Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vorna Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Vesa: Sure! The release of our debut full-length "Ajastaika" went quite well and we got some requests to do live shows before the end of the year. We would have been more than willing to promote the album on gigs but unfortunately we didn't manage to do that. We just couldn't find enough time and resources to do that and Mikael's (our drummer) military service didn't make things any easier. However, that doesn't mean we have been idle. We've actually started to write new songs and done some other preparations for the year 2014.

2.A few months back you released a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction it has taken and also how does it differ from your past recordings?

Vesa: The sound of the album can be described as melodic and melancholic yet harsh and aggressive metal. There are distinctive influences of at least melodic black metal and folk, maybe some other genres too. I think that it in many ways sums up the past five years of Vorna's existence. Of course our sound has developed quite remarkably from the early days, for example in terms of arrangements and production, but it still has a very similar overall vibe that was already present in our demos. 

3.I know that the band name and the lyrics are based on Finnish Paganism, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic and also are you interested in the Paganism of other cultures and countries?

Vesa: Paganism and the ancient religions in general are very interesting and inspiring topics. Or I could just say 'folklore', for some reason that word appeals to me a bit more than paganism. Maybe its because the word 'paganism' is little more related to anti-christianity or something and that is not something I'm interested in writing songs about. Even though I can't totally avoid it. In any case, the fond of my interest to the topic does not lie with the actual religious aspect of it. Rather, I'm more interested in tradition, customs, tales, myths etc. And that goes with the folklore of other cultures and countries as well, not just Finnish. In Ajastaika's lyrics, paganism/folklore or nature related vocabulary are often present in a way or another, but usually that's not the main theme: it is more like "background" for some other story.

4.The new album came out on Inverse Records, do you feel this label has done a lot of help for getting the bands name out there heard?

Vesa: We've been satisfied that we chose to release the album via Inverse Records. They have promoted the album well, distribution has gone smoothly and our contract also makes it possible for us to promote and use the song material in any way we want to.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Vesa: We have actually performed live very seldom so far. There is no particular reason for that, we just haven't. Perhaps every show we have played has been a bit better than the previous one. So I'm gonna say that our next show will be the best one!

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Vesa: Yes. We have plans to do bunch of shows in Finland this year, we'll be giving more info about that pretty soon. There have also been conversations about doing some shows abroad. But we shall see. Hopefully we'll manage to do that one day.

7.I remember reading in metal magazines around 10 or 15 years that extreme metal bands where making the top 10 in your home country, is metal still very popular out there these days?

Vesa: That's an interesting question. Perhaps metal isn't as popular here in Finland as it used to be some years ago. But it's still very popular. You can see metal bands in the official Finnish album sales charts quite regularly. Maybe not so often in the top 10 but still in the charts. And there are a huge amount of metal bands which in fact makes things sometimes quite problematic livewise because there are relatively few venues compared to the number of bands. And Finnish people hardly ever go to shows on weekdays so weekends are true prime time and competition is rough. 

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of black and pagan metal?

Vesa: In general, the album has been really well received. Worldwide. It has also divided opinions, though. Some listeners and critics have said that Ajastaika is an amazing and very original album which has it's unique sound and atmosphere. And on the other hand, there are people who think it is an average, typical folk/black record. Of course there is everything in between too. There have also been a wide range of bands from different genres that our listeners have compared us to. Even though there are those certain standard names (which will come up almost every time when its possible to put Finland, folk metal and your bands name in the same sentence) many of them have actually been quite surprising. I think that's one sign that tells us we haven't been totally predictable and boring after all!

9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

Vesa: Most likely that certain melancholic atmosphere will always be present in our music. If I have to describe the sound of our next album, I'd say that it's general musical direction won't be too different compared to our previous releases. There will be fast and black metal-ish moments, acoustic parts and lots of melodies but also some new tricks and ways of expression. We'll do whatever feels natural for us at the time.

10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Vesa: It's extremely hard to answer this question as all of us are composing/arranging Vorna's music and we all listen to many different bands and music styles. So our songs are also influenced by huge amount of bands and styles. 

11.Do you have any non musical interests?

Vesa: Sometimes I play recorder purely for sadistic purposes. Seriously though; I have three dogs, like to take long walks in the woods, watch movies, play games, read books and enjoy alcoholic beverages with me mateys.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you very much for the interview! And for the rest of the world: if you are reading this and haven't heard our debut album 'Ajastaika' yet, check it out. You will love it. And if you don't, you shall cry and love it. 

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