Interview With The Crown
Interview By Luxi Lahtinen
The Swedish relentless deathrace kings of thrashy Death Metal, The Crown, were on
a mini-tour in a few cities in Finland some time ago. I got a good opportunity to sit with
the bandīs Finnish drummer, Janne Saarenpaa, and talked about their forthcoming album in
the works entitled POSSESSED 13, the bandīs previous and successful tours, and pirating
in the music business. The spokesman of The Crown, Janne, has all this to say, so just
keep on reading in order to get some more info for your trivia questions about this fine
Swedish extreme metal band.
First off, Iīm very keen on hearing how things are turning out with your new
material for The Crownīs 6th full-length album, so please enlighten me.
I have to say that we have been rehearsing like maniacs with our new stuff for this
forthcoming album - almost too much as right now it seems that we have lots of new songs
for more than a full-length album. In other words, we are definitely in time with this new
stuff. I have to say that we wonīt try to finish like 20 new songs - and then choose 10
best out of them for our forthcoming 6th album. I guess we will start concentrating on 11
or 12 songs and try to make them sound as killer as possible from now on. Also, I can
confess you right now that our new stuff will be more straight forward stuff and less
technical - I mean, overly technical stuff similar to our previous album CROWNED IN
TERROR. Also, even if it will contain lots of fast parts, we try to make them sound
interesting by changing tempos when needed. We had lots of very fast tempo songs on
CROWNED IN TERROR, but for this new album we try to bring similar type of things that we
had on DEATHRACE KING already as far as our songs structures are concerned. More
unexpected tempo changes and stuff like that. I believe the result will be at least very
good. Weīll record this new album at Studio Fredman around May, I believe.
I was checking through your homepage just a little while ago and noticed that you
had named your new songs by such names as No Tomorrow, Face of
Destruction/Deep Hit of Death, Are You Morbid?, Cold Is the
Grave, Natashead Overdrive, etc. Are these titles only some
"working titles" for your new stuff that may be changed later on - at least some
Nope, we wonīt be changing those titles any more as they will be the very final titles
of our new songs on the new album. I especially recommend you to read the lyrics for
Natashead Overdrive. Our bassist, Magnus Olsfelt, wrote the lyrics for it and
itīs got some really twisted lyrics in it really. In my opinion itīs a perfect song,
especially as far as it's lyrics are concerned. The lyrics for that particular song are
really fuckinī sick and perverted, thatīs all I can say about it. When I read the lyrics
for it, I was thinking myself that I have some really crazy fellow individuals with their
sick minds in this band. But like I said earlier and I'm saying again - Iīm really
pleased with everything how this album has been turning out for us so far. I really
What kind of things are you dealing with on this forthcoming album, if we are still
talking about the lyrics for it? Is death as a concept still strongly present on the new
output as well?
Well, when we did our debut album BURNING back in the day, we still were searching for
our own style lyrically. On the 2nd album, we tried to write as dark lyrics for it as
possible - our lyrics dealing around the topic of death very strongly indeed. From that
album on, our bassist Magnus became more interested in life as the main inspiration for
our lyrics because you can actually write about life - a very interesting yet exciting way
if you have got at least a bit talent for that thing, yīknow. He has gone a couple of
steps forward in that department on this forthcoming The Crown album, too. He can actually
write a very exciting way about a normal every day life. Also, every one of us have
progressed a lot as musicians since the days of our debut album, but thatīs only very
natural, of course!
So, itīs Magnus that is mainly responsible for all your lyrics on this new album?
Yeah, he has done most of the lyrics for it; maybe even too many of them. We have one
song on the new album where one guy from some other band wrote the lyrics for, though. And
Iīm really pleased with his lyrics for that particular song. Shit
was I supposed to
reveal it to you already?! Well, never mind, so at least you know now! he-he!! Anyway, the
vocalist of now defunct Swedish Thrash Metal act Swordmaster did those lyrics for that
song for us. He was totally excited about it and contacted us in order to suggest the idea
to us and we told him that: Ok, whatever you can come up with for us. Magnus
also read his lyrics and thought that they are very good indeed and we ended up using them
for one of our songs on this new album. He (Vinnie Whiplasher - ed. note!) is such an
excellent lyric writer in my opinion.
Like you stated earlier already, you are going to concentrate on 11 songs from now
on for this forthcoming album. Do you already know what those 11 songs will be, or are you
still arguing about them inside the band?
We have thought that when we have done this mini-tour here in Finland and will go back
to Sweden again, we try to borrow some cheap studio equipment and drag them to our
rehearsal place so that we could record some demo songs for us off our new stuff. That way
we are able to hear much better what songs are the most fitting ones for our forthcoming
album. We probably donīt touch to the basic stems of these new songs that much any more,
but try to figure out some interesting yet unexpected drum fills and that type of things
basically. The funny thing about this band is that we are kind of over-productive band -
have always been that way for many years already. Sometimes we have had material ready for
like two full-length albums that sound even amazing to us. Also our bassist Magnus has all
the ideas ready for even the next full-length album even if this album is yet to be
recorded. But I tell you that we have never had any rush to get our albums done,
have a bunch of very productive people in this band.
