Drinking mead and keeping oneself fit for the show is no easy matter, and no mistake. Even when you are a Troll. That is probably why Katla the singer of Finland's finest Finntroll who has recently recovered from a vocal cord surgery was drinking Sprite, while his brother-in-arms and the second leader of the band Somium opted for lager…
A dimly lit cafeteria of the venue, sparsely furnished with IKEA furniture looked suspiciously quiet for an upcoming storm that was sure to break lose in something like 40 minutes hailing the ride of the Finnish Apocalypse with Finntroll and Impaled Nazarene getting ready to goat and troll our asses off. The complementary duo comprised of the extremely tall and thin guitar-player and somewhat globular singer settled down across me at the table sipping on their drinks. Although both were seemingly tired of the soundcheck and the lengthy railroad trip, the excited look in their eyes betrayed the agitation before the show, or…
MetalKings.com: So how do you like Moscow?
Katla: We haven't seen much yet. But the hotel is very cool.
MetalKings.com: Where are you staying?
Somnium: Some boat.
Katla: It's very Russian. The design and everything.
MetalKings.com: What are the expectations for the tonight's gig?
Somnium: St. Petersburg was cool, so…
Katla: So hopefully it's gonna be as cool as St. Petersburg. There's a lot more people here.
MetalKings.com: You are playing the first right?
Katla: Yes, we go onstage at about 7 and then around 8 we finish, and all the booze is for me!
Somnium looks gloomy. He is playing in both bands tonight and chances are that by the time he walks offstage after the IN show all the tasty beers will be devoured in the bottomless bellies of his troll-mates. Upset by the perspective he put his nose to the glass and takes a large sip.
MetalKings.com: I was kind of wondering why Finntroll is always singing in Swedish…
Katla: Oh, here we go again…
MetalKings.com: And not in Finnish?
Katla: Well, the word itself Finntroll is Swedish. My mother language is Swedish, so when we were making our first demo tapes, it wasn't even like, 'hey we gonna sing in Swedish' we just did. We never actually discussed it very much because it sounded quite good. I like singing in Swedish, because first thing there's not too many bands doing it and secondly it's my mother language and it's nice to sing in the language that I know best. I was born in Helsinki, but my mother side is speaking Swedish, which is quite natural because we have a lot of Swedes down there.
Yes, any ties with Moonsorrow, another Finnish band that plays similar music are entirely dismissed, cause those guys are singing in Finnish. The only thing that connects the two crews is the keyboard player and pure coincidence, Katla assures.
MetalKings.com: Well, since it's been a while since 'Jaktens Tid' came out, you probably already have something in store for the new album?
MetalKings.com: Any ready songs yet?
MetalKings.com: You gonna play it tonight?
Katla: There is no lyrics for it yet. Cuz I had problems with my vocal cords, so I didn't really have much chance to rehearse. At least the new things, cuz we have gigs now.
The whole community was shocked recently, when Katla posted a message on the band's official site saying he had to undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his vocal cords. The news came shortly after the sad death of Chuck Shuldiner and against the morbid background of cancer-problems with Testament's Chuck Billy and guitarist James Murphy (ex-Death, ex-Testament, ex-Agent Steel). Originally Katla was not even scheduled to come over to Moscow for the show, but in the end run it worked out fine. Katla's voice is indeed a bit husky but other than that he looks healthier than anyone else I know.
Katla: It's good. It's good compared to what it was because I couldn't talk. A few months ago I couldn't talk at all.
MetalKings.com: What was it?
Katla: I still have it, it's a tumor on my vocal cords. And it's a virus tumor so, it's not cancer or anything, but it won't come off. So I have to do surgery several times. I had two already. Now, it's very good but it's going to get worse again soon I guess. I am going to have next surgery in June.
Somnium: But it's a lot better now.
Katla: Yeah it's a lot better than the last time I had the surgery. But it's still there. It's a virus and there is no medication. So they just have to do the surgery until it dies.
MetalKings.com: How does it affect your singing?
Katla: Well if you can talk, you can sing. Well, it's not a health risk. I have no problems with the singing otherwise than it's very hard cuz I have to use much more oxygen to get the sound. My voice is actually quite dry, but I can still do gigs so… what the fuck. It doesn't sound perfect right now, but I can sing.
MetalKings.com: A lot of people were very worried down here…
Katla: Yeah a lot of people thought that it was cancer. Yeah it was stupid, cause when I put the note on the homepage, I just said 'tumor' and of course most people when they hear about tumor its always cancer. It was quite funny cuz I couldn't open my email inbox, it was stuffed with messages.
MetalKings.com: Can you imagine life without singing?
Katla: I had to imagine my life without singing last autumn, and it completely fucked me up. But now I don't even want to talk about this, cuz I don't consider it as an option.
FINNTROLL WAS NOT A DECISION
MetalKings.com: Why did you decide to start a band in the first place?
