At 20th March Insomnium played in Budapest so I took a time before their show and have one chat with Nillo Sevanen about the actual tour with Tribulation, their latest full-length Winter’s Gate, future plans (like a new album, some plans for the upcoming festival season), and we also did some chat about some things from the past that marked Insomnium’s career…
Can you tell us more about the tour with the Tribulation? What are some of the best shows, reactions of fans etc. How do you feel about it?
It’s been a very good tour so far. This is the sixth show today. We played in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, 2 shows in Poland, and all of them were very good. We were positively suprised because, we haven’t played here in Eastern Europe that much before, so it’s much better than we expected. We played in Krakow on Monday night and it was very wild. Otherwise if you would do that in Finland on Monday, nothing happens. Tribulation guys are really great. We’re sharing the same bus. They are easy band to tour with and I think it’s going to a great tour.
Let’s focus on your latest album, Winter’s Gate. Can you tell us something more about it and present it from your point of view?
Well, it’s a bit special album of course. It only has one song that is 40 minutes long and also with a short story. We had a few versions with the actual book that comes with the album. We’ve done six albums already in a traditional way so we wanted to try something new and also to make things interesting for ourselves as well. In the end, it turned out to be exactly what we wanted it to be. The feedback from the fans and from the media has been very good so, things have really moved forward for Insomnium with Winter’s Gate. We have every reason to be happy right now.
Since you wanted to do something special for this record, how do you feel about the reaction of fans and reviews since the album is already out?
I think the fans really like it. I don’t remember seeing any negative comments from our fans. Everybody thought it was a nice idea to try something different but to still sound like Insomnium, even though there are a few different elements here and there like, more black metal sound, even doom metal, some progressive stuff and so on. We try to evolve our sound and not do the same album over and over again. Before we’ve done it we were thinking like, how will people react, it’s only one song, but it turned out very well and people liked it a lot.
Was it hard actually to write and compose, not to record but to write and compose a record with only one song that is so long? Does it take time to do such thing when it comes to composing?
Well, it’s still 40 minutes of music. Of course, arranging one song that’s 40 minutes long is different than recording for example 10 songs. But now, when I think about it after a few years, everything went very smoothly. Maybe we just had luck so the pieces just fit together easily and everything found it’s place, but of course, you have to think differently when you’re making one really long song. Anyway, it all went well. We might do something similar in the future, we don’t know yet.
Could you say something about your other albums, for example, which one was the most important record for Insomnium? I mean, every record is important in one way or another, but perhaps there was a breaking point or two?
The first album obviously, when we even got to that point to get a record deal with Candlelight. We were still young kids learning how to do this. Another turning point was our third album, Above the Weeping World, which was our breakthrough. We kind of found our sound with that record. We learned to arrange songs better, we knew what to do in the studio. It sounds way better than the first two albums that were kind of practicing. We were still learning. And, with the third album, I don’t know what happened but, we started touring outside of Finland. Suddenly, people all over the world knew us. And also, another turning point was when we signed to Century Media so, with our fifth album, One for Sorrow, things again went to a higher level, with a bigger record label.
Well, since you’re touring a lot and the band became more popular, how do you feel after all these years spent with Insomnium, it’s been 16 years now. How do you feel now, have you achieved what you wanted so far and are there some other goals that you are still trying to achieve?
Well, when we’ve started we were 16-17 years old and we just wanted to make music, maybe make a demo. We never really thought about how we would be active after 20 years. But it all happened so slowly that we adjusted to it and created new goals as well. So, now we’re here, but I’m pretty sure that we can become even better and have even more fans around the world if we just keep making good albums. There is still a lot to do and a lot of new places to conquer, South America for example, we’ve never been there before. We still enjoy all of this, which is the most important, and I think that people can sense it on our live performances that we indeed do what we love and enjoy doing it, and there a good energy between the crowd and the band.
Can you say something more about the bands that influenced you? I follow finnish scene and the bands like Sentenced and Amorphis and I can smell some of their old stuff in there. Did any of those bands and their older stuff made an influence on you?
Yes, Amorphis and Senteced definitely, the things they did in the 90s. It was a huge influence for the band. And personally for me, I found this kind of music as a teenager so the bands like Amorphis and Sentenced were very important to me at the time. So, when we started Insomnium, they were definitely the most influential bands. But then, after our third album, we’ve really found our own sound, what Insomnium is all about and what kind of music we are doing. Of course you can hear Sentenced influences here and there, Opeth as well, and now, with the new album, even Emperor. I would say, Scandinavian bands mostly. We all listen to Metallica and Slayer, but I don’t think that it had any influence on what Insomnium does.
So, when it comes to Insomnium, there is always the question, what are the next steps? The latest album has already been out for a while and I’m sure that your fans would love to hear about the new stuff.
We have this spring tour, a tour in US somewhere in June, and after that we only have a couple of summer festivals so we’re definitely going to start making some new music then. I would say, if everything goes as planned, the new record will be out next year. There are some demo recordings already, which are really great, so I have a really good feeling about this new album.
Since you’ve just mentioned some festivals in Europe this summer, can you name them? Fans would like to know.
I don’t remember actually, but I think that we have two festivals in Europe. One in Germany, and the other one hasn’t been revealed yet so I don’t really know. But one is in Germany, I don’t remember the name. It’s not any of the biggest ones. You can see it on our website.
Now that you have toured a lot, can you say where were the best reactions and where do you like mostly to play?
That’s very difficult question. The good audience is almost everywhere. For example, in Japan, it’s always special to play there. Also Nederlands, where everyone are usually high during the show. I remember the first time we played there, the audience were really strange, they didn’t move much. After a while we realized that they were actually high. But here in Eastern Europe I would say that the Audience is great almost everywhere, crowd is really wild and that’s what we like, when the crowd is on fire. So Nederlands is a bit difficult for us (laugh).
Do you have any message for the fans that were listening to Insomnium for so many years?
Thank you for the support. We wouldn’t be here without the fans, touring and playing and making albums. So, when we are in your town, come and see us. We give our everything on the stage every night.
- Answers by Nillo Sevanen
- Interview by Marko Miranovic
- Typed by Darko Panic