Interview By Alison Booth
Finnish progressive metal giants AMORPHIS are seasoned veterans of the metal music scene, rapidly heading towards their 30 year anniversary. The band’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s “Under The Red Cloud”, their 13th studio album “Queen Of Time”, produced by Jens Bogren will be released on 18th May via Nuclear Blast Records.
Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager Alison Booth caught up with bass player Olli-Pekka Laine, AKA Oppu, to discuss the epic new album and all things AMORPHIS. Look out for a special Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem radio show next week on http://www.totalrock.com starring Oppu and of course new AMORPHIS music! Some excerpts from the chat can be read below, with the full interview on the audio player:
On how the band feel about the forthcoming album release, Oppu stated:
“Well, it’s really exciting, it’s like being in a candy store or something! We’re even more excited than back in the day somehow. It’s like, wonderful – two videos out and one is coming next Friday from another song. And we have already played a couple of songs live in Norway and we will add a few more songs to our live set.”
Discussing “Queen Of Time” and the new areas explored this time around:
“Jens did a great job – he’s an amazing producer and he has great ideas. You can see from him that he kind of hears things in his head, in some weird way.
When it comes to the choirs and strings, that’s something Amorphis has used from Day One – even when we did our first demo, we had a human voice synthesizer on the album on a couple of songs. So in a way it’s not a new thing for us, the new things is that it’s done with a real choir and a real orchestra. We are known for wanting to explore things in our music and this is something totally new for us and yeah, we’re kind of open minded when it comes to new things and this is our way to do it this time.”
Regarding lyricist Pekka Kainulainen and the lyrical content of the songs, Oppu revealed his thoughts:
“I think that I even haven’t met Pekka, though I am his friend on Facebook and Instagram. I think he’s doing a great job, the guys have been working with him with previous albums as well and he is kind of writing the lyrics in the timeless way, that the Kalevala was written back in the days – the book which we have been using in the nineties. It’s kind of a good thing because our music is timeless as well, so the lyrics fit our music really well.
Personally, I kind of like the idea not to explain the lyrics too much, or coming up with certain themes too much because I tend to enjoy to find my own personal interpretations in the lyrics, so it would kind of boost the music. Everyone reads the lyrics in their own way and finds their own meanings.”
Talking about his favourite “Queen Of Time” tracks, Oppu explained:
“Yeah well Daughter Of Hate is great and The Bee, that has grown as one of my favourites and Grain Of Sand, which has a kind of Slayer vibe on it. They were one of the bands which inspired Amorphis in the first place, so it’s nice to have that kind of influence there as well. So maybe those three songs are my favourite and it’s really hard to pick up the top one – it could vary from one day to another.”
Oppu enthused about being back in the band:
“Well it’s great! It’s sort of familiar to be in the band but feel it’s kind of a new band, because it’s much more professional and we have a great background organisation. We have our own stage crew and the playing is much better and also the mood in the band is, I wouldn’t like to use the word ‘mature’, (laughs) but I think I will. We have all matured in a way and the guys are just great.
Everyone has developed in playing very much and for example I have discovered new kinds of music. I’m listening to a lot of jazz nowadays and I’ve played in a stoner rock band, so I play a lot more these days than I used to do. On a personal level, we were good friends, almost brothers, back in the day already and that remains. We had that spiritual connection throughout the years anyway. It kind of felt for me that I’m part of Amorphis even though I wasn’t in the band, so it was kind of a natural thing to enter again.”
On touring and the recent show in Norway:
“Yeah I’m sure we will tour like hell for the couple of next years, so it’s almost 100% certain we will come to the UK as well. We have our first European tour booked for next January.
Well, surprisingly good you know – I saw a few people singing the songs by the heart. It was kind of surprising because I wouldn’t learn any band’s lyrics before the show! But it’s great to see there are hardcore fans who are excited in Amorphis and yeah, they were received really well. We will have our first show in Finland on the 8th of June and we are playing plenty of the new stuff and also some classics.”
Discussing what’s coming up in the future for AMORPHIS, Oppu stated:
“Only gigs coming up, nothing that should be mentioned. There are some surprises which I actually cannot reveal. I’m not saying that they will happen in one year, but maybe next year there will be something special I think.
But for now we will go to tour and we will have our new stage set up. The first tour will be in North America with Dark Tranquillity and Moonspell which will be interesting to experience. We have several visitors on the album, I hope that at least some of them could join us on stage at some stage during the tour. It’s gonna take time because of the conflicting schedules, so let’s see!“