» Ville/Niilo - Insomnium
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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 more serious.
    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 is like.
    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 too.

  • Niilo: I think it is important that we all know what we want to sound like, and we have that common vision about this whole thing.

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 perspective?

  • Ville: Thanks! We were voted in many places but unfortunately we didn't get the first position anywhere ;) But yeah it was really great to see that actually we have fans who will vote for us and that's biggest thanks in this job.
    I think the response have been quite good especially when thinking that this was our first release ever and we were able to give many good interviews and received lots of great reviews.

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?

  • Ville: Basically we made lots of promo packettes and sent them to different labels. After few months Candlelight contacted us and as the deal looked good for us and both parties were happy with it we signed a deal with them for a 4 records. Our upcoming record will also come out through Candlelight Records.

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 those expectations?

  • Ville: Well internet have been a great venue for us to "market" our band. We have been able to put soundclips into our pages and we have get many fans through it. I also think that's it's good for metal in general too. I also know that our album can be dowloaded from the kazaa etc.. but actually I don't mind that much since I know how expensive the cd's are. I think the people in to the metal music are many times sort of record collectors and they will want to buy also the original cd besides mp3's if the record is actually good. So I believe the mp3's won't do that much harm if the music will be and stay good.

Mat: And before we end this interview some short questions:

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… heh heh.
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 studio?
-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 for sacrificing:
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?
-Ville: Narubasso.
-Niilo: Drums.
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 Maiden.

Mat: And finally - any words of wisdom or funny facts about the nearest future
you want to share with the readers?

  • Ville/Niilo: ---

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!

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