14 Jan 2011

Tundra Interview from

Published in, from October 30th 2007
Interviewer: DeathRy

Translated into ‘From The Depths Of The Earth,’ Ur Jordens Djup is a very befitting title for the fifth album from the Finnish sextet known as Fintroll. With new vocalist Vreth leading the way, metal’s favorite trolls have risen from their cavernous lair to unleash their unique brand of blackened folk/polka metal on the anxious ears of the masses. A decidedly darker and heavier affair than previous efforts, Ur Jordens Djup mixes an aggressive guitar attack with traditional melodies and hell-borne hummpa for a sound that is likely to incite mass alcohol consumption. As the band gears up for a lengthy tour that will see them land stateside later in the year, bassist Tundra takes time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions.   – Ryan Ogle

Before I heard Finntroll, if someone had told me that a band was combining folk and polka with metal, I would have asked what they were smoking. How did you create this sound and how do you manage to keep it fresh from album to album?

Tundra: We never tried to do or be anything specific. Especially in the beginning all the ideas behind songs were extremely spontaneous and main thing was to have good time. Still today when composing, if something feels forced or doesn’t feel right, it’s better to ditch the whole thing and try again tomorrow

The band went through a line up change last year. Can you tell me why your former singer, Tapio Wilska was removed from the band?

We’ve decided within the band not to talk about that matter in public. Sorry…

Where did you find newcomer Vreth?
He was found from the small town few hundred kilometers away from Helsinki by our first vocalist Katla. They were both studying that time while Vreth’s other band sometimes played a gig in a local bar. I would occasionally call Katla and few times expressed bands dissatisfaction with Wilska. When it was decided that his time in the band would be over, Katla introduced Vreth to us.

What does he bring into the band that Wilska didn’t?

Our new front man is honest about what he does and is extremely motivated to carry our band to where we want it to be. He’s equipped with great voice and musical skills.

Was it important to find someone whose native language was Swedish?

After all that fresh hate we got from the Swedish speaking people from raping their language on last record, it actually felt quite nice to have once again someone who understands what the lyrics are about. Of course itshows in stage presence too when the singer actually knows what he’s talking about.    

Let’s talk about the new album. Give me your personal thoughts on Ur Jordens Djup. What was your initial reaction the first time you heard the finished product?

As I worked as a second producer in the studio, I was quite surprised how chaotic and intimidating the whole package came up at first. We knew we had done great job with each song but still it felt a bit unbalanced and that there’s a bit too much things going on all the time. After we managed to set all the tracks in right order everything just suddenly clicked and we realized it’s by far the best record we had done. 

Since I’m too lazy to learn a Swedish, can you give me a general idea of what you wrote the album about? Is there any sort of running theme that connects the songs?

To be honest, I’m not that learned in Swedish either…haha. From what I’ve gathered they’re about certain spiritual initiation, journey and rite of passage. You have to ask more from Katla who wrote that stuff.

What did producer Nino Laurenne bring to the album in regards to not only the sound, but the direction of the music as well?

His job in the studio was to make the guitars and drums sound as they do on the record and about half of the mixing. All the songs have always been completely composed and produced, now even recorded by the band. There will never been enough space in the studio for a kind of ‘instructor from the outside.’

One of my favorite tracks on the Ur Jordens Djup is the 13-minute Kvalling. In the right environment, the wind sound effects are chilling. What inspired this song?

The intro track, “Gryning”, translates into ‘dawn’. “Kvällning”, means ‘nightfall’. I think the title just fits quite well to the mood of the song.

The reaction to the album has been overwhelming, even finding its way to a few European Top 100 charts. Did you expect such a positive response?

We actually did a bit better last time and naturally expected more after releasing this one. Of course it always still cheers up to see your crap being appreciated. 

What happened with the ill-fated Earthshaker Tour? Were you upset about the cancellation?

The whole story’s way too long to tell. Main thing is that Metallysee fucked everyone over so bad it’s unbelievable. They never paid the money we were supposed to get from the shows and never even cared to apologize. All the bands on tour were left somewhere in Germany without plane tickets when they finally called it quits and the tour manager went home. Were we upset? Yeah.

Tell me about the US tour you have planned for later this year. What do the fans over here have to look forward to when we come to a Finntroll show?

You can expect nothing less than around one and a half hours of laughter and slaughter, on stage and off. Our set list usually consists of old and new songs equally. 

Do you prefer playing the large, arena-sized stages you find at many of the festivals you play or do you like the intimacy of a smaller venue?

It doesn’t really matter to me. Even though it sometimes feels a bit awkward to play those huge ass festivals where you can’t really tell from 10 meter distance whether the first row is having a blast or sharpening their knives. 

The fusion of traditional music (folk, polka, etc.) and metal is fairly common in Europe, but you don’t hear much, if any, coming from the US or other countries. Why do you think this is?

Because we Europeans have thousands of years of history and tradition which are mainly celebrated by long haired geeks who seek approval by dressing themselves as elves and reading Edda. Then all a sudden, a few Italians decide to start grinding guitars and electric violins like their ancestors in Sweden did. I wish it were simpler than that.

The animated television series Metalocalypse has paid tribute to the band by naming a supermarket featured in the show after you. Are you a fan of the show?

I haven’t been in this business for 10 years for nothing it seems. That was the greatest tribute a band can get! Now that you mentioned it I finally have to check that stuff out.