About Me

Interview with Swallow The Sun

Releasing a single before releasing an album is not exactly out of the ordinary... but what if the single is not directly linked to the album? Swallow the Sun do not stop to surprise us... in mid-December they released the single "Lumina Aurea" and in mid-January they will release the new album "When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light" by Century Media. While we are here hoping that they come to Portugal on the European tour, read Juuso's interview with Metal Imperium.

M.I. - After 19 years of Swallow The Sun, what keeps you going?

I would say love for music, but as you have probably noticed there have been some lineup changes as well. A band usually has to go through some changes to keep on going. So I guess a better answer would be Juha’s (Raivio) endless well of creativity. 

M.I. - The band is about to release a new album with a big title “When a shadow is forced into the light”. What’s the meaning behind it?

Our main writer Juha has been through some tough times in his personal life and experienced a great loss. The music for the album was written during a couple of less devastating weeks during spring 2017. So, the title stands for rise of new hope after great loss, maybe something about acceptance too.  

M.I. - Before the album was released, a single “Lumina Aurea” saw the light of the day. Why release a single that isn’t even included in the album? What’s its purpose?

If you listen to this single and compare it to the album, they are artistically two completely different things. Lumina Aurea is the battle in the dark, the album a rise of new hope. So these are separate releases, but part of the same concept. Wouldn’t make sense to put them on the same disc. 

M.I. - Earlier last year the band suffered a lineup change. You lost Markus Jämsen, a founding member of the band. How did you react to his departure? Did it affect the recording of the album?

Well, I wouldn’t say this band has really “suffered” a lineup change. Usually when a thing like that happens it brings something new to the table. Juho Räihä, who joined the band to replace Markus, has already toured with us a lot filling in for Juha. We were familiar with him even years before that. So somebody leaving and being replaced just starts a new chapter for the band. That’s life, nothing lasts forever, things change. Swallow the Sun and all the past members are in good relations with each other.   

M.I. - “Lumina Aurea” features Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and The Foreshadowing’s Marco I. Benevento and is supposedly the band’s darkest and most sinister piece of music. In what way?

We were very happy to get those guys to join on the piece. Especially Juha is a big fan of Wardruna and we toured with the Foreshadowing years ago, bunch of great dudes. The lyrics in Lumina are in Latin and apparently Marco had some knowledge about that, so it was great he agreed to participate. To me this piece sounds more like some kind of soundtrack. It’s quite far from a traditional band track. My role for example was to record some percussive samples, huge bass drums and snare hits. Didn’t play a drum kit at all, it was truly something different. I can tell you that the sinister sound comes straight from the gut feeling of Juha. It’s one of the most honest musical pieces I have heard.

M.I. - According to Century Media, “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” follows a more positive approach and continues in the vein of previous albums – first-rate death-doom in the typical style of SWALLOW THE SUN. Do you agree?

Well, I don’t know what is typical style of Swallow the Sun really, haha. After the triple album it could be anything from acoustic to funeral doom. But yes, it is a traditional band recording with fantastic production. Especially the mix by Jens Bogren is as good as it gets! I hear this album as quite a balanced piece of work, not too much extremes there. More steady grooves, strong choruses and peace of mind. It’s heavy and it’s sensitive.

M.I. - The single was released as 12” EP vinyl version and features a 14-minute epic single track called “Lumina Aurea”. Are you vinyl fans? 

There is definitely a big scene for vinyl still and I guess I could say I am a vinyl fan. The big album covers and a bit muddier sound... there’s something special about it especially now that everything is in the invisible cloud. 

M.I. - The band has already some shows scheduled for 2019… it will be a year dedicated to touring most certainly… how easy/complicated is it for you? 

Yep, going to be a busy year. I like touring personally. I’m the youngest member of the band and have no kids etc, so it suits my life right now. I can tell you that all this touring life might look a bit more prosperous on the outside than it really is. I mean the band has to be quite big before you get decent salaries. So, this is a commitment and you definitely have to sacrifice a lot for this lifestyle. And not always get paid enough. 

M.I. - Obviously the band will tour… is there somewhere you haven’t been yet and would love to go?

Yes! I would definitely like to tour South America more, only played Brazil once (I guess the guys played Mexico before my time). Also Australia would be awesome to visit. 

M.I. - When you are not playing/ listening to music, what are your hobbies?

I like to take care of my physics so I go to gym regularly. Also helps with the drumming to have a decent fitness. I play video games, read books and try to travel as much as possible outside touring too. I also spend a lot of time working on my own musical projects.

M.I. - When you’re on the road, touring in a bus, what do you do in order to help time pass by?

Whatever you can imagine, haha. Reading, movies, games, shit talk, sleeping... anything really. I always try to find the closest gym on the road too.

M.I. - When will the Portuguese fans have the opportunity to see the band live?

Our management is working on an European tour for spring, but I have no idea if Portugal is included. Gotta hope so!

M.I. - Many thanks for your time. Hope you have a blast in the upcoming tour. Share a message with the Portuguese fans and the readers of Metal Imperium.

Thank you too! I hope everyone reading this will check out the new album, ‘When a Shadow is Forced into the Light’, out on 26th January via Century Media! If you like it, BUY IT please! I absolutely loved visiting Portugal last time so let’s hope it’ll happen again soon. Additional greetings and shout out to Sinistro’s guys and girl!   

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca