In this interview, Wintersun’s Jukka Koskinen sheds some light on the band’s campaign, their upcoming album, its contents and the magical forests of Finland and its unexplored parts.
PowerofMetal: Hello, how is everyone doing? What is occupying everyone’s time at the moment?
Jukka: Everyone’s doing great since we have a new fresh album ready and ready to be released! No one expected this, right? ☺ .. At the moment we’re very busy preparing the crowdfunding launch and keeping everyone updated via various ways like me here typing this interview!
PoM: Tell us a bit about this crowdfunding on Indiegogo. And how were the reactions from the fans?
Jukka: I think it’s great that we’ve come to this that is the crowdfunding. Started as a hint from our dear fans in the first place and now grew to something massive like “The Forest Package” we are offering from March 1st via Indiegogo. A multi-content package with a very reasonable price so a win-win equally for the fans and for the band.
The reaction from the people has been very positive indeed, mostly. Of course, there are some who wonder this scenario but to clarify here as well, we are offering a ready multi-product package including our new album with a reasonable price. A normal release situation but even better now since we are going to offer something truly special that doesn’t happen usually on regular cases. On top we tell transparently and honestly where the funds will go: to build our own studio to release future albums efficiently with the best production. This hasn’t been able until today, but now after we found a new model with our record label to make things better for everyone: for the fans, the label, and the band.
PoM: It was mentioned that the crowdfunding would enable the building of your dream studio but essentially you’re only asking for fans to purchase the album via crowdfunding? Could you kindly explain what is involved in the process and how it will benefit you and the fans? And will there be special items, merch etc.?
Jukka: Yes, like I just told, the situation is very simple and very transparent. That is fair as it can be. We have been in this unfortunate situation that we haven’t been able to fulfill our true vision to make our music sound the best possible. Wintersun albums are massive productions so they need immense resources, like Time II. Time I was a 60% compromise so we want to go further in this matter. 3rd party studios we can’t definitely afford in our current situation so our own studio would be the best to save money and time, AND make the fans happier to release Wintersun albums more frequently in the future for sure.
We will reveal all the details regarding the perk on March 1st when our crowdfunding campaign starts!
PoM: What happens if you don’t meet the target for the crowdfunding? What would that mean for the band?
Jukka: We have a fixed goal in our crowdfunding. This means that if the minimum goal is not reached, the album won’t be released. Why we are doing this is that we want surely to start building the studio and not to accept less money and not be then able to do anything with it. This way it is fair for everyone, especially that we don’t take money from people and then are not able to do what we tell to everyone. Absolutely not.
PoM: What is the story behind the cover of “The Forest Seasons“? It does not appear to be a Finnish forest where I can go to collect blueberries in the summer! Looks great nonetheless.
Jukka: Then you haven’t still explored the Finnish magical forests enough ☺
The story is like the album title logically where the fours seasons are merging. Like the songs on this album are very different and unique from each other, as clearly as the cover shows the different seasons. I think this cover is the best thus far, a magical forest that really grabs you in it when you look at the cover. And if you search deep enough in the forest, you’ll find the most epic blueberries from there for sure!
PoM: How different will the “The Forest Seasons“ be in comparison to your previous albums? Will there be lots of insane majestic solos akin to the self-titled or more similar to Time I? Someone mentioned something about acoustic instruments?!
Jukka: This time (<- haha yes, the word) there’s a strong focus on the feeling in each of the four songs. They are totally different from each other but merge nicely for a great whole. The songs are very massive and majestic in their own way.
PoM: Judging from the song titles there seems to be a beginning and ending, awakening and death sort of theme on the album. Could you elaborate a bit on the content of the lyrics? What is Wintersun singing about now?
Jukka: The spring song, “Awaken from the Dark Slumber“, is about everything coming to life after winter’s dark times. It’s also about how you wake up from your own bubble that you have been in your whole life possibly. The song is split in two parts and is very uplifting though it has a darker first half, presenting the awakening.
The summer song, “The Forest that Weeps“, is a majestic male choir-driven song that shows the harshness of the summer that can happen in the north, greyness and rain – hard for your mentality though beautiful with days being very different from dark to light. Uplifting, moody and atmospheric.
The autumn song, “Eternal Darkness“, is by far the most brutal song by Wintersun. This monster is about all dying, dark dark times like in the autumn, almost unbearable hard for mentality. Darkest of metal there is.
The winter song, Loneliness, is a slower tempo song with beautiful clean vocals and melodies. A song about melancholia though somehow a peaceful feel in it.
That’s where we are yes. The forest has all its different elements on different seasons, like in life.
PoM: Why has Jari decided not to play the guitar on stage anymore? Why not forego the vocals and let someone else do the singing instead?
Jukka: Yes this is the plan that Jari stepped down from playing guitar live. Now he can 100% focus on the vocals so that we will deliver even better live performance. Jari is the voice (and soul) of Wintersun so if someone else would be the singer it would sound like something else than Wintersun, though possible. I think the songs are the most important and guitar solos the second choice (says the bass player) ☺
PoM: You held auditions for a second guitarist in December and you’ve narrowed your search down (from the 50+ applicants) to a more manageable amount with interviews. How’s that coming along?
Jukka: We have found someone and are practicing things out at the moment. We want to proceed properly so we see how everything turns out soon. The new guitarist will be with us from the first summer festival onwards of course!
PoM: What do you think are some of the biggest learning experiences for you being in the music industry thus far; having the experiences you’ve had within Wintersun and the other aspects of being a musician in this day and age?
Jukka: The biggest learning experiences have been in the school of life like everyone else when good and bad things happen. From there we learn the most (usually and unfortunately when bad things happen).. though music business and playing in bands has made a lot of wisdom at least in me. You see the business develop and start learning from it what really makes sense and what to do to make things better for the future. Of course, nowadays it’s not that easy to make a living while being in a band full time. This is the case of Wintersun.. we are like book writers: takes ages to release something but then we do it properly. Though this will change immensely if we’ll have the chance to build our own studio.
Playing in bands is like having a multiple relationship at the same time – can be the best and something the crappiest of things. You learn a lot to respect different kinds of people. And during live shows you see many people from different cultures, we are all the same in the end whatever our background is. One of the best things is to bring good times to people by playing live shows.
At the end of the day wouldn’t change anything.. you learn a lot how to be in a team and close to people. I’m sure that even the most introvert Finns learn to be more social while playing in a band hehehehe…
PoM: What about your upcoming tours and gigs? I think you’ll be attending several huge festivals this year?
Jukka: Summer festivals are being announced at the moment and bunch more coming still. Also looking into the possibility to tour in the autumn.
PoM: After the crowdfunding is done with and hopefully with a very positive outcome, what is the next conscious move for the band?
Jukka: To start building the studio and play shows as much as possible with the new album “The Forest Seasons”.
PoM: Who is using Positive Grid’s Bias? Is it really as great as everyone says it is?
Jukka: That will be me. It’s a very nice helping hand testing endless possibilities sound wise… and works at home or at a concert!
PoM: Thanks a lot for your time. Any last words for your fans and our readers here on Power of Metal, perhaps a favorite quote?
Jukka: My quote at the moment is: “Whether you’re a fan of spring, summer, autumn or winter – find your new favorite track of the season on “The Forest Seasons” album available for pre-purchase at Indiegogo’s Wintersun page on March 1st “