Interview with Tuomas Saukkonen
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: September 17, 2017
Wolfheart, a 4-piece Finnish melodic Death Metal band, started out in 2013 as a solo project by Tuomas Saukkonen, who put his other bands (Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, etc.) to eternal rest in order to focus on Wolfheart.
With three studio albums under their belt, of which Tyhjyys is their latest, Wolfheart have been steadily growing their fanbase year by year and are considered one of the most promising melodic Death Metal bands nowadays.
The Metal Crypt met the band's talkative, friendly and multi-talented Tuomas Saukkonen at a small but very scenic and beautiful John Smith festival on July 21, 2017, which is located in the province of Western Finland. The following conversation with Tuomas took place at the actual venue, a few hours after Before the Dawn's final gig (yes, Tuomas had a double shift that day).
Luxi: Wolfheart's third studio album, Tyhjyys, was released on Spinefarm/Universal Records in the beginning of March this year. From what I have seen and heard, people overall think it's your most coherent, solid and ear-pleasing work to date, which I personally agree with. Do you see this album the same way?
Tuomas: Yes, pretty much so. We kind of wanted to refine our sound on Tyhjyys. We didn't want to make an album that would be different from how we sound as a band just for the sake of making it sound different. Time will tell if people start seeing this album as some sort of a cornerstone.
As a musician and songwriter, I live in a different cycle than our fans do. I had everything ready for this record almost a year ago. In fact, I have already started writing new songs and have even booked studio time for the beginning of next year. In that sense I have already moved on to the next Wolfheart record, pondering what I want it to be like and what elements I would like to use. I could say that I don't think much about this album any more because my new creative phase has already started for album number 4.
Nevertheless, we did try to make Tyhjyys as perfect as possible and during the recording sessions it became quite evident early on we had something special in the works. Tiny little parts just fell into place on this album. It's not something you can always take for granted: sometimes it's like a pain in the butt thing to create a coherent work with everything in balance. It is always the sum of many different things; the right sound, the right songs, the right vibe, whatever really. You cannot just say to yourself, "hey, I want to make this type of an album next, with this kind of feeling and vibe." I wish it was so easy but unfortunately, it is not. When you find the flow of songwriting, everything basically starts happening on its own. The hardest part is to get the right production and the right sound for your songs and that's where you want to spend some time, just to get everything perfect.
On Tyhjyys I think we got everything done the way we originally wanted. The way we were working this record and the feeling that we had during the whole process, all those little but important things, were guiding us through the making of this album. In the end I think we accomplished all that what we wanted to accomplish: a coherent and strong album, which I myself am totally happy with.
Luxi: What about the album title, Tyhjyys? It's the first time you've used a Finnish album title for a Wolfheart record. Did you want to underline where you come from, i.e. the very north of Europe, Finland?
Tuomas: Well, partly yes. On the other hand, it wasn't an obstacle for us to choose an album title for this record that's a Finnish word. Many times I think of lyrics in my mind in Finnish first, taking a sentence from here and another from there and pondering how they translate in to English. I have noticed that there are some Finnish words that don't translate into English very well, or not at all. One of those words is "routa", which I haven't found a good English translation for so far. Hence I have used the word in Wolfheart's lyrics as it is in Finnish. It's tough to find a word in English for "routa" when thinking of the texture of ice in that specific way. But the word "routa" can be used to describe one kind of feeling type of thing as well. Same with the word "tyhjyys"; it doesn't translate to any English words like "emptiness" or "void." The word itself has a way more desperate feeling to it. It's also a state of feeling, in which you have lost something precious. It's not just a vacuum in which nothing exists.
But anyways, when I got the word "tyhjyys" set in my brain, I started putting my own viewpoint together for the title track "Tyhjyys" and began building the lyrics up from there. I also realized that this is also a perfect word to describe the whole concept around our new record. I didn't want to choose an English title for this record using an easy word like "emptiness" as it's the kind of word that many obviously understand. Also, I guess this Finnish album title, Tyhjyys, makes things a little bit more special in that it's very hard to pronounce for everyone except perhaps for us Finns, hahah! As for a Finnish word, it sounds kinda beautiful plus looks pretty good as written, in my opinion. Graphically the album title sits well on the album cover, even if many may not understand the true meaning behind it.
My point, however, is that I wanted to use this Finnish title for the album because there was no proper enough way to translate the word in English, not the way it would have described the actual Finnish word well enough, and the actual meaning behind it in particular.
CALL OF THE LAKE SIMPELE
Luxi: Unlike the two previous albums, you chose an instrumental song to open Tyhjyys, "Shores of the Lake Simpele". What meaning does lake Simpele have for you personally?
Tuomas: Lake Simpele is located in my childhood village of Parikkala. My first home was on the shore of this particular lake. I spent all my childhood near that lake and the area is known for its vast fields of forests and beautiful lakes. I have gotten inspiration for many of my songs from this type of environment and I have always wanted to include something from my home turf in one of our songs. We have sort of a Viking choir in the intro part of it that includes my father and both of his brothers, one who is actually my godfather. My father still listens to Heavy Rock/Metal and even goes to Metal concerts every now and then. He's curious to know how my gigs with Wolfheart have gone and asks via Facebook.
Anyway, we recorded the choir part at Astia-studio in Lappeenranta and all four of us - The Clan of Saukkonen, as I would like to call it - were yelling our guts out for what would become the album's intro, which became "Shores of the Lake Simpele" eventually. I think we really nailed the intro because every time we start our set at some festival somewhere in Europe, the crowd joins the intro choir, which is really damn cool, in my opinion. It's also very cool that we can sort of "hide" these little things that have a lot of to me in our songs. We don't necessarily underline these things so much but the thing is when you go on stage and notice that the crowd joins in singing right from the intro, it really gives my performance and extra kick. My childhood home has a lot of meaning to me.
Ever since we released our self-titled debut album back in 2013, we started getting several good gig opportunities, including some slots at bigger festivals. The crowd's response has always been great. Being able to play live for people has been such a blessing for us and gives us an extra boost to keep the wheels rolling. Financially, perhaps not much so but as long as enough people come to our gigs and support us the way they have done thus far, it's fun for us to play live for them.
With my previous band, Before the Dawn, it was also fun to play live, but somehow it's even more fun now with Wolfheart. In fact, playing live feels so effortless and easy for us with Wolfheart, so much so that as a composer and songwriter I often ponder why things seem too be so easy for us. I remember when I was composing "Shores..." on my acoustic guitar, I started to picture in my head what it would be like to open our shows with this song with background lights and smoke on the stage. After some thought, it was no-brainer for us to make "Shores..." both the opening song of our new album as well as the intro that we wanted for our shows.
Now that we have tested the intro at our gigs, we all agreed that it fits very well. People raise their hands high in the air and sing along with the choir part. That's just perfect for us. I also think that it gives a new dimension and more depth to our show on some level. I have to tell you that when I listen to my own music, it has its own personal meaning to me. Every time I put "Shores..." on in my car, it gives me this good feeling of playing live and that's really important to me.
Luxi: How challenging is it for you to combine the extremes of your music, from acoustic, folky stuff to more extreme music, into one whole? To me it sounds like it comes pretty naturally...
Tuomas: I dig working with different contrasts within all the stuff I do. Both extremes support each other, underlining the importance of both. I would be bored way too soon if I just wrote too light and tame or too brutal and extreme all the time. In my opinion, Wolfheart's stuff needs some contrast; it just wouldn't sound like Wolfheart if there wasn't any. I also believe if I have an urgency in some part in my music I need to balance it somehow as well, being some lighter or more brutal element in a song.
Luxi: Would you say that you have an inborn tendency to write songs in which the music has contrasting elements?
