03.10.2006. FINNTROLL Studio Report
Helsinki, Sonic Pump Studios, October 3rd-4th, 2006
by Audrey Dujardin
After a busy year touring in the USA, changing their line-up and training a new vocalist, composing for the new record and playing the main European festivals all summer, this fall, Finntroll is back in the studio to record their new album.
The Sonic Pump studios (Ensiferum, Amorphis, Impaled Nazarene, Nightwish…) are located north-east of Helsinki, in an industrial area. The studio is a very cosy apartment composed of a modern fully equipped kitchen, a huge flat screen television, leather couches, video game consoles and a sauna. Not to mention a comfortable studio and two control rooms overlooking the Helsinki harbour.
After visiting the studio and having long discussions about the essence of Finntroll and garlic spaghetti, I watched Tundra and Vreth record some bass lines for the new record, and listened to the demos of the new songs. As I arrived a week and a half after the beginning of the recordings, the drums and been dismantled already and driven back to the rehearsal rooms. Most band members were present, some practicing, some recording. Vreth and Tundra were working in pairs, trying to solve some electric buzz problems on bass and Skrymer and Routa were in the lounge, one cooking and one rehearsing a song.
Spinefarm had provided the band with a video camera and hopefully the band members have recorded some interesting material regarding the recordings and most importantly the break time in between recording!
My first thoughts after listening to the demos of the songs are that this new record will be a lot more varied than the previous in terms of styles. The demo versions of the songs include soundtrack like intros, in the vein of Danny Elfman and Lord of the Rings, some Disney’s Little Mermaid meets Monkey Island type Carribean music, some true black metal, some punk, some folk and of course hints of humppa. Trollhorn demoed these songs, alone in his garage and even did some demos vocals on these tracks. The recording should last another week or so, and the new material will tentatively be released at the beginning of 2007.
Hereafter you will find an interview with composer/keyboardist Trollhorn of Finntroll.
Henri “Trollhorn” Sorvali
October 4th 2006-10-06 Helsinki
Hello there ! I just got back from the Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki and I was watching Tundra record some bass and I got a chance to listen the demo versions of the songs. Skrymer told me that you made those all yourself in your garage, even the vocals… How long did that take?
From may to september. First I did rough mock- ups at my work. :D and then when the song was pretty much finished, I went to my studio to record it properly with proper sounds and arrangements whenever I had time. Usually demoing one song (from the mock- up) took something like 6-7 hours. But the composing and arranging- part was of course longer.
Did anyone help you with that? I mean you have a day job and a family…
Tundra and Routa were sometimes present, and it was especially helpful to have Tundra engineering while I was performing drums or vocals, so I could just concentrate on the actual takes and not to pressing buttons or running to check out the record levels. What it comes to time- sharing, I tried to balance everything in order to have enough time for each.
How about the vocals ? Why don't you take over more vocals in the record?
Because I SUCK at them. Did you actually listen to that demo at all, hehe? And besides, why should I when we already have a kick- ass vocalist who doesn´t need shitloads of distortion, compression and delay to make his voice sound even a small bit convincing.
I heard that you had to work a lot with Vreth? Why and how? What was the result?
Had? Well, it wasn´t exactly something I hated, so I´d use the word “opportunity to work with”. I was extremely happy about the fact that we now have a vocalist who actually takes part of the pre- arranging- process as well.
Is Aleksi (Virta) going to take part in the recordings also or will he remain the 'road keyboardist'?
Maybe something, if he´s present at the studio when we record the keys and he has an idea to add somewhere. Otherwise, he´s just the “road guy”.
Some of the new material sounds a lot like Moonsorrow, especially the intros… Is that deliberate, or is that just the Sorvali style?
I´d say it´s the collective style. You´ll see the song- credits later so make your own decisions!
will there be Moonsorrow type male choir choruses on this record? (there were almost no vocals on the demos)
Yes and no. They will not be “Moonsorrow- type” but “Finntroll- type”. Lots of stuff coming, so you´ll hear later. No Red Army Choir with this album, though.
What is your composing rhythm?
120 BPM? I don´t know. I usually start with a melody or a riff, and somehow the songs just finish themselves when I start to compose them.
what inspired you?
Nature, video games and esoteric shit. Katla´s lyrics. Depression. You name it!
Can you quickly pin point (I know this is already on the finntroll forum) the different steps you had in the recording and the main difficulties you had? How did you solve them? (Tundra's grizzling bass f.e.)
We started with drums, naturally. After that, Guitars and bass. And then keys, vocals, extra stuff and choirs. Difficulties? Well, we didn´t rehearse even *once* together before the studio, so because of that a lot of stuff had to be checked out just before the recording to make sure everyone knows exactly what to play and how to play it. Of course we all had the demos (and different mixes of those, so that e.g. guitarist could only hear the guitars, etc) to listen to, but it´s still not the same.
