Interview: Olli-Pekka Laine of Barren Earth

About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with the bassist and one of the founding members of Barren Earth. In our short chat we discussed, among other things, the latest release On Lonely Towers, and their as yet untitled upcoming release. Read on for further details…

How’s the tour been so far?

The tour has been really amazing so far. Every gig has been sold out or almost sold-out and the crowds have been amazing. Even the Monday concerts have been really good! We’ve been getting along with the other bands really well and it’s a good package. It’s got enough variance in there as Wolfheart has the harder edge, we’re a bit softer and then Insomnium is straight-up melodic death.

How do you feel the response was to the last album?

The response was very good I think. Since there was a little change in the line-up the reviews were a little different as of course, not everyone liked that, but to balance that we got some new fans so it worked out good. It really depends on the next album how the career goes from here.

Now that we are able to tour, we should hopefully keep growing. We’ve got three step-in guys for this tour, which we’ve never done before. Previously, we weren’t able to tour much after we released an album because everyone had something to do. So this is kind of a ground-breaking tour for us and we should be able to tour much more now.

As you’ve said, you have people stepping in for the tours. Will this happen on the albums or will it remain the same core people?

We’ll be keeping the same line-up for the albums and aside from the vocalist and the keyboardist it’s been the same people since the start. It’s going to remain the same people and we’ll use the step-in guys for when our other people are busy.

Given that other members in the band are busy with other bands, is it not quite difficult to schedule in album recording times?

It kind of is but this time we’re going to be recording in a studio near Munich which will help out with all the other guys. Marko and myself will go first then the other guys will head there one by one to record. Then it’ll all be mixed/mastered and then hopefully come out soon after. We’ve done albums before so we’re kind of used to this process. We just agree a period of recording and then we just do it.

What sort of equipment are you using at the moment?

I’m currently using an Ampeg 8×12 cabinet which I’ve had since the mid 90’s alongside a Mesa Boogie carbine m6 amp which is a hybrid between valve and transistor. I also have some pedals such as Bass Wah, distortion and Eq. It’s quite simple and old-school which is all I need really.

I also have this old-school classic Ampeg amplifier which I used to use but it was incredibly unreliable. I still have it but don’t really use it much. In terms of basses, I use Gibson Thunderbird 95 and 76 basses alongside Rickenbacker ones. I’m really into old and vintage guitars and I like to stick to the basic stuff and not use all these weird shaped things.

Is there any advice you’d give to new bands?

Bands should think more in the long-term and shouldn’t expect too much. We’ve been going ten years and we can still be considered a young band. It takes a lot of time and can be really frustrating sometimes. I’ve thought about quitting many times but this is my passion and is what I want to do. I’m lucky, in that this is the music I want to play which is something I’d say bands should make sure of as well.

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