Power of Metal.dk Interview

Interview with Ville Sorvali and Mitja Harvilahti - MoonsorrowOctober 2012

Power of Metal: How are you guys doing this evening, ready for the show?

-Mitja: Yes, getting ready and well...

- Ville: Getting ready for going home as well, yeah. As you see we're going to have to pack everything. The last days are always the most frustrating part of the tour cause you have to collect all your stuff... all around the bus.

PoM: This is the last day of the tour?

- Ville: This is the last one.

PoM: Any crazy stories so far?

-Mitja: There have been a lot of crazy, crazy stories. Some of them we can't tell.

- Ville: Most of them we can't even classify.

-Mitja: On this tour, a lot of things have happened. A lot of interesting stories, a lot of crazy people we have met. (laughs) I don't think we can even tell those stories, they we're a little bit  too bizarre.

- Ville: Yeah, bizarre exactly. At least I managed to get really wasted yesterday in New York. Just warmed up a couple of hours ago.

PoM: What do you think of the American crowd, how do they differ from the Finnish crowd?

-Mitja: Well, the American crowd I would say they are very energetic. They give a lot of energy to the band because we work very hard on stage to give the best performance we can for the audience and the American crowd is the best you can find, definitely.

-Ville: That's right. It's the 6th member of the band, the audience, it really is. If the audience is boring it's pretty hard to play live. But here it's really easy to just play and enjoy yourself on stage.

-Mitja: It doesn't feel like work.

PoM: Throughout the years, who has usually taken responsibility when it comes to writing the music and lyrics of the albums?

-Ville: That would be Henri - the guy who is not with us.

-Mitja: Yeah but you do all the lyrics.

-Ville: I do all the lyrics, yeah. (laughs)

-Mitja: Henri is responsible for 90% of the music.

-Ville: Our drummer Marko and I  contribute in writing, but whatever we do he still rearranges so it fits the Moonsorrow pattern. So he really is the guy behind the sound.

PoM: Was it a conscious decision to evolve the music the way it did after ?Voimasta ja Kunniasta? or was it natural progression? It seemed to have drifted away from the folky and ?paganistic? nature of the first two albums into a more epic direction as a whole.

-Mitja: Yeah. I mean it was always an obvious choice for us to take the direction that we did because the second and the third album are quite symphonic and quite orchestrated, then we decided we really want to go back for more organic sound, more raw sound. We really didn't want the over pompous production to be present in our music so much anymore.

-Ville: Yeah, after those albums we kind of felt like we've done it all already - we want to do something different.

PoM: Have you played any bits of ?V: H?itetty? live?

-Mitja: Yeah, half of it, the second song. The first one we'd never played live. We never even tried it at the rehearsal place.

-Ville: We didn't actually even record it in one take. It's too long to remember. (laughs)

PoM: Where do you draw the inspiration to the stories told in your songs?

-Ville: I have a mouth full of nuts. Please start... (laughs)

-Mitja: No, you have to finish your nuts, I'm sorry. (laughs) Take your time, I'm not answering this question. It's one of the most difficult questions to answer. (laughs) It's obvious, but still, it takes a long time...

-Ville: ...yeah. Inspiration to the music, lyrics or both?

PoM: I'll go with both. (laughs)

-Ville: For the music, that's quite hard because that's Henri. When he writes music and I write the lyrics; we don't even have to communicate with each other and that's how we have this weird link - that we do stuff which fits together. In any case, maybe because we've been writing music together for... almost 20 years. (pause) I think our main inspiration sources are old legends, history, stuff like deep respect for nature and the concept of paganism; That is hard to explain, I'm not even going to try. It's definitely stuff that doesn't fit the world we live in now. I'm not sure if I've said anything sensitive, but... (laughs)

 PoM: It must be difficult to create lengthy, functional pieces of art. What the Hell possesses a person when that happens? How do you do it?

-Ville: I would say that in the case of this band, it would be even more difficult to try to make short songs, if that makes sense. We are just somehow driven to do that in what we are doing.

-Mitja: When you start writing epics like this, you learn how to work with the structures, how to build up the tension and stuff. We started making longer and longer and more complex songs until the point that we already made an album with 2 songs, and then we had to go back a little bit. I think we had found our formula and the form that our music is and will be. It will always be pretty much long songs. We can move from shorter to longer, which ever way we want, but making a 6 minute Moonsorrow song, it doesn't seem like it's happening very fast.

-Ville: I wouldn't say that we have any sort of time limit. For example, if we for some weird reason came up with a 3 minute song that could really fix the concept of Moonsorrow, then we would use it, of course. I would compare the music to the story, even the song in itself, even without the lyrics, it's a story. If you have a book that has 300 pages, you don't stop reading after you've read 60 pages, the story isn't finished yet. (laughs) It doesn't make any sense to me.

