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Interview mit Ep & Dorian [Whorion], 01.07.2016, Helsinki/Tuska

Die finnische Technical-Death-Metal-Band Whorion werkelt derzeit an ihrem neuen Album, dem Nachfolger von „The Reign Of The 7th Sector“ – allerdings mit einem neuen Sänger an Bord: Eero Harsunen. Denn Ari Nieminen hatte die Truppe Ende letzten Jahres verlassen, um sich mehr der Schauspielerei und seiner Familie zu widmen. Im Rahmen des diesjährigen Tuska-Open-Airs in Helsinki, wo Whorion am ersten Festivaltag die Inferno Stage rockten, ergriff ich die Gelegenheit, Gitarrist und Mastermind der Band, Ep MKN, sowie den Bassisten Dorian zu einem Interview zu bitten.

You just played here at the Tuska Festival. Are you satisfied with your own show?

Dorian: I think, it was quite good. There were a lot more people than I thought there would be, that’s for sure. The place was like packed, it was awesome.

Ep: To be fair: Like 15 minutes before the show I looked at the audience and didn’t see anyone and I thought: “Okay, this is how it’s gonna be: No one wants to see us playing indoors.”

Dorian: Except friends.

Ep: But when the intro started and I put my guitar up, the place was suddenly packed. At least from the stage it looked like it was packed. What a pleasant surprise! I just wished we could have played better. I did have issues with the sound. During the first two songs I couldn’t hear my guitar at all. But the sound engineer did a good job and fixed the problem. The thing is, you only have 15 minutes time between two bands to build up your own stuff and check everything, put on your make-up, etc.

Do you put up your make-up by yourself?

Ep: Yeah! One day, when somebody let us play for two hours, then we will have our own make-up girl or guy. I wished it would be a guy. [laughter] But well, at the moment we do it by ourselves. We don’t practice, we just have an idea how the make-up is supposed to be. And then we just look at each other to check if it’s decent. Dorian always has the best make-up, because he is the most creative one of us.

You played new songs on stage today…

Ep: Yes, two new songs: the first and the last one. For the first time ever that meant lots of practicing, lots of pressure – and it still wasn’t…well, on the last song I was supposed to come on the second round to play, but I just wasn’t ready. I had volume problems. So I just tried to look cool and play on the second round.

Dorian: But no one heard the mistakes or knows how the new songs should sound, so it doesn’t matter. [laughs]

Ep: Later we talked with some people in the front row and gave them some band stuff: sticks and picks. People looked quite happy. During the chorus of the last song they felt like there is some catchiness in it and also started to yell the lines. That gave us nice boost and we know that we’re on the right direction with the news songs.

What is the current state of the new album?

Ep: It’s written. [grins] For half a year already, but we just can’t play it yet. At least we delivered two songs.

But you haven’t recorded anything yet?

Ep: That’s the problem, because we record with analogue equipment and you need to play each song from the beginning to the end in one take. And it needs to deliver every single note each song has.

Dorian: That sucks! [laughs]

So why did you choose this way of recording, Ep?

Dorian: To annoy the rest of us?

Ep: [grins] Everybody wants to show off with something and I hate it listening to albums where I can hear that the drums have been cut and put at the right places. That means: The drummer couldn’t play the songs from the beginning to the end. But how hard is it to put microphones on the equipment and play it as fucking good as you can and put it on the album? Why do you have to destroy it by samples and take all dynamic away from it? We want that everything on our record is coming out live which is the biggest issue. I hate digital bands so much. I don’t wanna say any names, because I don’t wanna destroy my career already. [laughs] But that’s the main reason why we do it this way with the analogue equipment: We want to challenge ourselves. Okay, maybe it’s a little bit showing off, but actually we want to make the sound as clear and authentic as possible.

Do you get help by any professional producer?

Ep: I think, I’m the asshole producer.

Dorian: You can take off the producer, he is just the asshole. [laughter]

Ep: Yeah, I don’t have the first title, but the songwriting process goes like this: I’m at home alone and for many days nobody can talk to me. I just have a vision how the band should sound like and I try to build it. And that’s where the sound of Whorion comes from.

You’re the band boss?

Ep: I don’t like to be the boss, because these people complain a lot.

Is it a democratic band?

Ep: I think, it is! Even though – let’s say – I bring the beer and open it for the others, they can decline that they don’t want to have the beer. To be honest: I don’t write a single bass riff. I’m a guitarist and I program the drums, the orchestras, etc., but I don’t touch the bass, because we have an amazing bass player who knows everything about playing the bass. That guy! [points at Dorian] He can do whatever he wants as long as the notes are in the right sections.

And to what extent do the other musicians contribute to new songs?

Dorian: The main ideas come from Ep, but the solos for the other guitarist [Antti Lauri]…well, he does whatever he likes and figures it out.

Ep: But he never does anything special…

Dorian: But he is also a really good guitarist.

Ep: He is an academic musician and a really talented guy. I’m happy to have that guy onboard, because of him I can actually do anything I like. I write everything and I give him the right to play whatever he wants as long as it fits on the music. The idea of technical death metal is to challenge yourself and also the listener.

How often do you practice?

Ep: I play every day. Of course there are days when you just have no time, but usually I try to practice one hour every day at least. This band is one big challenge – I love it.

You recently had a line-up change within the band: Singer Ari left Whorion in the end of last year and with Eero you have a new vocalist now. Was it a surprise for you when Ari quit?

