18 Nov 2008

Having the best from both worlds, interview with Beast Dominator and Skrymer

Author: Raymond Westland, June 28th 2005
From Archaic Magazine
Original link

Two months ago I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Finntroll. They were headlining a small festival in Arnhem (The Netherlands) which featured Naglfar, Amoral and some local Dutch acts. Skinsman B. Dominator (B) and guitarist Skrymer (S) answered all my questions in the confined space of a hot tourbus. With a steady supply of beer and cigarettes we were ready to go. Subjects: Northern Folk stories, band imagery, label business, the Finnish mentality and lots more...

You guys have been touring for a while now, how are things going so far?

S: Great, the shows are good and we have got nice bands to tour with, namely Naglfar and Amoral.
B: There are no complaints.

Your latest album ?Nattfödd? has been out for quite some time now. What is the current view within the band towards the album?

S: We need to do a better one, haha. No sorry, as on all our albums there are good songs, but some songs we would rather change. We just want to make a new album. There are no particular songs on our last album that I want to change, but the album could have used some more darker and moodier parts. It is too happy occasionally.

The grim aspect of your music, do you think it is inherent to the Finnish nature and the fact that it is dark there for a large part of the year?

S: Yeah, but it is also a part of the Nordic Folk stories. There is not much happiness in there. It is all about fighting, bloodshed, darkness and drinking.

To which extent is the whole troll influenced imagery a gimmick and to which extent is it actually based on genuine love of Finnish Folk literature?

S: It is more of a Folk thing. Our bandname does not actually mean ?Finnish Troll?, it has a far more mythical meaning behind it. It is derived from a Swedish saga in which a crusading army comes to Finnland and they get decimated by this extremely smelly and hairy beast. It is a native Finnish thing.

What is so appealing about those themes that you actually use them as a source for inspiration?

S: That is very hard to explain if you are not from Scandinavia. It has to do with a certain feel. I cannot really explain it.

Something totally different then. My introduction to Finntroll was during Wacken 2001 and during that gig you had quite a show there, including all the costumes and a guy running around on stage to fire up the crowd. However, the last time I saw you guys it was just a metalband playing Finntroll songs. What has happened to your stage antics?

S: That guy did some traditional Finnish chanting (joiking) on the ?Jaktens Tid? album and we thought it would be fun to have him on our show doing his parts. He was never a member of the band. During that Wacken show we were not dressed as trolls, but as natives. Let?s say it was a pagan thing.

B: It is very hard to take those clothes along on tour you know. They are not comfortable and they get all sweaty and they start to smell like shit.

Don?t you feel like that took away some of the charm from Finntroll?

S: Not really, we could not play our instruments so well at that time, so we used the costumes as a cover up. Nowadays, we are a tight live band and we have noticed that the audience reacts to the music and not so much to the atmosphere. They want to see a band playing their guts out and see them headbanging. It is more like 'let the music do the talking', you know.

A Finntroll show is a really an intense happening and the band tries to interact with the audience as much as possible. Do you think it is that important to really make the crowd part of the show?

B: Man, it is great to see people go wild on our music.

S: The irony is that people go wild on happy music, yet the lyrics are about bloodshed and other gruesome subjects. That is paganish.

B: Most people do not have a clue that they are having fun to songs that are about killing priests and stuff. Is that not cool?

A few years ago the whole folkmetal thing was pretty much underground and Finntroll paved the way for bands like Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani to make quite a name for themselves in their own right. What is your view on this?

B: We see Moonsorrow as Finntroll?s little brother.

S: Trollhorn (keys in Finntroll) plays keyboards in Moonsorrow as well.

Both bands are doing well at moment. Is it not difficult to combine both bands?

B: Not at the moment. Henry (also in Finntroll) does not want to tour with Moonsorrow. We used a replacement keyboard player from another Finnish band which is signed to Spinefarm.

S: Spinecrap you mean. Most Finnish bands end up on Spinecrap.

It seems like most Finnish bands end up on Spinefarm. What do you think of that?

B: Spinefarm is for most bands a stepping stone to get to larger labels like Century Media or Nuclear Blast.

Finnish bands seem to do well at the moment with Children Of Bodom and Nightwish leading the charge. Do you have an explanation fpr that?

B: I do not know, most bands are very good I suppose. The level of playing is very high.

S: There is not much to do in Finland and people are pissed off most of the times. Perfect breeding ground for metal bands, haha.

Many bands from Finland have this melancholic undertone in their music...

B: That is the Finish national mentality man!

S: Most of the time it is grey in Finland. We have a short summer, but most of the time it is grey. It does something with people I guess and you can hear that back in the music. That mentality is something we have in common with the Swedish and Norwegians. That is why we all get along so well, haha.

Like I said before, Finntroll is doing well in other countries. Do you guys get any recognition in your own home country?

S: We are a small band overthere. Last year we played only three shows in our own country. They only start to write about you when you are in the top ten when it comes to sales in countries like Germany and France.

B: That is another example of the Finnish mentality. You have to do well in Central Europe and the States before you get any recognition.

That brings me to Within Tempation. They used to be a doommetal band, yet they changed their style and suddenly they are booming as never before. If Finntroll would be in the same position what would you do?

B: I know, they used to be quite good, but nowadays they suck. They lost all their originality along the way.

S: If we had a manager who would propose the same thing like Within Temptation did, he probably would get a big fuckin? punch in the face. Nobody tells us what we should do. We do everything ourselves, the designs, covers, artwork, merchandise.

B: We control the strings, man. That is why we are on Spikefarm, instead of Spinefarm, so the record company owner cannot get his greedy hands on us.

S: We are pretty happy to be on Spikefarm.

B: We get the Spinefarm budgets, but we can choose our own studio, our own recording material and we can choose which direction we want to go in. We have the best of both worlds.