Nocturnal Euphony International

Battlelore

 

Interview w/ Jyri Vahvanen

 

Band Members:

Tomi Mykkänen - Male vocals
Kaisa Jouhki - Female vocals
Jyri Vahvanen - Guitars
Jussi Rautio - Guitars
Maria Honkanen - Keyboards, flute
Timo Honkanen - Bass
Henri Vahvanen - Drums

 

 

Country of Origin: Finland

 

http://www.battlelore.net

http://www.myspace.com/battleloremusic

http://www.facebook.com/BattleloreOfficial

 


Where the Shadows Lie (2002)

 

Sword's Song (2003)

 

Third Age of the Sun (2005)

 

 Evernight (2007)

 

The Last Alliance (2008)

Doombound (2011)

 

1. It is my pleasure to be speaking with one of my all time favorites tonight, Battlelore. Hello my
friends! For readers who are new to Battlelore I would like to
begin with a look back at what has brought the band to it's current
album. Battlelore has recently celebrated it's 10 year anniversary.
The band started back in 1999. Over the years there has been some
line up changes as well as musical changes. What was the original
idea for the music back in 99?

 

I founded Battlelore in 1999 with our ex-bass player Miika Kokkola. The reason to put together a band
was, that I needed a channel to express myself with music. I also
played in some other bands, but there wasn't enough room for my
visions and ideas so the most natural thing was to found my own
band. The Tolkien theme, which is very strong in our music, came in
because I am a huge fan of Tolkien's Middle-earth so I just wanted
to unite together those two important things in my life: Metal
& Middle-earth.

 


 2. The first promo CD was called " A Warrior's Tale", which was well received, however the second
promo CD called "Dark Fantasy" is what caught the attention of
Napalm
Records
. It was also at this point several new band
members joined. What were the feelings among the new band, and did
you all share a common vision for the music?

 

The feeling was great of course! We spent a lot of money and time to Dark Fantasy and as we got
our selves a good deal from Napalm, it was just like a dream come
true! The main visionary in this band is me and in the beginning
the whole band followed my lead. Nowadays it has turned more
democratic as the group has grown more together.

 


 3. In 2001 we see the release of the debut album " Where the Shadows Lie" and the
departure of the first member. Did this shake the band at all, and
how did it effect the writing of the second record " Swords
Song"?

 

Of course it felt bad when Tommi decided to left the band, but he still did some of the growls on
the second album and there wasn't any personal grudge etc. In his
departure. It didn't affect much to the next album, because I was
in a ”high drive” with song writing and we got a new guitarist
pretty soon who was also capable to write great songs.

 


 

4. The band really changed much of it's musical style
and overall sound for the third album "Third
Age of the Sun
" Why the change?

 

Well, for the first time we really shared the songwriting process a lot and we also went to France to
record the new album with a new producer who has a lot of new ideas
for the band so I believe that the combination of all those things
affected to the sound and style. Afterwards thinking, maybe it was
also a mistake to record so many songs for one album (16) because
in the end three of them was “dropped” to bonus songs for the
digipack release which wasn't our plan in the beginning. Well, it
was back then and it was a bit crazy time in France, but we
made  a great album which actually found its way
to Finnish album
charts
! 

 


 

5. Battlelore stayed strong and busy and created the forth album, "Evernight", then the fifth "The Last Alliance" and now
the newest record titled "Doombound" You must be excited about the
newest work. Tell us about the writing and ideas behind the new
album.

 

Of course! This is our sixth album and it is always very exciting to wait the album release. When you
step out from the studio with the final mix in your hand, you have
nothing but doubts in your mind and that's just chaotic! What the
hell we've done now?!?! Is this any good or total crap?!?! It takes
about 6 months to get over your own “critical ear” and then you can
finally listen your music objectively.

For the Doombound we wanted to try continuous concept through the whole album and we
chose Tolkien's tale of Túrin Turambar which has also similarities
to Finnish epic Kalevala. It is a great story and it has more than
enough tragic events drama for the musical album. Of course there
was some hard time with lyrics because this was my first time
writing the concept album. Luckily
Tomi and Jussi shared my burden and helped with some of the
tracks.

 


 

6. What would you say are the biggest differences between your early work and the newest
album?

 

Today we have much more experience and eye/ear for details and song structures and of course our musical
skills have improved a lot. Today's technology gives a lot more
options for the sound view and makes things much more easier than
back in the days. In the other hand it can also make you lazy,
because it is way too easy to make computer do your job, which
kills most of the lively feeling from your art. For me it is like a
double edged sword. Musically we have found a lot of new ways to
express our selves through music and we are not afraid to try out
new things. With our first album, I had this clear vision that what
we can and can't do. Today none of us aren't that unconditional and
there's always a room for new ideas and experiments.



 

7. As with most Metal bands of various genres the image of Battlelore as far as live performances is of course
important. How and why has this image changed over the
years?

 

I think that we kind of grew out from the extreme wardrobe thing we had on our three first albums.
It was also easy to put on all the masks and gears for the promo
pictures when there were five professional make up artists helping
you out, but with our budget, it was impossible to move that huge
circus on the road for live shows. So it was a bit unconventional
that we looked different on stage than in our promo pics, although
we never heard any complains about it from the fans, but I felt
that it was a bit unfair situation. Also Lordi did this mask thing
so well that we didn't want to jump in the same train with them and
didn't want people to compare Lordi's and Battlelore's music
together, because we both represent very different kind of metal
genres. So we decided to drop off the heavy masks, but we still
kept the kind of medieval/dark look in the band which fits us
perfectly.

 


 

8. What does the typical Battlelore audience look like at live shows? Do you get any costumed
fans?

 

We have played a lot of pagan/folk festivals and on those gigs the audience use to have these plastic
swords and viking helmets and they are rising their drinking horns
all the time and it is just great fun to see that kind of
enthusiasm for our band. But, usually the audience is just the
typical metal audience with all kind of metal
heads
. We played in the official Lord of the Rings
convention, in Germany 2004 and there were a lot of these costumed
fans with elf ears and orc masks. Time to time there are these
“true” fans who have put on their war paints and chain mails for
the gig and that's just awesome and it raises the spirit in a band
and in audience a lot!



 

 9. What is the next big goal for Battlelore?

 

Hah! Nothing special as we are quite humble group. It would be nice to play some big festivals next
summer and hopefully fans will like the new album. That would be
big enough for us.

 


 

10. In closing, please leave us with any final thoughts or comments, and thanks very much for your
time.

 

Battlelore would like to thank all of its fans, supporters and associates for the great year 2010 and
let us hope even better year 2011 to all of us! Horns
up!



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