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INTERVIEW JOHN WAITE 2013

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2013 - AMORPHIS - TOMI JOUTSEN

 

AMORPHIS

TOMI JOUTSEN

GETS TO THE HEART OF THE BAND WITH ANDREW

 

AMORPHIS Tour Australia for the first time in October 2013. Andrew caught up with Tomi to talk about the band's career to date, the latest album and their plans for the trek Downunder...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew: Hi hows it going?

 

 

Tomi: It's going fine, thank you. How are you?

 

 

Andrew: Good thanks. So let's get started, this is your first tour in Australia is that right?

 

 

Tomi: That's right and I have not been there before so it's going to be like really first time in Australia.

 

 

Andrew: What can we expect on this tour?

 

 

Tomi: I don't know. I am really happy that we have 4 shows there, it's not only 1. Actually a week ago talked to some guys we know: I think they have played there twice and they said it's fantastic and Australia is really nice and there's lots of great metal fans. I really hope it's going to be a great success for us and I would like to come there someday again.

 

 

Andrew: Yeah there's a lot of fans here that like the kind of music you play especially for any kind of extreme metal and especially for European metal as well. So there's a lot of fans who are looking forward to seeing you guys coming here.

 

 

Tomi: Yeah it's fantastic to come there! Of course it's a really long travel to get there but still I am looking forward to it. But yeah I know a lot of bands from Europe who play there so I hope there will be a lot of fans for us also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew: Let's talk about your latest album, "Circle". This album was not based on any Finnish poetry or anything like that. What was the reason for the change?

 

 

Tomi: We already did 4 albums in a row, 3 is from Kalevala and this time we wanted to take us away from the book. The guy who wrote the lyrics for "Circle", Pekka Kainulainen who I have worked with on 3 albums now, we just wanted him to put out some old stuff. Of course he took some inspiration from Kalevala, maybe some themes or emotions and I think he even took some inspiration from our music because when he started to write the lyrics he had our music. We did some demos and sent it to him so he could listen to the music and maybe get some inspiration and we just wanted to have something new and have some fresh ideas. When we started we wanted to have a producer for this album which was also a new thing, we changed the studio, and we kind of changed the methods of how we work. We wanted to have some fresh ideas and it came out quite easily and it was fun to work that way.

 

 

Andrew: So a lot of the changes you guys did, how much of an influence did that have on the music and the recording?

 

 

Tomi: Everytime we start to work on a new album we just compose the music, we don't have any major plans or anything like that. We just have songs and when we started to record this album we had 20 songs and I think we rehearsed all the songs and then we just picked the most interesting ones and we really started to work with them. I have to be really happy with the fact that there is not only 1 or 2 composers in the band, almost everyone will compose something so when we start to record a new album, we have lots of ideas and lots of material when we start. That's fantastic because I think some of the other band's problems, they have maybe 2 or 3 songs ready. We always have shitloads of material so that's great.

 

 

Andrew: The album sounds a little heavier in parts compared to the last few albums, even jumping into a bit of the black and death metal type sounds like in "Nightbirds" for example. Was this a deliberate decision or was it just how it came out?

 

 

Tomi: It just came out that way. Of course Peter Tägtgren who was producer for this album, he wanted to have really aggressive guitar sounds on this album and I think he did a great job. That's one reason why it sounds a bit heavier. As a singer I'm really satisfied that it has really heavy songs on this album because I really love growls and it's great that we have really heavy stuff that we can play at shows. It's kind of a bit heavier but it's not extreme metal for me. Of course the roots are in death metal and in this album you can hear those influences.

 

 

Andrew: You usually have someone else write the lyrics for you. Do you try to find ways to identify with those lyrics when you sing them?

 

 

Tomi: Original lyrics are always in Finnish so for me it's easy to understand. Of course the themes and atmoshphere of the lyrics are really Finnish in a way so I think, because I'm from Finland, for me it's really easy to find what Pekka is trying to describe with the lyrics. And I think sometimes people from outside of Finland find it quite difficult to understand what we are trying to tell with the lyrics but for me as a singer it's not a problem. It's really easy to find the right emotions and right feelings for singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew: Is there much lost in translation from Finnish to English for the lyrics?

