Join Festivalphoto at Faceboook
Follow Festivalphoto at Twitter
Watch our festival videos at Youtube
Follow Festivalphoto at Instagram
Korpiklaani interview | FESTIVALPHOTO

Korpiklaani interview


Festivalphoto spoke to Korpiklaani bass player Jarkko Aaltonen to discuss their new album and their touring plans.

Festivalphoto: Your new album, Noita is due to be released next month. First of all, can you tell us what the title means?

Jarkko: If you use Google translate then you'll get "Witch" as a translation, which is not really that correct since the English word, Witch, has a negative meaning, when the Finnish Noita was more like the Native American medicine man (or woman in Finland's case), so a healer, a respected member of the community, village, tribe, wahtever. Basically someone people turned to when they needed help with whatever problem they had.

Festivalphoto: What made you choose that as the title?

Jarkko: There are two songs on the album. One is about Witches, the heritage in general, and one song called Ämmänhauta is based on all the legends that includes a witch, and the album artwork is based on that song also.

Festivalphoto: It's the first album to feature new accordion player Sami Perttula - has his joining the band changed things?

Jarkko: Yes. I think quite a lot actually because this was the first time when we had what we call the folk department, meaning him and the violinist Tuomas. The folk department was working perfectly together even during the pre-production of the album. They were going through all of the melodies writing harmonies, trying things, finding new stuff, figuring out some solo stuff, and in general feeding off each other and bouncing ideas off each other, really working well together. That really shows on the album - you can hear some really good stuff on it, something that we wanted to do but maybe weren't able to do on the previous albums

Festivalphoto: Is it hard to get a good balance between the folk and metal elements when writing?

Jarkko: Yes, we have struggled with that, and especialy a few years ago when we started to work with a new producer, Aksu Harttu. Akso is a really good producer for guitars for example. There was a really good leap on the guitars when we started workign with him, and then I felt maybe that the folk instruments were not abandoned but put aside at that point. I did complain to him but he said that he will put them up in the mix when there is something really good to put up, so we finally have that - some really good stuff to push up in the mix. That's how this album is. Still the same heavy guitars, drums, basss, but also now really prominent folk instruments.

Festivalphoto: What's the song writing process in the band - is it a collaborative thing or are there one or two main song writers?

Jarkko: We never really get together to write - we live in different parts of the country, so we record demos at home and send the files to each other. If we worked more together before going into the studio then maybe we'd spend less time in the studio. Sometimes I feel that the songs that are recorded on the album is not actually the final form of the song. Once we start playing them live then it somehow morphs into the final form. Not that the changes are big, but there are still changes. Then again this is how we work and I don't see that we're going to change that.

Festivalphoto: Straight after the album is released you have a one month tour of the US and Canada with Ensiferum and Trollfest. That's a great lineup.

Jarkko: I'm really looking forward to that tour. We've played a lot with both of those bands, I've known them for a long time, especially the Ensiferum guys because they're from the same neighbourhood, Finland. In general I really enjoy touring the USA, and now it's springtime, there should be a lot of sunshine and a lot of fun and also hopefully some good shows.

Jarkko: We have been touring quite extensively over the last ten years and we have toured with many many bands, and when you start knowing the bands you start picking only those bands that you really want to work with, not that we've had any really bad experiences but still you prefer some bands over others.

Festivalphoto: After the US you look to have a busy summer playing lots of festivals including Bloodstock festival in the UK.

Jarkko: Yes it's really good to get to play there again because when we started touring outside Finland, I felt that we had a really good start in the UK, we were like the pets of the month of Metal Hammer and we played Bloodstock in either 2006 or 2007, and had really good shows in the UK and then suddenly that just stopped. I don't know what happened but we didn't play in the UK for many years, or maybe just an occasional London show and nothing else.
I've been a bit disappointed at that since we had a good start then nothing, but luckily now the UK is welcoming us back again so it's nice.

Festivalphoto: You've got some dates in Germany later in the year, but nothing for the rest of Europe. Will there be a full European tour ?

Jarkko: After the festival season there will be the Heidenfest tour of 10 shows or whatever, but later in the year we will have a headlining tour around Europe, so there will be a lot of shows in the continent as well.

Festivalphoto: Korpiklaani live shows are some of the most fun shows around. Is it as much fun for you on stage as it is for the fans?

Jarkko: I don't think we would be doing this otherwise, that's the whole point. The nicest and most fun part in the business is playing live shows, and if that started to suck then why the hell would we even do this? Most other things in the business, if they don't suck, they are at least a drag, touring and playing live is the fun part so we definitely enjoy that.

Festivalphoto: In the ten years you've been in the band what are the biggest changes you've seen when touring?

Jarkko: The business is getting more and more difficult, I hate the way the music business works, but other than that I think we as a band have hopefully become a bit more professional in the way we work, and hopefully we are still an entertaining band to see. I think we are but then again that's just my opinion. Other than that I feel that everything is getting more and more difficult.

Skribent: Anthony May
Jag har inte Facebook