The guys from the dark woods of Germany Finsterforst are back with a very surprising piece of work. About time for Folk-metal.nl to check them out. So we had a nice chat with Olli, which will hopefully clear a few things.
Hey guys, how are you doing?
“Hey, we are doing fine, thanks. We’re a bit late, but there’s a lot to do for us at the moment.”
Looks like a lot have changed since our last interview in 2012, 2 killer albums and ‘dramatic changes in the line-up’ and now this album #YOLO. What made you decide to make an fun album like #YOLO, after we are used to the epic sounds of the two previous releases?
“Well, I don’t think the line-up change was too dramatic. Hannes left, but he was very open about it for years. He always told us that this point would probably come and when he finally made his decision to leave and pursue other things he gave us more than enough time to make plans for the future. In the end we decided to go on without live accordion since we couldn’t find somebody who fits in like he did.
What made us do #YØLØ was one thing only: fun. We already talked about an EP like this when we were recording Rastlos, but we wanted to do another serious album so we wouldn’t get caught in the funny trap if an EP like this became a much bigger success than our normal albums. If you ever meet us you’ll realize that we are devoted musicians and we can talk about some of the more complex issues of the world and then turn the switch and become drunk idiots in a hurry. #YØLØ represents the other side of Finsterforst and we wanted to show it and have some fun.”
…we can talk about some of the more complex issues of the world and then turn the switch and become drunk idiots in a hurry.
How did you decide what songs would be upon #YOLO?
“It was always clear that we’d do songs of our own and some cover songs and mix it close to 50/50. Simon wrote the four new songs and then we tried to cut down the cover songs to another four, which wasn’t easy since we had this EP in the back of our minds for years and new cover ideas just piled up. ‘Die Kassierer’ was no discussion from the start as well as Michael Jackson was a fixture. K.I.Z. was a natural for me as I am from Berlin and can talk this way and we love and party a lot to their stuff. ‘The Wild Rover’ is just an awesome traditional song that fit the whole drinking concept and we’ve had a lot of fun with this song in backstage situations over the last years, singing the German version of it. Miley Cyrus kind of won the contest against some other modern pop songs we thought of because she’s hot. And we kind of like the song.”
Seems to me this is a very different workaround for an album, how did this feel for you?
“Yes and no. The attitude toward the EP was different, no question. We discussed a lot more because we had to get to the point of “Ok, this is what we’re gonna do and these are the cover songs” and we were very open to influences that wouldn’t fit on normal albums. But the actual process is always the same. Simon writes the songs, I add the lyrics, we record. Only with a lot more laughs this time. But in the end in terms of skills the music itself is just as challenging as always.”
Was it difficult to rework the songs to make them nice metaltracks?
“Simon is a great musician and has a degree in musicology, so it wasn’t that much of a problem to him to rearrange the songs and add some stuff to make them sound like Finsterforst songs. What can be challenging is timing because some of that stuff works totally different than what we normally do in terms of rhythm. With our own songs some of the vocal stuff was really difficult to pull off because we tried some things we never did before. But challenging yourself is fun, it’s part of why we do all of this.”
I can guess, but just to make sure, how did you get up with the albumtitle?
“When we started with the whole thing we were just talking about a drinking EP. But while I was writing lyrics I started to get bored writing solely about drinking and came up with this idea of a new god we found by watching the most disgusting infotainment formats on German TV. My idea was to make him a hipster who’s just there to bother the other gods and so I called him Yolo. Somebody, I think Wombo, added the ‘Ø’ and in the end we decided that #YØLØ was the most fitting title for the whole EP.”
a hipster who’s just there to bother the other gods and so I called him Yolo. Somebody, I think Wombo, added the ‘Ø’ and in the end we decided that #YØLØ
Are we’re going to hear songs from this album live? And if yes, how can you fit them in to your setlist, it seems they’re very different?
“Of course we’ll play some of it live. We’ve always played some of the faster ‘easy-listening’ stuff from Weltenkraft because you can capture a live audience much better with this, especially if they don’t know you. So our own songs from the EP can do exactly that for us from now on. I had my doubts how it would work, but we just played our release gig and the mix of different material worked really well with the crowd.”
Talking about playing live, how do you manage to play live with the recent change in the live line-up?
“The accordion comes from the backing tracks along with our orchestral stuff and we share the singing load as well as we can. We’re used to coming up with some technical solutions, so it’s actually no big deal. But Hannes is missed as a presence on stage at times, no question.”
How does it feel to have someone in the band who can’t play along live? What does this mean for Finsterforst as a band?
“Well, we’re actually happy he came to us and was open about it. I think with a lot of other bands it’s more like a guy doesn’t give it 100% anymore and the other guys become frustrated and it leads to a split with a lot of venom and bullshit being said about each other afterwards. We stay friends and there are no hard feelings, just good memories and funny stories. For the rest of the band, we just have to move on and give it our all to make up for this hole on stage. Then again, a lot of people never saw us with Hannes, so they won’t miss him.”
Well, enough about that, I’m wondering you’re leaving the listeners totally confused after this album, haha. What can we expect in the future? More of this pleasant non-sense or do we get more of the epic stuff?
“I think the next release is going to be a Finsterforst album that goes back to the old formula of massive soundscapes, long songs and big moments. But we’ve talked only so much about it to this point, so I won’t make any promises here. This EP was actually so much fun, we might do something like this again somewhere down the road, no matter how much hate we get at times. But for now I think we’re going back to serious stuff.”
Is there anything else you like to share with the readers of Folk-metal.nl?
“First of all we’d like to thank Folk-metal.nl! Everybody will always tell you they don’t care about the media blablabla, but we do recognize that you guys have always been very fair with us and promoted Finsterforst in a way others wouldn’t, so thank you!
To your readers I can only say this: check out our new EP, some love it, some hate it and both is OK. But don’t let anyone decide for you. If you want to meet us come to Eindhoven Metal Meeting on October 2nd, will be an amazing night! Thank you! :-)”