Finnish folk metal pioneers Ensiferum are due to release their 8th studio album titled Thalassic on July 10th via Metal Blade Records. The album not only delivers a concept-theme about the sea with some Greek mythology subjects here and there, which is a new thing for the band, but this release also is the debut for their newest member. Pekka Montin (keyboard/clean vocals ), whose voice delivers a breath of fresh air to the group’s style resulting in taking the band to a new level of epicness. We recently had the chance to speak with frontman/guitarist Petri Lindros about their upcoming effort, the new guy, the quarantine, and all things Ensiferum.
How has been your lockdown/quarantine so far, what has Petri been up to during these strange times?
Well, pretty much playing guitar, playing X Box, watching Netflix, cooking food, doing laundry, you know, the usual home stuff.
I notice that you’ve been cooking online and doing streams as well.
Yeah, I’ve been doing that, a couple of times now. It’s pretty much just for fun, you know, and it is somewhat like a therapeutic experience.
Which games are you playing right now in X-Box?
Right now I’m playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
Many bands have resorted for the online stream concert option during this current pandemic, is Ensiferum planning something like that in the near future?
Yes, we are currently working on that one, so hopefully, we can get the news out pretty much soon. Hopefully within a couple of weeks would be awesome to get some news out from this live stream show.
Like many of us in quarantine, music has become more than before a company to keep up our good spirits, what have you been listening to during this time of lockdown? Any bands or albums you would recommend?
Today I was listening to the latest Dream Theater album. I even can’t remember the name right now (Distance Over Time) but it’s actually a pretty good album. I like that one, and I’ve been digging out some old classics, some Megadeth, Slayer, and King Diamond, quite a lot, and then also checking out some oldies, goldies pop music from the 80s.
Is that something popular in Finland?
I have no idea. Well, kind of, at least people at my age and a little bit older, we tend to like the older 80s stuff since we were growing up with that music so that I was kind of force-fed from my older sister. She is 10 years older than me. So I know all the Madonna and Michael Jackson pretty much by heart.
The new album Thalassic will drop on July 10 on Metal Blade Records, this album is a conceptual album around the sea and water, but also has a Greek mythology feeling with tracks like Andromeda. What was the process at the time to pick this kind of greek/sea concept?
Well, that is just one part of the Thalassic theme album, just one story, among others. I think it fits very well with the theme, and I think most of the people might be familiar with this Andromeda thing. So I think it’s also very easy to approach since It’s already familiar from different circumstances.
What happened on Thalassic that didn’t happen on Two Paths?
Oh, that’s a good question. I would say quite a lot, totally different songs to start with. Well, we have a new member in the band, Pekka Montin who is taking care of the clean vocals and keyboards. So he brought his voice to the band. And we used it quite a lot on this new album. Since when do you have a voice like that? It needs to be used, and we had a lot of use for that beautiful voice of his. So that also is a next step from the previous albums that Ensiferum has been doing.
Was the use of his voice intentional to push a higher level of epicness for Ensiferum’s sound?
I would have to say pretty much, Yes. His voice is. He can also sing very soft and kind of like quiet, but also his higher register is really powerful. So we just have to use it also. And it gives a lot of new angles and feelings to Ensiferum’s music.
What was the most challenging part about creating Thalassic?
Well, I think it’s like overall putting all the songs together in a way that they also fit somewhat together, you know, we always been having a lot of variation in our songs within an album. So we go from side to side and up and down a lot. So I think the hardest thing is to make the whole band satisfied for the songs, and I can say very well that with this album Thallasic we pulled ourselves off very good.
At the beginning of April, a book called The Folk Metal Big 5 was released which celebrates the careers of Ensiferum, Turisas, Finntroll, Moonsorrow, and Korpiklaani but it was released only in Finnish, what can you tell us about this book?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure to read the whole thing yet, but I’m planning on that one. Also, there’s been a lot of questions coming up from that book if it is going to be translated into English? And what I have heard that the answer is yes. So hopefully they can get that one done. Well, as soon as possible, of course.
With this summer festival season gone down the drain because of the current global pandemic, I notice that one of the full reschedule festivals is Metalfest Open Air in the Czech Republic, How do you receive this news and what would you say to all the fans that were looking forward to seeing Ensiferum at any of the festivals around Europe but have to wait till next year to see you live?
Well, it’s a very unfortunate event and it sucks for everybody. It sucks for the fans, It really sucks for the bands. It’s very bad for the festivals and their crews. Everybody who is involved in running this business from day to day, it’s a hard time for everybody and it will get better. And well, I think we all just need to wait until next year pretty much for going live on a real stage instead of a streaming show.
Do you think it would be a different experience to what we are used to experiencing at a metal show or festival?
It’s kind of hard to say what kind of reaction it is, but I hope that people don’t take, you know, bands coming over to play shows for granted that they can just pop in any time they want and stuff like that. This kind of pandemic shows that people had bought tickets for not just one show, but multiple shows that were up and coming this year, you know, and now that everything is canceled and nothing is certain actually for next year either. Just you don’t take it for granted. When a band comes to play near your hometown or in your hometown, you should always go and check it out because you never know what’s going to happen.
Definitely that is totally correct. Because, you know, all of us as fans sometimes say: “oh, well, this band comes here often, so I’ll catch them in the next tour.” Also, it depends on the day sometimes you get your town hit with two or three shows on the same night, or several shows through the month depending on the city. So you have to pick and choose your battles.
Yeah, I know, and I think it’s going to be very much like that one if everything is going back to normal next year early because there are one million bands who want to go on tour at the same time. So it’s going to be pretty epic to see how it’s going to turn out.
Were you guys planning probably something by next year, or is everything frozen right now?
Well, the plans were to actually start touring very late this year, early next year, so basically nothing was booked yet. So we’re having very open plans at the moment.
Do you have any messages for the fans that are waiting for the release of Thalassic and of course to see Ensiferum live again?
Well, the album is coming out on July 10th and a few weeks before that one, there will be our music video coming out from the song “Andromeda” and we’re also currently planning to play the Livestream show. So keep your eyes and ears open and check us out live when you can.
Following the interview, Ensiferum invited fans to submit a clip of themselves in order to be part of an upcoming music video. The group has also announced a Live Stream Record Release show on July 10th (get your ticket here). Check out the details below:
ENSIFERUM ‘LIVE STUDIO’ ‘THALASSIC’ RECORD RELEASE SHOW – JULY 10!
We are incredibly excited to announce that to celebrate the release of our new album #Thalassic, we will be performing a special live stream show from Sonic Pump Studios Helsinki, where we recorded the album.
We’ll be performing a selection of new, classic and rare tracks & chatting with you all between performances & after the show – so this is one you won’t want to miss!
The show will take place on July 10 at:
Sami says: ”Hi folks! We can’t come to your home town to rock with you, but we really want to show you the new line-up in action! We know it’s a far cry from the normal headbanging/sweaty gig, with our crazy fans going nuts in the moshpit and singing along so loud that it hurts our ears on stage, but we are very excited to try something new by streaming this live show for you. It will be like Ensiferum is playing in your living room! We will prepare a well-balanced setlist with new, old & rare songs, with some breaks between songs to answer some of your questions, which you can send in advance. After the set, the whole band will grab some cold drinks to cool down and join the chat with you all! See you all soon (at least online, for now…)