planned with Mattias, singer and frontman of Turisas, but with him being ill Jussi, the guitar player had to replace him. Unfortunately Jussi could, because he’s less involved with the creative process of an album, not answer most of our questions. Despite this, we still had an interesting conversation with Jussi.
For a lot of bands Heidenfest is the chance to reach a large audience. It’s cheaper for these bands than it is to be touring on their own. But I’m curious if the same goes for a well-known band like Turisas. Jussi says it’s fun to be on a tour like this, but they rather tour by themselves, or with a support. In that case fans come for you and it’s also less tiresome An tour of your own is often longer, but you don’t have to perform every day. It’s fun to do this with a lot of bands, but after the first show you don’t get to look at each others gigs.
Alright, you like 1 tour of your own better. Do you ever get inspired by other bands. According to Jussi, this is not the case. Everyone has his own style. Of course you pick up something every now and then but he doesn’t get really inspired by others. It has to be said that he’s not involved in the writing process of Turisas, that’s up to Mattias.
Talking about styles. Why has Turisas with their latest album ‘Stand up and Fight’ chosen to go in a very different direction? Is this Turisas following this line in the future? We, at Folk-metal.nl, believe Turisas sounds more mainstream, like they want to reach a larger audience. Jussi is a little surprised by this question, but doesn’t completely disagree with us. They’re following a different path indeed, but this is not to reach a larger audience. Jussi isn’t sure, we get to hear elements form Battle Metal on the next album. Who knows, we’ll have a very different style on the next album, but it isn’t very likely we’ll sound like on the older albums
Recently two members left the band due to personal reasons. Netta Skog, the accordionist and, the bass player. Quite soon after this, we did get the news the band had found two new members Jukka-Pekka Miettinnen (bass) and Robert Engstrand (keyboard). Where did you find two new members this quickly? ‘We knew for quite a while Netta and Hannes would leave, that’s why we started the search for replacement early. We already knew these people and that’s why it was quit ease to introduce them to the band. It works out on stage very well, and that’s of course very important
Now there’s no female band member anymore, does this means Turisas has lost a lot of male fans? Jussi has to laugh about this. ‘I hope the fans were coming for our music and not only for Netta.’
In Finland you still have to service in the military. I’m curious if war experience is of some influence to the band members and if it affects the writing of songs, that usually also have. ‘I’m Lucky I can say I’ve don’t do either of them. I’m not writing songs and I haven’t been in the military.’ Unfortunately Jussi can’t answer this question.
Turisas has lost an accordionist in Amsterdam. Aren’t you afraid of losing a bandmember to the temptations of the Netherlands? Jussi laughs again and isn’t really afraid of this. ‘The Dutch are a very fine audience and so we still keep coming back.’
The music on, especially, Stand up and Fight, sounds grand and bombastic. Wouldn’t it be awesome to play with a orchestra on stage? Like Metallica did with the San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra.
Nice idea and it turns out Turisas has done this a long time ago. They did a number of gigs in Helsinki with a string session. But to do this with a whole orchestra would be a big project and much to expensive. But it would be very nice to this sometime.
I thank Jussi for the, unfortunately somewhat short, interview, I wish them a lot of luck on the Heidenfest tour and hope they get back to the Netherlands soon with a tour of their own.