When the Paganfest tour came to Tilburg, we took the opportunity to talk to Jukka from Wintersun about what Wintersun had been up to the last months, their 70.000 tons of metal show and of course about Time 2, the album we are all so eagerly waiting for.
Wintersun back at Paganfest
Hello Jukka, welcome to Tilburg, how has the Paganfest tour been so far?
“It has been absolutely great, it’s nice to play shows again after a while. 2 years ago we played here as well. We only did the extended shows back then. It’s nice to do the full tour now.”
I see you have a new drummer with you this tour?
“Yes, his name is Timo. Kai has joined Nightwish now and will be with them until at least late 2016, so this year’s concerts we’re going to do with Timo. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future. Kai is definitely not leaving the band, maybe he will be able to do some shows with us.
How was the first show playing together with Timo?
“I was so goddamned stressed, because I knew that Timo was stressed because It was his first show. So I was stressed for him.”
Did it all go well at the end?
“Well, yes except that we played for 2 minutes and then had to stop the song because of technical difficulties. I was like oh no! Not already! But after that it went great. Timo has done a really good job, since the Wintersun songs are not the easiest to learn especially the drums.
The crowd was great and responded very good on Timo, also on social media.”
This year fans could buy VIP tickets for the shows on Paganfest. How did you came up with this idea of the VIP tickets?
“We wanted to have the fans an even better experience of a live show, so also that they could see how things work behind the curtains. It has absolutely nothing to do with what some people commented on the internet, that we want to get more money.
The fans with a VIP ticket are able to listen to new stuff, see our soundcheck, get discount on our merch and just spend time together more than when you meet like after a show and only say hello and get an autograph. Every show there have been like 10 people with VIP tickets.
Personally I really like it, because I am able to talk more deeply with my fans and ask about their thoughts about our music.”
Like you already said, there were some really negative comments about these VIP tickets and also about other matters. How do you deal with these negative reactions/criticism?
“We did put some statements on Facebook, and the style of these statements could sound a little bit like ‘whining’. But on the other hand, the information is truly what’s going on. We want to be honest to the fans and tell them what’s the case at the moment. Of course, there will always be people who like what we are saying and people that don’t. That’s normal in life.
I think we have to be careful though, that there is not going to be too much ‘whining’ going on and I don’t want to be a band that spams Facebook everyday with statements and messages.
And about the crowdfunding, this also raises a lot of conversation. The only thing is, is that we are just being transparent here. The money will only go to the studio and nothing else. We want to build or own headquarters where everybody, especially Jari, will have their own place and we will be able to release albums more often, than every 8 years.
The crowdfunding is not just going to be basic, there are going to be a lot of surprises and It will be very extensive. Hopefully we are going to start with this around Autumn of this year.”
The Vision of Jari
So now we’re coming to this big question, how about Time 2? When will the album be ready?
“Jari already posted that he wanted to finish Time 2 in our own headquarters, but getting the money together and building something like this will take a few years maybe. But we do have a plan for that. It’s a bit too early to tell what will be in the crowdfunding, you will know! I can’t spoil the fun. About the album, it will come out sooner than later! In that case, later means less than 8 years.” (laughs)
But the songs are ready right?
“Yes, everything is quite ready but it’s about all the mixing. Jari wants to mix the album himself. This is his vision. Technically an outsider could help, but the vision wouldn’t be the same as Jari. Even if they would sit next to each other, it still might not come out exactly as Jari has in mind. I think he needs his own time for this. He has to be completely satisfied with what he delivers. I understand this, because it wouldn’t make any sense to deliver an album you are not really satisfied with.”
But how do other bands do this?
“Some bands, also my former band, go to the studio even when some songs aren’t even finished yet and they rehearse or compose the songs there. But it’s quite expensive to go to a studio and rehearse the songs there. If Wintersun records a song, it should be practised and played perfectly and then recorded.
But of course there is no right or wrong way to do it. Everybody must do it the way they think is best.”
Can you tell me about the process of making new songs?
“Jari is the main composer. Wintersun started as his ‘baby’, he composes all of the lyrics and music. Jari doesn’t really have only one way to start with a song. Sometimes he gets a vision, a concept or he plays a nice riff. It just happens and has to do with emotions he has at that moment.”
You’ve played on 70.000 tons of metal. What was it like to be on a cruise ship full of metalheads?
“That was a very interesting experience! We flew to Miami, where the boat left and sailed around Cuba and stopped for one day at the North point of Jamaica. It was such a funny look of a luxury cruise ship with around 3000 metalheads on board. When we stopped at the harbour in Jamaica you could see the whole beach going black of all the people. Teemu and me took the opportunity to dive with dolphins there. We went all the way down to the bottom with diving helmets and oxygen pipes, we were enjoying ourselves but suddenly I noticed my oxygen pipe was gone! I didn’t know what the hell to do, but luckily one of the divers noticed me. The funny thing about this, is that Teemu had a Go-pro cam and filmed this whole accident. Maybe this could be good bonus material for a DVD or something (laughs)
The whole experience was great. When it comes to metal audience, the music is so aggressive but the people are very calm and friendly!”
Teemu is giving guitar lessons during the Pagan fest tour, how is that going so far?
“Yes this is going very well so far. The nice thing about this teaching is that you’re not only teaching someone something, but you also learn yourself. Also, it’s a nice way to spend your time before the show. Most of the time we have quite some time left before the show starts. So I’ve been thinking about doing this as well, but I’ve never taught anything to others before.”
Are you able to see more of the cities you play in before the show starts? Did you get to see Tilburg for example?
“Yes I always try to go and see the city and its culture. We’ve been in Tilburg before. But mostly I only get to see the parts that are in a walking distance from the venue where we play.”
What do you like most about playing in Wintersun?
“The great music. There are so many different elements in the music of Wintersun. Even in the most aggressive songs, is a lot of atmosphere. The music is so epic, I really love that. Also being able to perform live and see the people enjoy it. It makes me happy to see people smile. I love being in Wintersun, it is the band that I dreamed about being in when I was younger and saw other bands perform.”
To end the interview Jukka ensures me again that Time 2 will not take 8 years to be released. He also wants to share once again that Wintersun is a band with an unique vision/concept. For them it is very important to deliver albums that they are 100% happy with, instead of an album every one or two years with some good songs and the rest not so good just to fill the album with. They want to be proud of what they deliver and take this very seriously. I agree with Jukka and understand what he is saying. After all, for me, Wintersun is not a band like any other. I respect Jari for the masterpieces of music he made all by himself, and after this interview I understand the way he works better. I hope the fans will do the same!