Your morale for working with new songs seems to be on a high level constantly then,
definitely!! We have really been pushing ourselves really hard as far as practicing new
songs are concerned. I think we didnīt practice hard enough when we did the songs for our
previous album CROWNED IN TERROR. I have to say that I wasnīt too pleased how the songs
for that album turned out in the studio. It could have been much better, in my honest
opinion. I hope that we can achieve a better sound and production for this forthcoming
album this time. Also, now when we have been rehearsing our songs very intensively and
determinedly in order to make the songs sound perfect or at least near perfect to us. It
unfortunately didnīt happen that way with the songs on CROWNED IN TERROR. We should have
practice them a bit harder than we did eventually. I donīt say it was any kind of
"flop" from us or anything as I was relatively pleased with it all in all, but
it could have been even better if we had re-thought the songs on it with more sharper
Do you have any working title for the album yet?
Yes, as a matter of fact we have. Or actually we donīt have any īnailedī 100%
certain title yet, only just a bunch of ideas what it could be called. I donīt want to
reveal about the possible album title nominees too much yet, as we might change it before
we have even recorded the album. I think we have now like 2-3 totally killer ideas for the
title right now and any of them could fit somewhat perfectly to the title of this new
album. So, hold your breath a little bit longer there. (Well, the albumīs title has been
chosen already; Itīs "POSSESSED 13" - Luxi notes!)
Have you been talking to your label (Metal Blade) and what kind of plans they have
concerning the release date of the album?
Yes, there has been some talk about it already, and our label would like to release it
around August/September, but Iīm very skeptical about that early release date because we
are always late with everything except with our song writing thing. My rough guess is it
will be released as late as November/December this year. Letīs see what will happen.
Are you going to have anything extra on it for your Japanese fans? Bonus tracks or
Funny that you asked this because this is actually our first time when we decided that
they are going to have a bonus song or two, and those songs will most probably be cover
tunes that Iīm not going to reveal you right now either, he-he!! I can only reveal you
that much that those particular songs fit into this bandīs aggressive and brutal sound
very well. Anyway, this isnīt a 100% sure thing yet because it will depend on if we have
got enough time to record those songs in the studio. It isnīt that cheap to spend some
weeks in a studio as you know, and of course recording two extra songs will surely take
its own time to get them done from start to finish, yīknow. Also, I want to point out
that we donīt want to use any leftover material for the Japanese edition; that wonīt
happen, thatīs for sure.
You did your two first albums (THE BURNING in 1995 and ETERNAL DEATH in 1997) for a
small Swedish metal label called Black Sun Records. Have any thoughts crossed your minds
that it would be cool to re-record some of those songs again, even as bonuses for your
forthcoming albums? Those two first albums of yours werenīt that good production-wise,
although the songs on them were really good.
donīt think so, even if we have gone through some discussions about it inside the band.
Especially I would be interested in redoing a song called The Black Heart off
our 2nd album, ETERNAL DEATH, as itīs almost a perfect song - at least in my own book. It
would be cool to re-record that song again, but on the other hand the past is the past and
we should never try to change it - if you know what I mean. Itīs very rare if some
certain band could be able to make their old songs better sounding when re-recording them
all over again than what their original ones could be already. I havenīt heard too many
bands that could have been able to give their songs an extra kick and make them sound
better than the original ones.
The German cult thrashers Destruction, for example, have done so with some of their
old material as you probably may have heard.
Unfortunately I havenīt got a chance to hear them so far. So, did they sound any
better than their original versions?
Well, some actually surprisingly did, but some not simply due to the fact that the
first version is always the version out of something; the version you most probably have
heard first from some certain band, yīknow?
See what I meant!! Thatīs the reason why we donīt wanna touch to our past material
too much in terms of re-warming some of them again. Itīs really kind of a hard task to
make them sound even better than the originals; sort of unleashing the beast in them all
over again. I think only few bands have been able to make their new versions sound better
out of the old classics songs they may have on their past albums.
I noticed when looking through the credits on your past albums that itīs your
bassist Magnus that is the main songwriter in the band. I guess itīs always a pretty hard
task for him to do such an enormous load of work for each of your album, so I was just
wondering whether you have thought sometimes that you even could share your songwriting
between the other band members, as well in order to ease up Magnus load just a bit?
Actually he emailed to the other band members a while ago and told us that
we really should help him out a bit by participating in the song writing too, cause he
wouldnīt like the entire job by himself from start to finish all the time. Our guitarist
Marko Tervonen takes part of the song writing a little bit, but the rest of us have never
raised a finger for it for some reason or the other. So after he had written most of the
songs for our forthcoming album, he started to talk to us seriously whether there's
something we could do - having basically only one songwriter in the band. We understood
why he was so concerned about this issue and said to him that other guys have to
participate more in this song writing thing from now on. Anyway, it feels kind of odd that
someone else would write songs for us except Magnus himself, because we have already
gotten used to this situation. Itīs been that way for many years already that Magnus has
been our main songwriter. But I guess we just have to from now on, because itīs a lot
work to come up with a great pile of songs for a full-length album. Besides, every one of
us have felt that heīs such a gifted and talented song writer - better than any other
member of us - so let him do the songs and everyone will be pleased, -he-he!!
