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Amorphis - Tomi Koivusaari PDF Print E-mail
Written by EvilG   
July 05, 1999

AMORPHIS
Tomi Koivusaari (Vocals, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars)

Interviewed in July 1999 By EvilG

Finland's Amorphis are a band that are not afraid of progression and experimentation. I am a late comer to this band (1996's Elegy to be exact) so I am in no way hung up on the fact that the band have strayed from their death metal roots. The main point is that they are still a metal band, albeit with a number of other influences. No one that I've heard sounds like Amorphis. They have carved out a sound all their own that is in many respects an acquired taste. Thanks to the good people at Relapse Records I was granted this interview with Tomi Koivusaari, the former lead vocalist and present day guitarist / backing vocalist.


 

Metal Rules!!
About the new CD "Tuonela". It says inside the CD that Tuonela = Hades/The Underworld. So is that basically the theme of the song or the album?

Tomi:
Well, it was at first place theme of the song, but when were thinking the name of the album, we thought that it fits to that also, because of the atmosphere of the album.

 

Metal Rules!!
How does the CD cover relate to the underworld? The plant on the cover wasn't evil enough to be considered a native plant to hell could it? haha...

Tomi:
Tuonela isnt actually hell but...I think that album cover is more about dying of something, it is rowan in autumn time and that looked sad enough to us. We had a few choices to cover but when we saw that we knew that's it! We have always done decisions more with feel than thinking too much...well usually, look at the cover of privilege of evil-EP haha!

 

Metal Rules!!
How has your new CD been received? I have yet to read a bad review!!!

Tomi:
I think that people are finally started to understand what we are doing and I have noticed that especially when we have done gigs...but of course there is some death metal puritans who don't wanna even listen to it because there isn't any crawling anymore, but most of the fans who wants listen music open-minded, has liked it, I think.

 

Metal Rules!!
As time has progressed you have drifted further away from your "death metal" roots. However, you have still maintained many of your long time fans. Why is that?

Tomi:
We have always done music we like, and progress has been natural, and some of our fans has grown up same as we are musically...and I think that our fans have always known that we are trying to do good music and not to do anything else like getting "commercial" or something. Music always comes first!

amorphis band pic

Metal Rules!!
One thing I miss is the duel vocals with the clean vocals of Pasi and the death growls of Tomi....Why are you no longer taking full advantage of both 
great voices!!!?!?!

Tomi:
Well it just didn't felt right anymore, our music has changed to a direction that we didn't think that growling fits to it anymore. 

 

Metal Rules!!
Tell me the story behind getting Pasi in the band - how it was decided, where you found him, etc...

Tomi:
We were recording ELEGY and still didn't have singer. Then we heard one demo tape where he was singing and we liked his voice a lot. We also had met some years ago in some bar. Then we called him and asked if he was interested to try, and he was. We tried with him and we knew he was the right guy, also because of his personality. 

 

Metal Rules!!
The only song on the new CD that to me used both vocal styles was "Greed" which is actually to me ONE of the CD's stronger songs. 

Tomi:
That song is actually first one what we did after Elegy so it's the oldest song on Tuonela, and that's the reason it sounds little bit different than the 
others. I like that song also very much and actually there is only Pasi's singing in that song.

 

Metal Rules!!
What songs (new and old) go over the best live?

Tomi:
I think all songs are going quite well nowadays as we are not drunk anymore at gigs...but it's of course nicer to play new stuff because we are not bored of them yet.

 

Finnish gods of metal - amorphisMetal Rules!!
Do you play material from all your CD's live?

Tomi:
We haven't played any songs from our first album in years but we play a few songs from Tales and Elegy.

 

Metal Rules!!
Do you still sing the older songs live?

Tomi:
Yes I am.

 

Metal Rules!!
What bands are you touring with? Are there any bands that you wish you could tour with that you haven't yet?

