About Me

Interview with Ensiferum

“Thalassic” is the brand new Ensiferum album and Petri Lindroos took a bit of his time to answer a few questions about it. Water, cooking shows, the hiring of new member Pekka Montin, live shows and, of course, the problems that this new whole pandemic brought to the band are the topics that have been discussed. Here’s what Petri had to say.

M.I. – Hi Petri, thank you for granting us this interview. It’s an honor for us. How are you doing and coping with everything, given the current circumstances all around the world?

Hi! It’s really bad, you know? We were supposed to start the festival season over a month ago and now we’ve got basically nothing. We just have the live show coming up on the July 10th and that’s it. Then we don’t know when the next show will happen, so, it’s weird. Everything for this year is cancelled.

M.I. – From what we’ve seen in May, in the Ensiferum’s Facebook page, you even had some videos in the kitchen. Do you want to tell us a bit more about that? How did the idea come up? Was that a way to keep the fans entertained during the lockdown? 

(Laughs) Yeah, I was just posting my dinner plate the other night and a couple of guys asked for a cooking show and I was like “Well, why not? I literally have nothing else to do, so…”. Then I did that one, it was a lot of fun, and I did it again like 3 or 4 times now. It was a lot of fun! Kind of therapeutic, you know? You can talk to people but they can’t talk back, which is pretty cool and I think I’m going to continue that one, for sure.

M.I. – Sounds good, what other dishes can we expect then?

I have no idea, because I usually don’t make any big preparations. I’m not a chef so, I’ll just check some kind of recipe and see what I think I’m capable to do. Then I go get the ingredients and start doing that. So, anything and everything is possible. 

M.I. – So, “Thalassic” is a brand new album coming up in a band with more than 20 years. This time however, you had a new member coming in. How did this change affect the whole creation process?

Yeah, we have a new guy called Pekka, he’s the man with the clean vocals and the keyboard and you could say he’s a godsend, like an angel sent from Heaven, with such a beautiful voice and being a very talented singer. What he brings to the music is a completely different approach compared to what we had before, like a very strong clean vocalist who could pull it off and it opened a lot of doors music wise, so it was really cool to meet this guy. When we head his singing we pretty much said “You’re hired”, so it was a pretty easy decision.

M.I. – And he ended up being a Finnish person as well…

That’s a very huge bonus, of course. We received hundreds of applications from all around the world and it was a very time-consuming search to go through all that. There were so many very, very talented men and women in that list, but this man happened to be a Finnish one and he could drop by really fast for the audition and, once we heard his singing and his voice, we all said “Yeah, you’re not going anywhere, man, you’re stuck with us” (laughs).

M.I. – How did you meet him? Did you have an idea already and went to find him or did he send an application as well?

He was one of the applicants, so we got to know him in this kind of way. Also, some friends of us in the same scene knew him already and told us he is a very, very talented guy and… now he’s in the band.

M.I. – So when Pekka was hired, was “Thalassic” already being written and created?

No, he was part of it from the very beginning. He was very focused on his vocal parts, considering that he has a lot of versatility in his voice. He was using his voice very, very well and, depending on the situation, he would ask how we would want him to sing. He was doing a lot of that.

M.I. – From what we could gather, this is going to be the 1st album ever in Ensiferum’s history to be built around one single theme. What inspired you for this album and what was it that made you pursue this goal of creating one album under one theme?

Thalassic means “water related” so… it’s a pretty wide-open theme. But the main thing to get from this album is that… you’re going to get wet. So, water is the thing.
The idea came from our bass player, Sami Hinkka. He was working on this one for at least a couple of years and doing a lot of research for water-related historic events and myths around the world, and stuff like that. It’s pretty much his creation, actually and I really like it a lot! It has a different kind of approach to the music and the lyrics especially.

M.I. – “Rum, Women, Victory” looks like a very fun, joyful song. Does it set the tone for the rest of the album? Is this the tone that we can expect for the other songs as well?

A little bit yeah, there’s a lot of metal in it, there’s a lot of Pekka’s voice to be heard, which is pretty cool and there’s a definitely something new for our fans to listen in this album.

M.I. – With some Power Metal on it due to Pekka’s influence, right?

Yeah, we have some Power-ish Metal stuff. He was that kind of voice, because he’s been playing on cover metal bands, doing Judas Priest and stuff like that, so… if we want to do some Power Metal songs, we’ve got the guy for that!

M.I. – Also, this is the 1st album with the current lineup. Pekka has been recently brought into the band. We can see that he had an instant impact with his clean vocals on “Andromeda”, for example. Tell us, what does he bring to the band as whole and how is he fitting into Ensiferum?