Did you have much time to start writing songs for this forthcoming album compared to
the times when you did CROWNED IN TERROR? I mean, you have been doing lots of gigs during
these last couple of years, so thereīs hardly any time for proper songwriting when you
are on the road, traveling from coast to coast, from one city to another, etc.
we were touring a lot for DEATHRACE KING, doing lots of gigs everywhere, it was really
hard to find some time for anything else really, because this touring sucked lots of
energy out of us. We did write CROWNED IN TERROR in-between all these tours, but when you
have a break from songwriting, you kind of start the writing thing all over again, and
thatīs not always the easiest thing to do, yīknow. When you tour a lot, itīs very
difficult to concentrate on songwriting that devotedly and determinedly. I think because
of our intense touring for DEATHRACE KING, I have to admit our follow-up album CROWNED IN
TERROR suffered from it a little bit. We also had faced some setbacks with our previous
vocalist Tomas Lindberg, so giving a birth to C.I.T. wasnīt that easy of a job to do as
some of you may think. However, after touring for that particular album we luckily had
more time to concentrate on writing this new album and that was really important to us.
I havenīt read or heard too much about why actually Tomas left the band in the
first place. I guess you are supposedly going to stick to your basic, "no
comments" reply to this particular question, he-he!!
[laughs] That answer always works out for the best way for us. he-he!!
I know that Tomas formed another band since his departure from The Crown: The Great
Deceiver, which is very Hardcore-orientated metal musically. Did he try to bring out some
of his own visions and ideas too much about The Crownīs musical direction, and how you
should sound? Bringing more those sheer Hardcore-elements into the soundscapes of The
Crown or something?
Nah, thatīs not the reason why he left this band. I can reveal you that much about his
departure by not throwing shit to anyoneīs face unnecessarily and in vain that we were on
the road together for a long time, we simply noticed how different person Tomas was
compared to the rest of us. He just didnīt fit into this band too well as far as his
personality was concerned. It was actually as simple as that.
I have met the guy a couple of times in Germany and remarked that he always seemed
to be pretty heavily drunk constantly when I saw him at some certain places.
Well, you can draw your own conclusions out of your observations then, he-he!!
Ok, I guess the case is closed now.
You recorded your previous album at Studio Mega and Chris Silver produced it. Do you
have any intentions to use his skills on this new album as a producer as well, or have
some new nominees stepped into the picture as suitable producer candidates?
No, we wonīt use him on this new album any more. The thing was that we were supposed
to record CROWNED IN TERROR originally at Studio Fredman, but like I told you earlier, it
was a rather painful process for us to get all those songs finished for this album because
we started the song writing process for it kind of late and had many breaks from it
because of the touring and stuff. And when we had almost got all the songs finished for
the C.I.T. album and wanted to enter the studio and record the album within the next
couple of months or so, Studio Fredman was already booked for many months to come - like
for a year from the day we gave a call to them. So finally we decided to record it at
Studio Mega with Chris Silver and thought that we could possibly at least mix the album at
Studio Fredman. So we did, but despite of this great plan, the mixing didnīt turn out too
well at Studio Fredman as we hoped for. So, we went back to Studio Mega and mixed it there
all over again in order to get a better mixing for that album. Then quite surprisingly
Fredrik Nordstrom from Studio Fredman gave me a phone call and asked me directly:
Whatīs up with you guys? What went wrong over here? I was like, Nothing
against you or anyone over there, but we just wanted to try out Studio Mega again, so
whatīs the big deal, man! Fredrik obviously thought for some reason or the other
that we were in some sort of a conspiracy against him or something because we ended up
giving a final mixing for the album at Studio Mega eventually. That wasnīt the case at
all. To say this whole hassle in some kind of a nutshell, it was actually Chris Silver
that wanted us to mix the album from start to finish at his own studio in order to gain
some name for the studio - and thatīs what he got, too, I guess. In fact, this was the
very first attempt between these studio owners to do some cooperation, and it failed
badly. In my opinion, Chris got the worst of it. He definitely lost lots of his
credibility as a fair and honest guy in the eyes of both us and Fredrik Nordstrom at
least. Chris basically played his own lilī ugly game all that time which was a very
unfortunate attempt from him to try achieving some name for him and for his studio. He
failed badly at that.
So, Studio Mega must be a rather new studio on the map of Swedish recording studios?
Actually itīs been around for quite some time, but it has been kept under a relatively
low profile all this time. Many demo bands have particularly been recording there their
demos and stuff like that.
Thatīs kind of sad and a pity that he used your band in order to gain some name for
his studio, but basically managed to get a bad blood flowing on the face of some people.
Yeah, I agree. Besides that, itīs not one of those cheapest studios around here in
Sweden. If he had played his cards right, who knows, maybe he would have gained something
good out of this all later on. But what is done, is done. However, I hope that all the
false talk and rumors around us and Fredrik Nordstrom will disappear eventually as we
proved to him that Studio Fredman is still the best alternative to record our next album
there. Itīs funny that some people still think that Fredrik wasnīt able to mix a band
like us there because the very final mixing for CROWNED IN TERROR was done at Studio Mega.
