Mat: Could you for starters please tell
us briefly who you are and how the band came to have its present line-up?
What were the main reasons for starting the band originally?
Ville: Insomnium are Markus Hirvonen - Drums,
Ville Vänni - guitar, Niilo Sevänen - Bass and vocals and
I - guitar. Insomnium started as four man piece in the year 1997.
Me, Markus and Niilo were already then in the bunch and besides us
we had Tapani Pesonen in drums. Markus played guitar at the beginning.
I think our main goal was just to have fun with playing music we liked.
Soon we however realised that we actually were able to write quite
decent songs and in that point whole band thing turned little bit
When Tapani decided to do his military service Markus took care of
the drums and Timo Partanen joined for the second guitar. We recorded
two demos with this line-up and got deal from the Candlelight records
with the second one. Soon after signing Timo also decided to do his
military service and as we wanted to keep on going without breaks
we contacted Ville Vänni and asked him to join us as second guitarist.
We rehearsed about 6 months and entered to studio in the fall of 2001
and recorded our debut album.
Mat: I understand the word Insomnium is
latin and means both nightmare and insomnia. Why did you choose this somewhat
"gloomy" name and how do you feel that you've incorporated this
in the music you create?
Ville: Well I think that hardest thing for
us as a starting band was to invent really good sounding not that
ridiculous name. I think we thought about it about two years before
coming up anything decent. In the end we basically just made different
suggestions and picked together the best sounding name from the list.
I'm not sure if we have succeeded to incorporate our name or its meaning
to our music, but I consider it as just a name. As you can read the
music came first and the name last, so for me it's just name
Mat: You're from Karelia and so is an important
part of your cultural heritage, Kalevala. I also know that In The Halls
Of Awaiting is taken from J.R.R Tolkien's Silmarillion. How much of these
two productions are part of your lyrics and what other mythical and poetical
works have given you lyrical and musical inspiration? What brought about
this fascination for myth, poetry and folklore and the idea to involve
it in your sound?
Niilo: I would say that the mood and atmosphere
of our lyrics is a mixture of traditional Finnish folklore and The
Silmarillion. Both sources have given our lyrics sorrowful, wistful
feeling and a strong emphasis of nature themes. Sad, darksome tales
about love and death - that´s basically what our lyrical concept
Of course we are influenced by all that we read, so it´s impossible
to track where all the ideas have come from. I think I and Ville Friman
have quite a lively imagination since we started to read a lot of
books in an early age. And now it bears some rotten fruit already
We´ve had this kind of lyrical concept right from the beginning,
so it came to us really naturally.
Mat: Besides these above mentioned factors
what others inspire you when it comes to your music and lyrics? Other
bands of course but which ones and do you also turn to more non-metal
music and genres?
Ville: Well at the beginning the BANDS were
In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Amorphis, Metallica and Sepultura. Nowadays
I think the spectrum is a bit wider, but I listen most of the time
different kinds of metal bands: Opeth, Katatonia, My Dying bride,
all the above and little bit more varied stuff as Finnish Rock and
Swedish Action rock!
Niilo: My early faves were about the same as
Ville mentiones above. Nowadays I listen for example Arcturus and
some strange Finnish rock bands. Sometimes movies can be very inspiring
for lyrics as can be going in theatre. Also historical books are an
important source of inspiration for me.
Mat: Although you're in your younger years,
your sound is very mature and it sounds like you're very experienced musicians.
How do you explain this? Do you have any musical education to back this
up or is it more of a self-education process?
Ville: I don't know but that's of course great
if we sound mature :) We're basically self educated eventhough our
drummer and another guitarist have taken some lessons. I guess we
share a very similar vision how music should be made and played and
I guess our strenght as a band comes from that. Me, Markus and Niilo
have also played quite long together and I guess that's one reason
- Niilo: I think it is important that we all know
what we want to sound like, and we have that common vision about this
Mat: I read on your web-site that you've
been appointed New Talent 2002 in Finland and obviously your awesome debut-album
has been quite succesful there. Gongratulations to that!
But how has In The Halls Of Awaiting been received in a more world wide
Mat: And while we're on the subject of Finland.
