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23.01.2006. NORTHER, Petri Lindroos and Jukka Koskinen

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with vocalist Petri Lindroos and bassist Jukka Koskinen of Norther was done face to face by Audrey Dujardin on January 23rd, 2006, at Ateljee Bar, Spinefarm Records, Helsinki, Finland.

Despite a very humble beginning, Finland's Norther have grown to become a very productive band since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album "Dreams Of Endless War" in 2002. On January 25th, 2006, they released their 4th full-length album "Till Death Unites Us" in Finland [to be released in the rest of Europe in March], an album whose single has pushed and shoved its way into position #3 on the national charts. The odour of success is in the air for this band who share their rehearsal room with Finnish metal veterans Amorphis. [Vincent Eldefors, The Editor]

How do you divide your time between Norther and Ensiferum?
Pete: Hummm…

Jukka: Be quick, the tape is running out!

All: Laugh

Pete: Actually I haven’t had any problems so far…

I assume that it’s easy in the studio to record one record with one band and one record with the other, but how do you manage when there are two shows at the same time, say you have to play with both bands the same day, has that ever been a problem before?
Pete: MMmmmm no. Because in festivals you don’t do so long shows, maybe like 45 minutes max, so it’s ok, I can do 2 gigs in one night. But we try to avoid that.

And what would happen if say, you played in Wacken on the Thursday night and then with Ensiferum on the Saturday, would that be a problem?
Pete: Not at all! I would party more!

Norther has been going on for a while and doing ok, so why did you join Ensiferum? Were you getting bored?
Pete: No, actually I was just replacing Jari (Wintersun) for the first Ensiferum tour and it was actually my job just to take care of the tour. But they were searching for a new guitarist/vocal, whatever and they didn’t find anyone better than me so I got stuck!

All: Laugh

Audrey: So now you’re a full time member of the band.

Pete: Yeah.

Norther has been pretty busy, I mean, you guy released 4 records since 2002, so what do you do besides being a vocalist?
Pete: Nothing.

Audrey: So that’s your full-time job?
Pete: Yeah.

Jukka: Is that a personal question for him?

No, why don’t you tell me how you deal with sharing your time between Norther and Wintersun?
Jukka: No problem. We can always divide ourselves. I mean, if Norther and Wintersun are playing the same day, that’s ok for me. We just have to be good at scheduling things. (…)

Pete, it’s never been a problem to lend Jukka to Wintersun?
Pete: no, they only did one tour and only a few gigs with the band so far.

Jukka: Yeah, with Pete playing in Ensiferum and me playing in Wintersun, so that means there are 2 guys playing in another band than Norther. So if he gets angry that I play in Wintersun, I’m gonna get really pissed off that he plays in Ensiferum!!

All: Laugh (…)

So your new album is coming out in 2 days! Are you excited?
Pete: Uh-hu. Yeah. We’ve been getting very good reviews so far.

Jukka: Yeah, I read a couple of those so far, and there have been many many comments from people who before hated us, and now they are loving us. I mean they are hearing the album that they downloaded from the fucking internet, but people are starting to like us and that’s very nice, actually. And the single is like number 3rd on the Finnish charts!

I’ve read in the press in the past that Norther has been releasing the same sort of material over and over, so what’s going to be different with the new album?
Jukka: Everything!

Pete, ironically: Well there are 12 NEW SONGS!

Jukka: Well I think in a way, we changed our sound. Ever since the third album. I mean the first 2 were more like the same thing. Of course with us, when a new album comes out , its going to be different from the other ones. Not like totally different, but in a way we’re just like going up all the time.

Improving?
Jukka: Yeah.

Pete: Yeah for this album we have a new sound. I mean, we recorded this in Gothenburg, and we also mixed it in Sweden. So it’s totally ‘made in Sweden’. And we really like the Studio Fredman sound.

Jukka: yeah the 2 previous albums and the mini CD we recorded at Astia and this time we came up with Studio Fredman and I can say that Swedish people are very good. Especially at mastering the album and recording stuff. So this new album sounds more like what we sound like live. It’s got more… I dunno, feeling. It’s more spontaneous.

