Heart of Steel: Interviews

Sentenced Interview With Vocalist Ville Laihiala (VL) and Drummer Vesa Ranta (VR)

Interview & Studio Pics by Luxi
Official promo shots by Spinefarm

They are here again…after more than a two year long wait, Sentenced are back in action again and will soon have an excellent follow-up album entitled THE COLD WHITE LIGHT out and I bet many fans of the band will be on their knees after hearing the album (do I have a īdirty imaginationī or what, he!).

Anyways, I met īthe killersī at Finnvox Studio when the final mixings for their new album were going on - and the following chat I had with both Ville and Vesa, pretty much should enlighten us on all things important and necessary concerning THE COLD WHITE LIGHT. The rest is history as someone may already have spit out…


As the mandatory questions need to be asked every time when a new album has been recorded and is ready to step into the daylight, what would you tell us ībout your brand-new album entitled THE COLD WHITE LIGHT? How indeed does it differ from your previous album CRIMSON content-wise? I just recently checked out your homepage and found out that your main intention was to make as diverse an album as possible; trying to include a nice variation of songs to this effort so that the songs could be musically as different as possible compared to each other and overall trying to have as catchy package of songs for this album as possibly to get. Were these goals achieved from your point of view?

VL (Ville Laihiala): Let me tell you first that when we did our previous three albums, i.e. DOWN, FROZEN and CRIMSON, we were under heavy pressure all the time. I mean, we have been working really hard as a band all these years starting from DOWN up to CRIMSON without having any opportunity for a bigger break or anything like that. Iīm not trying to say those albums are any bad or anything īcoz we like them in different ways and are proud of each of them naturally as well. But after we did CRIMSON and toured for it, we felt pretty exhausted ourselves after the touring and thought it was about to time to take some distance to the whole band in order to get the main focus on somewhere else for a while. And I think this break did some good for us īcoz I feel like now we have a very refreshing approach toward our song writing process and songs turned out more naturally than in the past. We just felt that we didnīt have to force ourselves that much for that thing any more and the songs came out for this new album somewhat as naturally as they did when we were doing FROZEN. And as for CRIMSON, I think it has some pretty good and decent compositions on it in my opinion, but somehow it was kind of "forced" album, too, I think. Itīs of course easy to say that your new album is always the best thing youīve come up with so far, but I honestly think THE COLD WHITE LIGHT is really way better than CRIMSON and the songs on it are more varied and definitely catchier. As for the lyrics on T.C.W.L., we also had a very different approach there as well. We just donīt sing about "cutting-your-wrists" themes that much any more even if we have a song called "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" on this album. I donīt know for sure whatīs the story behind this particular song īcoz I didnīt write the lyrics for it; our guitarist and song writer Sami Lopakka did the lyrics for it, so obviously he knows it best. But I guess itīs not a song about committing a suicide that much after all; thereīs more of an ironic approach toward the whole subject which may make it even more hard for the fans to understand, I guess, he-he… Anyway, we already have too many stories about killings and suicides, so I guess Sami kind of wanted to give more ironic feel to this very song. I donīt know. But when youīre involved with your own band strongly on a daily basis and constantly thinking of how your songs should sound like, you start becoming blind at some point - metaphorically speaking of course, to say what has changed or what has remained the same and so on as far as these comparisons between your albums are concerned. But Iīm at least very satisfied - just like the rest of the guys are, how this album sounds like and I believe our fans will like it even better than CRIMSON.


I agree. I like this new album of yours just MUCH BETTER than CRIMSON. The whole atmosphere is way more relaxed; the songs are very easy to get into at first listen and overall the songs sound very fresh and definitely catchy all the way. I was just wondering, however, when you took this break, did your record company pressure you to start song writing all over again as I suppose you are without a doubt, one of the most important bands to Century Media at the moment - probably even one of the best selling bands for them these days, too?

VL: No, no, no… I need to point out as for starters that we have just NEVER been forced to do anything in the terms of what our label(s) has/have told us to do. I donīt know if you believe us or not, but let me tell you that when we did FROZEN, the label manager of Century Media came to this pre-listening session of that album and having heard like a couple of minutes out of the 1st song on that album he said to us something like: "Oh, you guys sound exactly like Iron Maiden here…??!" Then we just decided that we simply donīt care a shit what somebody thinks of our music as naturally we are doing it to please ourselves first - and if someone else likes it, too, then thatīs fine. And if we are talking about the songs on THE COLD WHITE LIGHT, they havenīt heard a single track off this album thus far.