Besides that, Beast had some problems with his feet, which were infected earlier this summer. And both Skrymer and Tundra had some problems with the electricity of their instruments, which caused a lot of trouble as well in the beginning. Oh, and we noticed that too thin strings for bass makes you totally out of tune. And my great uncle died in the first week, so the aura of death is always present when we´re at studio.
Although the songs are demoed ahead of time, do you ever add anything extra once in the studio? (impro, guests, etc)
Always. And that is the cool thing that makes us sound how we sound. We always add some new and fresh ideas and sometimes even change the song- structure, etc. The demos are usually only just one person´s view, after all…and even though I do them as a bloody dictator (when doing stuff alone, that is) I still prefer to hear any new ideas, comments and variations from each bandmember. Usually we don´t use any guests, but sometimes when you meet the right people drunk, some interesting collaborations can happen.
I saw that Spine lent you a video camera. Are we going to have some video bonus material on the new record?
I don´t think that anything is going to end up to the actual album, but maybe something for the upcoming (???) DVD.
I know that the concept behind this new record is a return to the roots of Finntroll, making it as dark (or darker?) as Midnattens Widunder, and less "party music"… this leads me to wonder why Finntroll was created, back in 1997? What was your philosophy then?
You do? Well, thanks for telling me as well, haha! :D We weren´t supposed to do any returning to anywhere anyway, as we already took that step backwards with Nattfödd, remember? Now it seems that the new stuff will be a mixture between all our previous albums with a shitload of new wicked material as well. When Finntroll was created, the philosophy was the same that it is now: anti- christianity, drunkenness and fucked up music.
Can you please outline the different periods in terms of life of the band, and give for each your best and worst memory?
Now that would take three pages, and I´m not sure anyone is that interested about that anyway. I can sum it up by just stating that the best phase is definitely now, and the worst was spring 2001 when I was really close of leaving the band due to lack of dedication it demanded. The line- up changes are always a tough cookie, but each of them has done wonders to the band in the long run. And yes, even Somnium´s death.
About the lyrics. I heard that this is completely going to be a concept album in terms of lyrical content, and that Katla wrote most of them (unless I misunderstood)… what are the main themes and will the Finntroll live imagery change accordingly?
It will be a concept album, going back to the birth of Rivfader and the morning of time. Katla has written all the lyrics, and I have written one piece as well, which is not going to be a part of the concept, though. We´ll see if we will use that particular song in the album, as it wasn´t originally intended because it was finished during the actual recordings.
How about touring? I know there are many rumors, but can you tell us anything, apart from the winter tour together with Legion of the Damned?
As I´m not part of the live act, I really can´t say anything certain about any dates. I know for sure that the band will do *a lot* of gigs during 2007, so lock your doors and hide your daughters wherever you live!
Now about the songs. I have never heard such a variety of styles before on one record… From Danny Elfman to LOTR to true black metal to Carribean instruments, rowing music and finnish folk… Can you take the tracks one by one and write a sentence describing each? ( who wrote it, why, how, what's it about, what makes it special , what instruments are used, etc…)
Ok, so here we go:
- Made by Beast. Lots of oompah, and some whistle.
- Made by me. Cannibal Corpse meets Mayhem meets Nightwish.
- Tundra and Routa wrote this one. Can you say Arabic and 7/8?
- Wilska´s old song. Sound like Terrorizer with horns. And kazoo!!!!!
- Tundra and Somnium (!!!) did some experimenting with violins and distorted loops. Old song.
- I love this song! It´s composed by Routa and it´s totally Klezmer and Carribean music!
- Finnish folk music gone sour. Vreth did this one, and I really love the percussion here.
- Made by yours truly. If you thought Berzerker was fast, listen to this! And no keyboards at all!
- We all made this in the rehearsal place. It has a bit stoner- influence and some Satyricon- oompah as well.
- This one is made by me again and it reminds me a bit of Korpiklaani. With drum loops, that is.
- Outro. Made by Routa. A lot of rats and other cool stuff to spend your moments with.
Which song will be the new 'hit single' to decrown 'Trollhammaren'?
I´d say that the Wilska´s old one. But we´ll have to see what Spinefarm decides.
Now for video material. Will you use the material filmed in Wacken?
No idea. Most likely yes, but I heard that it´s so badly played that we don´t know yet. :D
Are you going to use the material filmed at Nosturi Metal Barbecue this summer where Vreth and Katla are singing together?
If we have good footage, most likely yes. There is no absolutely no idea to use it if it sounds and looks like shit.
Are you going to make a new music video?
For sure! But this it will be of course a bit different than the previous one. We have actually thought that the band won´t appear there at all. But again I´ll have to repeat myself: “we´ll have to see”.
I heard rumors for years about a Finntroll DVD. Will that ever happen?
Definitely!!!!!! I don´t know anything about any schedules, but it´s “in the make”, I can confirm 100%!
Why isn't Finntroll on the Spinefarm Heavy Karaoke?
Because we think that it´s for subhumans and want to have no part with it.
Links of interest:
Read the article in its original context here