One of the bands that are often one of the first ones named when people ask for Finnish metal bands, will most likely be Amorphis. Starting off as somewhat of a progressive death metal inspired band, in the mean time they’ve progressed towards more progressive and accessible stuff. Their releases are always impressive showcases of their musical talent and the band is well-liked by metalheads from all kind of subgenres within the metal scene. So since they were playing at Tuska 2017, I went to have a little chat with guitarist Tomi Koivusaari…
Hey, nice to meet you. Lately you’ve been touring a lot and been constantly on the road, how’s that been for you guys?
Well, that’s our main thing that we do. We rather be on the road than live on the sofa. I think we’re very used to that nowadays because we tour quite a lot. After this we have one more tour in Autumn and then we’re going to the studio to make a new album…
Aha, that’s already answering one of my questions! Because it’s been 2 years since you’re last release, so I was wondering if something was going on…
Yeah, we haven’t checked any new stuff together yet, but of course we have some ideas.
During all of your touring, you also took part in the 70 000 Tons of Metal and Radio Rock Cruise. How did you experience that since it’s something completely different than regular touring?
Well, Radio Rock Cruise is different because… people are very drunk… (laughs) But the 70 000 Tons of Metal, it’s very nice for us. It’s like holiday because it’s January-February, so it’s cold as hell in Finland and then you go to the Caribbean, play 2 shows and just enjoy the weather.
It seems like a really cool concept, just being able to hang around with your fans, play a few shows, go see some shows and have a beer in the hot tub while watching some show…
Yeah! We’ve been there 3 times now, it’s great!
One day I’ll get there too!
Yeah, you should…
So, it’s been 2 years since your Under the Red Cloud album. I saw some interview with Tomi (vocalist, FYI) that the album was basically saying that “something bad is coming”. Now 2 years later, do you think that “bad” has come already?
(laughs) No, the concept of the lyrics was that. But to us I think it was quite like, a little bit uplifting album. I think so, we maybe got some new fans as well. We were very satisfied with the album and the producing and everything.
I seem to remember for that album it was the first time that the producer (Jens Bogren, FYI) actually had an active role in your sound and such?
Yeah, he was doing some pre-production here in Helsinki as well. He had a lot of ideas for song structures and such.
Would you consider that way of working again?
Yeah, we already booked Jens for our next one. It’ll mean hard work for us, but…
OK! I was wondering already since you seemed very happy with how it went and how he made Amorphis sound a bit more heavy again.
Yeah, that’s true. It’s easy to work with someone who takes all the responsibility from you, because normally we’re stressing if it goes well or whatever. This time we just let him choose and first concentrate to play.
So, how does it feel for you to be able to play on the 20th anniversary of Tuska?
It’s great! It’s our hometown of course and we’ve been playing at Tuska since it was on 2 locations still…
In the park and…?
Yeah, in the park and the other park (laughs) I think the very first was I think in club Tavastia. When we haven’t played here or have any festivals to do, I come anyway to visit friends because if I open my Facebook, everyone I know from Helsinki is here…
Since you’re here today, is there any other band or artist you want to see or check out?
Euhm… I’m gonna check HIM of course, it’s their last gig and we’ve shared rehearsal place many years. But haven’t seen them since the early nineties, so…
In the very beginning then…
Yeah! (laughs) But tomorrow, Mastodon would be nice. But I can’t do it, so maybe next time.
And is there any band you recently discovered you’d want to a shout-out to as a musician?
Euhm… hard question. Because I always try to find new music… The latest, it’s not new, but the latest one I’ve been listening to is Roger Water‘s new one*. But new bands, right now I can’t remember anything. But of course I’m always curious to discover new things!
That’s fine! On another note: would you ever consider doing the kind of anniversary tour again in which you play a complete album from start to finish?
We’ve done it 2 times, once with Eclipse and then we did it with Tales (from the Thousand Lakes, FYI). We maybe would do that with other albums, but we’re touring a lot already anyway. But it’s good if we have time waiting between albums or something, then it’s fun. I think it’s interesting, it’s nice for fans. Though I think it’s strange somewhat because you’ve built the live set and album order of the song a bit different.
And going further on that topic, would there be any album of another band you’d like to see live like that?
Yeah, why not? Like Slayer – South of Heaven or Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness or Carcass – Symphonies of Sickness… Yeah, there a lot of good whole albums I’d like to see live!
That sounds like some nice gigs to go to! Now, is there anything you’d like to add still for your fans or readers?
Euhm… that’s a hard one. Well… “Stay heavy!”
We’ll do that! Thanks for the talk!
*Due to a problem with the audio recording, this is our best educated guess.