VR (Vesa Ranta): And thatīs only a positive thing for us īcoz we were able to work in peace with this new album…

VL: Yeah, thatīs true. We are certainly not that kind of band that can be pushed toward different goals under the will of other people. We donīt need that crap īcoz we feel we are free to do whatever we want and whenever we want, yīknow.




How did Century Media react anyway when you let them know that Sentenced will be put on ice for an unknown period of time - and you would come back just when the time could be right for that?

VL: Actually I have to say I have no idea as Sami Lopakka has been in contact to their direction and taking care of these kind of things in general. But I donīt believe that when he announced about this break we took with Sentenced, they were overly shocked by that news. Still, we wouldnīt have cared a bit if they had been against the idea īcoz we would have dropped īour weaponsī anyway - no matter what they would have said about it. But when we explained why indeed we needed that break, I guess the staff of Century Media understood and accepted our situation somewhat in a good spirit. Like in my situation, me and my wife had to concentrate on our family life due to an addition to our family and things like that. Besides, like I mentioned earlier, touring for CRIMSON started to feel pretty damn exhausting for all of us mentally, so we decided together to have this break right after we had finished the tour for the CRIMSON album. And thatīs what we did - and our batteries have been re-charged again.




Talking about this new album even more, however, now when I have been listening to the songs on it like 2-3 times in a row, I need to admit that there are not only some songs out on the album that stand out above others, but the whole album does stand out thoroughly as the songs on it are really equally very good - or just excellent. I bet itīs gonna be quite difficult for the fans of this band to pick up their own favorite tunes out of this album due to the latter mentioned reason…

VR: Hopefully thatīs gonna be so…

VL: Yeah, I completely agree with you as you remember we already talked here a while ago before you set your tape recorder rolling, we had 17 songs all in all done and available for this particular album and the ones that we left outside of the album, contained some very good ideas as well. No doubts, weīll use some of those songs later on some of our forth-coming releases as well - possibly for the B-sides of some singles and so on. As it always should be, I believe every band does music primarily for itself first after all - and we are no exception in that. If we had let our fans to decide out of these 17 candidates what we had available for the new album, they probably wouldnīt have picked up the same songs for it as we did. Thereīs just no question that we do respect our fans very much, but itīs still not their choice to tell us what songs we should have chosen for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT. And I honestly think that they will like the album as much as we do. I can say now that at least we are very happy with this album and are already dying to play these new songs off the album to our fans in a live situation.


Sounds like each of you is somewhat 100% happy with this forthcoming album, so could I draw a conclusion out of your sayings that this is - at least in some way, the best Sentenced album youīve done so far? Could this be said… - eh?!

VL: In a way, yeah. I felt like now we have succeeded in creating an album that pleases every one of us very much. Of course itīs an unwritten rule that each band normally claims their new album to be without a doubt the best thing they have ever done and so on - just to promote it the best possible way they could be capable of promoting it to different medias, but thatīs how Iīm feeling at the very moment anyway.

VR: Thatīs how Iīm feeling towards our new album, too. You kind of feel empty inside when you have been working with it for a long period of time and given your very best effort to the whole thing, yīknow. Now when itīs been fully recorded, we just need to sit down for a while and let other people to be judge to it. They will certainly tell to us whether they liked it or not, he-he…


Did you have some sort of a clear vision about how you wanted this album to sound - or did the album take its shape kind of step by step when things for the whole thing were proceeding?

VR: I have to say that when we gather together for rehearsals, we donīt talk that much how our songs should sound like - or shouldnīt sound like for that matter. We just pretty much jam our songs there, but at the same time, still trying to keep it on some kind of professional enough level.