PoM: Have you heard any complaints from the fans about the length of the songs, saying they're too long?

-Mitja: Yes.

-Ville: Of course there are always people who'll complain about anything that we do. Of course it's natural.

(interview gets interrupted)

-Mitja: Yeah, so... uhhh what was the question again? (laughs)

PoM: Complaints from fans... (laughs)

-Mitja: Of course some people don't like overly epic music.

-Ville: You can't please everyone.

-Mitja: ...and we don't care because we only write the music we want to. That's the only way to make good music. If we start listening to the record label's opinion, the manager's opinion, the audience's opinion, it would never work because then it would not be our music anymore.

-Ville: We want to write music we can also listen to ourselves.

PoM: How would you describe your music to someone who is unfamiliar with this band?

-Mitja: One of the other questions that's most horrible to answer.

-Ville: Try. (laugh)

-Mitja: Well okay, I'll try... (pause) Moonsorrow's music is metal that has elements from traditional Scandinavian music and for example folk music, like ummm, progressive rock and black metal...

-Ville: ...traditional Scandinavian music like progressive rock?!

(both laugh)

-Mitja: Oh no... Well, yes! Exactly. (laughs) What else?

-Ville: Black metal.

-Mitja: Yes.

-Ville: There's a lot of black metal in it actually. And I think that the fans acknowledge that, pretty much. On this bill for example, we are the black sheep of the crew.

(mumbling in the background)

-Ville: No, I'm not black.

-Mitja: You're just a sheep.

-Ville: I'm just a sheep. (laughs)

PoM: As a little sidetrack, what are the future plans for Lakupaavi? (side project of Moonsorrow) Could you give us an update?

-Mitja: Well, the update has been the same since we recorded. I have... I'd say 20 songs that are brilliant. But we can't release them right now.

-Ville:  I also have a few. One of them is a blues song, actually. We will record them when the time is right. We just have to feel like it. It's like, 'oh we're going to do it', and then we go to the studio or whatever.

-Mitja: Actually we're not even allowed to have it done because there's a record contract which says that only two members of the band can be in the same (other) band.

-Ville:  Oh, yeah, yeah. I don't think they would mind. (laughs)

-Mitja: Maybe they won't, let's not tell them. (laughs)

PoM: You appeared on Finnish TV last year at the time of your latest album (Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa)...

-Ville: Oh yeah, that was a really awkward moment. I've never been on a broadcast that reaches 1 or 2 million people.

PoM: There were talks of covering a song called 'Rekkamies'...

-Both: Ahhh!

PoM: Is that really in planning or was that merely a jest?

-Mitja: Well...

-Ville: It's actually a song that we could cover but...

-Mitja: ...it's not impossible. It was requested by the guy who was interviewed before us on the same program and well, we might do it. Moonsorrow with some truck samples sounds a little bit strange but still, it might work.

-Ville: Vikings do not have trucks... (laughs)

PoM: It might not be too awkward, I think. Ensiferum just did a cover of Bamboleo.

-Ville: Yeeeah they have done some crazy stuff over the years. They are the fun band, we are not. We are dead serious and fucking depressing.

(both laugh)

PoM: Nah... So what's going to happen after this tour?

-Mitja: Oh, after this tour we have one other show coming up in the Netherlands and then...

-Ville: ...and then we will just relax and try to make our livers work again.

-Mitja: Yeah and start negotiating about a lot of stuff like a DVD...

-Ville: ...and then a new album.

-Mitja: And the new album as well. We have to start coming up with ideas - slowly start putting it together. That's the main part, anyway.

-Ville: Yeah. I can promise that it will be out before 2020. (laughs)

PoM: What would you like to say to the fans out there?

-Ville: You're good at this...

-Mitja: The message that I would like to say is: I hope you enjoy our music and I really hope you'll always come to our shows because we really want to play live and we want to see them, too.

Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa

Label: Century Media Records

Link: www.moonsorrow.com

Ville Sorvali (Harsh vocals, Bass)
Mitja Harvilahti (Guitar, Backing vocals)
Henri Sorvali (Guitar, Backing vocals)
Marko Tarvonen (Drums)
Markus Eurén (Keyboards)

Suden Uni - Full-length (2001)
Voimasta Ja Kunniasta - Full-length (2001)
Kivenkantaja - Full-length (2003)
Veris?eet - Full-length (2005)
V: H?itetty - Full-length (2007)
Tulimyrsky - EP (2008)
Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa - Full-length (2011)


Interviewed by Haydee G.