Insomnium – Interview with Markus Vanhala and Ville Friman

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Interview with Markus Vanhala and Ville Friman

December 12, 2017 – The Forum, London

Interview by Gabor Csete
Photography by Graham Hilling

We had the luck to sit down and interview both vocalist/guitarist Ville Friman and guitarist Markus Vanhala of Insomnium before their show at The Forum, part of the MTV Headbangers’ Ball Tour 2017.

This is the last date of the tour: how was it – a good one?

V.F.: – Yeah, it’s been a good tour. Playing to different kind of audiences because there are lots of Overkill fans and Sepultura fans that have never heard of us, so it’s kinda like you’re introducing yourself.

But that’s a good thing because people can see many different bands.

M.V.: Yeah, it’s a crossover kind of line-up but that’s what we are basically after to meet new people.
V.F.: Little bit different to our stuff.
M.V.: This is already our second European tour this year, so we were after something different.

I guessed it was a good tour because earlier today I saw a picture of you and the Deserted Fear guys, who were naked…

M.V.: They were learning to be Finnish… Hahahahahaha!

After this tour there is a break for you guys and then next up is 70,000 Tons of Metal.

V.F.: Yeah, that’s correct!
M.V.: After Christmas – it’s going to be a great escape from the Finnish winter.

And then you go on a European tour again where you’re gonna cover lots of countries?

M.V.: Yeah, that’s going to be an Eastern and Southern European tour: no Germany and UK this time.

Do you think there is any difference between the audiences of countries?

M.V.: Yeah, definitely a lot!
V.F.: I think in like Eastern Europe they’re a bit crazy and in the south as well they can be quite enthusiastic. There’s a different mentality for sure.
M.V.: Northern audiences – Finland, Sweden might be a little bit more like, how do you say, boring. Not so active.
V.F.: We played in Belgium a couple of days ago and they’re always quite reserved; they kinda feel like passive – they might enjoy the music, they might enjoy the gig but they’re not so enthusiastic.

Did you see that country map about how many metal bands there are per 100,000 people? Finland is the leader in that. Do you have any ideas why that might be?

M.V.: There’s not much to do in Finland, especially during the cold weather. It’s a good hobby.

Is it maybe because instruments are relatively cheap compared to salaries?

M.V.: Well, maybe basically – I don’t know. If you are a father and you buy your boy a cheap electric guitar it’s much cheaper than ice hockey…
V.F.: I think they used to get more support from councils and cities. They used to provide these kind of activities for younger people. But I think the fundings were cut.
M.V.: But the music education is still pretty good in Finland.

Education itself is really good in Finland as far as I know. Your last album came out in 2016 and before that you had an album in 2014. So will the next album come out next year or do you not have much time for that?

M.V.: Yeah, we’re touring a lot so we need to have some time off to concentrate on real musical progress because we’re not that kind of band that can compose music on the road. You have to have your own personal space and silence for that.
V.F.: Yeah. I think now we’re now entering the phase of writing new songs and we have some already, so we’re kinda like getting there but we’re gonna write some more next year.

I guess the record label is not really pushing you, right?

M.V.: Yeah, we are glad that Century Media isn’t really kicking us – we are kinda free. Like we wanted to make a 40 minute song and the label was like “okay”.

So when do you’re gonna have the next album ready?

V.F.: So we’ll be touring almost half of the year, and then we’re gonna do some summer festivals and I think we can work on the album after those, but it might come out in 2019. We don’t want to rush things. We’ll take our time and do it as soon as possible.

Any special thing for the last gig of the tour tonight? Maybe the Deserted Fear guys naked on the stage or something?

V.F.: Hahaha! Maybe we can do something with Deserted Fear, but the thing is that they can get us back when we’re playing!

Alright guys. Thank you very much and I hope you’ll enjoy London! Oh, by the way do you like playing smaller or bigger venues?

M.V.: It always depends. It depends on everything. Big venues can be shitty. But if you have like a full house then it is always a really good atmosphere.

Tonight is pretty busy and it’s a big venue!

V.F.: That should be good.

Thanks again guys!

Both: Thank you guys!