VL: It always goes like some of us brings an idea for a song to our rehearsals; then we just start jamming it - adding new elements into it all the time and thatīs how it basically goes most often. When we decide to practice together, we donīt sit down and think our heads off how our songs should be like musically or anything like that. Besides, I honestly think that our band works like a good filter; we know right away if some song parts or songs donīt fit to us or simply just sound bad. They are thrown away immediately and we donīt think of them after that any longer. Itīs just as simple as that.

VR: I guess we all have a tendency to sense or smell if some certain song is good or bad. Sometimes we may throw away even good ideas - and probably later on dig them up from somewhere back to the table again and just use them as they already are - or improve them a little bit and use them after that for our songs. But what is certain, any kind of planning is left to minimum as far as our song writing is concerned anyway.




Thereīs five guys in the Sentenced camp, so I may assume that each one of you have similar kind of ears when your music is judged by the whole īkilling teamī together, correct?

VL: Well, yeah… you could say so. Of course itīs only natural that we all disagree with each other from time to time about so-called īgoodī or ībadī songs, but our rehearsals never burst into any major fights as we do have similar visions and ideas how Sentenced should look like musically. Besides, we have been doing this thing for so many years together that I believe we have achieved a certain routine for getting the best Sentenced songs for our albums in my opinion.


You said earlier that you had 17 songs īalmostī completely ready when you entered the studio and started recording them for this album. In what point did you actually decide what songs should be recorded for the album and what should be leave out? And how did you choose those 11 songs out of the 17 songs available for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT? Did everything happen in a democratic spirit?

VR: Well, we couldnīt actually finish all those remaining 6 songs completely. Therefore, at certain point we indeed decided that these songs should be included for this album - and the rest 6 of them will be finished by the end of our next recording session.

VL: We did record all the instruments for them, though, but then we noticed that the arrangements for these recent songs we did, werenīt that well thought-out yet. So we decided to think them over later and instead put these other 11 songs for the album that were ready as they were in their original formats in the studio in our opinion. Anyway, the ideas we had for those 6 other songs, will most probably be used one way or the other.


Now when the songs on THE COLD WHITE LIGHT obviously have pretty much stuck in your minds - each song apparently on its own special way, I was just pondering can you already say what song or songs do you consider as your own instant favorite(s) and why indeed? What makes it (or them) so special for each of you?

VL: Personally I like "Blood & Tears" above them all. Why? Well, I really cannot tell. Thatīs how it is for me at the very moment.

VR: My favorite track seems to change periodically. One day I may like some song a bit better than another - and the other day it may be just vice versa. Iīm happy with every song on our new album very much and maybe I should also point out that liking some songs better than other depends on our moods quite a lot, too.


Can you tell within what period of time did you take to do these songs; which of them are the oldest on the album and which of them are still carrying the freshest ink on them?

VL: I guess the oldest are more than a year old or so…


Coming up with songs and recording them in a studio must always be quite a challenge for every musician īcoz you pretty much have to take so many things into consideration and see the on-going process as a whole in order to get the very best result out of it. Could you tell in a nutshell, what kind of a huge process was it first to get the songs done for this album - and then to record them?

VL: For me personally itīs always a plain pain īcoz I donīt like working at a studio at all. As for this album, I had some technical problems to get my vocals done for the songs and I never got them done at the very 1st take which ainīt any stunning news for anybody in the band, I guess. I have never become familiar with working at a studio situation. Itīs always such a boring process to wander thru, but however, itīs also one of those mandatory things that needs be done from year after year. Thereīs of course no way you could completely avoid it. Maybe it just depends on my bad self-esteem, so maybe I shouldnīt be complaining at all.

VR: One thing that needs to be mentioned is that we kept all our songs somehow īfreshī before we entered in the studio and recoded them. I mean, before we actually recorded them at the studio, we rehearsed mostly our newest songs for this particular album and didnīt rehearse some of our oldest done songs at our rehearsals at all. In the end before entering the studio, we did rehearse all of them equally a little bit just to ease up our īburdenī at the studio a bit, yīknow. That way we kind of achieved enough interest towards all our material that was meant to be recorded for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT.

VL: Yeah, that way we sort of aroused our interest towards all of our new songs before we started recording them at the studio. It could have been uninspiring and fatal mentally for us to play some certain song or songs all over again and again and again when we rehearsed them.




