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ENSIFERUM (SAMI HINKKA / MARKUS TOIVONEN)

ES IST DREI UHR NACHMITTAGS UND DER ERSTE WEG MEINER BEIDEN INTERVIEWPARTNER SAMI HINKKA (BASS) UND MARKUS TOIVONEN (GITARRE UND KLARER GESANG) GEHT AN DIE BAR, UM TPYISCH FINNISCH LONKERO (EIN MISCHGETRÄNK AUS GIN UND LIMONADE) ZU BESTELLEN. DIE HERREN HABEN BEREITS GEFÜHLTE 0,8 PROMILLE INTUS UND SIND DAHER ÄUSSERST GESPRÄCHIG, SCHWEIFEN ABER AUCH GERN AB UND ERZÄHLEN VON IHRER MAMA, DIE IM ENSIFERUM-PULLI DEM POSTBOTEN DIE TÜR ÖFFNET, WELCHER NATÜRLICH GROSSER FAN DER BAND IST (SAMI), ODER SCHWÄRMEN ÜBER IHRE ABSOLUTE UND EWIG VEREHRTE LIEBLINGSBAND IRON MAIDEN (MAKRUS). AUCH DER LOLLI VON SAMI MUSS VON MARKUS SEITE NATÜRLICH ALS UNREIF KOMMENTIERT WERDEN, WOBEI DIE BEIDEN SICH IN SACHEN RUMALBERN HEUTE NICHT SEHR VIEL GEBEN. IHR SEHT, DIESES INTERVIEW WAR EINE ECHTE HERAUSFORDERUNG: WHEN I FIRST HEARD YOUR SINGLE SOME TIME AGO I FELT LIKE DANCING AROUND A CAMPFIRE AND DRINKING MEAD. IS THAT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE AIMING FOR? Sami: Yes, pretty much. That is about a mysterious drinking session. It was supposed to be a drinking song. “ONE MORE MAGIC POTION” SOUNDS A LOT HAPPIER AND EVEN MORE FOLK- BASED THAN YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS. IS THAT A GENERAL DEVELOPMENT IN YOUR MUSIC? Markus: No! Sami: Maybe it’s more folk metal. This time we were lucky enough to get real folk instrument players to perform on the album. It would have been stupid not to use that. But we are not trying to play folk metal or heavy metal or whatever. It’s just Ensiferum. IT ALSO SOUNDS LIKE YOU WERE HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY IRISH FOLK MUSIC? Markus: I listen to a lot of Scandinavian and also Irish folk music and if it sounds Irish, that’s ok. The main chorus of “One More Magic Potion” is pretty old actually, it was written when we recorded “Iron”… I just listen to every kind of good folk music. THE SAME OLD GENRE DISCUSSION: IS IT VIKING OR FOLK METAL THAT YOU PLAY? Markus: It’s fantasy metal (grinst). Sami: Yeah, people are having a hard time with the new promo pictures because we had these swords which not real Viking swords. So everyone was like “Ah, you can’t be Vikings with such swords!” Markus: But if I had to choose from the two options, it’s definitely more folk metal (Sami nickt). THE RELEASE DATE FOR YOUR ALBUM WAS ORIGINALLY SET FOR FEBRUARY BUT WAS THEN POSTPONED FOR OVER TWO MONTHS. WHAT HAPPENED? Markus: We signed deals for Europe, the US and Japan and they wanted to release the album later to do more promotion. We couldn’t do anything about. Sami: It sucks because the promos had been sent out already in January and the album was leaked on the internet. You fucking cocksuckers who put it on the internet die in pain, you fucking motherfucker, cocksucker, butthole… THE DIE-HARD FANS BOUGHT THE ALBUM ANYWAY… Sami: Yeah, definitely but you know, when I was like 10 or 12, I worked my ass off to make some money and buy my first Iron Maiden vinyl. I had some feelings when I did that. I feel pity for the young kids nowadays because they don’t have the patience. They can’t wait and just download music. I waited 6 months to get my Iron Maiden. YOU’VE USED SOME THEMES FROM THE FINNISH NATIONAL EPIC “KALEVALA” FOR EXAMPLE IN “OLD MAN” BEFORE (Markus schnappt sich meinen Zettel, weil er die Frage nicht versteht). WHERE DO THE OTHER IDEAS FOR YOUR LYRICS COME FROM? Sami: I read a lot. Last week I bought this book about myths all around the world and it’s very fascinating. We’re not gonna do some Chtulu and Viking mix up but it’s very interesting nevertheless. Let’s take “Deathbringer From The Sky”: the angriest lines were written last year when I heard that our EP “Dragonheads” was leaked on the internet. But it turned out so mean and