Finntroll is one of the super powers as far as Folk Metal goes when it comes right down to it. Formed in 1997 by a very drunk Somnium and Katla, Black Metal & Finnish “Humppa” music were mixed together and had some astrounding effect. Thus Finntroll was born. I admit that it takes a couple of listens to get into it, but once you do, it’s a ride into some territory that many Metal bands don’t bother to take. The genre is labeled “Pagan Folk Metal” and while Finnish in origin, the band sings in Swedish. The group made their very first adventure over to the United States opening up for German Thrash legends Sodom and at this particular show held at B.B. King Blues Club, it seemed like Finntroll were the stars tonight. The crowd was singing and dancing through the whole set and would be a far more exciting act than Sodom would be tonight. Shortly after the band ended their set I was chit-chatting with singer Tapio Wilska and since everyone was enjoying heafty amount of beverages (even me) the conversation was very ad-hoc but fun. Remembering that I had my recorder led to a few minutes of interview questions with him about the night and touring here for the first time.
KP: OK so I am sitting here with Wilska from Finntroll who has just finished his successful and first time ever gig in New York City. So tell me very honestly what your impression was going into this show.
Wilska: Well, we didn’t know what to expect but the New York audience was so cool and were so into it and playing live shows is the main reason that I do music. The adrenaline rush that you get onstage in a setting like this where theres a club full of people who are really into it the amount of energy that you get from that is just quite good. I mean we have a joke about that saying that if I could bottle the energy from gigs as hangover medicine I would be a fucking millionaire man. I could go on stage and too bad that I am not that professional and have gone on stage very, very hungover in my time but two or three songs into the set when you get a really good audience it all just sweeps away.
KP: Well, I have to ask you that since this is your first time in the City ever did you realize that tonight based on the venue capacity that you just performed for about 1000 people. What are your thoughts about that information.
Wilska: Again, I am speechless because we were expecting the traditional four people and a dog but of course there would be a bit more because we are here with Sodom. Both of us didn’t know what to expect, but certainly New York went over my expectations. It’s done, we are backstage, and I have my jaegermeister and in a moment we will hop into the bus and drive ten hours over to Montreal, but tonight or let’s say tomorrow morning about 7 or 8 o’clock I can go to bed a very happy drunken man.
KP: What would you say is next for Finntroll? You released “Nattfodd” in 2004 and that was on Century Media Records. Earlier the other guys told me that work had begun on a follow up album so I have to ask if the music will still hold a lot of the same melodic sense as we have seen before. I am speaking of the use of the Humppa influences as well as a lot of the Black Metal stuff – so what can we count on as Metal fans from Finntroll the next time around.
Wilska: You can count on that we are going to work our asses off to make the best fucking album we can possibly make and right now we have riffs for which we have ideas on where they should go. There are no radical changes or anything like that but we are going to try and get some different ethnic influences into it as far as the rhythm department. We are also hoping to get a little more heavy in the riffing. The one thing you can expect is the unexpected from us. Rest assured we are working hard at making a really strong and good album as best as we can.
KP: To close out our little discussion, can we count on the next record being as heavy as or perhaps even heavier than we found on Nattfodd as well as the added question on what inspires Finntroll. You guys are doing something that is not usually done in Metal, or at least it’s not the most normal of the styles approached by the bands today.
Wilska: You can be rest assured that we are not turning Bon-Jovi on the next album because we are at a big turning point for the band and this new album is going to count for a lot. We’re now with our first time here and we are planning to do a lot more touring of the States. I dunno, your questions are hard man (laughs)
KP: That’s right, you’re in New York, and I’m going to be tough on you (laughs). So after this when do you think you will come back again to visit the fans.
Wilska: That you have to ask our manager who is somewhere down here, but we are trying to get here again around October for a proper full US Tour. Because tonight left me speechless. We have our fans and supporters and we hear from a lot of them in mail about their being into the band so that gives me a trust of them. When we go onstage, we give them all we got and I expect nothing less from the audience and tonight just clicked.
KP: I just wanted to ask how it feels to you when you think of the fallen member of the band, Somnium. Do you think he is following you guys and keeping and eye out for you and guiding the band in some way.
Wilska: He will always be with us because he was a Brother and a dear Friend and he will always be with us. With tragedies like this, you have to have the memories but you also need to move on. That is just how life is and we have moved on with the band. (earlier in the evening the drummer had said he must be with them since they are always finding themselves missing cigarettes and they felt he was taking them)
KP: He still inspires Finntroll today?
Wilska: Of course man, and he was a crazy mother fucker and I remember and love him from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget him.
KP: Wilska thanks so much for the time, go have some much deserved drink now and fun. I wish you and the guys the best on the rest of the tour.
Editor’s Note: Shortly after the band completed the tour, they decided to part ways with Wilska and he was removed from the bands roster. There were differences that they felt could not be dealt with and while interviewing him I felt no band dissent or ill will. He was fun to talk to and sit and drink with so we wish him well in all of his future adventures in Metal.
Official Website: http://www.finntroll-music.com/