 

 

Tomi: Of course, it's really hard and my friend who translated it to me was really fustrated because sometimes the words and language is really beautiful and there's nice tricks on the lyrics and when we had to translate of course you lose something. But I think he did a great job again and sometimes as a singer when I'm trying to arrange music and the lyrics, sometimes it's really fustrating and we had some problems with Peter when we recorded the lyrics. Sometimes it took 2 hours just to get one good line and those moments are really fustrating. But when I listen to the album now it feels kinda natural so I think we did a good job again.

 

 

Andrew: Vocally it sounds like you really pushed yourself even further going into different styles. How did you find the type of vocals needed for each track?

 

 

Tomi: Of course we talked to Peter a lot when we started to record the songs and actually it was Peter's idea to do some black metal screams and it was a great idea. We had those screams before but they were more like backing vocals. This time Peter wanted to put them at the front and when we started to do that I was a little bit scared how it would sound. I told Peter maybe he should do those vocals but Peter just said 'go on and do them' and I tried it and it came out quite natural and I'm really happy that we did because we have now played those songs live during the summer and it's great to do the black metal sceams, it's a really powerful way to express yourself.

 

 

Andrew: Certaintly those vocals, I think it's why it sounds a little bit heavier in that respect. Vocally who are your influences?

 

 

Tomi: I try to be about the music. My favorite singers are Glenn Danzig and Nick Cave, and the singer from Portishead who's a seriously good vocalist, still is. He is great, I really love the atmosphere he has once you have seen him. And in the extreme metal I really like LG Petrov from Entombed of course and Jörgen Sandström who was the singer for Grave, a Swedish death metal band and also from Napalm Death, Barney. They are great singers in the extreme metal scene.

 

 

Andrew: It's interesting that you mention Nick Cave as well who is obviously an Australian singer. Are you a fan of his lyrics as well?

 

 

Tomi: I think what I like about Nick Cave is that he is fucking cool! He is so cool with the moustache and things. I think I saw him live 3 years ago, it was my first time and he is very charismatic and I really love his voice. He is a kind of serious person. I'm not that into his lyrics, I'm mainly into the emotions without a doubt but he is really great.

 

 

Andrew: A couple of years ago the band put out the Magic & Mayhem compilation album, how was it going back and re-recording some of the old stuff?

 

 

Tomi: I think it was fun! And the original idea came from Nuclear Blast, they wanted to have some kind of celebration CD because it was the 20th anniversary of the band. I think it was just fun to do because it wasn't that hard because we had played those songs many times on stage so it was really fast and a really relaxed atmosphere. It was fun to do but for me as a singer it wasn't that big of a challenge and I think it was just a gift for the fans.

 

 

Andrew: You guys have been around for a long time and you joined the band a few years back so what do you see for the future of Amorphis?

 

 

Tomi: I think we have planned to tour a lot for this year and also next year and hopefully we will release our next album in a year or 2. But at the moment everyone is really motivated and we have had the same lineup for 8 years I think and everyone is enjoying what we are doing and we are also doing this for a living so I see no reason to not continue Amorphis. I think we can easily continue for another 10 years but I don't know if we can continue for 20 years haha! I can see that we will still be active in 10 years.

 

 

Andrew: Well you guys are getting bigger and bigger so I'm sure you guys will be around for another 20 years  but we are looking forward to seeing you guys come to Australia anyway. Just a couple more questions before we wrap this up. If you could be a fly on the wall for any classic album in history, what album would that be?

 

 

Tomi: If I had to only pick one album I would say Danzig number 4.

 

 

Andrew: Cool. And what is the meaning of life?

 

 

Tomi: For me, I'm a family guy. I have kids and a wife so for a man the most important thing to be is a father and try not to be an asshole.

 

 

Andrew: Sounds good! Thanks for the interview and as I said we are looking forward to seeing you guys in Australia for the very first time so I hope the tour goes really well for you.

 

 

Tomi: Thanks man and I'm really looking forward to going there. I think it's going to be really hot so I dont know how it's going to go for us because we are from Finland. I heard you also got good beer there so really looking forward to going there!

 

 

Andrew: Yeah definitely! Thanks again, take care!

 



 

 

 

 

Tomi spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe 212 August 2013

 

 

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