Interview with Niclas Etelävuori from Amorphis
Interview by Déa di Morté
HM: For those who have been enslaved on lepper island without access to reality, please re-introduce yourselves
Niclas: Tomi Joutsen (vocals), Esa Holopainen (guitar), Tomi Koivusaari (guitar), Niclas Etelävuori (bass), Santeri Kallio (keyboards), Jan Rechberger (drums).
The band`s been going on for almost 15 years now, with some line-up changes on every album. Influences are from the early days of death metal and other metal to 70`s rock & prog. rock and folk music. In general we are influenced by music nowadays not so much by some scene. It can be a Middle Eastern thing or a Finnish shaman thing whatever that has a good feel to it goes pretty much.
HM: Never one to disappoint, I see you`ve created another masterpiece for us to enjoy!! What is the inspiration behind eclipse?
Niclas: We started to write new material almost right after Far From The Sun was recorded which was in the year 2003. We came up with around 7 or 8 songs quite fast. Pasi Koskinen was still The singer at that time and we did the demos with him. Then we went on tour. In October we were supposed to go to the U.S. when Pasi informed that he is leaving the band, so we started to look for a replacement. We got way over a hundred tapes from all over the world, from were we picked a few that we auditioned. We didn`t really find anyone from there and we started to get a bit desperate that is this it. Then we heard about Tomi Joutsen through a friend, we called him up and asked him to come and audition. When he walked in we knew right away that this is our man if he knows how to sing, and man he did. Soon after we went to the U.S. & Canada for 5 weeks there we really got to know each other better, it was a good tour in many ways.
When we got back we finished the songs and we wanted Tomi Joutsen to give his own input so we pretty much thrashed the old vocals and started from scratch. In July 2005 we entered the Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki where we recorded everything with engineer Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone) and for vocals production we had help from Marco Hietala (Nightwish). All the music was produced by the band. The mixing was done by Mikko Karmila at Finnvox studios in Helsinki where we have mixed every album since Tuonela. In the end we ended up mixing the album twice and mastered it three times, but it was worth the effort and we feel really confident about it.
HM: How hard has it been to get to this point?
Niclas: Well, the band has been going on for almost 15 years. I`d say we have had to overcome every obstacle there is. The line-up has changed on every album, we had to change label, management and agent many times. There have been all kinds of stuff, but now it looks like we have found a good team to work with. It`s hard to think of any new obstacles that we haven`t already dealt with.
HM: Where do you feel your main fan base / support tend to lie?
Niclas: The bigger the city the more people there tend to be. I`d say there are fans all over the world; those places we don`t visit that often tend to be more fanatic. But cites like New York and Moscow have always been great.
HM: When you`re playing at a metal festival, who do you prefer to be playing alongside you and where?
Niclas: We have been quite lucky because we already got to play with most of our favourite bands. But if we got to do Rock In Rio or Ozzfest it would be something worth waiting for. We haven`t played in South America except for Mexico and never in Australia so they are both on our wish list.
HM: What would be your most memorable gig / performance to date?
Niclas: It`s hard to pick one but I`d say Tattoo The Planet with Slayer, Cradle Of Filth & In Flames is one because we got the play the old hockey arena in Helsinki where I saw my first show which was AC/DC back in `84 or something, that`s where all the big bands played at that time. And we also got to do the same thing in Stockholm. Also it was always a dream to play with Slayer.
HM: So with all the tracks you`ve produced, which would you say you prefer to play? And is there one in particular you`ve noticed your fans ask for?
Niclas: Black Winter Day is kind of our Paranoid, now we are looking very much forward to present the new songs to our fans. Our material is so diverse that it`s quite hard to pick the song for a show, we try to pick songs from every album but there are so many of them now. Usually we rehearse a double set and change the songs a bit every now and then.
HM: If I`m not mistaken you`ve got a new video out - house of sleep. Tell us a little about that.
Niclas: This was probably the easiest video for us to make ever, it only took one day for us. It was filmed in Hämeenlinna which is a city an hour away from Helsinki. It looks very nice, the colours are kind of Salvador Dali style. You can watch it from our web site; www.amorphis.net.
HM: The first Amorphis album I bought was `The Karelian Isthmus`. How do you feel Amorphis has progressed since then? Do you think you`ve achieved what you originally set out for?
Niclas: The music has evolved a lot over the years, now I think we found a good combination of all that the band has been standing for over the years. In the beginning we`ve all just wanted to make music and we are still doing it so I can say we achieved what we set out for.
HM: Anything you`d like to say to your fans?
Niclas: We`ve never been down under yet, with this album it`s definitely one of our goals to get there. We really hope to see you at an Amorphis show in Australia.
All pictures courtesy of www.Amorphis.net