Can you guys tell me more about the recording of the album? How did that go?
Pete: Well first of all, we almost recorded this whole album by ourselves, and also produced it, so there was no outsider-producer guy sitting and drinking beer behind our backs. That was more me!

Jukka: Things went like… Hmmm… The Swedish guys recorded the drums and the bass, but after that with the guitars and the keys and the solos and vocals we recorded everything by ourselves.

Pete: So in another way, it was kind of weird because they didn’t warn us in advance, you know. They said: ‘Good! here are the pro tools, here are the keys, I’ll be back here in 3 days. Let’s see how you guys can work. Okay, cool!’

Jukka: We were like ‘what the heck?’ I mean we recorded some stuff, but we’re not like studio guys so what the fuck is going on? In the beginning we were like…

Pete: ‘This will totally suck!’ And in the end, it turned out really well. There were no bigger problems. BUUUURP.

But you know what, it was great, because there were no like, timetables, from 9 to 5… We would get there like 12 in the afternoon and be there like until 2 in the night… We just worked there for as long as we wanted and we had time to get good beers…

So the album will be more personal?
Jukka: Definitely. A lot more.

The new album will be released in 2 days. Are you going to have a big party?
Jukka: Actually we had already!

Pete: We had a pre-listening party on Saturday, actually. At Nightlife.

This Saturday?
Jukka: Yeah.

Pete: Oh no, we actually didn’t know that you were here!

Well I was actually in Tallinn anyway…
Pete: Ah ok…

Jukka, now you already told me last time in Strasbourg, but I’d like to hear it again. You told me that you’re going to be touring this year with Wintersun and also with Norther. I went to the Norther website, and there was nothing about tour dates. When is the tour to be expected?
Jukka: Um well… It’s kinda open. There’s a lot of speculation about a tour, but nothing certain at the moment.

But there WILL be something at some point?
Jukka, Pete: Yeah, but we’re not going to talk about it now.

Jukka: I know we’re boring, but we just can’t say it now.

But will it be just Europe, or Europe and America?
Pete: Just Europe. BUUUUUUUUUUURP.

So what are you going to do to promote the new album, apart from the party on Saturday?
Pete: well we’ve been doing interviews, to Finnish magazines and radio shows and I’ve been writing mail interviews all last week almost every day….

Jukka: It’s actually quite funny because we finally got our first interviews at Soundi and Inferno Magazines, which are the biggest in Finland. It’s our first interviews in those magazines, and this is like our fourth album so… It’s strange. It’s very nice that we finally had the opportunity to have the interviews although it’s a bit funny 'cos they’re almost down the road from here.

Pete: Well we have never been the press’s … ‘favorite band’. I mean every fucking festival review… All the other bands are mentioned, except Norther.

Why?
Pete: I have NO idea. We were playing for Sauna Open Air Last summer. For that review, we weren’t even mentioned! I was like… We played just before Slayer, and nobody gave a fuck!

Jukka: Of course the audience was great, but the press don’t like us. Or maybe it’s something in Finland then. When our first record came out, it have pretty much the same style and music as the Children of Bodom thing, but over the years we got different and everyone had a preconception (of us). Everyone was like ‘OK, I don’t give a shit about that.’

Well when you guys play the summer festivals that will give a chance to show people what you are made of. Oh, by the way, do you already have any plans for the summer festivals?
Pete: Yeah, a few…

Are they Finnish Festivals?
Pete: Yeah, but I don’t know if we can say anything about that yet. I’m very sorry , it’s like we can’t talk about anything…

Jukka: But.. There are a couple of European possibilities …

So you said the press in Finland at least hasn’t been as interested as they should have been, so are you hoping that the new album will attract more attention?
Pete: It already has!

Jukka: Now we can stop whining about the press. We can be positive.

All: laugh

 

OK, I was wondering. I’m French, and in France, the Finnish bands are not as popular as they are here. For example, I know that in Finland, bands like Children of Bodom are number one in the charts, so are Nightwish. In France that would never happen. Metal isn’t all that popular, and Finnish bands are just the same as the rest, in our perception. So what countries in Europe have the best fans for you guys?
Pete: Well we haven’t been touring so much. We only did one tour with Dimmu Borgir in 2003, no 2002…

Jukka: No 2003!