There seems to be an almost never-ending stream of young and talented
Finnish bands reaching the inernational metal-scene nowadays. What do
you think is the reason for this? Do you have some secret concept that
the rest of us don't know about or what? =)
Ville: I think no one can give any flawless
explanation for your question. I don't see Finland any different from
Norway or Sweden for example. These all three countries have the best
metal bands in the world and that's for sure a fact! Why in the earth
have all these freaking metalheads born in these regions? That's just
crazy, but actually also great because we Scandinavians rule the metal
world ;) I'll conclude that it must be this damn chilly weather..
- Niilo: At least we Finns get this melancholic
mood from our mother´s milk, so we are quite good in making heavy
and looming music. Finnish men drink too much, get frustrated and then
kill themselves, so this is a jolly country
And I also believe
that it is this pleasant climate behind all this.
Mat: As I understand things you're at the
present time working hard with your up-coming album. Can you tell us something
about what we can expect to hear on that one? Do you have a working title
yet or can you share some new developments, track list etc with us without
giving away too much juicy stuff?
Ville: Well we have now bunch of songs ready,
most of titles and lyrics missing, so no nothing yet ;) In my ears
the material sounds a bit moodier and mellower and definitely a bit
more varied than on our debut. I'm not sure but maybe you could call
it more proggier too. Dark as death and heavy as hell :)
Mat: How did you get the record-deal with
Candlelight Records? Is your upcoming release also on the same label?
If not, why the change?
Mat: Is anyone of you involved in any side-projects
or participate as guest-musicians on any other band's releases or is it
"only" Insomnium at the present time?
- Ville: I play
in Dark/Black metal band called Arrival and Ville Vänni has his
own band, Watch Me Fall, in which Niilo sings also. Markus plays sometimes
in different bands traditional Finnish dancing music called "humppa".
He's perhaps the only one of us who actually gets paid for playing gigs
Mat: What's your opinion of the importance
of the Internet for both Insomnium and metal in general? What has it meant
for your band so far and what do you expect of it? Has it lived up to
Mat: And before we end this interview some
Ice hockey fan or fotboll freak?
-Ville: Definitely Ice hockey!
-Niilo: I enjoy them both. But nothing beats the football world
championships as a sports event!
Nokia or Ericsson cellular phone?
-Ville: Nokia, eventhough most of them are fucked up
-Niilo: You have to be that much patriotic to choose a Nokia
Stay at home or go on tour?
-Ville: If the tour is reasonable then tour, but if you have 12
bands in one minibus and 15 minute playing time in the 14:00 clock afternoon
I'm quite sure that I will rather stay home with my darling.
-Niilo: I think none of us would go on a shitty tour eventhough
we would have a chance to play in many countries. We have also life besides
this band so it would only be a waste of time and money. But to go on
a real tour that is well arranged would be a dream for us.
On stage doing live-gigs or record in the
-Ville: Both of them, because they are rewarding (and stressful)
in their own ways
-Niilo: Same here. The feeling is different but I need them both
to be a happy musician.
Musical non-metal bands/artists you recommend?
-Ville: At the moment I have been listening Sigur ros (0) and it
works well for me especially through the headphones!
-Niilo: Soundtrack of the first Lord of the Rings movie. Good music
Night out drinking with the guys or home
cuddling with the girlfriend?
-Ville: On friday out with friends and some cuddling with girlfriend
in the next day ;)
-Niilo: Again I must agree. Balance between drinking and cuddling
is important to keep.
Instrument you always wanted to learn but
haven't had time to?
Unplugged or amplified?
-Ville: Amplified when on stage, unplugged at home.
-Niilo: (nod, nod)
Most underrated band of all times?
-Ville: Us in the year 2015 ;)
-Niilo: Hope not. I will say that Sentenced should be big as Iron
Mat: And finally - any words of wisdom or
funny facts about the nearest future
you want to share with the readers?
That was all I had for now, Ville/Niilo - the staff at metalcovenant.com
wish you all the very best for the future, and we sincerely want to thank
you for keeping the spirit of Metal alive!