Tomi:
We have toured with bands like: PARADISE  LOST, ENTOMBED, THERION, HYPOCRISY, DISMEMBER, MESHUGGAH, TIAMAT and so on. It could be wonderful to do tour with some band like DEEP PURPLE because that has been to all of us long time favorite. Maybe some bands who have nothing to do with death metal for change.

 

Metal Rules!!
Are there any countries or festivals that you have not played that you hope to someday?

Tomi:
I would love to do a tour in Australia I hope we can do it someday. Also  South-America and Canada would be great! 

 

Metal Rules!!
Have you toured in Canada?

Tomi:
No, not yet but I hope we will very soon!

 

Metal Rules!!
About the fine EP "My Kantele" ... In English what is a Kantele? I know it is a Finnish book of ballads and poems, I was just wondering if the word "Kantele" had a direct translation to English? 

Tomi:
Kantele is an old Finnish 5 string instrument and I don't think there is direct translation for that. 

 

Metal Rules!!
Most of your lyrics / topics have been based in Finnish history / culture. Do you plan on sticking with this for all your albums? 

Tomi:
Well, in TUONELA it is Pasi's own lyrics but there is still some inspirations of our culture and nature, and I think it will always be like that. Nature has always been one of our biggest inspirations but we are not going to use that book or any book anymore.

 

Metal Rules!!
I would assume that the use of Finnish topics by an international band has made you very popular in your homeland?

Tomi:
Yes it has. Finnish press has been very interested in that we are using KALEVALA and KANTELETAR, maybe too much because they are not that interested about our music. That was maybe one reason that this book started to make us little bit sick, Press was only saying how we are "bringing Kalevala to the world" and that was definitely not our thing or job. But of course it has been a big help anyway to us in Finland, to get people interested.

 

Metal Rules!!
It was very obvious after hearing "My Kantele" that you guys listen to a lot of 70's progressive rock/metal. What bands would that be?

Tomi:
Yes we like very much seventies rock music and its soundworld. We have been listening bands like: PINK FLOYD, CAMEL, YES, PIIRPAUKE (Finnish band), HAWKWIND and so on....

 

Metal Rules!!
What newer bands have you found interesting? Do any metal bands interest you anymore?

Tomi:
Pasi is still interested about metal bands but rest of us haven't found too much interesting metal bands anymore. ENTOMBED is still great as always, same as MONSTER MAGNET, but we listen so different kinds of music nowadays.

 

Metal Rules!!
Finland has produced a lot of fine metal with bands like Stratovarius, Children of Bodom and of course...Amorphis!  Is the Finnish metal community closely knit, or do the bands have no interaction?

Tomi:
Almost every band knows each others, specially in Helsinki area. Finland is so small a country. I also think that bands are not trying to have any competition but trying to help the others, and that is great.

 

Metal Rules!!
Would you say that Finland has a very strong metal scene? 

Tomi:
It's getting stronger all the time, what I know about it. Bands are starting
to be quite original and unique, which is right direction. 

 

Metal Rules!!
What are Amorphis's plans for the near future? 

Tomi:
After the summers festivals we are starting to work with new songs, and
touring from autumn and maybe we are going to the studio again in early 2000.

 

Metal Rules!!
Do you plan on ever releasing a live home video for us fans that are no where near your tour path?

Tomi:
Yes we have thinking about that. We have like 20 hours video material from our tours and studio sessions. We just should put something together. 

 

amorphisMetal Rules!!
Are there any goals that as a band you feel you have yet to reach?

Tomi:
Just that we can (continue to) make a good music, and do tours, same what we have done so far. We're not thinking about any special goals. 

 

Metal Rules!!
Are there actually 1000 lakes in Finland? Someone told me there was like over 188,000?? hahah...

Tomi:
Well yes the album name should be tales from the thousandS lakes, I
think there is quite few lakes!

 

Metal Rules!!
That's all from me for now. Thanks again for your time and good luck with the rest of the tour!! If you have any final words or news for your fans please let us know!!!

Tomi:
Thank you for this interview and take care!

 

Visit the band's official website at http://www.amorphis.net/

 

Last Updated ( August 28, 2005 )




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