The recording process of T.C.W.L. was pretty unusual all in all. First of all, Vesaīs drums were recorded at Finnvox Studio in December 2001; then you went from Helsinki back up to your hometown Oulu where you entered Neo Studio and recorded vocals and the rest of the instruments there - and then again you came back to Helsinki and started mixing the album over here.

VL: Yeah, thatīs right. Our producer Hiili Hiilesmaa thought that he could be able to get an excellent drum sound for our new album and thatīs the main reason for that why the drums were recorded right here. Neo Studio was a small studio, but it has equally as good equipments there as Finnvox has. We chose that studio for the recordings simply īcoz itīs located in our own hometown and the atmosphere there was really good, I think.


I remember that originally you were supposed to record the album at Tico-Tico Studios, so what went wrong with those plans?

VL: Well, it was just an idea we originally had, but eventually we just thought it would be better if we recorded it some other studio than at Tico-Tico - just for a change or something like that.


So how did you like the studio and working there generally with Hiili? What kind of an experience was it for you to record there all in all?

VL: The best thing was when you had done your own share at the studio, you just jumped into your own car in the end of the day and drove away back to home in 5 minutes. It was very relaxing to get back to home after a hard day at that studio, I can tell. You kind of didnīt have to think of it all that time and were able to do some other things the same day besides the recording only. That was really cool. Last time when we were recording our previous album CRIMSON at Tico-Tico Studios in Kemi, we were living in the middle of woods all that time - having no chance to get rid off the whole damn recording even for a moment. You were mentally stuck with the recording as long as it was fully finished there.

VR: And I remember it being even worse in Germany during the recording sessions of FROZEN at Woodhouse Studios in 1999. Besides the best possible conditions for working at a certain studio and getting the best possible result for your albums, everything really depends on all the other aspects that may be connected to the whole thing in my opinion. You have to have a certain attitude for delivering your goods at a studio environment; you need to be determined enough and mentally in the right mood in order to get the very best out of yourself into the recording. Otherwise itīs almost impossible for you to be 100% happy with the final product if you know what Iīm saying.

VL: I totally agree. If you donīt put 100% out of yourself into the whole thing, then how are you supposed to be happy with the final result ever?! You just need to find that right mood and spirit every time when you get involved with such a thing like recording your new album, yīknow. Thatīs the only way to achieve all those goals you have set for yourself both as a musician and as a member of a band, yīknow.


Yea… I know what you are saying. Also I bet itīs very important for each individual in the band that no one twists your hand while you have fully concentrated to getting things done properly towards your music - this including the staff of your label as well that should allow you enough free air to breathe without putting you inside any time tables too much or anything like that…

VR: Luckily Century Media hasnīt been at all pushy towards us so far and I hope they keep on staying that way for us in the future, too!

VL: We have taken care of our side of the contract with them that they cannot tell us what kind of songs we should do for our albums or how our albums should be like musically or anything like that. We have a total freedom musically and that's how it should be in the first place. If they started telling us that we couldnīt do this or that, then we probably wouldnīt raise our fingers for them any longer. Itīs like if you were a painter or a hockey player, whoever - and someone would tell you every time that you should paint or play a certain way; the way he/or she thinks is the only right way to do it without hearing you out first, it simply wouldnīt work out for us that way at all as you can easily imagine. We have our own principles to work with things in general and no one is able to change our way of thinking/doing, never.




Personally Iīd like to know how was it to work with such a famous producer as Hiili Hiilesmaa definitely is? Could you say that heīs a so-called īeasy-workingī guy; easy to come along and work things out with?

VR: Yeah, he was a pretty easy guy to work with indeed and definitely knows his own position as a captain of the ship when working at the studio with us. Heīs was very professional and goal-orientated guy in every sense, but at the same time, very mellow and nice guy towards us all the time. The chemistry between us and him was simply excellent, so we really cannot complain.

VL: I would have spit out the very same words as Vesa just did. Hiili was, however, very demanding guy thru the whole recording. But when we started mixing the album, I think he was kind of aware of what kind of sound we were after for this album right from the very start.