Tuomas: Yeah, you could say that. I really cannot help myself to be honest. Sometimes I worry that I am repeating the same song formula over and over again. I think a good example is one of the new songs off Tyhjyys, titled "The Flood". I remember writing this song in just one session, start to finish. It started with a single riff then I tried to figure out how the drums would fit and it developed from there. Sometimes I can come up with riffs and ideas for a song very fast. For example, I remember when I was finishing the ending part for "The Flood" and I thought, "hey, this sounds almost identical with the riff at the end of 'Routa Pt.2'". The riff sounds the same, but the tone is a bit different. I thought, "what the fuck... Let it be as it is" because it sounded very cool to my ears. I felt like it fitted so well at the end of "The Flood" that I didn't see any point in changing it. I know that some people are so alert for that stuff that they might throw some (ugly) criticism towards me but things like this happen by accident and I am cool with them. It's really difficult to change something that you have already become totally comfortable with. It's an impossible job to change the mind of a selfish bastard, hahah! When your own ears fall in love with something, it's hard to change course. You just go with your intuition and be spontaneous; this is something that cannot be calculated. Otherwise you wouldn't be truly honest with yourself, right?
Also, I trust firmly that a song's overall mood is way more important than any tiny details. Every riff and melody serve the song as a whole.
FROM THE EARLY DAYS TO TODAY - SHAPING THE SOUND OF WOLFHEART
Luxi: Do your partners in crime in Wolfheart understand what Wolfheart is all about, musically and visually, as well as their contributions?
Tuomas: Well, let me say that everyone is allowed to contribute good ideas for the band but a shitty idea is just a shitty idea, if I can put it this rude way. It doesn't matter if I am the one to spit it out or someone else in the band. Just to clarify a bit more, none of us has a big ego, which, of course, is a good thing.
I must say that when I did the first Wolfheart album (Winterborn, 2013) from start to finish, it made for an easy way to show my band mates what I want Wolfheart to sound like. Just listen to the stuff that I have done for Wolfheart and I don't have to explain to anyone what Wolfheart should sound like. I think all of my band mates understand what I want both from Wolfheart and from them. Everyone's involvement in Wolfheart is equal even if I compose and produce most of the stuff for the band. For example, our drummer Joonas (Kauppinen) who neither composed nor arranged any material for Wolfheart is very important in the band. When I was doing the drum tracks for Winterborn, I was thinking of drum fills and he would come up with this or that part of a song. I look upon him highly as a drummer, he being a sort of tutor when it comes to playing the drums. If I tell him how I want the drums to be built up in a song, he always seems to know the best way they should be played. In that sense he's a great asset to Wolfheart. I know now how he plays so I am able to compose material in which his drum parts sound almost exactly as if I would have played them. It's a really big advantage to have a drummer like him in the band whose mindset is so close to mine. I think the way the drums and guitar(s) synchronize is probably the most important single element in our music.
Luxi: You are, for obvious reasons, the heart, soul and main filter in Wolfheart. Have you ever run a situation where one of your band mates introduced an idea for a song which was great in their opinion but you had to turn down because it didn't represent Wolfheart musically?
Tuomas: I think that has happened on rare occasions but not often at all. When someone in the band comes up with something worth trying, be it a riff, melody or whatever, and put some time into it, it deserves to be checked and tried out even if it doesn't lead into a whole song. On the new album there's a song that has ideas from three of the four band members. We have some great songwriters in this band; our bassist Lauri (Silvonen) plays guitar in his other band Bloodread Hourglass and Mika (Lammassaari), our guitarist, also plays in Mors Subita and composes music for that band. So yeah, we all have ideas for Wolfheart and that makes it way more interesting when we try to figure out which parts connect with which parts. Let's take the song "Boneyard", for example; both Mika and Lauri came up with some riffs for this song. I remember when they introduced their riffs I started thinking right away how I could add them to the song as seamlessly as possible so that the whole song would work. It gives me a whole new perspective for the songwriting process when you i get a bunch of riffs and stuff from the others. It's actually quite a puzzle. When using raw ideas from other members, a song may sound drastically different compared to the original idea. Naturally, I always want the whole band effort to be heard in our songs but sometimes compromises must take place to maintain the Wolfheart formula.
