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Interview mit Janne [Morian], April 2012, mailer

Bereits 2008 begannen die sechs Düsterrocker von Morian mit den Aufnahmen zu ihrem zweiten Album "Ashen Empire". Doch erst jetzt, gut vier Jahre später, können die Finnen ihr Werk endlich der Öffentlichkeit präsentieren. Warum alles so lange gedauert hat, verriet mir Frontmann Janne Siekkinen.

Janne, did you have a good start into 2012? Are you still drowning in snow over there in Finland?

Janne: The year has begun very well indeed. It's almost May and people a bit norther up are still doing downhill skiing, so it's not exactly summer yet! Day temperatures are rising, however, and it's almost warm enough to enjoy a beer or two outside at the terrace!

Your second album "Ashen Empire" got finally released – nearly five years after the debut. Why did it take so long creating a new cd?

Janne: We actually started working on "Ashen Empire" right after "Sentinels Of The Sun". However, it soon became clear that this was going to be a record that needs a massively big sound and production. Unfortunately our record company wasn't prepared for a production so big, so they tried to make us write something more "garagelike" that could be produced with less money. This is understandable with the financial situation in music companies nowadays, but we just couldn't do any compromises and we wanted to make "Ashen Empire" just as massive as it now is. What followed were somewhat bitter discussions, after which we decided that it's time to go different ways. "Ashen Empire" was finally finished with external funding, and after that it took (a too long) time to find a suitable label that would release it. Luckily we found Inverse Records, and "Ashen Empire" was released through their other label Secret Entertainment. I guess you could say that we were too stubborn to do things in any other than our way, because we wanted the audience to hear "Ashen Empire" just in the way that we had intended.

Where do you see the band's musical development in comparison to "Sentinels Of The Sun" (2007)?

Janne: "Ashen Empire" is a much more darker, grittier and complex album than the debut; I guess, you could also say that it takes more time to get into it. This is an album that was written as a whole, rather than a collection of songs. We knew much better what we wanted, and also we knew our strengths and weaknesses as musicians and composers. This is a much more mature record, which seems to have come as a surprise to some people. "Ashen Empire" requires that you put some effort into listening it, but it's also rewarding if you manage to do that. To say that we grew up as musicians might be exaggerating, because we're the same old Finnish immature beer-chugging idiots than before, but I guess, you could say we grew up as a band during the making of this record.

Morian is a band with six members. But is it also a democratic band? How did you handle the songwriting process with so many musicians within the band?

Janne: The songwriting process goes the same way as always: One of the guys writes a bass/guitar base that I write melodies and lyrics to. Then the whole package is arranged into a whole song. This results in a varied types of songs, but in our opinion it also keeps things interesting. There are many kinds of different styles in the songs of "Ashen Empire", but they all still sound like Morian!

Is the lyrical content of the new album based on any concept? What have been your inspiration sources?

Janne: I draw my inspiration from various sources, and it would be very difficult to name just a few. While writing "Ashen Empire" the imagery of the "The Walking Dead"-series and "Mad Max"-movies twirled constantly in my head. My lyrics have absolutely nothing to do with these, but perhaps it tells a bit about my writing process: I write around a certain feeling or atmosphere, and in this case it was the atmosphere of fallen society and the end of everything.

Words like "ashen", "dark", "dead" and "blood" in your song titles leave a negative connotation. To what extent are the lyrics influenced by your own character and attitude towards life in general?

Janne: Actually, I'm a pretty funny guy in real life and have positive attitude towards life. Believe it or not! However, there's a darker streak in all of us, and lyrics are a good way to express all that. The world is full of shadows, but without them there would be no light.

What do you consider being the "ashen empire"?

Janne: What a lovely question! "Ashen empire" is a symbol of everything that's wrong in our world. But as I said before, if there would be no injustice and pain, we wouldn't be able to feel the brighter sides of life either. As the lyrics of the title song suggest, there is warmth even in the coldest night. We're all holding on in the "ashen empire", but we can still make it if we are together.

Morian's debut was produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, but this time you worked with Aksu Hantu known from Entwine. Why did you choose him?

Janne: We all love the pioneers of Finnish gothic metal, Entwine, and as a rock-hard professional Aksu was a natural choice. We felt that he understood the concept of "Ashen Empire" and had the ability of creating the strong soundscapes that were needed for the record. Aksu is also a singer, and he had a very strong opinion what was needed on the vocals. We did countless takes until we got the right take for each song. I've never felt so beaten in my life and I loved every minute of it!

Where and during which period of time did you record the album?

Janne: Wow, that's a tough one. "Ashen Empire" was mainly recorded during 2008 and 2009 in Jyväskylä; the drums were recorded in Studio Musica and almost all the rest in our guitarist Sami's studio SN-audio Productions. The guys also did some of the recordings in their own home studios. Additional recordings, countless backing vocals, guest musicians etc. were recorded also afterwards. The big puzzle was created in lots of little parts!

Which obstacles did you have to overcome during the recording process?

Janne: Hmm…maybe time is making my memories golden, but I don't recall there being any major difficulties. Aksu had a strong take on production and things were rolling smoothly. Recording itself was a fun task, but the record company problems were a major pain in the butt. Well, there is one thing that can be counted as an obstacle, so here's a story for you guys: Aksu was often mixing the record in the nighttime when it is quiet. One time, in the middle of the night at Studio Audio, a giant ventilation valve fell from the ceiling all by itself, making a terrible clanging sound and scaring Aksu so badly that he broke some of the stuff in the mixing desk and almost soiled his pants. It's lucky that he didn't have a heart attack as it would have been difficult to finish the record without him!

Which criterions did "The World Ends With You" have to fulfill for being the first single? And who's actually shouting in the song?

Janne: Other options were "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", which we found a bit too long, and "This Mortal Coil", which we found a bit too slow. "The Word Ends With You" was a suitable choice; it is chugging forward like a train and contains nice melodic hooks. The screamer is our friend Tero Luukkonen from the band Blood-Stained. Seek him out, he's an ace!

What about a music video?

Janne: We didn't release a video in time of the album's release, because we didn't want to do the same stupid "six guys playing in a warehouse" crap that everyone does. We are currently planning a bit different approach to the video, but more about that later! But we're definitely planning releasing one.

You already had a mini-tour here in Germany some time ago. When will you be back on the road?

Janne: Hopefully soon! It was a great fun touring there and the people are lovely. Send Wings Of Destiny agency a hint if you have ideas about good venues where we should play!

Which plans do you have for the rest of 2012 until Maya's calendar will end and the world is going down?

Janne: Quick! Drink all the beer before the world ends!!!!

How would you continue the sentence "Music is…"?

Janne: ...the best thing we can use to hold on in the Ashen Empire.

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from morianband.com
Website Band: www.morianband.com

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 06/12 / www.zillo.de
copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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