VR: He certainly kept his ears wide open even during the whole recording process when we were talking constantly about the songs, etc. and I guess thatīs why he kind of was always able to hear how we wanted to a certain song to sound like and what kind of things we demanded from him and stuff like that. All in all, I have nothing to complain ībout him; he was a very mellow and nice dude indeed, absolutely! I personally am very happy how things turned out for us with both the recording and mixing of this very album.


Hiiliīs ears were keen enough for your kind of sound - to say it honestly now afterwards, correct?

VR: Yeah, youīre absolutely right. When we started the recordings for T.C.W.L., we told him that we might try out a whole different sound to this album īcoz each song on CRIMSON had a slightly similar and monotonous sound after all. And I believe that we achieved just that kind of sound for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT what we were after for right from the beginning. Iīm very happy myself how this new album sounds like - thanks to Hiili for being such an innovative and inspiriting guy for us to work with.


You didnīt have any other candidates on some piece of paper who also could have been potentially talented guys to produce this album, did you?

VL: Well, in the very start, of course we were thinking of some suitable alternatives to produce this album, but at some point we thought it might be a great idea to get some guys to work with us this time who had never produced any metal bands before - or who couldnīt be that know as a producer of metal bands to say at least. Well, as our fans surely know already, we really arenīt īa pure metal bandī in the truest sense of the word as we have many īrockī elements melted into our sound, too - and as we got a good impression about him last time when he worked for us on CRIMSON, we just thought to give him call again and ask from him whether he would be willing to work with once again. So, here we are…


So this choice was pretty much based on the impression he gave to you out of himself when CRIMSON on the table as little pieces?

VR: Of course we were thinking of the best candidates possible to produce this particular album, but eventually we sort of thought that Hiili could still be that best choice for us and we donīt regret at all that we chose him to work with us again.




Then Vesa you told me for some time ago that you did all the artwork for this new album, so what indeed made you to take care of all that for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT?

VR: To be really honest with you, we have been disappointed in our previous artworks on our past albums almost every time when the albums have come out. Now I think we got everything done the way we are really happy with - and I guess this time around all the artwork on our new album kind of reflect the content of the music on it very well, too.  I hope that when all this material for the layouts and stuff will be sent to a printing company, they wouldnīt screw them up there as I have been working my ass off for them and been spending hours and hours with them all in all. I remember when our 4th album, FROZEN came out - and I went to this local record store and picked the official version up from there, my first impression about it was like: "Oh, so this is how it looks like in reality…?! It could have been a bit better than that artwork-wise at least…".

VL: In my opinion it was a very good idea to give Vesa free hands to come up with all that stuff for the new album īcoz heīs such a professional photographer and has learned how to use different techniques when trying to make a strong impact on īthe eyes of the beholdersī. I donīt know anything about photography myself, but am very pleased with every single detail what Vesa did for this album. I believe our fans will like the covers as well; hopefully…

VR: As for these tiny details on it, well, I wanna reveal that much that there are a lot of photos being used on the sleeves of this album that have been taken from the Lapland. Those kind of pics fit just perfectly to our band as we come from the Northern part of Finland as everyone already knows, I believe. Itīs always nice to notice if covers of some certain bands could reflect to a content of certain albums at least some way. Thatīs what I personally like the best in them anyway.

VL: And this is the very first time for us for not having the Sentenced logo on our album cover. Well, actually it is there, but not the same way like it has been shown on the covers of our all previous albums and the way people have used to see them on our albums.

VR: In my opinion itīs also very important to pay attention to the visual side of the bandīs album covers as well - and I think we unfortunately havenīt done that too much in the past with our previous album covers. Obviously THE COLD WHITE LIGHT has that kind of cover that everyone of us is most pleased with.




A guy named Pasi Paunio directed your video "Killing Me, Killing You" off the CRIMSON album and what I have got to know you have already asked him to direct your next video as well. So I bet you liked everything he did on "Killing Me…" video, didnīt you?

VR: Yeah, we were really satisfied with that video and it was visually very good, I think. We still have yet to decide which song weīll pick up from the album for that purpose. We already have some ideas for that video thing in our minds…

VL: And it wonīt be any typical video where the band members will be in the main roles all the time; I guess itīs gonna be pretty much quite the contrary: The scenes in it should take the main roles and we as the members of this band, will be left more behind all of it, I suppose. We just thought of trying out something different for a change; trying to make it to look like less īcommercialī and less mainstream. I believe that quite many people have got fed up seeing all these colossal, big budget metal video clips whereīs raining or snowing all the time and the main concentration has been focused on these sexy band members on that particular video clip…

VR: …and where normally most of these īrock starsī are posing without any shirts on - and some half-naked chicks could be shaking their tiny butts in them as well, he-he!!

