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Interview mit Niilo & Ville [Insomnium], 08.06.2014, Gelsenkirchen/Amphitheater

Ende April veröffentlichten die finnischen Melodic-Death-Metaller Insomnium ihr mittlerweile sechstes Studio-Album. Es wurde auf den Namen „Shadows Of The Dying Sun“ getauft, beinhaltet viele Blastbeats und Gitarrensoli sowie die gewohnte Mischung aus cleanem und Growl-Gesang. Einige der neuen Songs präsentierte das Quartett an Pfingsten auf dem Rock-Hard-Festival in Gelsenkirchen. Vor der Show traf ich Niilo Sevänen (Gesang, Bass) und Ville Friman (Gitarre, Gesang) zu einem Interview.

You recently published a new album called “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”. Which feedback did you get so far?

Ville: The feedback has been really good referring to reviews and from the friends’ side. Okay, our friends might be lying. [laughs] But in general, I think, they like the album. We got good reviews and are successful in the charts in Finland and Germany. That’s good!

“Shadows Of The Dying Sun” is your sixth studio album. How would you describe the band’s personal, but also musical development over the last years?

Niilo: It’s a long way, of course. With every album we add something new to our sound and don’t just repeat what we’ve done before. So there is some natural progression all the time. If you listen to the first album, you can hear the difference probably quite well.

And if you compare the newest album to the last one “One For Sorrow”?

Ville: I guess, it’s probably the most similar. Every new album is more similar to the previous one in a way. Well, we have a new guitar player on board now: Markus Vanhala. So there are more guitar solos on the new album. We took all the ingredients we have had before and added some new ones like blastbeats on the drums and tried to be a bit more extreme. Then again we also weren’t afraid to have softer songs, too. So the new album is more diverse.

Is Insomnium a democratic band or do you have some kind of bandleader who always has the last word to say?


Ville: We try to be democratic…as there are a lot of things going on, we have a manager helping us out. He’s kinda like the fifth member of the band. He’s taking care about a lot of stuff…

How does an Insomnium song usually come into being? Who starts with the first riffs?

Ville: Everybody is working on ideas and then we mail them to everyone in the band. We can listen to those ideas, give a feedback and then try to make them better, add new ideas etc.

How long did you work on “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”?

Niilo: Some songs and riffs were maybe a couple of years old, but most of the work was done in about half a year. We started at the beginning of 2013 when we came back from the US tour. Then we took some time off from touring and playing shows and tried to just concentrate on making the music. Most of the stuff was done maybe a year ago. I think we could have used a bit more time, but sometimes the schedules don’t allow it.

What have been the challenges?

Niilo: Actually we didn’t want to tour in 2013. But then we ended up first joining the Moonspell tour and then the Children Of Bodom tour. So two months were used for touring and of course that takes energy out of you. It’s hard to write news songs on tour and concentrate properly. We were too ambitious: We wanted to join those tours and we wanted to make a new album. So it was a challenge to manage all together. But in the end we made it. It’s already our sixth album, so we know how it goes. As long as Markus has all the stuff done and goes to studio to record the drums, then we can record the guitars and stuff like that, work in our ways, try out different things…

The album title sounds quite apocalyptic. To what extent is this title been reflected in the sound and lyrics?

Ville: Mmm, I think the title is kind of a realization that we all gonna die and it’s apocalyptic in that sense. But in the lyrics you find different themes. Some of the lyrics are more personal and about relationship things, then again there are also lyrics about existence, why we are here, what’s the meaning of life and so on.

Do you both write the lyrics?

Ville & Niilo: Yes!

What have been your inspiration sources besides personal things?

Niilo: Well, when I start writing lyrics for a new album I always try to read a lot of poetry to get some new ideas and that’s normally how I work. The themes are quite universal. Of course you can also get inspired by books or movies.

Ville: I just like collecting ideas to my iPhone. If you read a book and have some lines, you can use those as a starting point. Sometimes you have a clear idea what you want to write about – this is easier, because you have a theme…

To what extent are you inspired by your dreams?

Ville: Personally I never use any of my dreams. Usually I don’t remember my dreams, but when I do they are so fucked up that you don’t want to use them. [laughter] Maybe subconsciously, but not really directly.

What about you, Niilo?

Niilo: Yeah, it’s pretty hard to remember dreams ten minutes after you woke up. [laughter] So I don’t use them neither, maybe just subconsciously, too.

Which musical dreams do you still want to be fulfilled?

Ville: Of course it would be great to go to Australia and that you have the option to take a few days off during a tour, so that you don’t just go there, play your show and go back home. Like two years ago we went to Asia, played two shows in China and one in Japan – we had time to see the Great Wall of China and do a bit of sightseeing. That was really great.

Will you have bit time for sightseeing when you’re on European tour in the end of this year?

Niilo: We have shows every day, so it will be hard to do this tourist stuff. It depends on where we are. The days can be quite full. We will play as the last band, so we do the soundcheck and everything during the day. But when you are supporters, you do your soundcheck just before you play. Then you have time for the whole day.

You also have regular jobs and studies to do back at home. How do you manage that with the band and music?

Ville: Yeah, we all have daily jobs. It’s really hard to live just from your music.

Niilo: When we’re on tour, we have to take holidays from work, of course.

Ville: It’s really not easy, but we had good luck being able to organize this all. But of course we cannot tour for six months per year.

What can we expect from your show today on the Rock Hard Festival? It’s quite sunny and warm outside which doesn’t really fit to your music…

Niilo: It’s better the sun is shining than there would be rain. For the show the rain would be better in a way for the mood, but people would stay away…

Ville: We prefer to play in clubs where you can actually do something with the lights, so that’s a bit more dramatic. But today it is as it is, so you have to make the most of it and play a good show. It’s important to play live; it’s the best way to convince people and get them into the music.

What is your favorite song if you have a look at the setlist of today’s show?

Ville: From the new album I like “The Promethean Song”, although it’s written by Markus and not me. It’s not personal, but it’s easier to like someone else’s music than your own. For your own you’re too critical…

And you, Niilo?

Niilo: It’s hard to say, but it’s a very good set, I think, containing many of our best songs.

How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?

Ville: …the best. [laughter]

Interview & Fotos: Lea S.
Website Band: www.insomnium.net

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