Ep: No! [laughter]

Dorian: Not surprising.

Ep: We both [pointing at Dorian] are actually the only original members left. I met Iiro, who was the first guitarist, and he introduced me to Dorian. We all worked together at first, but then Iiro lost his…well, you can tell it, Dorian! You know him better. He just stopped practicing.

Dorian: Well, he wasn’t interested that much. He’s still playing in a lot of other bands, but he was not so much into practicing all the time with us. Not really his type of metal in the end, I guess.

Ep: He’s a passionate guy and I like Iiro a lot, but he just could not find his interest in challenging himself too much. Dorian and I have been in the band from the beginning and Antti the new guitarist came instead of Iiro. Antti is almost with us for two years soon. So for me Antti is more the original. And talking about Ari, the old singer, he has twins…

Dorian: …and he’s doing acting stuff.

Ep: It was his time to go. I said to him: “If you cannot commit yourself to this band, then this is not the band you’re supposed to be in, because we need you at the rehearsals. You come one time in half a year, that’s not a commitment.” And I said: “Even though you are the voice of Whorion, it cannot continue like this. Everybody else is putting tears and sweat into this band.” For example Antti usually comes two hours before a rehearsal just to warm up to play the set, Heikki comes all the time when he is not working with Finntroll.

So they are all more into the band?

Ep: Yes. But Eero [the new vocalist] wasn’t my first choice in the beginning, because he used the technique that Petri Lindroos from Ensiferum uses. Eeros old band, Enthrone The Unborn, was just different sounding. Not my cup of tea. I know the guys, they are good fellows, but Eeros sound was “dry”. He sent me a message or called me that we would like to try to “fill up” Ari. Then he came to our rehearsals and did some demo vocals. I recorded him and said: “You know how the song goes, so just do it!” He did it, I listened to it and said: “Not in a million years.” And he was like: “Why?” And I said: “The sound sucks!” I really hated the sound from the bottom of my heart. But he responded: “People said that I sound very much like the Ensiferum guy.” And I answered: “Yeah, but our band is called Whorion. So if you wanna have an audition for Ensiferum, go there. If you wanna have an audition for Whorion, bring me growls from the bottom of your stomach.” After three months he came back and he did it!

Who’s taking care of the lyrics within Whorion?

Dorian: Ep writes the lyrics and as the only native English speaker within the band I always go through the texts, telling him: “That doesn’t make sense, that’s not a word, these words don’t fit together.”

Ep: There are actually words that Dorian doesn’t know even though it’s his mother language. [laughter]

Dorian: Sometimes I just have to ask: “What are you trying to say here? Explain to me what you mean with this and then we can figure out what you actually gonna write.”

Ep: I think, it’s a fun progress. When I do a new album, I wanna do it at once. I don’t wanna do a song here and there. I had a clear vision of “The Reign Of The 7th Sector”, like a concept. The story was already written and then I had to transfer it into lyrics. I also already have the story for the next album, it’s done, but I’m little bit on half way trying to fix the lyrics and make the riffing there, because Eero is useless at this point. So I have to do the riffing for him also. But it’s fun, I like to do it. It’s like watching your baby growing…

What is your inspiration source?

Ep: I love how people believe that huge titans walked among us and they f*** a little bit little people, made gods and then they killed them. The world is full of amazing stories. That’s all the inspiration for me. And I try to fit all the ancient history with my view of the world. I just try to keep the religion away from everything. You just need to go outside of your planet and see a little bit further away. Mind has a huge knowledge to expand and we’re just here, drinking beer and thinking we’re awesome, even though we’re only using seven percent of our brain, maybe less since these drinks. [laughter] When it comes to music, I just love challenges, like I said before. I want the listener to be able to enjoy the music, and I want musicians to realize: “Oh my god, what the f*** is happening there? They cannot play this live!” These two things need to go hand in hand.

Do you already have a title for the new album?

Ep: The working title for the new album is “At The Threshold Of Time”. It’s gonna change, but I need to write titles down like how I feel about the direction an album is heading to. I can reveal that the main scene is where the big bang started, but I have a different vision about what happened and why the big bang happened. That’s gonna be the next chapter of “The Reign Of The 7th Sector”.

What do you actually do beside the music? I guess, you’re not living from the music…

Dorian: I work in a warehouse driving forklifts in Vantaa. But also I need to work here to get a visa to stay in the country. Any job is a job.

Ep: And I work at the airport. I handle the Finnair cargo place: In this case there is UPS, DHL, loading, unloading…it’s a weird job. I have two days at work, then two days free. And even though I have working days, I still commit to music all the time.

So you meet several times a week for rehearsals?

Dorian: Ja, Tuesdays and Sundays.

Will you watch any bands by yourself here at the festival?

Ep: I already missed the first one today: Cattle Decapitation. Then there is Behemoth, but actually I’m a power metal guy – when I don’t listen to technical death metal or black metal, I listen to power metal. [laughter]

And you, Dorian?

Dorian: I’m gonna be quiet on this part.

Ep: The only metal that he is listening to is the metal that we play at the rehearsals.

Really? So what do you actually listen to?

Dorian: I’m a huge pop fan. I love Katy Perry…but I also like In Flames. But basically I’m a big pop princess.

Ep: The taste of your music is so bad, but you still do awesome bass riffs…

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) Sophie Müller / CouchPhotato
Website Band: www.whorion.com

(c) NEGAtief / www.negatief.de
copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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