AMORPHIS Vocalist TOMI JOUTSEN: 'Metal Should Always Be An Underground Kind Of Thing'

April 29, 2018

France's Duke TV recently conducted an interview with vocalist Tomi Joutsen and guitarist Esa Holopainen of Finnish melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS about their forthcoming "Queen Of Time" studio album. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On working with acclaimed Swedish producer Jens Bogren:

Esa: "We worked with Jens Bogren, our producer, this was the second time. The previous album, 'Under The Red Cloud', was our first experience working with him. It was pretty obvious that he wanted to push a bit more new flavor for the whole sound-world. During the pre-production, Jens had all these ideas about the choruses and string arrangements and classical music instruments. He gave all these ideas to us and we were a little bit skeptical how it will turn out. But it turned out great. He really put all the pieces into the right places and all the choirs and orchestra instruments, they give it a really nice flavor for the overall sound. For sure, it will make the whole sound more massive."

On the lyrical themes behind "Queen Of Time":

Tomi: "I think the guy who wrote all of the lyrics, Pekka Kainulainen, he always takes lots of inspiration from all beliefs and old myths and stories from Finland. I think the topics that he's thinking about, they are really things that are happening around the world, around the times, so they are really not unique. They are really typical topics in the world. He doesn't want to say things straight. He uses poetry and sometimes, you really have to think about what he's trying to tell you in a way. [Laughs] With our music, it's a great fit, that stories and our music, they work pretty well together."

On lead single "The Bee":

Esa: "It's the opening track for the album and it presents quite well what 'Queen Of Time', the album, is about. I guess it's got all the pieces, what we brought into this album. It has it in one song. It has the orchestra, the choir, slightly different sounds and there's this odd guitar riff and it almost sounds like nu metal."

On their influences:

Esa: "We grew up listening to bands like IRON MAIDEN and KISS and the music that was there and it was interesting and was fun. I guess the spark for forming bands started from there and I guess that goes with a lot with the other guys as well, forming other bands. Those were usually the bands people started listening to and later on started to form their own metal bands. That was the time when you start to search for harder music. Then came speed metal with METALLICA and ANTHRAX and all these bands, then came the thrash metal and death metal boom later in the '80s and early '90s. That was the time period when we started to form bands. We started to play brutal death metal at the time. [Laughs] Yeah, that's what started our career."

On the evolution of the metal scene:

Tomi: "It's been interesting to follow what is happening around the metal scene because when I started to really dig metal music, it was the beginning of the death metal scene and now it developed a lot, then came nu metal and now there is 'electrical crap metal' or something like that, so it's been developing everywhere. It's great that people are still really into metal and guitar and listening to metal and following the scene and forming new bands. I think personally, metal should always be an underground kind of thing. If it's beginning to become too normal, it's going to be boring. [Laughs] There should be some kind of rebellious atmosphere in metal, always."

"Queen Of Time" is set for a May 18 release via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2015's "Under The Red Cloud" will include the use of real strings, flutes, orchestral arrangements and even choirs. In addition, this will be the first time that people will be able to hear Kainulainen on the album, as he contributes a speech in Finnish.

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