Thatīs all bullshit. What - as a matter of fact - didnīt work out at all, was the
cooperation between these studio owners, thanks to Chrisīs unprofessional way to work
things out for us and others as well.
What kind of memories do you still have about Black Sun Records as a label? Can you
honestly say that they did everything for you they could at that time, or do you regret
the day when you signed a contract with them for your two first albums?
when we were recording those two albums, I would like to wipe away all those
memories out of my mind totally. It was really terrible and traumatic for me. [laughs] I
was about to enter a madhouse after the recordings for those albums were done. he-he!! But
as a label, I was very pleased with them, all in all. They were kind of loyal to us during
all that time. They didnīt rip us off too much; only a little, so thatīs very much from
them as a little label, I think, ha! But I have to say we were kind of a lucky band on
their label that they didnīt rip us off that much as they could have been able to. As you
know, many labels have constantly been ripping off bands systemically and because of that
many bands cease to exist for gaining nothing out of these terrible rip-off deals with
some certain labels. Thatīs always fuckinī sad if bands get ripped off by their labels
they have trusted since the very beginning. Black Sun Records never paid us all the
royalties out of the selling of our two first albums that belonged rightfully to us, but
it was still a relatively good label to us despite of that. We lost some money for sure,
but didnīt go to bankrupt anyway.
I guess Black Sun Records, being a small label like they are, basically concentrated
on releasing albums only back in the day - and hardly financed any tours for their bands
Yeah, you are right. We even thought sometimes that everything went down for us as far
as these types of issues are concerned, but I still have to consider us a very lucky band
after all due to some setbacks that have hit to us during all these past years. Hopefully
some of that past luck will be still with us in the future as well.
After putting out two albums on Black Sun Records, you signed a deal with much
bigger and known metal label Metal Blade Records and your first album for them titled HELL
IS HERE was unleashed in 1999. How did you end up signing a deal with them?
did our first tour that was sponsored financially by our previous label Black Sun Records,
and it was a really badly organized tour, all in all. We had the Swedish deathsters
Sacrilege on our European touring with us that did two albums for the same label, and they
disbanded almost shortly after the tour was over. Tomas (in At the Gates at that time!)
did the vocals for Sacrilege on that particular tour because the bandīs drummer Daniel
Svensson couldnīt have been able to handle both vocals and drums properly at the very
same time. Thatīs when I got to know Tomas as a person for the very first time, too.
Anyway, we didn't get a bunch of people to our gigs because it was so badly promoted and
no one really knew us beforehand by name in Germany. The last gig on this tour was in
Strasbourg in Germany and that was the only big festival type of gig we did on that tour.
We were the last band on the bill before the headlining act and one guy from Metal Blade
Records was there, too, watching bands by the front of the stage. I remember us playing a
song called The Black Heart when our vocalist kicked a mug of beer straight
from the stage against the face of this poor fellow accidentally. And all that time he was
standing there onstage and watching us playing and banging his head for us, so he was
like: What THE HELL
?!. However, that "tiny accident" was
probably a real kick-start for him as he really liked both our music and stage performance
as well, he-he!!
How many albums do you have your deal with them for exactly?
Now this new album is going to be the last album of this contract with them. Naturally
they would rather like to continue the contract even before weīll enter the studio and
record this last album for them. But we donīt want to rush things too much. We really
want to look around a bit after this album is done for them and what the future might hold
for us. Doors will be open for us right after this album has been recorded for Metal
Blade. This situation will of course serve us the best possible way as we may get a better
opportunity to sign a better deal possibly with some other label. I donīt say or claim
that Metal Blade has been a bad master to us - not at all. They have treated us well
indeed, but we just want to keep every option available and open for us after finishing
this forthcoming album for them first.
Also, if you decide to sign a contract with another big label that already has some
big names, you may be one of those less promoted and even less noticed bands on the label.
Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes small labels can be a better alternative than
bigger ones. But the good thing about these bigger and more known labels is that they at
least should have more money behind them, and more professional people in the staff
running things for both their label and their bands. Of course you canīt be totally aware
of their priorities about smaller bands how they are gonna support and promote you, and
whether they consider you as an equal band compared to some more known names they already
have on the label. But sometimes, however, risks must be taken. On the other hand I also
have to point out right away that it may well be possible that weīll continue under the
name of Metal Blade. Time will tell, naturally.
Letīs have a word or two about pirating that has been raising its ugly head
stronger all the time. For example, the case concerning Stratovariousī new album ELEMENTS
(PART ONE) was on the tabloids lately because the whole album was found from the Internet
for a free download - much before the album was released. Are you afraid that the
very same type of a shitty thing might happen to your band - that all the curious people
who are mainly using their computers to hunt down free music from the Internet - could
find your new album from the Internet first, before itīs even officially been released?