My point is that everyone in the band is welcome to contribute to the songwriting process because it makes our sound richer and keeps me from repeating myself too much. I have my own mannerisms which I have used for around 150 songs so I really cannot help myself. When I get a whole different viewpoint from someone else, it only serves to get a better outcome if it works for the album concept we are working towards.
Luxi: How much of your own feelings, experiences, etc. have you put into the lyrics?
Tuomas: My lyrics are just one part of me, with my bad or good days, reflecting how I feel and deal with different things in my life. I process my thoughts and feelings through my music which I have found a cool and natural thing to do because it's easier for me to get my thoughts heard than face to face. My lyrics are my channel to relieve my burden, sort of. I am the kind of person that can listen to what others tell me but it doesn't work for me vice versa. My point is that a conflict that I may have in my life doesn't disappear or go anywhere because I tell someone. I channel my (bad) feelings through my music and lyrics. I may have just a couple of very meaningful sentences in the lyrics of a song that have this "knife-to-the-bone" effect on me personally while other sentences aren't that meaningful to me a all, but are a part of the whole story in the lyrics. When I go through those more meaningful lyrics, I tend to understand myself a bit better. It's almost like a personal diary; a personal process I can always return back to, reminding myself of those things that I have experienced in my life in the past. It may help me to see things in a different way and perhaps even teach me to deal with them in some other way in the future. I must say that none of my lyrics are written in a way that one could read me like an open book. I only process certain (bad) things through my lyrics that are very personal to me. My lyrics aren't written in a way that would give too much information about myself, if you know what I am trying to say here. I am neither a happy face all the time nor the unhappiest person.
ABOUT THE ART OF WRITING LYRICS
Luxi: Do you think people are able to pick up on the most meaningful things through your lyrics or do you want to keep them mysterious so that people have to dig a little more in order to really understand them?
Tuomas: You just brought up a good point. When I was younger, I had to figure out how much to reveal about my own experiences and thoughts through my own lyrics and if there was a way to tell them indirectly instead. It took some time to find the right filter to express myself through my lyrics but after a time I understood what I could talk about and what I could not. Katatonia has some great, poetic yet dark lyrics, which I like a lot. I have never stopped thinking of what Jonas was feeling when he chose those words to express his feelings. On the contrary I try to translate them through my own experiences and feelings. You don't necessarily feel empathy about what Jonas has gone through in his own lyrics but you are able to translate them in a way that reflects your own life experiences.
As a lyric writer myself, I feel like I am completely safe with what I actually mean with my lyrics yet I don't want to expose my feelings and experiences that directly. I am quite sure that most people don't see a straight connection like where I was or how I felt when I wrote this or that. Perhaps they may recognize a state of where I have been while I was writing about certain things in my lyrics but I don't tell people directly what inspired me to write them. I also believe that I have only gotten better at this over the years. Then again, not all of my lyrics are that personal, specifically when talking about more war-themed lyrics and what happened on the Karelian Isthmus way back, in particular.
Luxi: You wrote lyrics in Finnish for a song called "Veri" on your previous album, Shadow World. Do you want to emphasize that Wolfheart comes from Finland by writing more lyrics in Finnish in the future? The band name Wolfheart also strongly reflects Nordic countries like Finland...
Tuomas: I must admit that Finnish is a great language to use in Metal music, in my opinion. It's a pretty unique language, plus it's an easy language for growling your guts out because it's got strong consonants and many double consonants as well. It's an easy language to make your lyrics rhyme and get the right rhythm. I have even noticed that my voice sounds a bit different when singing in Finnish as I believe this more phonetic side comes pretty naturally to me. When signing in English you need to think about how certain words need to be pronounced. In the Finnish language we have pretty strong words that can be underlined in the lyrics for even a stronger effect. Plus, you are also able to get a whole new perspective for your lyrics when using our mother language for them.