with such bad language that I rewrote a few days later when I watched the news. There were only bad news about one oil catastrophe, what people are doing to the planet. So I used that theme of nature being against you. I hope you motherfuckers die in pain (Markus laughs his head off). When Markus wrote “The Wanderer” – he’s doing an amazing job in the clean vocals by the way – I asked him about his feelings for the song so that I could link that with the lyrics. He wanted it in a kind of western style. I was reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower at that time and the character Roland inspired me for that song. I wrote of the song on our last tour, the Wacken Road Show, and I wrote about being away from home and such things. So, to come back to the question, the ideas are also coming from real life but also from myths and especially from Kalevala and Finnish nature. MARKUS, YOU WROTE MOST OF THE SONGS AGAIN. HOW MUCH INPUT DID YOU GRANT THE OTHERS THIS TIME? Markus: Well, Meiju wrote “Raised By the Sword” and Pete wrote “The New Dawn”. Sami: And I wrote the chorus in “Victory Song” and parts of “Deathbringer from the Sky”. But Markus is the main man. We have had a lot of ideas and then he decided whether it’s enough Ensiferum. THE THIRD ALBUM IS USUALLY SAID TO BE THE “MAKE IT OR BREAK IT” ALBUM… Sami: …I don’t believe in that shit. When we started writing new material we said already that the next album, the fourth, is going to be the best. We’re growing and we’re getting to know each other better and what we can are capable of doing. Markus: “Victory Songs” is actually the first album where we did everything together with the whole band. We did all arrangements together at the rehearsal room. DID YOU FEEL LIKE THERE WAS MORE PRESSURE? MAYBE ALSO BECAUSE IT WAS THE FIRST FULL LENGTH ALBUM WITH YOUR SINGER/ GUITARIST PETE? Markus: Well, it was really hard to do the album and we were relieved when it was all done and recorded. But there was no pressure about Pete. He’s a great musician and great singer. The main pressure came from myself because I knew I had to do better than with last the album. WHEN JARI LEFT IT WAS OBVIOUSLY HARD FOR THE FANS TO ACCEPT IT AND MANY STILL WANT HIM BACK . DO YOU THINK PETE HAS COMPLETELY FILLED THE SPOT NOW? Sami: Well, Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica and people were whining about that too. Haha! Jari isn’t coming back. We’re a great team now and everything is working fine. For every whiner there’s like a thousand people adoring Pete. Markus: I forgot the question. (Ich wiederhole die Frage). Oh, well… the same thing happened to Iron Maiden… (beginnt abzuschweifen) Sami: Anyway, it’s not about what the audience is thinking. We’re a band. Pete’s in the band. He’s a smooth and funny guy and he’s easy to work with. EASIER THAN WITH JARI? Markus: Yes, of course. Jari is a good friend of mine but he is not easy to work with. He’s a perfectionist and he has a very strong opinion. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR DVD. WHY WAS THERE NO BONUS MATERIAL? Sami: It was only about the gig, our 10th anniversary. We have tons of material for a DVD. FINLAND IS IN MY OPINION OF THE MOST DEDICATED METAL COUNTRY AND ONLY THERE DO WE FIND THE FINNISH METAL EXPO, A UNIQUE EVENT IN EUROPE. SO WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THE FINNISH SCENE SO CRAZY? Sami: I don’t know what to say. Well, I think we have a lot of good bands it like a circle. Good bands get more famous and then there are new bands. Markus: I have to say that Amorphis’ album “Tales from the Thousand Lakes” influenced and inspired many bands like for example Children of Bodom or Sentenced and maybe that’s why we have so many bands. THANX FOR THIS FUNNY INTERVIEW, I WAS PURE JOY!

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