Interview With Korpiklaani - 5th December 2009
Photo Of KorpiklanniWe headed to Rios in Leeds to catch up wuith Korpiklaani and talk about their current tour, plans for the future and much more.

First of all can you give us a brief history of the band for the people who have never heard of you?

The history is not brief so it is not easy. The origins of this band are in the early 90's when Jonne was doing artistic, traditional folk music and then later it developed into something else which was a band called Shaman where we combined folk music. His first love was heavy metal music from the 1980's when we were both teenagers. Shaman was still into traditional folk but what we are now is just a natural development. The band changed its name a few years ago. The first Korpiklaani album was going to be the third Shaman album when it was recorded but during that time we found another band called Shaman in Brazil or Argentina or somewhere in South America anyway. So we decided to change our name at that point.

What are your influences and whom would you say contributed to your current musical style?
I think that this is quite individual. It depends on the person. I myself am more into progressive rock and that kind of stuff and Jonne is quite heavily influenced by folk. Everybody has their own roots and idols. For example Cain, the guitarist is a big country fan. I think the original reason at least why me and Jonne started playing music was bands like Iron Maiden and other 80's bands. It was around the age of 12 or 13 when we first started forming our own bands so they were the big names for us at that time. And then of course came the first wave of American thrash metal and I think that's quite audible in our music the thrash metal. There are a lot of influences but not any single one.

How did you come up with the name Korpiklaani?
Jonne had a few ideas for the new name and one of them was 'Clan Of The Forest' or 'Forest Clan' and the record label said 'that's good, but could you just make it in Finnish' so that was quite simple.

When did you start playing music and what made you pick up your first instrument?
I think that I was around thirteen or fourteen and the reason I started playing bass guitar was that a friend of mine had a band with no bass player. So that was quite easy 'OK I can learn that'.

You are playing Hard Rock Hell tomorrow, are you looking forward to playing this big festival?
I'm actually looking forward to seeing Thin Lizzy but I don't think they're playing on the same day. Honestly, I know nothing about the festival, I have no idea and apart from us, Thin Lizzy and Battlelore I don't even know who is playing – I haven't really checked that. The festivals are not that big a thing for us anymore because we have done so many of them, we see it as just another show maybe with a bigger audience but then again the audience is not necessarily all ours like it is in a smaller venue. It is always nice to hear the roar of a large audience, that is a really great feeling to step on the stage and hear that. I don't know what to expect tomorrow, I think it's gonna be nice, it's the last tour of the show so hopefully we'll end it well.

You brought a new album out in March (Korven Kuningas) what kind of reception have you received over the year?
The most common feedback about the album that we have heard is that it is dark and strange for us. Because musically it's darker and other things as well. The previous album was already quite dark lyrically but then again that's in Finnish and people don't realise that so easily. This time it's more Slavic and darker on the album. I haven't heard any complaints about the album but I think people are just surprised the band has gone in this direction.

The album has some great cover art, I also believe the man featured on the cover appeared on your last two albums covers. Who is he and who is behind the magic of your covers?
The man is called 'Grandpa' and I will look exactly like that ten year from now except for the antlers. On the Shaman albums there used to be the Shaman symbol everywhere so we thought we should leave it for a bit and do something else. But actually we just took the same symbol and gave it the artist and said 'could you please make a man out of that?' and he made an old man out of the symbol and that is how 'Grandpa' was born. The old Shaman symbol is thousands of years old and originates from the Sami people from Northern Finland.

You have made many videos over the years, do you enjoy making videos and what has been your favourite?
My favourite video is 'Hunting Song' and I'm not even on it. Making a video can either be a nice process or a pain in the ass depending on the set. One video we made was really low budget, in fact it was student work that was brilliant and perfectly and we were only called when we were needed because it was fucking freezing. Then we did this 'Keep On Galloping' which was a different story, we were just waiting the whole fucking day doing nothing and then finally we ended up shooting fucking stuff in the dark.

What is your favourite song to play live and why?
There's quite a lot of songs I enjoy playing and they're all quite fun to play. And then in the audience you see the newer fans that don't know the older stuff but then you always see a few hardcore followers.

How would you describe your live show?
Six sweaty smelly men drinking beer and then playing a song now and then. I think it's quite a lot of fun for the audience and the band as well and the main thing is to have fun.

You have toured with many bands over the years. Who has been your favourite to tour with and why?
We have a really good time with the biggest bands at festivals. We haven't really had any bad experiences with any bands except one, whose name I won't mention we have not been touring with them but we have bumped into them at festivals and they have always been the biggest assholes. I'm not going to say the name but they're from the USA.

If Korpiklaani weren't a band, what would you be doing right now?
I still have a day job so I would be doing that and drinking beer at home.

As a band how would you like to be remembered?
As perfect entertainers.

Where do you see Korpiklaani in five or ten years time?
I was going to say at Rio's Leeds but I would like to upgrade a bit in a few years. What you must understand is that with this kind of music you are never going to sell out stadiums. But I would like to be in a similar position to the one Motorhead are in. They can headline any festival and they can headline the biggest metal festivals in the world and they will kick ass. But nobody wants to follow Motorhead so that's maybe as high as this band can get – where nobody wants to follow on from us.

OK one final random question, if you had a choice what animal would you be out of a Zebra or a Giraffe?
A Giraffe I would say.

Thanks for your time. Is there any message you would like to give to fans reading this?
No I have no message I'm only on my own business

Interview By Ellie
 Band Members

Jonne Järvelä
Kalle "Cane" Savijärvi
Jarkko Aaltonen
Juho Kauppinen
Matti "Matson" Johansson
Jaakko "Hittavainen" Lemmetty
 Latest Releases
Korpiklaani - Korven Kuningas
Release Date - 21st March 2008
1. Tapporauta ("Killing Iron")
2. Metsämies" ("Forest Man")
3. Keep on Galloping"
4. Northern Fall
5. Shall We Take a Turn
6. Paljon On Koskessa Kiviä" ("The Rapid Has Many Rocks")
7. Ali Jäisten Vetten ("Under the Icy Waters")
8. Gods on Fire
9. Kipakka (Japanese bonus track)
10. Nuolet Nomalan ("Rabbit Arrows") (Digipack bonus track)
11. Kantaiso ("Ancestor")
12. Kipumylly ("Mill of Pain")
13. Suden Joiku ("Yoik of the Wolf")
14. Runamoine
15. Syntykoski Syömmehessäin ("Rapid of Birth From My Heart")
16. Korven Kuningas ("King of the Woods")
 Band Related Links
Korpiklaani Myspace