Having already written 150 songs and using almost the same theme, at some point it may get the feeling that I cannot express myself so well in English, sort of running out of English vocabulary. Of course many words have synonyms and it's no problem to use them but doing so just for making our lyrics to sound more clever and fancy is pointless. It's much easier for me to just change the whole language which gives new challenges to get them sounding right for a song. For some foreign people the Finnish language must sound exotic and perhaps even cool, no matter which words you use. But it's a whole different thing to make your lyrics sound good for those people who use the Finnish language as their native language. That's where there the real challenge is. I think when you use English, you can use a bunch of clichés that still sound cool and convincing. Trying to do so using Finnish may result in shooting oneself in the foot because the way you say in Finnish is quite different compared to English. The Finnish language is very different to use in lyrics, setting new kinds of challenges in terms of expressing yourself convincingly enough lyrically.
A good example of this is the title track "Tyhjyys" off our new album. It was darn hard to get the storyline told in a way where every sentence supported each other, forming a convincing story.
OF WOLFPACK BEING ON THE ROAD
Luxi: Changing the topic slightly, I have noticed that you have done a few festival appearances lately but I was just wondering if you have some club dates coming up, either here in Finland or abroad, during the fall of 2017?
Tuomas: We are working on a club tour in some European countries. We haven't nailed anything down yet but we have some options that we need to consider before we rush things too much. We are happy that we have found a great booking agency that wants to work with us in the long term. Every plan and little detail that is offered to us will be thought out carefully. We don't want to do something for the sake of doing something. There's no point of rushing things although I must admit I do have this strange drive possessing me at the moment where I would like to do so much within a short period of time with this band. I am glad that there's someone wiser than me taking are of some of this business side now and telling me I should hold my horses because there's always the next album coming up, the next summer coming up, the next tour coming up and so forth. At times you may rush to do a tour at the wrong time which isn't a good thing at all.
Luxi: Every new release should be backed up by a proper tour that should support the selling of it...
Tuomas: Indeed. In addition, you need to tour with the right bands so that you have the right audience. Touring just for the sake of touring doesn't necessarily bring you anything good. It demands lots of time and effort from every band member; we all have jobs and some of us have families to feed. Going on tour requires compromise and sacrifice. I think a band like Insomnium is a good example of how things should be done. Their success story is just amazing, in my opinion. Every album and tour they have done has brought them bigger audiences and more successful tours. The band played at Ilosaarirock Festival this year with a symphony orchestra and they were one of the headliners at both Nummirock and Tuska festivals here in Finland. That's the kind of plan every band should strive to recreate.
Luxi: True, so true. It's also about perfect timing, a pro crew, well-organized logistics, etc.
Tuomas: Yes, and, of course, the quality of your material. Everything should work seamlessly, otherwise things can go down really soon. It's a pity that there are some bands out there that deserve much more. Today's music business doesn't make it easy for bands to survive. Too many people have short memories and big organizations seem only to care for profit. Success in the long run is a sum of many different things in this business.
Luxi: Moving on, I noticed you guys will be a part of the 70K cruise next year. How do you feel about that?
Tuomas: To be honest, I am thrilled about it! Thanks to our new booking agency for getting us on this killer cruise next year. What I find so great about our new booking agency is that they showed right off the bat that we were working with a truly professional team. They even asked us if there are any festivals we didn't want to do or there were some that would get an absolute "yes" from us. We answered that this cruise is something we would definitely want to attend. They told us they had very good contacts with the cruise promoters without making any promises. One week or so passed by and they got back to us with an offer. I didn't even read the contract as I was so excited but phoned our drummer Joonas instead, telling him, "let's go and do some cruising on the waves next year". And that was it.
Luxi: Do you have any expectations about this cruise?
Tuomas: Good question. One part of me is thrilled while the other half not so much. I am sure going on the cruise must be cool as hell. It's sort of a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Also, as we haven't done any tours in the States so far, I believe there's gonna be a bunch of people there who are eager to witness us live for the first time. This type of cruise is an ideal promotional tool for any band because people talk and write about it so much. It's sort of a status thing. I mean, if you are asked to play on the cruise it means that you have been noted and are doing something special I guess.
