Finnish titans Finntroll are gearing up to release their brand new album Vredesvävd in a few weeks. Their first album in seven years, the album is the first with new drummer Mörkö and marks the long-awaited return of the band. Prior to the release, our senior editor had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Vreth about both the new album and what’s been happening in the band over the past few years.
How do you feel the response has been to the material released so far?
It’s been really excellent. This album is a bit different from previous ones, but we’re really happy with what we’ve received. I’ve not seen any negative feedback yet which is kind of scary, but so far so good.
This is also the first album in seven years. What has the band been up to since then?
We’ve been doing a lot of touring and we did plan to have the album out before this. I pushed the guys to have a 2020 album as we’ve been touring so much. Last year, when I was at a festival doing an interview and I was asked “When is Finntroll coming back?”. That was kind of surprising as we never went away, we were just doing odd tours or weekends over Europe and Asia. People thought we quit, but we haven’t.
We toured from 2013 to 2015 on the Blodsvept album quite a lot and once we finished that we decided to try and write something. However, the material didn’t really sound right so we decided to do the 10th anniversary of Nattfödd tour. So, that took up more time and once we finished that we tried to write something again. However, the material again didn’t sound right and felt like something was missing. We decided to wait a bit and let it happen naturally, and then I had that interview with that reporter. I then asked the guys if I could contact Century Media to get a deadline for the album in 2020. It was then about 8 months before that deadline that Trollhorn and I decided to start writing the material.
Once we started writing it, things started to come together more easily and sound as we wanted. We wrote a couple of songs and then we made the song “Att Döda Med En Sten” which was exactly what we wanted the album to sound like. We then wrote the rest of the album in under half a year and then got it recorded. We used the same producer as last time, but gave him a much bigger role. We normally record and mix the album ourselves, but we decided that this time we didn’t really want to do all the recording. He was also more involved in the mixing and helped out quite a bit there as well.
What was the concept behind this album?
It’s still primarily based on what Kotla’s been feeling and his experiments with old Finnish traditions. All the songs on this album tell a journey of some kind, some are geographic and some are spiritual. For example, “Forsen” is about journeying back into yourself to find yourself.
The band uses stagenames instead of your actual names. Is there a reason behind that?
In all my other bands I usually go by my own name, but we started using them in Finntroll in a similar way to how Ghost does. You go into a character and present that character as opposed to representing yourself. When I go into the character of Vreth, he can do a lot more than Mathias can do. It’s like an extension of myself and having the stage clothes and the makeup helps make that a bit easier.
You’re in a few other bands outside of Finntroll. Does it ever get difficult to balance your time between all of them?
I actually don’t have that many right now, but I had so many different bands and projects in the past. I’m only in four bands now, and two of them are not really that active. One of them we do gigs when we can, and it’s kind of a therapy thing. I’m in …And Oceans and Festerday as the guitarists of …And Oceans have Festerday as their project, so it kind of came as a package deal. This year was the first time in fifteen years that I had difficulty scheduling things in, but about four days after we sorted it out the pandemic happened. The Finntroll tour got moved to half a year later so that’s not been too hard to reschedule. We’ll have to see what happens with …And Oceans.
Touching on the pandemic, I noticed that festivals have kind of come back in Finland.
As of right now, I think you can have full capacity festivals but there are things you need to take care of. I played a festival two weekends ago out on a island which you access via a boat. They were very strict about how many people could get on the boat, and there were hand-sanitiser stations everywhere at the festival. They were also handing out face masks and ensuring that there weren’t too many people in one group, the usual things you’d expect. We were kind of lucky in Finland as we had a lot of days with no new cases and very low numbers anyway.
What would you say is one of your favourite tracks on the new album?
“Forsen” is probably my favourite full track off the album. We have an animated video for that and I really like it. It was the first full song we wrote on the album, and it got some new treatment to make it even better. It’s my favourite song off the whole album, and I think the intro riff to the ending track is one of my favourite riffs.
What’s something you want to see less of in the music industry?
I want to see less of the posts from the founder of Spotify. He’s not helping matters at all right now. If he starts paying artists better, then maybe we might make more music. All it’s about is him making more money, instead of having more music available to people.
What would you say is a song that you enjoy playing live?
I love playing this song from the first album which is called Svartberg. I love that song and it’s pretty much been in the setlist at every single show.
What would you say is something people have misconceptions about in the music industry?
I have to say, right now, it’s the touring. People think that we have such an easy life and forget that, being a Finnish band, we have to fly everywhere. We can’t jump in a van or a bus and drive to places. We have to travel a lot and regularly, I might travel two days to play 45 minutes. The travel I’d say, for sure, is something that people don’t realise. I’ve seen many sunrises at airports and it feels like I occasionally live in Helsinki airport. There’s this Irish bar there and you know it’s a bad sign when the owners start buying you drinks when you’re there. They acutally came to our show in Helsinki last time we played there.
If you had to put together an Ice Cream sundae, which flavours and topics would you use?
I’m a big chocolate guy so there’d be chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips. I’d also have some salted liquorice in there as I love that as well.
If you had to put together a plate of nachos, what toppings would you use?
I love nachos, and I’m quite traditional with my topics. I like having some mincemeat, jalapeno’s and shredded sharp cheese. I make it at least once a month and it’s really tasty.
If you had to describe your band in 30 seconds, what would you say?
Fast melodic metal with some Finnish melancholic melodies to it.