18 April 2011
The new studio effort of our all time favorite Finnish band will be released onÂ 25Â MayÂ through Nuclear Blast/Wizard.
And that's another great occasion for us to talk to AMORPHIS' guitarist Esa Holopainen.
an interview conducted by Vassil Varbanov
HEY ESA, HELLO!
THE REASON WE'RE TALKING TO YOU IS THE FORTHCOMING AMORPHIS ALBUM. 'SKYFORGER' WAS A BIG SUCCESS FOR YOU GUYS, GETTING POSITIVE REVIEWS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND NOT LEAST ON OUR WEBSITE. DO YOU THINK THE NEW ALBUM WILL BE ABLE TO TOP 'SKYFORGER'?
It's really hard to tell yet, because it's a totally new project, as it always is with a new album. And when you start to work on a new album you kind of forget what you did before. You start to concentrate on new ideas and elements for the new album. And since of course the new album is your new baby, it feels like it's the best that you've done so far. But I think time will tell, when we go on tour and start playing the songs I think I will have more perspective. Let's say, after one year, I'll know if it's better than 'Skyforger' or not.
WHEN YOU SAY EACH NEW ALBUM IS LIKE A NEW BABY AND YOU THINK IT'S THE BEST ONE YOU'VE EVER PRODUCED, ME PERSONALLY, I HAVE TWO KIDS, BUT I DON'T THINK MY SECOND ONE IS BETTER THAN THE FIRST.
Oh, ok, hahaha. I have kids too, I know what you mean.
I WAS READING SOMETHING ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM, 'THE BEGINNING OF TIMES' AND IT SAID THAT, ONCE AGAIN, YOU'VE BEEN CONSULTING WITH MARCO HIETALA OF NIGHTWISH ABOUT THE VOCALS, JUST LIKE YOU DID LAST TIME. SO HE WAS HELPING WITH THE MELODIES AND STUFF IN TOMI JOUTSEN'S VOCAL LINES, IS THAT RIGHT?
Yeah, that's true. Same thing as last time. There's a good chemistry between Marco and Tomi. I think they're a perfect match. What Marco usually does is he takes care of a lot of the vocal harmonies and pronunciation, as well as helping with the vocal arrangements. So they are definitely a killer team. Plus we get great backing vocals from Marco, which is always a big plus.
THIS COULD MEAN TWO THINGS - THAT YOUR SINGER HASN'T GOT THE SELF-CONFIDENCE TO DO EVERYTHING BY HIMSELF AND THAT MARCO IS A HIDDEN MEMBER OF AMORPHIS. WHICH ONE DO YOU PREFER?
I think it's the lack of self-confidence, hahaha.
HAH, YOU WOULD SAY THAT, YOU'RE A GUITARIST.
That's true. No, the thing is that Marco has been working with Tomi on vocals ever since Tomi's first albums with Amorphis. When Tomi joined the band it was necessary to have a vocal coach for him in the studio, basically because the studio environment was a new thing for Tomi and it's always good to have a guy there you can rely on. So ever since 'Eclipse' we have used Marco. He's basically the coach guy at the studio who helps Tomi. He's the perfect guy to tell if something works or not.
Of course Tomi is a very confident guy, but it's good to have a coach in the studio. The rest of us don't need any coaches because we know what we're playing, but it's good for the vocalist to have a little guide. With the vocals you can improvise and do things that are not composed like the parts of the other instruments.
I REMEMBER THAT WHEN 'SKYFORGER' CAME OUT WE WERE IN AWE OF THE AMAZING GUITAR WORK ON IT. WHICH SONGS ON THE NEW RECORD WERE PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING FOR YOU AS A GUITARIST?
I think each song was a bit of a challenge. The whole album was a challenge, because with this one we have more songs than we had on any other album before. There were some songs which I could say were quite difficult, quite challenging. Like 'Song of the Sage' for example. What else...'Three Words', 'Mermaid'...I think they're the songs where you had to think a little bit more. But it was great fun.
THE FIRST SINGLE IS 'YOU I NEED'. ARE YOU PLANNING TO RELEASE MORE SINGLES? IS THIS ONE DIGITAL-ONLY?
Yeah, that's right. I heard it was going to be a digital-only single three weeks ago. There isn't that much point in putting physical singles out any more, because people just don't buy them. That's why Nuclear Blast decided to release this only as a digital single.
ARE YOU PLANNING ANY MORE SINGLES FROM THIS RECORD?
I think so. We haven't talked about which tracks yet, but I think there will be at least two singles, at least that's the plan for now. If people like it, perhaps we'll release more.
Yes, we're going to Berlin to shoot a video for 'You I Need' at the end of this month, so that's definitely one video, which is coming out some time during May.
I'M SURE IT'S GONNA BE A BUSY SUMMER AS USUAL FOR AMORPHIS. LAST TIME YOU WERE IN BULGARIA WAS THE AUTUMN OF 2009, AFTER 'SKYFORGER''S RELEASE. SINCE OUR LAST MEETING ON BULGARIAN SOIL, A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM THE ROCK WORLD HAVE DIED. PEOPLE LIKE DIO, PAUL GRAY OF SLIPKNOT AND TYPE O NEGATIVE'S PETER STEELE. TO WHAT EXTENT DID THOSE DEATHS, PARTICULARLY PETE STEELE'S, HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Yes, especially Peter Steele. It's always a loss when the good guys go. Ronnie was a great voice and great character. Everybody knew that he was sick for a long time, so everyone sort of expected it to happen at some point. But what happened with Pete, was really a big surprise. You didn't know if he was really dead or not.
Back in 2004 we planned to do an American tour with Type O Negative, but they cancelled because Peter had heart problems. So his death was quite a shock. But great band and a great frontman, one of the most charismatic frontmen ever. But I think that when something dies, something good is born as well, so you just have to keep going on.
SINCE YOU'VE NOW FINISHED THE NEW RECORD AND CAN LISTEN TO OTHER MUSIC AGAIN, WHAT'S ON YOUR PLAYLIST THESE DAYS? THE NEW BEASTIE BOYS?
No. I think the same old stuff that I've been playing for years. Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. I do like new music as well. I think the music scene today, or the metal scene anyway, is more healthier than ever, mainly because it has exploded and there are so many different kinds of bands, metal music isn't that limited anymore.
I like bands that are a bit more progressive, like Porcupine Tree - I don't know if they're metal, but anyway. The Polish band Riverside is definitely one of my favourites.
THIS IS ACTUALLY THE NEXT SHOW TANGRA MEGA ROCK IS DOING - RIVERSIDE AT THE ROYAL BULGARIA HALL.
YOU'RE WELCOME TO JUMP ON A PLANE AND POP OVER IF YOU LIKE.
Ok, I'll definitely think about it.
rights Tangra Mega Rock
BLACK SABBATH 2. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES - Cyco STyle 3. MYSTICA - Missing Way 4. FYELD & MILENA - All Stars Ablaze 5. ALICE IN CHAINS - Hollow vote here!
RIVERSIDE @ Sofia Live CLub
ACCEPT @ Kavarna Rock 2013
DEEP PURPLE @ Kavarna Rock 2013
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