“People still need new music.”

ENSIFERUM are well established in the scene. They have been delivering their folk inspired melodic death metal for over two decades now and show no signs of slowing down. They will soon be unleashing their eighth studio album titled Thallasic via Napalm Records on the 10th of July. Rock Out Stand Out’s Martin White speaks to Petri Lindroos about their new album and how he is getting by during this pandemic.

The new album Thallasic is due out on the 10th July, what does Thallasic mean and why was this chosen as the album name?

Thallasic means “related to the sea” actually and we have a themed album for the first time ever.

Does this all follow on as a story then?

We have different stories in each song so it is not like a concept album.

So to confirm, all the songs relate to the sea, hence the name Thallasic. What was the actual inspiration behind the album, were there any elements based on Finnish history or folklore?

There is one song “The Defence of the Sampo” that one is related to Finnish mythology, and folklore from “Kalevala” and that is the folklore one. The rest are historic events and a little bits of myths here and there.

That is what I really like from bands from other countries, you get tastes of their history, their folklore as opposed to just knowing your own, you get to learn about other cultures too, which is a good thing about the metal scene as a whole.

Absolutely, it is good.

How does it feel for you to be releasing an album with the world in the midst of this current crisis?

Well the first initial thought that we had a couple of months ago was “Damn this sucks!” But now the viewpoint has changed a little bit on that because I think it is good thing to actually release new music amongst this disaster that is going on all over the world. People still need new music man.

I totally agree with that statement, music makes people smile and keep motivated. In regards to the crisis as it is, how has it been with your upcoming and future tour dates, have you got some that are still scheduled for later in the year or have they all been rescheduled for next year?

We only had summer festivals scheduled for this year, since the album is coming out  on the 10th of July touring plans were located at the end of this year and early next year. So nothing was booked yet so we will start from nothing whenever the touring is possible again.

I guess this makes things a little bit easier in a sense but do you not have any concerns that the venues are going to have clashes with other bands that are in this situation?

Well this is going to be a tough nut to crack like all over the world, how this is going to effect the venues, that are not doing anything right now that are basically standing empty and wasting money. From what I have heard, venues and clubs are not gold-digging sites you know? They need a lot of scheduled filled up on a weekly basis so that they actually stay afloat. It is going to be a tough one when everything is done and playing on a real stage is possible again

How have you been yourself during this pandemic, what have you and the band been doing to keep busy?

Well we have been checking the new songs, how they actually turned out and learning to play them finally. Keeping myself busy playing a lot of guitar at home, now that I actually have time to play for myself its actually pretty fun, haven’t had that for years you know? Due to very busy schedules all of the time. So playing guitar, playing XBOX, watching movies and TV series like a crazy person and just trying to do stuff at home as much as I can.

I can totally relate with the XBOX and everything else, I have had a stack of games to try and get through, with work and everything and how life is you don’t find time, and then you think, what else can I do at the moment with having to stay indoors at the moment. You have to make the most of the opportunities. I do a lot of cooking and try and cook new things and do it from scratch rather than pre-made. You feel better having home-made food.

I actually love to cook my own meals, everyday you learn something new about cooking: how not to burn your food is the first thing that comes to mind.

I like it that it reminds me of chemistry how you mix your certain ingredients, what works together and what doesn’t and you develop as a person too and there is nothing more satisfying when you see someone’s face once you have cooked for someone and how much they are enjoying it and you know you have done good.

Yes, absolutely.

Going back to the band and the songs, you have been learning the new ones. Are there any songs in the bands back catalogue that you have never played live that you would like to in the future?

There is some tracks that has never been played live I think. We have not gone that far back on the catalogue yet, maybe that day will come at some point, it depends on how long this is going to take.

I remember when I have seen you at gigs in the past and there are chants from the fans to play tracks such as Goblins’ Dance and such like, do you think that will come back or anything from that far back will come back into the set at some point?

Well everything is possible of course. I remember we have played Goblin’s Dance once and that was about fifteen years ago, so it has been on the shelf for quite a long time. We haven’t been digging that much treasure in the treasure holds so far but well like I said, you never know.

This is it. With the band being around for twenty plus years, you certainly have plenty of material to go through. It must be hard having to prioritise certain songs and maybe some fan favourites that you have played on a regular basis for so long but you may have to retire some of those to introduce your new songs or even some older ones.

It is always the same issue with us, and with this being the eighth studio album, and now we are getting a bunch of new songs that needs to be fitted to the setlist. We usually try to keep it around fifteen songs per show when it is a headliner show. So that will take ninety to a hundred minutes and it is going to get difficult again to figure out what we are going to play from the old ones and what new ones we are going to put in to the setlist itself. That one is still very much under debate.

I noticed on the new albums track list you have a song called Cold Northland part of the Väinämöinen story that continues from Old Man and Little Dreamer from the first album. Was the story always intended to be carried on in a musical form or is it just a nod to the songs on the self-titled album?

Well there is a little bit of continuation from the Väinämöinen saga that we have had going on from a couple of other albums and we also wanted to have on that particular song an older Ensiferum vibe and to go back to those days and I think we pulled it off pretty good, and it was a good thing to have it like Old Man Part 3.

It was very interesting to see that in the tracklist that you were bringing those older elements through too. This brings me to my last question for you today which is; have you got anything that you would like to say to the fans yourself?

Well we have got the stream show coming up on the same day as the album is coming out which is the 10th of July. Our new music video is going to be ready today so that one is going to come out sometime in June, I guess within the next two to three weeks prior to the album release so keep your eyes and ears open for that one too. For all the fans and their friends and families; stay safe, take care and we will see you live as soon as it is possible.

That is absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for your time today Petri speaking to us at Rock Out Stand Out, I hope you stay safe, stay metal and best of luck with the new album release.

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