6 Dec 2008

Humppa by Night, interview with Wilska

Author: Geert Van Mook, April 18th 2004.
From Archaic Magazine
Original link

Last Friday (16 april) two hours before the third show of their second European tour I did an interview with Wilska, the new vocalist of Finntroll. In a quite small backstage room with the sound of Trollhorn (keyboards) and Routa (Guitars) playing the computer-game Worm Armageddon on the background in the same room. I talked with a very relaxed and friendly Wilska about different subjects like: the new album ?Nattfödd?, the greatest recording session ever, touring, Windir and a lot more. First of all I congratulated Wilska with the new album and I told him it?s in my opinion the best in the Finntroll history so far?

Thank you, from the first moment I heard the first demos I was very exiting because of the good songs. And now we are finally getting the album out and getting back on the road, it?s a really good feeling I have right now.


Through the years Finntroll build out an unique style by mixing traditional ?Humppa? and metal. ?Humppa? is a Finnish variant of Polka. What?s the main difference between the traditional ?Humppa? and Polka?

The rhythm of both styles is the same. I guess polka was mostly played in Germanic countries and the States, the main difference is the instrumentation. Traditional Polka bands use mostly other instruments as Humppa bands do. Yet the style difference isn?t that big, humppa is just the Finnish variant of Polka.

In the beginning the total sound of Finntroll was a little bit rawer with a bigger role for the black metal element. Nowadays most black metal influences are gone, yet still the Finntroll sound is quite raw and the production of Nattfödd isn?t polished at all. Which is great in my opinion, because I hate those too clean produced metal albums. Did you guys consciously choose making the total sound of the album not too clean?

Yes of course, that is mostly thanks to him (Wilska points his finger to Trollhorn, who is sitting behind a laptop on the left of us and plays the game Worms Armageddon against Routa.). First thing when we started thinking making this album was that the sound of it must not be too clean and not as ?Power-Metallish? as Jaktens Tid was. It came quite natural to make a rougher album, we had 3 weeks to record the ?Nattfödd? album. We wanted to bring in all progress we made in the last few years and make this album a bit rawer, with a fuller sound. Nowadays it?s quite easy to make a very clean sounding précised album, because of the improved studio technology. In Pro-tools for example you can edit everything, yet we just didn?t want that, so there are no triggered and/or edited drums on Nattfödd for example. We wanted this album as a band-album, not an engineer-album or something like that. Now we?re more closer as a band than ever before and we wanted to make that clear on the album.
I do like good produced albums yet I don?t like those nowadays metal albums with auto-tuned vocals and a too clean overall sound. The mastering of that kind of albums is always the same, everything nowadays sounds too much the same. We just didn?t want that.

You told me that you?d got 3 weeks of studio time. Where all songs already written before you guys went into the studio?

Yeah, they where. Trollhorn did a lot of pre-productional work before we entered the studio. And everybody in the band has got a own home-studio where we made demo versions of all songs before we entered the studio.

When I listen carefully to the album, I have the feeling most additional instruments I hear aren?t played on the real instruments yet on the keyboards, is this correct?

Yes, most of them are played in on keyboards. We did it this way because of the studio-time and recording with guest-musicians on additional instruments takes a lot of time and money. We are still a small band and we can?t effort the London Symphony Orchestra or something like that, hehehe? We are lucky we?ve got a musical genius in the band in the person of Trollhorn who can play almost every instrument on his magical keyboard, hehehe?.

Can we expect in the future something like Finntroll working together with an orchestra?

Maybe someday, or with a drunken Polka band from Poland, hehe?

After some research I found out that ?Nattfödd? means something like ?Born by Night?; do you want to say something with this title?

The title means Night-born. Actually the idea comes from the Troll-lord that healed people who go by night. There isn?t really a message behind the title.

In times Katla was the singer of Finntroll he sang his lyrics in the Swedish language, Are you also singing the lyrics in that language?

Yes, because the Swedish lyrics has always been an important part of Finntroll?s sound. There where some rumours we wouldn?t continue that way, but that rumours are like you can hear on the album totally false. There where some hints from several voices close to our record company that if you would like to change the lyrics from Swedish into, lets say English, this would be the perfect time to do it. We just told them to Fuck Off. The language has always been a big basis of this band and I just wanted to continue it that way. The way the Swedish language fixes in our music and the way it is pronounced is such a divining part of our sound.

Is Swedish also your original language?

No, it isn?t. Finland is a 2 languages country with a minority of Swedish speaking people, but almost all the Swedish speaking people in Finland can also speak perfect Finnish. I originally come from another part of the country than the other members, I come from the east of Finland, near the Russian border. All the other guys come from the Helsinki area. I studied the Swedish language on university so I can speak it quite naturally right now.

You?re just telling you are coming from another part of Finland, how did you get involved in Finntroll?

I already knew the guys of Finntroll before I started singing in it. I?d knew Dominator, Trollhorn and Somnium since mid-90?s. They where playing with Barathrum, I was the Light-guy at live gigs of Barathrum, so I know them for a long time. I?ve helped them already with some clean vocals on the first album, and when that album came out I did live-sound for Finntroll and also the Lights at gigs. So it was quite easy for me to take the step from behind the desk to the stage.

The first song on the album ?Vindfärd / Människopesten? starts very aggressive and Grim, is there a special reason for that?

We wanted to have a rougher sound on ?Nattfödd? and for me this song is the perfect beginning of the album. We wanted to have that very old school intro which flows over into this raw, black metallish beginning. It?s also a sign to those people who liked the ?power-metal?-sound of Jaktens Tid, it?s a kind of fuck you to them, eat this motherfuckers, hehehe? We wanted the album to start like: BANG, we?re back!