But there's another side of the coin. I am a straight edge guy and the thought of wandering among 3000 metal heads for 4 days does't make me feel that good. The idea makes my head explode, haha!! I will hopefully be surrounded by my bandmates, so perhaps I won't feel that apprehensive, but who knows? I know I cannot stay in my cabin all the time or jump overboard and swim away from all the parties.
Luxi: Haha... poor you! 4 long days and you the only sober one amongst all of these crazy drunks must sound like a nightmare to you...
Tuomas: Indeed, but I believe I can survive that experience. Let's just wait and see, haha!!
MY DARKNESS: ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO END
Luxi: Let's go on a side track next. Stay Heavy Records just put out a set of 3 CDs + 1 DVD called My Darkness 1999-2013, which includes the official farewell gig of your previous band Before the Dawn, filmed at Finlandia Klub, and some "best of" stuff from your other bands Dawn of Solace and Black Sun Aeon. Obviously this set offers a nice and comprehensive excursion through your past works but what else can you tell us about this set?
Tuomas: First off I must say that originally it was a very cool idea from the Stay Heavy staff to suggest such an idea. Right from the very beginning it was clear that they wouldn't make any money out of it because financing this type of a box set undoubtedly costs a small fortune if you wanna do it a pro way (5.1 DVD, etc.). One of my most important criteria was it could not be done in a cheap way so that the label could sell it out to make a good profit for themselves only.
We started to throw ideas back and forth and actually the main idea was to get the whole thing out a long time ago. At some point I basically lost interest in this project and the label guys kind of felt the same way and nothing happened for a year or so. But when we got this special Before the Dawn set announced and booked for the John Smith Festival this year it triggered discussions about getting it released. All the master files were just laying there on the table in a Baltic pressing company for a year and half until someone said, "hey, it's time to push the button and let the pressing begin...". That's all it took really.
Our gig here at the John Smith Festival really got the wheels rollin' and it seemed like a no brainer to get it finished. Enough water had flown under the bridge so there wasn't a lot of pressure on anyone's shoulders just to get it out, there was no "God Lord, we are obligated to do one more release with these guys..." from the label. I probably like this release even more now because we got to perform this one unique and special show at this festival and that wouldn't have been included if it had been released earlier. I mean, it's sometimes really cool to do something just for the sake of nostalgia. The nostalgic element is definitely a part of this package. This package isn't a definitive collection of my past works though; lots of stuff was left out like all the stuff from The Final Harvest for example. I wanted to keep the content for this package somewhat simply, sort of. The more bureaucracy, the more my blood gets boiling you know, haha! That's why the CEO of Stay Heavy Records and I were the only who took care of this release from the beginning to the end. We worked with this just like we did with some of the earliest Before the Dawn albums back in the day. We wanted to keep things pretty straightforward with this release without too many extra cooks in the kitchen. We also wanted to keep this as a limited edition. I could probably name half of the dudes/dudettes who are interested in buying this; the ones who have been curiously asking about the release in advance. I feel like the purpose of this limited package is more directed to the real fans than the masses.
Luxi: Despite the delay, I'm sure you're glad the box set was completed.
Tuomas: Yes, indeed I am. It feels great to have this finally done. The timing couldn't be any better as it was released on the verge of Before the Dawn's very last set here at the John Smith Festival.
Luxi: Before the Dawn's official farewell show happened at Finlandia Club in Lahti, Finland, on February 23, 2013. Did you feel sad or think, "oh shit... So, this was it. Goodbye Before the Dawn..."
Tuomas: What I don't miss are the struggles we had with labels and stuff. It's a whole different thing with Wolfheart, sort of a raw contrast to the times I had with my other bands. I tried to find musicians for Wolfheart that would work in a good, harmonious relationship. It's really like that; like looking for the woman of your dreams and crossing your fingers and hoping she won't turn to a psychopath when you start to know her a little bit better, you know. I tried to find such musicians for Wolfheart, pros that gave me a good feeling about how a band should work and that's what I got.