Katla: We are stupid.
Somnium: Actually we never decided to start a band.
Katla: The Finntroll thing it was not a decision.
Somnium: We just made the first song why doing some other projects, so it rather happened than…
MetalKings.com: What were the other projects?
Somnium&Katla: Some shit. Some gothic shit.
MetalKings.com: Gothic? Yaiks! Did you ever plan to start real accordion for the show?
Somnium: No, we thought about that, but its very hard to find like a person…
MetalKings.com: In Finland? Hard?
Katla: Yeah, we are talking a metal person who plays accordion.
Somnium: Of course there are lots of accordion players but all of them are really old and hate metal. And actually hiring an accordion player is fucking expensive because they all get paid really cool. And also this Finnish band - Turisas - they use accordion live so…
Katla: But anyway we are six already in the band. We used to have Joni Arvela with us doing the joik singings, but he is into his own band, they made a new album with a band called Shaman, so he sort of doesn't have the time anymore. But we have enough with the six of us, because with six people that's a fucking lot, especially because everybody is so occupied.
MetalKings.com: I heard you were planning to do a video?
Katla: We were, but it never happened.
Somnium: We will on the next album We didn't get the money that we needed. We wanted to play it from the stage, and they just gave it [money] to some fucking goth band.
MetalKings.com: Lemme guess - To/Die/For…?
Somnium: We never said that.
MetalKings.com: I never said that. Yes, so what was the concept for that video that you never made.
Katla: Oh, Jakten's Tid. It was… Yeah… I don't wannna explain too much, because then it would be sad for the people, since it never came out. But it was like very a Finntrollish thing, like these people sitting and drinking in sort of a like medieval bar. And then this guy comes in and says they gotta be leaving, because there's gonna be some trouble coming on. There were no special effect planned really, just shadows and stuff, and trolls. It's what we wanna do in the future.
SPEAKING UP FOR THE ELK
MetalKings.com: Jakten's Tid is - hunting time, right? [nods] So do you refer to the wild hunt, oskorei?
Katla: No I refer to humans. I got pissed off when I read this in the news. They hunt elk in Finland and they made the numbers bigger recently for how many elk can be killed. And I thought what the fuck, its wrong just to put a number for an animal, on how many you can kill. So I thought why don't trolls go ahead and hunt humans.
MetalKings.com: There's also a song on the new album about these two priests.
Katla: Yeah on the first album we had this song about these two priests who went to a sauna for the first time. And then the trolls realized that they were using their sauna and came in and just bashed them. And of course on the new album we had to have the same two priests. And they built a church on this one. And they were having their first ceremony there. And then Troll comes in…
MetalKings.com: So these two priests are for you like Kenny in Southpark?
Katla: No, because we don't like them. And Kenny is so nice. But they are going to stay, they will get fucked up several times in the future, so… We haven't actually made up the new one yet.
MetalKings.com: Is the troll-thing becoming a trap for you?
Katla: No, I don't think so 'cause we have normal lyrics anyway.
Somnium: We are sort of refreshing the troll image.
Katla: We just wanted to use the trolls, trolls were the first religious anarchists.
MetalKings.com: OK, it's pretty much clear with the new album but for one thing, when it's gonna be released, or at least recorded?
Somnium: Autumn. Autumn-winter. So it's gonna be released later this year.
Katla: Yeah we got sort of stuck with this stupid tumor thing right now. We can't make any exact plans about it right now, but soon enough, I think.
MetalKings.com: Three things you gonna do when turned into a blonde with 36D tits?
Somnium: [Chants] Fuck me! Fuck me!
Katla: Jerk off and look at my tits. Get drunk and try to hit a guy. Hit on him (points to Somnium) and not give anything.
MetalKings.com: Your most bizarre drunken experience.
Katla: Oh he wouldn't want to tell about this one. [Somnium tries to protest but Katla is merciless] He went to this metal festival in Finland and he just wandered off, cuz he got drunk. He wakes up in a sauna. He's like broken into it. And there's like this bunch of elderly people staying in there cabin. And they turned him around like 'what the fuck is this shit?' And he broke into their sauna, and he found this piece of raw frozen meat they hanged outside, so that it would melt and they could fry it the next day. He is taking a bit from that one and shitted on the porch. Then he gives them 50 marks and walks away.
MetalKings.com: Okay now you get to tell an embarrassing story about him?
Somnium: Most embarrassing story about him?
Katla: That's hard I've never done anything embarrassing.
Somnium: He's a lame ass he doesn't do anything crazy?
MetalKings.com: Well, that's pretty embarrassing.
Katla: Uhuh, that's very embarrassing being a lame ass.
MetalKings.com: What was the strangest rumor you heard about Finntroll?
Somnium: That Tarja the singer of Nightwish was playing the accordion for us.
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