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dinsdag 22 februari 2011
BATTLELORE: The band is based on Tolkien's Middle-earth theme

Interview with Jyri Vahvanen (guitar/lyrics) of Battlelore by Danny on February 22, 2011
Pictures: Jarmo Kitala

Battlelore from Finland, just released their sixth album, their first concept album. The story is based on the book “Children of Húrin” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Lots of stuff for a few questions, which they were pleased to answer. The band certainly deserves some attention and we hope to raise that with this interview and the review of the album "Doombound", which you can read on this site. (click on the album cover)

Why this big interest in the Tolkien stories? How did it ever started?

Jyri: The whole foundation of Battlelore is based on Tolkien's Middle-earth theme. Back in 1999 when I gave birth to Battlelore I knew that Tolkien's written poetry will be the main source of inspiration for this band. If I'd like to write from some other topics, then it would be for some other band project, because Battlelore bows deeply to Tolkien's legacy. I've been a huge Tolkien fan over twenty years for now and I also love metal music a lot. So, back in the days when I founded my own band, it was quite natural to unite those two highly important things of my life together.

Why do you use this particular story, that wasn’t even finished by J.R.R.?

Jyri: Well, the tale of Túrin Turambar is amazing story and as you probably know, it is finished by J.R.R.Tolkien's son Christopher as he released it in 2007 under a title “Children of Húrin”. There was some other story options also for this album, but this one just felt right. This particular story has also many similarities to Finnish folklore Kalevala which is our national epic.

Do you know Christopher Tolkien personally? Does he know about your album?

Jyri: I don't know him personally and I have not a clue if he has heard about our band or our albums. If he would, probably the Tolkien estate would just send us a law suit or something like that like it seems to be with every Tolkien-related thing nowadays. Money talks and bullshit walks!

picture: Jarmo Katila

Why did you wait so long to release your first concept album? Was it more difficult to work this way or easier because there is a guideline of the story?

Jyri: There was a plan to make our third album “Evernight” as a concept album, but it really was too difficult back then, so there's only a few songs with a continuous story on that album. Then we made the next album “The Last Alliance” and when we started to write it, we didn't even think of any conceptual themes. It just wasn't the right time for it. But now when we made “Doombound”, I started the whole project with this concept idea, but after a while I dumped it, because I felt that it was too challenging especially with lyrics and I got kind of a writers block. Luckily some other members of our band helped me through the hard times and wrote some lyrics too and we got the concept theme back on the tracks and finished it with success.

Is your music style big in Finland? Is Battlelore known in your country?

Jyri: People knows our band, because we've been around over ten years for now, but we are still quite small here in Finland. As you know, there's a lot of great bands coming from Finland and our style is not the most popular in here. Turisas and Korpiklaani are probably the biggest names in Finnish pagan/folk metal genre. There are still many great bands sharing the same style with us who still do their stuff with unique style.

Markus Vuoristo is the guest cellist. Does he play with other bands? How did this cooperation come into being?

Jyri: I don't know his background that well, but as far as I know, his appearance on our album was his “biggest” recording so far. He is a young and talented musician and our producer Janne Saksa knew him somewhere. One day in studio when we were recording the synth tracks and looking for a cool cello sound, Janne suggested that maybe we could ask this young cello player he knew, to play a real cello on our album and of course we agreed.

How did you meet Dan Swanö?

Jyri: Tomi, our vocalist knew him before and asked if he could mix our album. It was a few years ago when we made “The Last Alliance” and Dan took the job and made a great job for it. With our next album “Doombound” we wanted to use Dan's expertise again and he was eagerly in for the job so we made the album with the same method as we did “The Last Alliance”

You were lucky to be picked up by Napalm Records almost from the start. That must have been a big advantage?

Jyri: Yes, it has been a very nice relationship with them and they've been extremely good for us. When our recording contract ended back in 2009 they gave us a new offer which was way better than any others we got, so it really was a sign for us that Napalm wants to keep us and they are ready to invest in Battlelore.

When can we see Battlelore on stage again in Europa (and more specific Belgium or the Netherlands)?

Jyri: Hopefully as soon as possible! There will be a break for touring in a Spring/early Summer because a few of our band members are going to have an additions to their families, so we'll keep it quite low for a while, but from July we'll start the live playing again. Battlelore is very important for us and we love to play live, but first things first.

What are the plans for the near future you want to share with us?

Jyri: Well, I kind of answered this one in a previous question. The lives of some Battlelorians will change a lot, but our hearts are still yearning to play new songs live as soon as possible so touring will be our plan for the future.

I wish you all the best in the future and hope to see you live again on stage!
Thanks for the nice intie!

Geplaatst door danny op dinsdag 22 februari 2011 - 21:06:13
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