Amorphis - Niclas Etelävuori

Amorphis - Niclas Etelävuori

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AMORPHIS are ready to release the brand new Finnish opus “The Begginning Of Times” and before the album is reviewed, METAL KAOZ conducted Niclas Etelävuori (bass player) to get some inside info about the album and the band’s future plans.

Hey Niclas, glad to have you here in METAL KAOZ. So, it seems you have plans to do an extensive tour for the new album throughout the 2012. Are you going to tour only in Europe or are there plans to reach the US?
Thanks for having me here! We are going to tour in Europe until next February. I have no details for further now but we really hope we can make a North American tour sometime in 2012.

Since the tour will be based on the new album do you have in mind something special when it comes to the stage setup?
For the festivals it depends a bit on the festival and how we get there. On the tour we will have things depending a bit on where we play and what we can fit on the stage.I think it will develop over the summer, so far we just got a new backdrop but no one has seen it yet.

What about the setlist; how many songs have you rehearsed? Will you make changes as the tour progresses?
We rehearsed all. I think over the summer we will change a bit and on the tour too until we figure out which once work the best. There are always a couple of songs that come and go over the tour.

The band produced the new album but you recorded the vocals in Marco Hietala’s studio; so, how did you end up working with him and what was his input in the sound of the album from the vocals point of view?
We worked with him for the previous 3 albums also. Marco and Tomi Joutsen have a good chemistry, I think Tomi likes that. And for the rest of he has always nailed it. He has decades of experience in Metal.

I have read in the internet that this is album was the most challenging album for AMORPHIS; why do you feel this way? I mean every album is a challenge musically and lyrically so what was different with “The Beginning Of Times”?
Our latest albums have all been very well received by people and we always want to make better, so that was the biggest challenge. To satisfy ourselves and satisfy our audience. We had to re-invent us in a way, without forgetting who we where. I think the arrangements became more challenging musically and lyrically, and I think there are more little details on this than the previous once so should also challenge the listener.

The new album is a concept one; so. How different is to write a music for a concept album? What does come first the music or the lyrics?
We made a couple of concept albums before so it has kind of became a way for us. I don’t think it differs so much from anything else, first we have a piece of music then we find words for it. The most challenging part being, because the lyrics are poems and they all have a story and you have to follow the story. Some other songs you could just change the lyrics a bit, but now the story is the way it is. It can get tricky but usually in the end it all turns out good.

Can following a concept/story add restrictions to the music by “demanding” a specific atmosphere?
I guess it can be, but we look for the concept that fits after we know what the music is going to be about.

Ok, there is the constant dispute between the old and the new AMORPHIS fans; what is your point of view about this? After all, have the fans the “right” to expect from a band a certain type of music?
Live, I think band should perform for all of the fans old and new at least that’s what we try to do. Our back catalogue is too big to include every album but we change from time to time. Sometimes I can see smiles in the audience when we play something really old, but I think our new fans know that we are an old band so they can see it coming. On the album we don’t think about it that much. Whatever we play is going to sound like AMORPHIS in the end so I guess that’s what you can expect.

Expanding the previous question, when you are writing music do you think of the fans? And can this add restriction to your freedom as an artist?
When we write we just let ideas flood out, at that moment the only thing we think about is if it sounds cool to us. Maybe mixing and mastering is more about fan pleasing but when the music happens there’s no restrictions.

Did the huge success of “Skyforger” add any kind of pressure when you were writing the music for the new album? Did feel that you had to compete yourselves?
For a while we did but once we get going with new stuff we didn’t look back.

You are releasing one album per two years; so, is this a plan of your or it just happened? Can a band work based on a plan?
At first I think it just happened but then it became a plan because it seemed to work well for us, with touring, writing and free time. If a band has a good plan I think better stick to it.

That’s fair enough. So, let’s go back to the new album. How long did it take you to write the music for the new album? When did you decide to do a concept?
A couple of months from the first demos to the album recording. The concept idea came somewhere along the line.

Did you face any difficulties during the writing/recording process of the album?
We had booked vocal recording earlier in October, but then Marco got other commitments so we had to postpone it to January. In the end I think it was the best option because after we recorded the instruments, there was a lot of time to think about the lyrics.

The music is more melodic and in some extent less heavy than the previous; was that in your intentions or it just happened?
I don’t think it’s any less heavy but the melodic parts are so strong that grab the attention.

You have also filmed a video for “You I need”; first of all why did you choose this song? Can you give us any hinds about the video?
I guess it’s one of the songs that will get airplay. There are a lot of those that won’t too. The video was filmed in Berlin in a post-apocalyptic scenery. There were us performing and a beautiful mermaid. The concept for the video came from the company who made it, maybe it’s Kalevala 3000.

Have you ever considered re-recording the first two albums and maybe add a different perspective?
No, “Magic & Mayhem” was enough for re-recordings. I think it kicks ass but there would be no point doing all, we rather write new song.

Thanks for your time answering this long list of questions; I hope we will catch AMORPHIS live in the US!
Thank you too and I am sure we will make it in the US.