24 Oct 2009

Finntroll - "Samu Ruotsalainen"

Author: Smathers, posted on 07.05.2004
From Uranium Music
Original link

Uranium: You recently went on a European tour with Ensiferum. Were you friends with the band, did you know them before you went out on tour?

Samu: Yeah, we've actually toured with them in Finland a few years ago. They're old friends of ours, we have many of the same fans. It was excellent, a lot of partying and drinking.

Uranium: Was this the first full-scale European tour that you've been on?

Samu: Actually yeah, this was the first one that made it. We had to cancel like 5 or 6 before for various reasons. So this was actually the first one that happened, so it was fun.

Uranium: You guys play a lot of European festivals on a regular basis, how does the festival experience compare to touring?

Samu: Touring is obviously a lot more work and a lot harder than festivals because it's so easy to do a single, one-off show. We fly in to play the festival, have a party, and then fly back home. To be stuck in Europe for a whole three weeks and having basically a festival every night is very different. But I like them both. Touring is basically better because you get to see more places and play to more people, like playing in front of 15,000 drunk Germans. (laughs)

Uranium: Do you guys have any tour plans coming up, besides festivals?

Samu: We'll be doing another European tour in December for two and a half weeks. I'm not sure if it will be with other bands, we are still negotiating, but our agents have been talking to Obituary about it, which would be great. It should be fun.

Uranium: People here in the U.S. have known about you for a while and I'm sure there are a lot of fans here that would love to see you come over... any plans for a U.S. tour anytime?

Samu: Yeah, hopefully. (laughs) We're still waiting. It's just way too expensive to fly us in for a one-off from Finland, because there's like seven of us with the sound guys. But hopefully, one day we'll come across the Atlantic and play, hopefully.

Uranium: Yeah, I hope so man, you guys would be a big hit here. So, I've never actually seen a Finntroll show before, I'm dying to. What's a typical show like? Do people mosh, do they polka dance, or what do they do?

Samu: There are of course the classic rock fans just standing in the back, drinking and watching, then there is the mosh pit, and then pretty much the rest of the people are just dancing. But it's always a wild party. We actually prefer to play later, the later the better, because more people are drunk then, and they get more into it. (laughs) People usually go wild, it's just a big party, and I like it that way.

Uranium: Have you every played any shows or festivals where people just didn't know what was going on and didn't know how to react to your music? Or do people always get into it?

Samu: If we're playing some kind of weird festival that we shouldn't have played, like when we played at the Sweden Rock festival, where there were mostly 80's heavy metal bands like Whitesnake and Twisted Sister. It took two or three songs for people to figure it out and get into it, but once again it was just a big party. It was kind of odd, watching these old heavy metal guys with huge moustaches and Whitesnake shirts rocking out with us.

Uranium: That's awesome! For your live show, do you have any stage props or decorations or is it usually just the band playing?

Samu: It is the band playing, and we have our usual weird leather, fur, troll costumes you can see in the promo pics. But, nothing like fireworks or shit, just the band playing as many songs as possible. There are no breaks, no talking, just music; it is usually just a full hour of Finntroll music.

Uranium: Congratulations on "Nattfödd", it is an amazing album. I've been listening to you guys since I first heard "Jaktens Tid", but I think you guys outdid yourselves with this one. It's quite a different album than "Visor Om Slutet", which was a lot more folk-ish and epic. What prompted the return to the faster, heavier, more "metal" approach?

Samu: Actually, the "Visor Om Slutet" thing was not supposed to be an album at all. It was supposed to be a b-side release of music we had made that could never make it onto a metal album. It was never going to be a new direction of music; it was something we always wanted to do so we did it, but our main focus has always been to perform metal albums so for that matter, "Nattfödd" is more of a continuation of "Jaktens Tid". So basically, there are 3 Finntroll albums, and one weird thing. (laughs) That's pretty much it.

Uranium: How does the song writing process work for you guys? Do you usually start with a keyboard melody of guitar riff?

Samu: It depends on who's writing, because nowadays it's our bass player and keyboard player who mainly write the songs. Sometimes our guitar player will bring in a new, cool guitar riff, but usually it's a keyboard riff or melody and all that other stuff is tacked onto that. There are a few occaisions where the guitar is the main part of the song, like the first song on the "Jaktens Tid" album was written totally on the guitar. On the new album, it was mostly the keyboard.

Uranium: How big is humpaa in Finland? Is it one of the main types of folk music over there, are there many festivals and that kind of thing?

Samu: Actually there are some humpaa bands that go around and tour 365 days a year in Finland, playing at dance halls and so forth. There's actually only one folk festival here in Finland, they don't have Humpaa there but they have other types of folk. But yeah, it's very popular I think, nobody buys a humpaa album but many people go to the shows to dance and so forth. It's very traditional.

Uranium: Has Finntroll attracted any fans of humpaa that would otherwise never listen to metal?

Samu: I don't know, never met one! Hopefully, yeah, I don't know for sure. (laughs) For some reason a lot of punk rockers like Finntroll a lot; I don't know what it is. I guess there's some punk rock in Finntroll. Definitely a lot of different kinds of Finntroll fans around, though we've definitely pissed off a lot of "true" Norwegian black metal guys, who only listen to bands like Darkthrone and shit, they don't like us. (laughs) They're too "true" to listen to Finntroll.

Uranium: Over the past few years Finland's metal scene has really started to get big, Children Of Bodom are getting big oversees and you have bands like Kalmah and Omnium Gatherum that are starting to put out some really impressive releases. Can you tell that the scene is getting bigger over there, are there more fans coming out for shows and so forth?

Samu: More bands, definitely. More fans, I don't know. The fanbase in Finland is basically the same, but there are definitely more recording bands, which is a good thing. As long as they're original, though, because in the past few years every new Finnish band coming out is either a copy of Stratovarious or Children Of Bodom or whatever. But then there are good, original bands like Omnium Gatherum, so that's good. So yeah, some good, but most of them bad, that's what I think.

Uranium: So how about nu-metal, shit like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park? Is that big over in Finland?

Samu: I guess they're on the charts and all, but no, it's not that big. I don't know if there are any Finnish nu-metal bands, actually...

Uranium: Well, that's a good thing, those bands tend to spoil a lot of things for the metal scene.

Samu: (laughs) Yeah, I hate nu-metal. I actually bought a Korn album 5-6 years ago, and that's it for my nu-metal. And especially a big fuck-off to bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, ugh, bullshit. Burn them, kill them.

Uranium: Alright man, that's actually all the questions I had for you, thanks a lot for your time!

Samu: Good talking to you man, thanks a lot for the support. Hopefully we'll see you one day in the states.