I think thereīs hardly anything you can do about it. I bet someone will put it there
anyway for a download before itīs been released. But I hope, however, when itīs there
and people will go to download it from the net, they could do it because they want to hear
the album in advance first whether itīs worth buying or not. I know that both CDs and
vinyls are quite expensive nowadays, so itīs kind of a natural reaction from some of
these people that they want to hear albums in advance first and then make their final
decisions if certain releases are worth of their hard-earned money. Hopefully as many
people as possible could find our forthcoming album worth buying, however. The hard fact
is that the less albums are being sold, the less we will have a chance to do a proper tour
and play gigs as many different places as possible. The album sales are always helping
bands out for tours. I donīt wanna point anyone with my finger and yell: Youīre a
criminal because you only download album from the Internet. Iīm not any judge to do
so. I just donīt want to do that because I believe that most people still want to have
"the real thing" that they could hold in their hands. I remember when people
started to record gigs with their tiny cassette players back in the day; many thought
thatīs illegal by doing so, but itīs undeniable that everyone did that anyway. It was
just nice and easy to record gigs for everyone who wanted them for their music
collections. I openly admit that Iīm a criminal, too. I may go to the Internet and
download some music from there, but I only do that because I want to check out beforehand
if some albums are worth buying or not, as I cannot spend every of my well-earned cent for
expensive music CDs/vinyls. If I find them good enough for my taste, then Iīll go and buy
the real thing from a store. That makes me a "good criminal." he-he!!
At least I have always wanted to get the real thing in my hands. I simply hate to
collect mp3s onto the hard drive of my computer or burn stuff from the net onto CD-R's.
Speaking of that, I know for sure the drummer for Lord Belial actually sold away all
his CDs, vinyls, etc. and downloaded them all onto his computerīs hard drive. I can
imagine that he is still regretting it nowadays.
Speaking of your gig at the Tuska festival last year: how did it feel to play there
having your original vocalist back in the line-up again? As far as I can remember (much
thanks to the īKing Alcoholī) those two days were really hot back then, and I bet it had
to be a real hell for you onstage to torture your Marshalls there in that burning
Luckily we were already quite used and experienced in playing in that type of weather,
as it was exactly that hot in the States when we toured there recently. Also, I have to
say that I was a bit "lucky" as far as our gig at Tuska was concerned. Namely, I
had left my shorts back to my home in Sweden, so I was only wearing on my underwear during
our set and it was cooler and more comfortable for me to play in that weather. As a gig,
it was a really awesome experience for us. There was so much crowd watching our
performance and both the crowd and us were all in very high spirits. It was a fantastic
gig from us all in all really.
Maybe you would like to come and play at the Tuska festival again?
Well, itīs kind of an unwritten law that we hardly have a chance to play at that
festival two times in a row, but if the organizers of that particular festival (Wake up,
Jouni Markkanen!!!) want to book us there this year again, we wonīt hesitate to say:
However, right after you have played these few gigs here in Finland, youīll go to
the central Europe and tour there a little bit, correct?
Yes, that is correct. Weīll play in such countries as Germany, Holland, Switzerland,
England, etc. - just to name a few. I look forward to playing in those countries, too.
Just out of my own curiosity: How did you manage to get these four gigs in Finland?
It was Bast Music that contacted and asked from us first whether we would be interested
in doing this īmini-tourī in Finland. We said why not. We really would love to play in
Finland if we didnīt have to take care of any gig agency stuff and shit ourselves.
Therefore, it was a really cool thing for us that they were interested in organizing these
four dates for us to Finland.
How well do you know cities like Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Jyvaskyla anyway?
Out of these four Finnish cities, Turku is the most familiar to me because my sister
used to live there for a long time. I used to hang around there quite much back in the
day. Also, I have some relatives in Jyvaskyla, so I know that city rather well, too. Of
course Helsinki is a familiar city to me, but I havenīt ever visited Tampere before, so I
have no clue of it at all how it is like. However, I used to spend lots of time at Paavola
- being mostly all the summers there, which is located near by Oulu.
You will also have two Finnish support acts at this gig of Tavastia, Helsinki:
Babylon Whores and Sacrament. Are those familiar bands to you?
I know Babylon Whores and have heard some of their stuff and I am wondering why such a
great band supports us, as I think it really should be just vice versa - we should support
them. Hopefully the crowd here in Helsinki wonīt leave the house right after Babylon
Whores have finished their set in order that we wouldnīt have to play for an empty hall,
he-he!! As for Sacrament, I have no idea how they sound like, but look forward to see
their set, too.
How familiar are you overall with the Finnish metal scene nowadays? Have you been
able to follow what we Finns have been offering to the worldwide metal scene over the
I honestly have to say I havenīt had that good contact with it for some reason. I have
some cousins, like I told you earlier, in the northern part of Finland, but none of them
has ever been involved that much with the metal scene, yīknow. But my cousins, however,
knew this Finnish Speed Metal act called Stone and introduced me to that awesome Finnish
metal band back in the day. I became a huge fan of them eventually and even managed to see
them last time at Tuska festival in 2000 when the guys had reformed the band for a few of
gigs in order to play around Finland during that year. It was such a breathtaking, yet
special experience for me to see them live at Tuska festival. They sounded just fantastic
- like back in the old days. As for some other Finnish metal bands, I know, for example,
Rotten Sound and Diablo off which especially Rotten Sound are really amazing!! Truly
punishing yet outstanding metal they are, definitely!!
