Swallow The Sun recently released their highly anticipated new album, When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light, and the response so far has been pretty impressive. Prior to the release of the album, I had the opportunity to send some questions over to drummer Juuso Raatikainen to get an idea of the process behind the new album and some Finnish bands that he thinks should get more attention than they currently do.
Pretty positive feedback so far! Some people are once again surprised about the amount of clean vocals. It’s funny how some people live in this kind of growling bubble. Like they get scared when they hear some intimate clean vox, haha.
You also released “Lumina Aurea” just before Christmas and the New Year. Whilst the song is a bit different for the band, how do you feel it’s been received?
Divided opinions on that one. Some people think it’s brilliant, some think it’s boring and a waste of time. It is indeed a cinematic ambient piece, far from a traditional band album. “Lumina” and the album are thematically connected, so I think this ambient piece is a great intro for the album.
In terms of the recording, was the process any different to previous albums or was it much the same?
Juha (Raivio) usually has a pretty clear vision on how things should be. Other members, including myself, need to process this stuff with honesty, respect the demos and come up with suggestions. I think it’s very necessary to get the best possible outcome. On this album Jaani Peuhu, the other producer, had a huge role as vocal and keyboard arranger. For me this album was a lot easier than the triple one (Songs from the North). Less material, more time. Relaxed process.
These releases also marks the first ones with new members Jaani Peuhu and Juho Rӓihӓ. How has it been working with them and did they contribute anything to the releases?
The thing is we’ve known these guys for a long time. Jaani (Peuhu) was around doing backing vocals for ‘Don’t Fall Asleep’ already in 2006, long before I joined the band. Juho (Räihä) has been filling in for Juha during these past years on tours. These were natural choices. As I mentioned on previous answer, Jaani was the other producer for When a Shadow… album. Both of these guys have studios of their own too, so a lot of the guitar and vocal recordings were done in their facilities.
It was recently announced that you’ll be touring the US with Children of Bodom and Wolfheart. Are you looking forward to that?
Oh yes! That will be one helluva Finnish metal tour! We’ve toured with Wolfheart before. They are a bunch of awesome dudes and good friends.
In terms of musical equipment, what was used on the new album and is that the same as what you’d use on the road?
Swallow The Sun endorses Orange amplifiers. All our string players use them on the road. I’m not sure about their instrument endorsements. Juho Räihä uses Chapman guitars, Juha Raivio ESP and Matti Honkonen is currently using Fender basses at least. I use Impression cymbals, Balbex drumsticks and currently own a Gretsch drum kit. Other than that, you’d have to ask all the guys individually.
What is one thing which you need to have with you on the road?
Currently I’m on this quest for not being dependent on anything. Quit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine products. So I’d like to answer, I only need a toothbrush. But of course there’s a lot of waiting and sitting around involved so I try to have my laptop and something to read with me.
Are there any bands from Finland which are maybe less well known which you think people should check out?
Yes. Dark Buddha Rising, one of my favorite bands. Sort of space/stoner/black/doom. Then you should all check out a new death metal project of mine, Hedonihil. It includes Mikko and Juho of Swallow The Sun too. A debut album will be released in April!
If you were to put together a tour featuring yourselves, which bands would you want to tour with?
I’d really like to tour with Triptykon and Draconian would be nice too. That would be a fucking kickass package. Ofc, any of the bigger bands out there would be nice to tour with.
And finally, what would you say is your go to album to wind down and chill out?
Well, I would recommend Songs from the North part II for that. Perfect for hangover! It’s the etheric, acoustic record of the triple.
When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light is available now via Century Media Records