VL: Itīs just… itīs just so damn pathetic, yīknow. Those kind of videos creep me and make me just fuckinī sick!! Fuckinī grows!!


Still, do you think itīs somewhat important to get a new video out preferably earlier than your new album comes out - just for maximizing a promotion for the forth-coming album and making sure that it will get all that recognition as it should deserve in the first place?

VL: Of course itīs extremely important as thatīs what videos are made for. Itīs however funny that no matter how īuncommercialī video you would make - and how bad criticism you would get out of it, itīs still some sort of a promotion for your band despite all of that bad criticism.


Yeah, even a bad criticism can be īa good criticismī sometimes even if some people just donīt realize it…

VL: Yeah, I completely agree with you. Itīs like any publicity is good publicity, he-he!! I would rather be a torn in the flesh than licking anyoneīs fuckinī fat asses, PERRRKELE…!!!!




As we have been talking ībout your new album, THE COLD WHITE LIGHT for quite some time already, I was just thinking whether thereīs any īdeeper meaningī behind that albumīs title? Itīs very evident that it brings the midwinter of Lapland to oneīs mind with its all the full moons and Northern lights…

VR: Hmm… kind of like that. At least the albumīs cover fits to that concept very well, I guess…

VL: Yeah, I think so, too. The cover of our new album pretty much ties the lyrics of our songs on T.C.W.L. together very well, I think. Most of the lyrics have been written the way like you could be involved in each of the lyrics yourself. The lyrics kind of reflect the fact how alone we all are indeed in our tiny planet and… well, itīs a bit hard for me to describe those lyrics for you at the moment īcoz thematically we may tell that life is too short to live whereas on the other hand we may also give a totally opposite impression that life is too long to life and so on. Itīs really hard for me to put our lyrics into words right at the moment, but anyway - the overall feelings you may get out of our lyrics on this new album, fit somewhat well into the pretty īdarkī cover(s) of THE COLD WHITE LIGHT in my opinion.


Talking ībout your song titles, however, a bit more detailed way. Namely I suppose that many people have even noticed - kind of read between the lines, that even if you guys have had quite a few lyrics about suicide, killings, death, depression and shit like that on your albums, thereīs still this somewhat īironicī side in them as well, so I was just thinking whether some of this īironyī of these hard topics has been put there on purpose?

VL: He-he… you are reading us almost too well. Of course we wanna use some irony behind our lyrics as well īcoz we are definitely not the most desperate īsuicidersī walking on the face of the Earth as some of you may probably think. Especially I have been talking with Sami ībout our lyrics a lot in general. I know that we have used this formula many many times before, but in my opinion it just feels great to come up with sort of a īcheerfulī melody for some certain song and then add some really oppressive lyrics into it. It gives a nice contrast to our songs and also provides a listener a good opportunity to dive into the deepest depths of our sarcastic minds really, he-he!!


Like this "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" is a good example of all that how your minds work… so long live the Sentenced -sarcasm…

VL: He-he… well, actually I believe that thereīs not any deeper meaning behind that particular song. Probably thatīs the last song we will ever have lyrics ībout suicide. I think we have already had more than enough lyrics about cutting your wrists wide open and stuff like that, so that gotta stop to that song. Maybe it would be wiser if you asked Sami about the lyrics in that song īcoz heīs the one who wrote them.




So, when will THE COLD WHITE LIGHT be released then and what kind of schedule do you already have for touring?

VL: Our 1st single from this album will be "No One There" and it will be released 29th of April and the albumīs release date will be 13th of May. We will also play our 1st gigs for this new album in the end of May and I believe we will be touring ītil the beginning of 2003. We will play at one big festival in Germany this summer; itīs going to be Summer Breeze festival which will be arranged 22-24. of August. We will play there… then of course we will play at many Summer festivals here in Finland as usual. I have to say that Iīm not too aware of all these gigs where we are going to play this year īcoz some other guy takes care of them for us. Oh yeah, then we will probably play both at Wacken and Dynamo festivals - probably even at Roskilde festival as well, donīt know for sure yet. And then we will start our European tour in September 2002 and thatīs all I know at the very moment.


