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Interview: KORPIKLAANI
Title: In honor of Naulinkari

By preceding the 2006 studio album „Tales Along This Road“ this playful Finnish forest clan could shoot its merry exhilarating anthems better than ever in many ears.

Acclaimed performances at numerous international outdoor events as usual served as optimal platform for the hard-drinking blokes to presenting such overwhelming song art.

Whether, for example, in Wacken, at the Masters Of Rock or Metal Mania Festival, and so on, all over the nimble Finns found a frenetic fan audience, which let unleash his life pleasures just like the rousing Korpiklaani compositions.

Hardly recovered from it, the sextet has again made it to write new highly dynamic Folk Metal numbers. Result is the new and fourth longplayer „Tervaskanto“, which means translated „Old Man“.

Only with some difficulty I can stop once again the enthusiastic string scrubbing of good-mood-guitarist and reindeer rider Jonne Järvelä, to question him about the current Korpiklaani release.

What can you report about the chemistry between the involved ones? Line-up news?

„Everything is very fine here in the clan, thanks for asking. We've been the same line-up now more than 2 years. Our bassist Jarkko is newest guy in the band but he is already working as a main reporter of the band. Jarkko is a man who likes to talk a much so it is good job for him. Hittavainen, our fiddle player is been with me already almost 7 years now and Matson the drummer 6 years, so they are my longest range men in the clan. We were very lucky when I found Juho to this band... or actually he called me and asked is it possible if he could join us. [laughs] We were lucky because I was searching accordion player to the band but I couldn't imagine that we got very good composer to the band at the same package. Cane "the hat" is a hell of a good man to this band and he really knows how to party. We always have fun with Cane on the stage. This really is the line-up which with I want to work and what I the men we are the line-up we want to work together so all I hope is a long life for this line-up. Anyway you can never know about the future so all you can do is a wish that we can keep this together as far as we want to play and if it is up to me we still play when we are old and grey.”

Where did you played mostly in the younger past and which were the most successful concerts?

„I got my first good taste about the gig life 1993-1996 when we played acoustic folk music every day for tourists in the ski resort, Levi in HulluPoro restaurant (Grazy Reindeer restaurant) I was young and very eager to play so it was a like dream working place for me back then. There was many succesful nights when we played and German tourists was dancing on the tables. The life was more wild then what it is now because I'm family man and I can take only bites of the wild life when tours and gigs. But it is still there my wild part and I think it will be there rest of my life. I founded my first band 1988 when is was 14 years old in Vesilahti with my friends. It was a some kind of hard rock band called Zacrifice. Vesilahti is a very small village and there was only one other band back then. Jarkko played bass in that other band but we never played together when we were kids. B.t.w. it is a song "Vesilahden Veräjillä" (At The Gates Of Vesilahti) on our newest "Tervaskanto" album. Which isn't telling a story about our childhood but much more ancient times when first priests came to Finland trying to turn us pagan Finns to Christianity. It wasn't so easy job for the priests and one of un-lucky priest found his way to Vesilahti. It was his last place because one of the most known sword man Kirmu killed him to the little lake island. He nailed that priest to the biggest pine wood of the little lake island because the priest was telling stories of the cross and nailings. Kirmu has his own gods and he didn't want to hear the stories about Jesus and crosses. The little lake island got its name Naulinkari (Nailing island) from this saga and I saw this little island every day from a window of my childhood home.“

For the first time in their history, Korpiklaani will play a short tour in Japan in September 2007! The tour will last a week, and among the three gigs there will be promotional days when the band will be giving interviews to the local media. The three shows are: Sept. 12th Club Quattro in Tokyo/Sept. 13th Nagoya Club Quattro in Nagoya and Sept. 14th Shinsaibashi Club Quattro in Osaka. Seems, you´ve got very good feedback from there!?

„That's true. For some reason we are getting very good feedback from Japan all the time and more album after album. I heard also that our videos are getting a lots of air play time in there during few years already. Also fans in there are very active so maybe biggest thank should go to them about our trip to Japan. Our Japanese record company has a plan to arrange some kind of barbeque party with fans in there and I think it is a very good idea. We are waiting a lot our first gigs in Japan. It is like a different world to countryboys like us.“

What do you hope specially for this tour?

„Good concerts is the most important thing and of course we always hope that there is much people in the concerts who are satisfied and happy after our concerts. Also it would be good to get new friends from fans as we have so many other countries as well. We many times get a friends some of our fans because we are just a normal guys in the band. We don't have any rock stars in this band so it is easy to people to come and speak to us. Soon after that they are part of the clan and we see them many times a year around the gig places. Then I hope that we will get something good to eat and this because I think that sushi is not something good to eat if you want to know my opinion. Also I think I have to smuggle my own spoon and fork because I have no idea how to eat with those sticks.“

Which are your most interests in Japanese culture? Drinks, food, girls or philosophic topics?