Yeah, I totally agree with you. To see them live is even more a breathtaking
experience. And their drummer Kai Hahto is simply just phenomenal - like a robot behind
his drum kit indeed!!
You tell me!! Heīs one of the best drummers I have ever heard in any bands really!! I
cannot find the right words to describe how superb guy he really is playing drums.
Jesus..!! Heīs just
heīs like a well-oiled machine!!
Are you going to tour in the States any time soon again since you are on Metal Blade
and they obviously would like to see you playing on their ground to promote your
In fact, we were supposed to play there in
well, I donīt remember
those plans any longer, but anyway Iīm positive weīll go there sooner or later again.
now I remember; we were supposed to play there around in January/February, but
then something came up and we had to cancel that trip to the States due to some reasons I
cannot specify right now.
You did your first long tour in the States in 2000. I bet you do have some pretty
damn fine memories out of that tour, all in all, dont you?
Yeah, it was a truly amazing experience for us to tour there and to play in so many
different cities on that particular tour. We were the first band on that bill to play to
the crowd. After we had finished our set, it was Krisiunīs turn to conquer the stage,
then came Nile, and the headlining act of the whole tour was Cannibal Corpse. Especially
Krisiun and Nile impressed me a hell of a lot live, and I honestly looked forward to see
those two bands every night on this tour. Fuck, both Krisiun and Nile totally killed
onstage. Also, it was interesting to see how diverse crowd they have in the States with
different attitudes and so on.
Can you tell how diverse crowd you actually had there on your gigs? Did you manage
to see any Punk rockers in the crowd?
At some venues, we saw a lot of them and most of them were in the middle of moshpit,
kicking each others while the bands were playing. It seemed to be a lot of fun to them,
he-he!! First someone comes and kicks you straight on your face and at the very same
minute someone comes to you and pat on your shoulder and wants to be a friend with you.
Thatīs some wacko shit indeed!! Itīs just crazy to see those kinds of things happening
in the crowd at the same time while you are performing onstage. But I guess thatīs what
they enjoy most there, he-he!!
How about Europe? How would you compare European metalheads to their fellow
metalheads in the States? Do they have anything in common with each other?
I have noticed myself that especially in the States, they have many aged people amongst
the crowd - both young and quite old indeed. Here in Europe the crowd mostly consists of a
relatively young people basically. Besides there are many venues in the States that have
license to sell alcoholic beverages where we have played, so naturally only more aged
people are allowed to come to see us on gigs because of these liquor license of some
certain venues, and younger fans unfortunately have to stay outside which isnīt too fair
for me. Iīm definitely more into these all-ages shows when everyone who is interested in
seeing us playing a show is allowed to come in. I think you have to be 21 or something in
order to be accepted to come in to this type of places in the States. So, to answer your
question, yes, there are some differences between both European and American metal
What have been some of your favorite cities in the U.S.A. for gigging then?
Of course, Los Angeles is very near by the very top of the list of my favorite cities
in the States. Whiskey Club was such a great place to play at. When itīs fully packed,
there can be about 900 to 1000 people at the same time. And when we played last time there
on the tour with Nile and Cannibal Corpse, the whole place was really crowded. I remember
when we played Angels Die off our ETERNAL DEATH album, George
īCorpsegrinderī Fisher came to the stage and sang the song with us. It was a truly
awesome feeling. George has told us that heīs a great fan of that particular album, so of
course he simply had to use this opportunity at that night, he-he!! I felt that it was so
perfect moment for us that I lost one of my drum sticks while we were playing the song. I
was so thrilled over that fine moment during that night. It was just perfect, I can tell.
Also Toronto in Canada was a great experience for us. When we played this solo part in a
song called Total Satan off the DEATHRACE KING album, the crowd yelled so loud
that I simply couldnīt hear a single note what our guitarist was playing. Those Canadian
maniacs were just crazy at that night. I was so amazed by their reactions toward us and
got really good vibes out of it all. As for some other cities besides the U.S.A. and
Canada, you have excellent crowd here in Finland, too. Also, we are always greeted very
warmly by the fans both in Austria and France where we have met some really crazy fans.
Overall there are many cities European countries where we have been hailed by great
reactions from the fans at our gigs.
So how was your second U.S. tour last April/May 2002? Was it as successful or nearly
as successful as your first tour was?
The main difference compared to our previous tour there was that on this tour we were
the headlining act. I have to say that we werenīt quite sure about ourselves at first
whether we could pull enough people to our gigs for being the headlining band on that
tour. But luckily all this skepticism was in vain because lots of people came to see us on
this tour again and the whole tour was very well organized as well. Actually, it was even
better organized tour for us than we originally expected in the beginning, so we have to
be grateful to all the people behind that tour that made it happed for us. We played at
many new venues on this tour that were slightly smaller by their sizes, but itīs quite
understandable because on our first tour in the States, Nile was really that band that
people wanted to see more than anything. Still, we managed to gather nearly 400
people to every show we did on the last tour there, so it was great, of course!!
Have you noticed any other significant differences between the gig organizers both
in Europe and in the States? What I have heard from the mouth of some certain band
members, they have told me that the European ones are mostly very well-organized, more
skilled and more exact compared to their American brothers. Do you subscribe this
statement as well, or at least partly?
