Korpiklaani Interview

Korpiklaani

Nuclear Blast Records

Finnish folksters Korpiklaani are finally releasing their debut live album/DVD Live At Masters Of Rock, which also includes a bonus concert recorded in 2014. Accordionist Sami Perttula fills us in on the release, upcoming tour plans, the status of their next studio album and more.

Chad Bowar: Why was this finally the right time for your first standalone live release?
Sami Perttula: To release a live DVD has been on our minds for a long time and we have had many different kind of plans to do it earlier, but now the time was simply right for that. We managed to capture good video material and sound without any technical problems. We haven’t been touring much this year because we wanted to take time for the DVD, to record a new album and to simply rest a bit. So this year was perfect to focus on things we cannot do while we are on tour. Everything just fell into place.

Why did you decide to do it at Masters Of Rock?
It’s a big festival, a big stage and we have played there many times before. We wanted to do this show with two violinists and two accordionists to get a really folky mood, so a small stage could have been problem for us. When I saw the first edits from the DVD I was impressed that the band really looks big in front of huge audience and under well done light design. The place and time was just 100 percent right to shoot the DVD there.

How did you approach putting together the setlist for that show?
We are privileged as a band to have a wide variety of different kind of songs. You can find merry songs as well as sad songs played in many different styles. I would say we don’t have that big pressure to stay faithful to just one metal music genre that some other bands may have. We are kind of a hybrid model when it comes to that. Our latest album Noita is well represented in the setlist but we always try to add songs from every album. It’s important to create a good set to keep the audience interested and entertained through the whole concert. So there must be an energetic beginning, time for calming down and then building the atmosphere up again by rising the energy little by little. The better songs you have the better you can do that.

How did you decide on the 2014 concert as the one to include as a bonus?
We got good material from that concert and actually our original plan was to release a DVD from that show three years ago. In the end we couldn’t ever fit producing a DVD into our schedules because we were so busy with touring and recording Noita to be released in 2015. So time passed and we saw that the band has developed a lot from those days so it wouldn’t been good idea to release a DVD with such old material. So that material ended up being as a bonus for the main concert. I think it’s really good and refreshing bonus; the material is good and also set list is really different compared to the main show so I am sure in that way we can offer more for our fans. It’s also nice to see how much the band has developed during three years by comparing those two shows. Everyone in the band still looked so fresh in the 2014 show. (laughs)

When it came to the post-production, how much “fixing” was done?
I think one of our strengths as a band how we are on stage. We can really give energetic shows with a rock ‘n’ roll mood and set the crowd in flames. We wanted that spirit to be seen on the DVD so we used just the raw sound that Jonne our singer mixed in his home studio. He did really huge work by doing that. The DVD is mastered by Svante Forsbäck, who has worked with Rammstein also. I think we did that all well and when watching the DVD you can really feel yourself there in the middle of the audience sharing and feeling synergy with the band and the audience.

What led you to mix the album yourself?
Because in that way we managed to make it sound exactly like we wanted and to make it sound like we are on stage. No compromises.

Tell us about the Made In Russia documentary that was recently filmed.
It’s a documentary organized by Kimmo Kuusniemi, the director of Promised Land of Heavy Metal documentary. The material for the documentary is recorded from the tour we did in Russia at the end of 2016. We really did tour through all the Russia by trains and planes. It’s a mixture of traditional band documentary and travelling documentary and it researches the band as a phenomenon. Russia is an exotic and large country so there was lot to see, so I would describe that tour as a real adventure.

What were some of the highlights of your summer festival season?
Overall, summer festivals have their own kind of mood compared to basic club gigs we do when touring during winter time. I think the best part of summer gigs is to see happy people sharing a good time without worries with their friends under the sunshine. On stage we can feel we are receiving part of that energy and great mood like we would be part of their happy experiences that they can remember with warmness when winter is on.

You have some European dates set for early next year. Can we expect a North American tour as well?
I hope so! We really like touring in the States! But it’s not always up to us.

After touring here quite a bit, how much progress do you think you’ve made in “conquering” America?
Hard to say. My point of view is that you cannot reach huge success as a folk metal band just by releasing an album or two. The growth for this kind of metal band is not explosive. People’s awareness about our band has been slowly increasing over time. It haven’t happened fast, but after years full of hard work. I think we have good requirements for everything when the time is right and people start to be more interested in folk metal. As a band I would describe us one of the most folk metal bands with traditional instruments, no synthetic sound, the lyrics are about ancient Finnish mythology and you can really hear “real” folk music tradition in our tunes.

What’s the status of the next studio album?
We are working on it by recording, sending demos to each other and figuring out the basic things about sound and what do we want from the next album. The next album is planned to be released next year. I am satisfied about our latest album Noita, but the next one is going to be even better because the lineup is now stable and every one of us have certain kind of roles in production when it comes to arrangements, recording and everything. In a week we’re going to have the first workshop for the folk instruments’ arrangements.

Has there been a positive reaction from your hometown to the “FC Lahti” song you released last year?
Reaction has been good that the song has become the club anthem and is played during the matches and when the team scores. Jonne sometimes interviews the players during the game for the crowd.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Overall it’s nice that we have so many different people with different musical passions in our band. We have a couple of LP collectors in our band whose knowledge about rock and metal music through the decades is something brilliant. We listen to many kinds of music. I believe the older members of the band are more into metal music from ’80s. and also this band’s roots are somewhere there I think. Naturally we are tuned up and listen what is happening in metal genre nowadays but of course the “first loves” only seldom fade away.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
First of all check out the new DVD and we hope you enjoy that! Secondly I see this year as a recharging year for the band. We took time to refresh our visions and ideas about the band to be ready to create something new and take a step to a higher level in every way. We are motivated and hungry so stay tuned and be ready for more sharp, more energetic and even more dangerous Korpiklaani.

(interview published August 25, 2017)

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