He’s fitting quite well. It was very easy to work with him in the studio. He knows what he’s doing, so it wasn’t like a pain the ass experience. He’s a nice guy, which is a plus. But I can’t wait to go on tour where we can spend some time together and get to know each other a lot more, since now it’s been only work-related stuff. Going on tour there will be a lot of time to talk and get to know each other.

M.I. – Now, Ensiferum is no stranger to changes. How do you deal with a change in the lineup? Is this something that takes a toll on the band’s morale? Is it something hard to recover from?

In our case, no. Because all of these departures and hirings have been very easy, there weren’t any fights or bad blood or anything like that. We had the time to move on from the other keyboard players, who have been coming and going for years now, but it hasn’t been a painful situation. It’s been going very well.

M.I – Yeah, because we see a lot of bands where this affects a lot of people and many of the other members end up leaving as well, and this doesn’t seem to be the case for Ensiferum.

Yeah, that’s true. We get along very well and we have a good time together. So, that’s very important and our chemistry matches a lot as well. We can be stuck for several weeks in a tour bus together 24/7. Well, sometimes that’s not so easy, I’ll tell you that, but, in the end, we get along very well and we still want to play live shows and that’s what matters.

M.I. – Speaking of live shows, we know that your last time here in Portugal, for Vagos Metal Fest, was kind of troublesome. I mean, there was an issue with the instruments and you ended up playing an acoustic live show, which surprised everyone in a very, very good way. Are there any plans to do any live acoustic shows again?

That was a very cool experience for us. I pretty much recommend every other band to do it. Unfortunately, a lot of bands will just have to cancel the show, because they don’t have their instruments and other vital gear that they need, so that’s a bummer for the band and for their fans. But since we had already done a few acoustic shows in Finland, we had a set in the back of our minds and we were able to pull that off. Thank you once again to the Festival staff for getting those acoustic instruments from their homes so we could play. It was a lot of fun. Also, we did an acoustic European tour and it was a lot of fun as well, so we’re definitely going to do that again sometime. I don’t know when, but we will!

M.I. – You were praised by every fan for doing that and looks like nobody was disappointed at all. How do you recover from such a huge setback to deliver an amazing performance anyway?

We have this kind of motto that we will play no matter what, even if there is a lot of gear missing or whatever, we try to borrow it from other bands and stuff like that just get the show done, because we’re there to play the show and it sucks when the band and the crew is there and missing a few guitars, and we can’t play. It’s a bummer, we don’t like that and it sucks ass. But we’ll do anything to play and if it means that we’ll have to give an acoustic show, so be it.

M.I. – Finland has always been hailed one of the top countries in Heavy Metal, after giving birth to so many successful bands: Nightwish, Amorphis, Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica, Turisas, Korpiklaani…to name a few. How does it feel to be an intrinsic part of that with a career of more than 20 years?

It feels pretty damn good, I must say! It’s not an easy profession in which you can keep performing as you are expected to over the time. But we’re still enjoying this so, right now we’re trying to see past this whole Coronavirus thing cancelling the shows. So, we can just enjoy the summer, recharge our batteries and when we come out in the tour buses, we’re going to be kicking asses… a lot!
About Finland, I think that it has a lot of extremely talented musicians who just happen to have a lot in common with Heavy Metal and they do it exceptionally well. I would even say that the Finnish Heavy Metal sounds a little bit different than Metal in every other place. The way Finnish people do music is also very cool. It is a bit dark, very melancholic too, depending on the band, of course. We’re kind of a dark nation, you know. At least in our music we’re not that happy. But Ensiferum is a party band, we like to do very melodic music and also, well, to have the most fun with it, which is the key. And when you do what you enjoy and love, it will sound good.

M.I. – After such a long time in the music industry, what goals do you still hope to accomplish with Ensiferum? What’s next for the band?

That’s a good question! This corona thing kind of ruined everything. Hopefully we can have a good start next year when touring will be possible again. There’s still a lot of things to consider regarding touring, but we just want to play as many shows as we can. That will be the main highlight of the day.

M.I. – Is there anything you would like to address to the fans eager to see you again live soon enough?

Yeah, next time we play over there, hopefully we can have our own gear so we can really play our show. I’m not saying it was a bad experience, though. Take care, stay safe, enjoy the summer off from blood music, just chill out, enjoy some beer, barbecues and stuff like that!

M.I. – And keep watching Pete Lindroos going at it in the kitchen, right?

Oh yeah, that one too! Whenever I do it again, I’ll hit you guys up.

M.I. – Pete, thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on the new album “Thalassic”, we’re all eager to hear it! Keep up the good work!

Thank you very much, goodbye!

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by João Guevara