Pete: OK, 2003, whatever. At that point, people didn’t really know who we are. But it was actually pretty good, the whole tour. People liked it, but people didn’t actually know us.

Jukka: I’d say that there are mainly problems with the distribution. Maybe that’s the reason why we’re not the big hype thing abroad. But a couple of countries in which we’ve been playing, like Sweden, I mean people there, and in the UK… We had only one festival in Birmingham, but it was a very very kickass thing. After the show we got good feedback. The press were very interested, and so were the promoters, they think they are going to licence our next CD or distribute it more in the UK.

Now for the funny part. Could you say what comes to mind when I mention the following?

Finntoll?
Pete: trolls! Alcohol! A lot!

Jukka: Lunatics!

All: Laugh

Jukka: But in a positive way!

Wintersun?
Jukka: Probably the best band in the world!

All: Laugh

Pete: Not!

Jukka: Yeah, the best after Norther. Or not…

Pete: No comment!

Spinefarm?
Pete: Wicked label.

Nightwish?
Pete, singing operatic: Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Tarja! Tarja! Mmmm Nigthwish. I don’t actually give a fuck. Great friends.

Any stories about that?
Pete: the only thing that I remember is that we tried to have Tuomas come to our music video. We said: ‘is it ok that you join our video session so that we could kill you?’ But he said no.

So you killed him?
Pete: No. He’s still alive.

HIM?
Pete: Excellent band!

Jukka: He sucks. Because we lost to him on the single charts. He’s number 2 we’re number 3. We lost to HIM!

Pete: Now we hate it!

Ensiferum?
Pete: Shit. Total bullshit. Probably the best band in the world!

Jukka: Third best band in the world…

Tuska?
Jukka: Kickass festival.

Pete: Great festival, in the middle of nowhere.

Jukka: In the middle of Helsinki in the daylight. One of the best festivals in Europe I think.

Pete: and also one of the biggest I think!

Really?
Pete: Well in the middle of Finland! But it’s a good festival, a lot of fans! Its in the middle of a football yard so we meet a lot of fans.

Summer Breeze?
Pete: Nice festival!

Jukka: Actually yeah!

Pete: Been there twice!

Jukka: We were a bit too drunk when Wintersun played last year. Cos Norther played on the same day as Wintersun and Wintersun played at midnight. We had forgotten that Wintersun is gonna play. In a way.

You were drunk already?
Jukka: I was drunk as hell! I remember hearing ‘Wintersun is going to play in 2 hours!’ And I thought ‘shiiiiit! Give me water!’

Pete: I was there like 2 years ago with Ensiferum and I got way too wasted over there so… I had no idea where I was, everybody else had gone back to the hotel, and I was wondering alone in the parking lot, trying to do something… I have no memories about that. But Samira from Stalker, she found me wandering over there and she was like ‘where are you going?’. I said ‘I don’t know!’. Then she just found a few girls who were leaving with a car. So she said to them ‘take this guy with you. Take this dude to the hotel so he can get home.’ So the next day we had an early morning flight with Ensiferum. And Finntroll and I were drinking when I finally got back to the hotel, and then I passed out in the wrong room, and Markus didn’t find me the next morning, so they left, and I stayed in Germany. I missed my flight home. I was like ‘oh shit what the hell am I going to do?’. And I was hanging out with the Finntroll guys the next morning and it all turned out very well cos I got back home, eventually. So Summer Breeze: excellent.

Jukka: Yeah for me too.

How about Wacken?
Jukka: Never been there.

Pete: Well I was so shit-faced wasted for 3 days that… God damn! A lot of frozen margaritas with extra vodka! Very good!

Ok, well I guess that’s about it. Do you want to add something?
Jukka: Well, I’m very sorry that I didn’t give you the CD yet, but tomorrow I’m going to. I dunno, Pete, say something!

Pete: Something.

Jukka: Something wild!

Pete: I just wanna add something. Our album is going to come out in Europe in March, so people, pay attention to Norther!

 


Links of interest:

Norther
Spinefarm Records

Read this article in its original context here

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