I unfortunately have to say, yes. I can tell it by experience that I have met many
organizers of these tours especially in some places of the U.S.A. that they really donīt
care a shit about any needs of bands that much as they do here in Europe. Thatīs the cold
fact. I donīt know why it is like that way, but seriously when you do tours in Europe,
you can at least be certain most of the time that everything goes as planned; you donīt
have to face too many surprises as far as PA, soundchecks, etc are concerned. Like here in
Finland: you always get a feel that they even consider you as a musician of some band, and
that particular feeling is something special that warms your heart quite much as a matter
of speaking. Thereīs a huge difference indeed. The European gig organizers are always
loyal and devoted people to do their jobs as well as possible. Iīm sorry, but I cannot
say the same positive things about many of those American fellows. Some of them are really
nice and cool toward us, and on the other hand, we pretty much used to tour there in
different circumstances as we know quite well what to expect from them already. I just
donīt want to complain too much. Thereīs always a danger that some people might start
considering us as a bunch of whining assholes only if we complained about every single
thing when touring, yīknow. So we wonīt do it, he-he!!
Have you had any intentions to try to tour in such countries as Japan, Korea and
Australia, where metal music is doing really well these days?
We were supposed to go to Japan in last December as there was one festival that was
interested in having us there. But as things have this bad tendency to change, we had to
skip that opportunity over this time around. Now we have another possibility to play there
in the future again, but I donīt want to talk about it too much, because nothing is
confirmed yet. However, I think weīll go there sooner or later, but touring in Australia
can be considered as a distant dream for us yet. You just never know what the future holds
Since you started The Crown (Crown of Thorns in the very beginning - Luxiīs note) I
bet you had some favorite bands that you considered as inspiration for the band, and hoped
that it would be neat to tour with. Correct? So, tell me whether you still might have some
band names in your mind youīd eagerly like to do a tour with sometime?
I have to say that a "dream tour" for me personally would be to tour with
Slayer, of course!! Also to tour with the NWOBHM legends Judas Priest would be totally
cool, knowing that these guys have been around for ages and their metal hearts are still
pumping strongly and effortlessly. Itīs always cool to dream about a tour with any band
that you have been digging since you were only a little kid. But to make a tour with
Slayer would be definitely on the very top of that list, most definitely!!
What about touring with the true Metal God himself - Rob Halford? Itīs already a
written fact he has admitted to dig newer metal bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Children
of Bodom, etc. Children of Bodom just toured with the Halfordīs band in Japan during mid
He obviously likes "younger boys..." he-he!! Well, a bit, seriously
But yeah, of course it would be really damn awesome to make a tour with a true
Heavy Metal icon like him, because I grew up with bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden,
Saxon, etc. We were also supposed to tour with Danzig. Namely they were interested in
taking us on their US tour. When I heard that, I was totally blown away by the news. Their
guitarist came to talk to us when we were in Los Angeles and he said that he really liked
our music and wanted to have us on tour with them. We told him that, Why not? Maybe
we would like to tour with you. But in all honestly, we were very interested in
touring with them and we still are, but unfortunately this tour with them never happened
for us. But maybe with a better time sometimes in the future.
So, what do have on menu for tonightīs gig?
Weīll play at least four or five songs off CROWNED IN TERROR.
What about any stuff from your forthcoming album; like some sort of īteasersī for
No, I donīt think that we will play any of those songs yet. Of course, Iīd personally
like to play them already in order to see how they sound like played live and all that,
but we still want to keep those songs in the shadows a bit longer. I bet the crowd would
love a song called Face of Destruction because itīs pretty much in the vein
of our older songs. Very intense, brutal and aggressive and all that. Would be fun to see
the crowdīs reactions to that song, though. Weīll play basically at least one song off
each of our older albums.
Like Angels Die off ETERNAL DEATH?
Of course!!! Thatīs one of our īmust-playī songs anyway in our set. Also we were
discussing about a song called The Serpent Garden (on ETERNAL DEATH, too!) and
eventually decided to add the song onto our set list, too. It felt just right to take that
song back to our set list, yīknow? And then we are going to wipe the dust off from a song
titled Forget the Light that was the last song on our debut album, THE
BURNING. Itīs been a really long time since we played that song. We noticed just recently
that itīs really cool to perform it in a live situation, so we simply took it back to our
set list again.
Will you play exactly the same set in each city here in Finland on this tour, or
does your set consist of a few extra numbers that you may replace to some other songs off
the set list and play them instead?
No, we wonīt necessarily change the songs during this tour here in Finland. If this
new album was out already, then we might try out as many different songs off it as
possible in order to find out how they would sound like in a live situation. Most often
the original set list is always the best set list that you have planned with time. But
never say never - you just never know for sure if you end up replacing some songs off your
original set list with some other songs for some reason or the other.
What kind of expectations do you have about the crowd here in Helsinki? Hopefully
you can expect more than a bunch of drunken assholes, jerks, idiots, who may be too
drunk to see, hear, or remember a thing about your gig the next day.
[laughs] I can only hope that they could like us - thumbs up for them anyway. The more
we get people to see us, the better for the atmosphere, of course!