So, when and where will be your record release party for this new album? At Tavastia Club here in Helsinki possibly…?

VR: Yeah, you guessed it right. That will happen 23rd of May at Tavastia Club, Helsinki, so be there - all of you!!!

VL: Itīs been over 2 and a half years since we played at Tavastia last time. So, when we will play there in the end of this month, I can guarantee you folks that itīs gonna be a worth of every cent for everyone who will come and see us there. Each of you should surely witness just more than īa drunken rockīnīroll starī onstage... (-laughs!!)




I for one have been following the metal scene here in Finland for quite a long while and in all honestly I need to admit that we have never had this huge amount of young and extremely talented and skillful metal bands in this country as we have nowadays. The amount of new ready-to-record-bands is sometimes beyond my own belief, sort of. What kind of touch do you guys have to the current metal scene of ours? Have you had any chances to follow somehow whatīs been going on in this country as far as all these new metal bands go?

VL: Unfortunately I havenīt been following it at all īcoz my family life has been taking so much time and Iīm pretty much devoted to that. Maybe the only thing that Iīve been capable of listening just as of lately is radio - and that most often is just in the background, so comes from there thatīs basically been the only thing for me to find out "whatīs new...?" or something like that.

VR: For me the last band that really caught my attention was Children Of Bodom. They are really fuckinī good.

VL: What I have heard from other people living in abroad - or read myself, surprisingly many times people consider Finnish metal bands technically very superior compared to many other bands from some other countries which I find quite flattering and nice, of course!


Yeah, and when people talk ībout Sentenced these days, the fact is that many of them consider your band as one of these hottest bands they would like to see playing live in their own hometown. Many times they talk ībout you along with such big names as Saxon, W.A.S.P., Gamma Ray, etc. as referring Sentenced to the bands of this size by their reputation, yīknow what I mean? Your band is loved by many in countries like the U.S.A. and Canada where this webmagazine I write for, is also coming from...

VR: Thatīs really cool. I think it would be absolutely killer to go there again and play those people over there īcoz we do have lots of fans in those countries for sure.

VL: Itīs still kind of weird and odd for me personally to see how popular this band has become. I mean, many times it feels like we havenīt done a shit for them and still our gigs seem to be very crowded and the audience is going totally crazy for us.




Another thing that you have possibly been criticized for many times is a tiny fact that none of your albums sound similar when comparing them to each other. So I guess itīs more than fair to say that most of your fans must be sort of die-hard fans of Sentenced due to your constant drive to peel your skin off on each of your new album if you know what I mean by all this...?

VR: Yeah, I guess you got it right. We havenīt been that easy band towards our fans musically and thatīs why I think this band has got some really devoted and great fans īcoz they just have kept on following us through all these years and been digging us - no matter how much we may have changed musically from one album to another. Thatīs why they mean a lot to us.

VL: On the other, thatīs the thing that keeps us going on when we donīt repeat us too much on each album we may put out. Besides, who wants to get stuck to one certain style for the rest of their life. We certainly donīt. I think thereīs simply nothing wrong if you develop musically between your previous - and upīnīcoming albums. I think itīs more like a natural thing, yīknow. You cannot think your song writing process like this time you should write your songs this or that way and some other time possibly a totally different way. Thatīs not how it works for us. Itīs more like people are growing with different kinds of music all the time; they may have very different kind of feelings in each period of their life, so basically I think thatīs what a song writing basically is all about. An environment that surrounds you, is a very influential factor to all of this without a doubt. And of course you should do music primarily for yourself and if some other people like it as well, then thatīs fine. You always should stick to that thing which makes you happy - and not do anything in the terms of pleasing other people around you, yīknow. This, as far as writing our new songs goes, I mean.


Yeah, I know what you are saying. For example if you start to "calculate" somehow like if we come up with this kick ass heavy monster riff for this/or that particular song, can we be certain that they'll play that song on the radio... well, you know what Iīm saying, donīt you, -eh?!