„Drinks and girls of course but don't tell anybody.”

Please compare Japanese culture to the Finnish!

„There is Japan is people as we have trees here in Finland. Finland is bigger than Japan when thinking landbase but here in Finland is not so many people nor big cities at all. Japan is actually full of people and cities so these countries are like from the different world. We are almost all blondes here in Finland and there everyone has black hair. Otherhand I think that old ancient traditionals are pretty same everywhere. I don't know so much Japanese culture that I can go any deeper level with my comparisons.“

Got funny requests from female Japanese fans?

„Sure but maybe I should leave this subject for unmarried persons in our band.”

Have you been very busy lately with the work on the new album?

„Yes. We've been on gigs almost every week and my freetime goes pretty well with these interviews now when the new album is coming. I 'm only glad about this busy times now because this is exactly what I want to do with my life. Play the gigs, write the songs and record albums.”

Are you satisfied completely with the new release?

„I'm satisfied with our work when thinking artisticly and our music but salary would be better. We still have to be in day work and it is hard to try to fix your time. Would be so good if we all could get our living from the band because then we would give all our energy for Korpiklaani. I hope we can catch that level soon. This band work is getting more and more time from us so it is time by time pretty stressed feeling on the road when guys have to think how to get another days free from their working places. Also their bosses don't like this kind of workers who want free from the work all the time because of the gig trips. We are not after the money when doing this but it would be so cool if we could get as much as for example plumber man gets because this band is at least to me full day job.“

The new frontcover art is a bit cheesy to me … looks a bit to ,synthetic‘ for my taste. Your opinion?

„I like it a lot. Especially I like the fresh colours in the cover. Of course it might be little bit "synthetic" as photoshopped pictures always are. I hope that we will get a better budget for the covers in the future. Then we could use some real paint artist with our album covers. I thought to use Jan Yrlund in the future also with our covers but maybe use some good painting artist to make the cover finish.“

Which one has been the main creative focus for the new songs?

„Good melodies are always the focus number one. Also riffs but in this case we don't speak only hard guitar riffs but good rolling fiddle and accordion riffs as well which are always very important in our music. We don't play any guitar solos in these days at all because other bands are using guitar as a solo instruments. We let the fiddle, accordion or some pipe to play the solo things. If people wants to hear guitar solos, they can listen any other metal bands. Also one of our main focus is keeping the synthetisators out of this band. We are using real instruments which are played by real men. Synthetisators sounds plastic and the last thing I want is that Korpiklaani's sound would be plastic. I want that when people are listening our music, what comes from the loudspeakers is fir-tree needles and smelling of cows shit.“

Which are the main differences from the current album to the previous album?

„Better songs, better lyrics and better producing. We wanted to sharp our sound and songs and we are really thinking that we succeeced with all these things. "Tervaskanto" is better than any Korpiklaani album before that.“

Which topics inspired or motivated you for the new album? Writers? Visual artists? Movies?

„Only need to play. A guitar is always hanging in my shoulder at home so i play it almost all the time. That's how it comes a riffs and melodies so much. That's why we can record an album every year. I 've never got anything from other writers, others music, visual artist or movies. At least that I know it. Maybe some wibes, mood or something like that but not clear inspiration.“

When you first had conceived a song, or a riff for the new album, which has been your starting point - a boundary or a direction?

„If it is a riff which comes at first, I try to find a good melody to it and if it a melody I try to find riff and harmonies behind it. Sometimes the harmony is better melody than what should be a melody at first. That's why I always try its different combinations as well. Then record the new riffs and melodies if I think them intresting enough. I have some kind of riff band in my computer. Sometimes I work the whole song and finish it right after the first inspiration melody or riff and sometimes my song writing is putting those riffs and melodies together from my "riff bank".“

Please bring the main lyrical content of the new songs a bit closer!

„Wind, fire and the nature overall. Of course there is one drinking song again, `Let's Drink`, but mostly we are wondering the nature again. There is lots of to wonder in the nature.“

What inspires you most in nature?

„The nature is all. That is the most inspiriting fact. It can be very beautiful and kind but it can be very cruel and cold as well. During this year the nature is been very angry to us in everywhere this planet. Winds raped the trees through the whole Europe. If you checked the world news there is been almost every day some nature catastrophe somewhere in earth. In America, how many tornandos? Here in Finland we got our first snow sometime in late January when in normal we have the first snow in the ground at November. There is lot of things and inspirations left for the Korpiklaani-songs.“

Main plans for the nearer time?

„"Tervaskanto"-album will be out late June. Before and after that is a summer festival season and after that we are going to Japan. Soon after the Japan trip we will start a European tour at October. It will be about three weeks around. So see you soon at the festivals and at autumn on tour!“

© Markus Eck, 04.06.2007

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