Your bassist Magnus was involved in the live line-up of Witchery, both US and Japan
tours. Does he still have any connections to their direction as far as playing live in
that band is concerned?
The thing was that they asked him to join to their US tour and Magnus agreed just
because he had never been in the States before. And then they asked whether he would also
be interested in doing this Japan tour with them and he agreed to do it with them, again
because he has never had a chance to go there before. They even asked at first whether he
would have liked to do some gigs in Sweden. Magnus had replied to them that if thereīs
any chance to do some gigs in some other countries where he has never visited before, they
could count him in right away. Later they got both these US and Japan tours, so he went
there with Witchery. In fact, Magnus was the first guy off The Crown that was borrowed by
some other band. When he came back from those tours, he said to us that it was a learning
experience for him to understand respecting his own band, The Crown, more and more. The
very same thing happened to me when I was a part of some other line-up for quite some time
ago. I started to respect our own band a lot of more than I had done earlier. Itīs sort
of an experience for yourself that really should open your eyes both to see and understand
things a different way, yīknow? Kind of a funny thing was that when Magnus toured with
Witchery in the States, we received a couple of postcards from some fans from the U.S.A.
where they told that we really should try to keep Magnus in The Crown as heīs such a
popular and liked guy in their country. Then we started to be a bit worried about him
whether he could leave us eventually in order to join to Witchery permanently. We have
been playing 13 years together with him, so itīs very unlikely that he would join to some
other band after being so many years as a part of The Crownīs line-up.
Will your label put out any limited special editions of your new album or anything
in order to sell a bit more?
Of course they would want to release something special for our true fans because of
this ever-growing impudent pirating these days. Also, in my opinion, if the fans of this
band will buy our new album for 20 euros/dollars, I hope that they would at least get
something extra for their money, because CDs are so fuckinī expensive nowadays.
As for some facts, Nuclear Blast has their own ways to protect their releases from
the pirating. I remember when I got the latest Immortal CD in my hands back in the day, it
only contained 3 full tracks and the rest of the songs were just 1-minute clips out of the
songs on it. Thatīs of course one rather clever way to fight against pirating, even if
obviously itīs not the best way.
Yeah, I think itīs a relatively good way to fight against it, too, but unfortunately
this particular coin has its other side as well. Namely some music journalists can be, if
they want, rather malicious and ugly with their sayings in some certain reviews if they
only get a chance to review some 1-minute music clips off songs instead of full songs, and
they may rate some albums low and bless them with less points than they actually would
have deserved if there had been full songs on albums, yīknow? So, I donīt think thatīs
that good way to fight against all these illegal copies in a long run either.
How many copies of each of your albums have been sold worldwide so far? Are you
allowed to give any specific details out of the selling for your albums?
Well, all I can say that we have almost doubled the selling for each of our latest
album compared to the previous albums. Thatīs all I can reveal to you selling-wise. I
donīt want to publish any selling numbers for them, but our label has been very pleased
anyway. Itīs kind of a taboo thing for us, as it seems to be for some other bands as
well, and Iīd like to tell you more about them with some really accurate details as I
know very well how many copies our CROWNED IN TERROR album has been sold thus far. But as
many other bands are very silent about the selling numbers of their own albums, I donīt
wanna go into any specific details either. But like I said, our record company Metal Blade
is extremely pleased with us selling-wise at least; as for us, we are quite happy how many
The Crown albums have been sold all over the world so far. I can reveal you that much that
our debut album THE BURNING was sold maybe 4000-5000 copies worldwide only. I expected
that it could have been sold about 10.000 copies, so we are indeed quite far away from
that amount as far as the selling for it is concerned.
As I believe due to success of your latest albums, your fans have started to be
interested in your back catalogue as well. Has Black Sun Records - your first label -
re-released either THE BURNING or ETERNAL DEATH as I believe the first editions for them
have been long sold out?
Century Media U.S.A. actually bought the copyrights for both these albums
off Black Sun. Both have been reissued through them in the States and both of them have a
video as a bonus. I heard that one of these video clips, however, has some sort of a
technical error, so hopefully it will be fixed when/or if they decide to release a second
edition of it in the future. But itīs cool that the videos are there as a bonus now;
something extra for the fans for sure, anyway.
What kind of expectations do you have toward this forthcoming album? Well, letīs
say selling-wise at least? Do you honestly believe it will be a better selling item than
any of your previous albums? I bet that your label Metal Blade is already running pretty
huge expectations toward it, selling-wise at least?
My honest wish is that as many people as possible would buy it even if they might
download t from the Internet first. By buying our albums people have a better chance to
see us in their home cities. I can guarantee that people wonīt be disappointed when they
get a chance to hear it.
Alright, I think you are free to go now because that was the last question that I
had. If you have any specific messages, greetings, īevil chantsī, or just anything to
say for the readers of Metal-Rules.com, then go ahead Janne
Buy our albums and come to see our gigs!! [laughs] Thatīs it in a nutshell, he-he!!
Thank you for sharing some of your precious time with me and all the best for your
Thank you for the cool interview. Se ya later & kippis!!
Band Website: www.thecrownonline.com
Label Website: www.metalblade.com