TURISAS (Eng.)

– Hello, thanks for your time. «Stand up and Fight» is such a surprising and, somehow experimenting album so, how has been it’s feedback so far?

Thank you, I’m glad you find it an interesting album! It took hard work and long time, but we made it. I’m quite pleased with it too – it turned out well, it has a concise but varied form, and it doesn’t let the listener away too easily. We didn’t try to make a super accessible album or play safe – I think the album is a bold move from us at this point, and it will no doubt strengthen our position as a kind of unique band. We’ve received some very good feedback, and then again some critics clearly don’t understand what it’s all; which is totally fine, they will, eventually.

– I would like to start spekaing of your new album with it’s title. How does it fit the whole album?

The title is very straight forward, Manowar-esque, even cheesy… It fits for the whole album; not maybe to all the individual songs, but to the whole concept, yes. We could have come up with all sorts of fancey shit – actually we had another working title – but at the end we decided to make it deliberately «stupid». At least the writers will probably get it right more times than with the previous album – you wouldn’t believe how many ways you can write «The Varangian Way» wrong!

 

– For example, we can find plenty real classical instruments. What can you tell us about it? Why did you think fits your sound, who are those players, how was the selection, etc.

Turisas has used orchestrations on all the albums, and this time we thought we should make sure they sound the best we can afford. It’s no secret that we used sample orchestras in the past – most orchestrated metal bands do – but getting those real classical musicians on board brought in that extra something. You know, computers are always only computers – you can’t really replace that natural human sound, that human error. Error in a good way. My brother Perttu Vänskä is a professional arranger and orchestrator, so we got him to work with us; after the arrangements were done, we contacted some of the Finnish top players, mostly whom we have known for years in the classical scene & gathered a couple of strike squads. We recorded the strings in a couple of sessions, horns in their own session, and put together the puzzle little by little.

 

– We can also find more choir harmonies, which I think (as the orchestrations), complement quite good the album’s feeling…

Thanks. It was all a result of hard work, but we managed to get the right people in, it seems

 

– And beside that, what can your fans expect to hear new in «Stand up and FIght»?

I’ll admit straight away that this is less folky stuff than, for example, on «Battle Metal». It sounds 100% Turisas though, but we kind of got fed up with that scene, at least for the duration of this album cycle. These songs approach metal from a different perspective, there are even operatic and musical-style elements to it. We still wanted to keep the music as the priority, and I think we have some killer songs on this one.

 

– As I said, is such a surprising album and quite varied. Do you think you’ll open to a broader audience?

Yes, I think so… even though it’s surprising how fixated some people are to our past. You can find tens of reviews that completely miss the point and call it blindly as folk metal, even though other influences are much more prevalent. Still, we’ve always been able to cross over to other genres, be them black metal crowds, power metal or whatever – in the end we’re all about audience interaction and live shows, and there’s a certain entertainment guarantee.

 

– What are the main lyrical ideas behind «Stand up and Fight»? As I read is a continuation from your previous album.

It is continuing the story to some extent… It’s Mathias’ lyrics and I don’t even know all his references, but basically they are mostly about the same era as «The Varangian Way». There’s still a lot of ideas that translate to modern times as well, and they shouldn’t be read like a real saga or anything. There’s a bit more of ideas that you have would as a modern, 21st century person; not just sword-Waring

 

– As far as I know, Mathias produced (once more) the album, do you think you will work again with an «outsider»? Or being the producer someone in the band makes things easier regarding how you want the album to sound like?

Haha, sure – it makes it easier to make it sound right, but everything else is more difficult! We actually thought about working with an outsider producer, but didn’t come across with the right person I guess. It was delicate matter, as Nygård had this concept in his head for so long, but obviously that brings some difficulties as well – deadlines seem irrelevant when it’s your own baby in question. And it actually worked really well, the album sounds big and all the pieces are well together! Let’s see how it goes in the future. I’d guess we’ll think about the producer thing with the next album as well.

 

– It seems you tend to take your time between each album. Is there any concrete reason for this?

Like with the producer question, it’s about polishing the music as long as it needs to be worked on. Nygard’s the main songwriter, and he doesn’t take any pressure whatsoever. It has two sides: first, it’s good that you take your time, as there are enough many «whatever» albums out there that sound unimaginative and uninspirational. More bands should consider filtering their ideas more. Of course the downside is that the album cycle is so long that you have to work a lot in order to get to the point where you stopped with the previous album. But it’s great that there’s a bit of that good old suffering in music, isn’t it? Not everything has to be governed by the corporate bullshit.

 

– If I’m not wrong, it doesen’t work for you writing on tour so, as you use to be a band that tours a lot, had this something to do with this subject?

Yeah, that as well. It’s hard to concentrate on writing properly when you’re on tour. If you listen to the songs, you realize it needs a bit more than just a couple of riffs and some run-at-the-mill growls.-

 

– And what has been the band up to during these 4 years?

You just said it: a lot of touring. While Nygard has been sitting in his basement writing the new material, the others have been doing their own things. Tude is an avid bonsai tree gardener, Jussi carves ships.

 

– You recently toured the US supporting CRADLE OF FILTH. How did this tour go?

It was good! We’ve been away from the States for a while, so it was fun to go back and see our loyal fans. The tour was good, and the turnup was pretty nice. Looking forward to going back there soon.

 

– And a few months ago you also toured Europe with DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER How was it like? And what about the acceptance from your fans toward the new songs?

The DAR tour was good as well – we actually toured did our very first tour with them back in 2005, so it was cool to catch up with the guys. The tour was a good chance to try out the new stuff. Some songs work well in a shorted set, some clearly belong to a longer headline set.

 

– Is there any other tour on the works to support «Stand up and Fight» live?

For sure. We’re doing the «Heidenfest» tour in Central Europe in September-October with Finntroll, Alestorm, Arkona and others, and then a good number of headline dates in the UK and Ireland in October & Novermber. And of course we’ll finally come back to Spain as well! We’re playing 5 shows in Spain & Portugal between 22–27 November. Make sure you catch us in Barcelona, Madrid, A Coruna, Lisboa or Porto! You can find the complete touring schedule at turisas.com/live

 

– Finally, what are your near-future plans (beside touring)?

We’ll renew the set a bit, so it’s gonna be rehearsals. Then I try to catch the last rays of sunshine before the summer’s gone for good.

 

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

 

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