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Jukka-Pekka Miettinen (Ensiferum)

Interview with Jukka-Pekka Miettinen from Ensiferum
by Alex Farmakis at 12 July 2004, 11:39 PM

Ensiferum is a band from Finland which combines Findland's traditional Folk mysic together with Death Metal. Alex interviewed bass player Jukka-Pekka Miettinen via e-mail and here's what he had to say about the band's influences, the people's response, their life except for playing in the band and more!

I would like to ask you a few questions about your band if you don’t mind. You are quite a new band and you have just released your second album Iron. Do you intend to maintain the same musical directions that you have now in the near future?

I believe that we will maintain in this Heroic Folk Metal direction as long as this band will keep together, but it doesn’t mean that our next record is going to be boring and one sided. There are a few things that cannot be combined with folk orientated metal music and one is techno music.

When I listened to your first album, Ensiferum, I was amazed. Your music is outstanding. It makes someone feel as if he was in the middle of a battle. Even the songs that do not have an epic atmosphere are expressing intense feelings. What was your inspiration for the music and the lyrics?

Folk music and melodic death metal have always been a big inspiration for us. Bands like Amorphis and Dark Tranquility were important bands for us back then. From the folk music side I can’t name any particular bands, because it’s mainly traditional folk music that we listen to. I don’t know what has been the inspiration for Jari when he wrote the lyrics.

What are your musical influences? Which are your favorite bands?

There ain’t any particular bands where I personally get inspiration from. I think that Markus, the main songwriter of ours likes very much old traditional heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Manowar and of course trad. Folk music. My favorite bands at the moment are Joy Division, Talking Heads, Boards of Canada and Autechre, but they change from time to time, because I listen to lots of music.

Do all the members in the band contribute in the composition process?

Markus is the main songwriter and Jari, our former singer/guitarist, made also a few songs for the band. I had not done anything for the band until now when we started to look material for the third album. The other people from the band haven’t made any compositions although we all participate in the arranging of the songs.

Do you believe that your origin and your Finnish culture have an influence on the way you compose music? I mean that if you were from Italy, for example, would you still play this majestic, glorious, epic black metal that you play now?

Our origin and culture have very big influence in the way we make music. I believe that if we wouldn’t have long winter for instance we wouldn’t make this kind of music. The traditional Finnish folk music has also paid a big importance for us, because it is very melancholic yet also cheerful. The lyrical heritage we have is also important at least for me, because I’m the one who reads lot of books.  

Before Ensiferum you made three demos. Is there any particular reason to justify this number? How can someone obtain them?

I don’t believe the number of the demos has got anything to do with getting the record deal. We just had grown as musicians, composers and had good material which Spinefarm liked that much that they offered us a deal. Those demos aren’t available at the moment, but we will have to see if we release those three demos in same package someday?

According to your official site your single CD Tale Of Revenge was released in March and Iron in April, in Finland. In Greece they have not been released yet. Do you know the reason for this delay?

The reason for the delay has got nothing to do with us, it is just our label that has delayed it for some reason I don’t know.

Searching about your tour plans in your website I noticed that the most southern country you will visit for a concert is Slovenia. Is there any chance to see you here in Greece some time?

We would be very delighted to play in a country like Greece, but we will have to see, it’s all about arranging.

Which of your songs do you like playing in your live performances more?

We like to play all the songs. There is not any special ones, because they are all very good songs.

What is the audience‘s response to your work?

The audience has been very great especially at the tour we went with Finntroll. They were pretty crazy and we weren’t used to that kind of behavior so we were quite amazed. Many people have also said that we are mainly a live band.

When you are not in the studio or on tour, what do you do for a living? Do you have jobs or are you students?

I’m in a high school for adults, because I didn’t have the time to get over with it. Markus is working in Spinefarm and the other ones are unemployed.

As we are an e-zine, we would like to ask you what is your relationship with the Internet.

It is good that people who can’t afford to buy our records can hear our music via internet, but mainly it’s nuisance for us, because we make big work for the records and we don’t get paid, so I think many people would get angry at this position.

In conclusion, would you like to send a message to our readers?

Buy our records so we can earn our living :-) and Folk On!

That was it. Thank you very much for your time.

Thank you too!



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