An Interview with Niilo Sevänen and Ville Friman (Insomnium)

You know, I wonder if people are indeed born with silver spoons in their mouths. If so, then I’m tempted to believe that right away for Finnish melodic death metallers Insomnium; since not only do I consider them highly talented and poetic but they’ll also be touring with their heroes Dark Tranquillity this month.

Not to mention that they’ve recently made a move from Candlelight Records to label giant Century Media.  Sign of more great things to come? We’ll have to see, after the new album! Frontman/bassist Nillo Sevänen and guitarist Ville Friman popped by, to talk about it.


To begin with, I recall hearing that you guys are currently in the studio working on the follow-up to ‘Across the Dark’. Would you mind telling us if it’s going to be similar in any way to that album; as well as what we can expect to hear as an audience?

Niilo:
Actually, we are recording only two songs right now. One of these should be released during the autumn, and this will be something special. You’ll see! ;) This is a good way to promote the Dark Tranquillity tour; and it also gives the fans something fresh to listen to, while they wait for the full album to come out. The new LP will be recorded during the spring, and hopefully it will be released in September or October 2011.


Not only are you working on a new LP, but it’s going to be released through your new label Century Media! Are you excited to join the new family? Are there any pressures related to the move, any fears? Alternatively, you could have merely resigned your contract with Candlelight Records instead of switching over to a new label. May I ask what led you to decide against that, in the end?

Niilo:
We’re extremely happy to be part of the Century Media family. So far, everything looks really good! They are enthusiastic and very professional, and of course they’re a big label with a lot of muscle to push us forward. We are certain that this union will lead to great things in the future.

We are grateful to Candlelight for the decade we spent with them, but now we’ve decided it was time to move on. Bigger label means bigger opportunities. For example, it is clear that the deal with Century Media will avail us to tour North America more often; or even more distant locations like Asia, Australia or South America.

Does it feel rather surreal to now be part of a records label that hosts a number of big names; like Finntroll, Arch Enemy and Asphyx? How do you feel about their consistent support of Finnish metal; after all you’ve joined them at the same time as Man Eating Tree, another great melodic band outta Finland?

Niilo:
We’ve had some months to get used to the idea! ;) Of course it feels great – we are more eager and motivated than ever. We are now touring with Dark Tranquillity and it’s great to know that there are plenty of other fine bands in the Century Media roster whom we could team up with.

Ville F.:
Yeah, it does feel a bit surreal. But on the other hand, everything has developed constantly bit by bit. Moving to Century Media feels totally right, and is a well-deserved direction for us at this point of our career.

Speaking of which – I’m going to be cheeky now and sneak in a question about the death metal scene back in Finland: would you personally say that there seems to be a divisive gap between brutal, death metalheads and melodic death metalheads in the Finnish scene? Or does no one seem to care; based on what you’ve experienced for yourselves in the scene?

Niilo:
I don’t think there is a big gap between brutal and melodic deathsters in Finland, as you can like bands from both scenes. I would say that there is actually a bigger gap between fans of power metal and more extreme metal; but generally, Finnish metalheads are pretty open-minded.

Ville F.:
There’s definitely no bad blood between different bands, since people are rather supportive and most often friends with each other. Of course, some like it more brutal and some bit more melodic; but it’s totally ok to take the best of both worlds as well.

Come September, you’re going to be on tour across Europe with fellow labelmates and melodic death pioneers Dark Tranquillity; which includes returning to the Underworld venue in Camden, London. Are you looking forward to be coming back to England soon; and if you could would you ever consider doing a tour throughout the United Kingdom to promote your upcoming new album?

Niilo:
It’s great to come back to Camden again! This must be our third time in Underworld, and it’s always been a blast! Now with DT I’m pretty sure the house will be packed and everyone going crazy. :) Generally the UK has always been very good to us, so I’m sure we will be touring the British Isles extensively after the next album. For example, last time it really amazed me that we had one of the best crowds ever in Plymouth on Monday evening; in a small venue next to the bus station. ;) So we’ll come back for sure!

How did you land the role of supporting Dark Tranquillity for the European tour? Did you find it hard to believe that you would be playing with one of the influences on your sound, when you got the news?

Niilo:
I think it was almost a year ago, when DT first contacted us and asked if we could do a US tour together. For some odd reason they wanted to tour with us. :) Of course we were more than eager to do that tour, but in the end the whole thing was cancelled. Luckily they wanted us on this Euro tour as well, so here we are now. I really believe that this will be the best tour we have ever done; and it will be a real privilege to play with DT every night, five weeks in a row. This is something we would not have believed when we started the band some 13 years ago! :)

Ville F.:
Yeah, it’s absolutely an honor to share the stage with them; and it will definitely be one hell of a tour!

Before we close, would you like to offer any final words to the readers out there?

Niilo:
If you want to see the Underworld show, get your tickets in time! We know the pre-sales and it will be sold out. You don’t want to miss this tour, buddy; so be quick!

Ville F.:
Keep checking our web pages for more news and info for the new upcoming material! See you in the Underwold!

Ann Sulaiman and Terrorizer would like to thank Sarah Lees at Century Media Records; as well as Niilo Sevänen and Ville Friman of Insomnium for providing the interview.
Since I always appreciate the time and effort given to interviews out of musicians’ schedules, here’s my way of saying thanks!

To buy tickets for the Camden show on September 28th, go to the Underworld’s website at www [dot] theunderworldcamden [dot] co [dot] uk

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