Are you guys control-freaks? I mean, the album is produced by Trollhorn. And Skrymer designed the beautiful cover-artwork.

Yes, in a way you can say that, we want to hold most in our own hands, that?s also one of the reasons we didn?t want any outside guests on this album, we wanted to do all by the band. Skrymer?s artwork has always been the big visual side of our music. It feels like the album is like our baby, and we want everything on it the way we want it. We don?t want someone mess into it and take control of our baby.


Despite of the hard times Finntroll came through The music is in general very optimistic and cheerful. Yet I can imagine that you would make a very depressing album, because of all the band has gone through in the recent history.

On this album there are some parts that are deeper, but I think that?s just the music that comes out naturally. We?ve gone through rough times but they only made us stronger. The music of Finntroll should be the way it is now. Live shows are, at least for me, very special and it may be ?Verboten? in some metal-circles to dance on songs at a live gigs but that?s just the way we want our music to be. If I want to make depressive music I can start an own project, I do have a home-studio, so that isn?t the problem. But Finntroll is a mixture of partying and aggression, and not for making depressive music.

I don?t want to talk about the dead and loss of Somnium, I think the media talked enough about that, and it must be frustrating for you guys to answer again and again questions about his dead?

Yes, I mean, what Happen happened and we don?t want to talk about that anymore. I refuse to answer question about that during interviews now. A friend of us died, that?s it, I mean, just let us deal with it in our own way. There?s talked enough about it, and it is maybe not a nice thing to say but this case doesn?t concern most people.

Since almost 2 years now, Katla doesn?t sing in Finntroll anymore, how is he doing at the moment?

He moved up North in Finland for studying Art-school. I haven?t talked with him for quite a time, we lost contact a bit a few months back when he moved up there, but the last time when we saw him his speaking voice was pretty bad, he?s now on an almost two year program for trying to fix his vocal voice. Last time when we had a show in Helsinki at a festival, Katla came up stage for like 2 songs and it was great, it was totally great. One song he sang alone, the other I sang together with him, for that one song I get off stage and run to the front of the stage and I started banging it was amazing, because I started out as a big fan of Finntroll. I don?t think that in the next few years his voice is in that shape that he can come back as the singer of Finntroll. He?s doing OK, but at the moment we?re not that much in contact because he lives so far away now.

There are some differences between your vocals and style of singing and Katla?s style. Yet there are also lots of similarities between both voices I think. Do you agree with this?

Yes, we come from a very different musical background and do have different voices but from the beginning when the guys asked me to join the band I told them that when I would join the band I will do the singing my way. Yet I heard more often people saying that our voices have similarities.

Visor om Slutet

The Visor om Slutet Mini album was a quite special one, all songs where acoustic played yet without loosing the typically Finntroll sound. I think this mini album must have been big fun to make?

On that MCD Katla and I shared the vocal parts. We wrote the lyrics together and both sang half of them on the MCD. That was probably the most fun, and great recording session I?ve ever been involved in. We made that MCD in a completely different way. We didn?t went to a studio, in stead of that we went to a cabin outside of Helsinki in the middle of winter. Just barricaded us there for a week there. It was actually a cabin full of studio-equipment and liqueur. We just slept every day until afternoon, woke-up, and started making music, someone had an idea we tried it out and somebody was recording for example the percussion another guy was warming-up the sauna and a third was cooking something. And at the end of the evening everybody went to the sauna and had some drinks, than we came back and continued the recordings. It was very relaxing, and we had the most fun I ever had. And I think you can hear it back on the MCD, hehe?

Was ?Visor om Slutet? an once-only project, or can we expect in the future again an acoustic release from Finntroll?

Nobody knows? We don?t live in the future, I absolutely refuse to talk about anything in the future of this band. The future of this band is now that we get hold the line and come back alive from this tour and maybe when we?re healthy enough after the tour we can do some festival shows in the summer, that?s as long in the future as I want to talk about.


Although this is only the third show of the tour, how is the tour going so far?

From the beginning on 7 in the morning on Monday 12th of April on Helsinki Airport till now it?s been complete party and we brought 2 bands (the Wake and Ensiferum) along with us on this tour, it are their first Foreign shows ever. And we are making our best effort making this tour as un-pleasure and hellish to them as humanly possible. We?re now having a sort of game with some people on how long does it take before they start to crack-up, hehehe? It are every night total drunken never-ending parties and that?s the way I like it.

?Nattfödd? isn?t released yet, but I can imagine (and hope) you will play some songs of that album tonight, are you?

Even although it is not released over here, it came out in Finland about a week ago and this is the record release tour and so like 40/45% of the setlist now is from the new album. As we did wait for the album to get out, we just fucking dying for get out and playing the songs live. On stage we just do what we want to do, and now that?s playing the new songs, in combination with a good variation of older songs. We even play one totally made-over song of the Visor om Slutet MCD, which is actually the last song Somnium wrote for Finntroll, that version is also on the new ?Trollhammaren? MCD also.

Valfar Tribute Show

In September Finntroll is playing at the Last Windir gig ever. What?s the reason you are playing on that Valfar-tribute show?

The Windir-guys asked us. We, and especially Trollhron, have always had tremendous respect for Windir. And what happened to them (the dead of Valfar) is sort of like what happened to us. The Windir-guys asked us, and we love to do it and help them. It was also a big honour they asked us for doing that show.

Oke, that was my last question, thanks for your time.

Thank you, and enjoy the show tonight!!!