But back to your original question, I don't miss the setbacks of my prior bands but I miss the songs I did for Before the Dawn, as well as for my other bands. When I went on stage with Before the Dawn, I felt nostalgic and realized I missed some of those songs. It's almost like a religious experience for me when everything falls into place; the crowd standing and singing our songs in a heavy rain, seeing familiar faces in the audience that I've known since our first gigs in 1999, the sound being perfect and so on. Everything stops and you get this special moment when even butterflies seem to move in slow motion. This gig reminded me of how cool it is to do things with the right people around you and that I miss dearly. When we had finished our set, I honestly didn't miss the thought of what IF we had continued this band; it's so much to keep a band going beyond that one precious, passing moment on the stage or the moment in the studio. If someone asks me 2-3 years from now if I would be interested in performing with Before the Dawn one more time, I would probably say yes because it's so cool to play those songs with this line-up.
Luxi: Did you get any flashbacks today of your farewell gig in 2013?
Tuomas: Happily, no. I mean, that particular day (February 23, 2013) was kind of sad for me because I knew it all would come to an end some day. It was mentally tough for me because it was advertised as the farewell show of Before the Dawn, which made me feel sad after all. The end of Before the Dawn culminated at that particular gig where this show at the John Smith Festival brought me opposite feelings of nostalgia and such. It was a whole different feeling, knowing deep inside that this band was worth at least one more shot. The difference was that now we weren't playing the very last time with Before the Dawn but playing one more time. There's a big difference between what we did back in 2013 and what we did over here more than four years later.
Luxi: Is it too early to think about DVD plans for Wolfheart?
Tuomas: Indeed it is. Perhaps after the band's fourth album or so in 2019 it might be the right time to make some plans. I am more interested in producing videos at this time. To be honest with you I would rather make a pro-quality video for each Wolfheart album than produce a live DVD. I get more kicks when I can do a whole script for a music video. A single gig is just a single gig. We have some live videos with Wolfheart already done and a couple of DVDs with Before the Dawn. It goes without saying that we don't have Rammstein-type budgets for doing something extraordinary, live footage-wise. It's a whole different story if our label wants to put some money behind it and there is an ideal location or festival for doing something like that. Doing a Wolfheart live DVD isn't on the band's top-3-things-to-do priority list at the moment.
Luxi: The Wacken Open Air Festival down there in Germany has their own crew that does quality live production, for a certain amount of money, of course. I happen to know that Wolfheart haven't played at that festival yet...
Tuomas: No, we haven't. I don't want to do a run-of-the-mill production with this band. So many other bands have already filmed their shows at Wacken and put them out as a live DVDs. The location should be more special for us.
Luxi: I understand. Okay, it's about time to finish this interview but before I let you go I would like to ask if you have already penned some new stuff for this band?
Tuomas: I have almost finished 2 new songs but haven't recorded them with any proper studio sound yet. I do know what type of guitars they need and I do know in my head how the drums should sound. But as I haven't finished anything yet, I have nothing concrete to offer to people.
I have my own creative periods when all kinds of things pop up when I grab my acoustic guitar and start jamming. It's not always clear if what I come up with is good enough for a song or not. I also have those periods in my life when I just practice with my guitar and enjoy going to gigs like everybody else. At some point my creative juices just start flowing and I may come up with lots of new stuff.
I get excited very easily when I know I have come up with something worth trying and when I do, I often build a whole song in my head with guitars, drums and everything. I have also noticed that sometimes the drum parts I have come up with forces me to come up with a certain type of guitar rhythm. Then I may find different types of chords around it all and all of a sudden I may have 3 or 4 minutes of the kind of material ready that I record into my iPhone, just to get it saved somewhere.
Luxi: OK Tuomas, I think that was it. Thanks so much for your time and good luck with your 2nd show tonight, this time with Wolfheart.
Tuomas: Thank you, it was a pleasure talking to you.
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|Review: Shadow World|
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