VL: I personally donīt bother at all whether we are heard through radio or not. For me, itīs all the fuckinī same as a matter of speaking. Besides, if they had to listen to our lyrics carefully, I bet they wouldnīt play single song off our albums, he-he!! If we, however, did a song with cheesy lyrics on it (into vein of Scorpionsī "Still Loving You", f.ex.), it would be extremely corny for this band. In fact, it wouldn't be us at all. We do have our own certain sarcastic style to tell about things in our lyrics and I doubt very much if itīs ever going to change. Hardly...




Letīs still have some talk about this forth-coming current tour for THE COLD WHITE LIGHT. What makes me curious - as it often does, I was just thinking whether there could be some ideal band for you to tour with; either them supporting you or you supporting them?

VR: Slayer... (he-he!!)

VL: We honestly havenīt thought of that at all, but whatever band that sounds good to us, could be nice to tour with, too.

VR: I agree. You just need to like their music a little bit on some level as well īcoz otherwise I donīt think it would be that wise to be on tour with some band of which music you personally donīt care for at all, yīknow.

VL: Of course a great emphasis must be put on how you connect with your touring mates on a personal level if you are about from 5 to 6 weeks on the road. You just need to come along with certain touring bands īcoz otherwise the whole might get pretty damn boring and no one feels comfortable.


So, what are some of your best memories from these tours you have done thus far and with whom?

VR: A tour with In Flames we did, was very nice indeed.

VL: Yeah, definitely!! The last tour we did with them, was really, really cool, I think. So greetz to all guys in In Flames from your Northernmost killers themselves, he-he...!! Wherever we went, our concerts were really packaged by lots of fans of both them and us.

VR: Many of those venues where we played at, we sold out which felt damn nice naturally...

VL: For us, touring for CRIMSON, however, was quite a tough time mentally for each of us īcoz we did so many gigs around Finland first - and then headed out on the tour to many other countries and were on the road for many weeks without any big breaks.


How does it feel like start touring for this new album; start touring right from our own home country Finland once again?

VL: Well, I think weīll only do 4-5 gigs here in Finland right after the album is out and they will mainly take place at these bigger Summer festivals which are always nice things to do. This time, we probably wonīt be playing as many gigs as we did for CRIMSON īcoz when you tour a lot, it starts getting boring eventually, yīknow. I rather would play a minimum amount of gigs than going to the middle of nowhere where less than 50 people showed up to our gigs. Quality of our gigs still means more to me than quantity of the gigs we might be capable of playing on these tours we do, yīknow.




Now when you are īexpertsī to play gigs and have been playing them basically all around the world thru all these years, have you noticed whether a structure of your audience has been changing somehow as well? What kind or age of people do you basically have on your concerts; or are you just able to see every kind of people in this crowd? Or does this depend on some certain country where you might play in?

VL: An increasing number of girls have come to see us performing onstage... donīt know why, he-he!!

VR: He-he... I have noticed the very same thing, but cannot say I should complain too much ībout it... (-laughs!!)

VL: When we did our DOWN album - and did many gigs, itīs always cool to see all these very same faces on your gigs after even nowadays īcoz it just proves to you that we have a few true fans around us that follow us from one gig to another gig; a year after another year. Thatīs something that warms your heart very much, I can tell. But I cannot deny that fact either that when a front of the stage is packed with many girls, itīs always nicer to sing our songs to them than these bearded, long-haired men, of course!!


Somehow I can relate to your sayings in this part...



So you are not afraid of loosing your identity as a band for both boys and girls, eh?!

VR: No... no... even if we are īall-boy-bandī, sort of, our music is definitely for everybody who likes it. We definitely donīt do music for girls ONLY, but on the other hand, the more chicks we have in the front of the stage, the better, of course!!


Well, I guess we have reached the end of this interview, so thank you guys for sharing these questions with me and keep yourself... (-eh?!), - men or whatever in the Hell!!!

Thank you for having time with us. It was nice talking to you. To our fans, see ya on our gigs!! The wait is soon over!!

Official Website: www.sentenced.org
Label: www.centurymedia.com

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