Josh Rundquist of That Drummer Guy recently conducted an interview with guitarist Tomi Koivusaari of Finnish melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS about their forthcoming album, “Queen Of Time”. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the writing process for “Queen Of Time”, which found AMORPHIS working on the album right after completing the touring cycle for 2015’s “Under The Red Cloud”:
Tomi: “To us, we still want to top everything we’ve done. Sometimes, maybe we can, or sometimes not. That’s what we’re trying to do, doo our best album of all-time, every time. This time the schedule was quite tight. We had one day off at home after the tour, then we started to check the new stuff. Of course, the songs were ready already because everybody had songs where they made demos at their home studios. We didn’t start the process of making songs at that time, they were all ready there. We started to check them out and it’s always that we need this studio date as a deadline because otherwise, we could lay in a sofa for one year, planning to maybe do some new songs. But, if we have a studio date there, it’s just our thing where we have to work hard. We didn’t think we needed rest after the tour. It was busy at the end of the year, but for that, we have a few months off and that’s the first time in 12 years, I think, which is great. Now, we can kind of wait to get back to touring.”
On AMORPHIS‘s often busy schedule:
Tomi: “We’re used to this kind of thing. That’s because this is what we do for a living as well. We are not rich that we can have two years off in the Bahamas or something. We have to work as well and we want to work because we don’t want to keep five-year breaks anymore, at least, because we are not that young anymore. We love what we do that much. So, it’s very natural for us to do something all the time. It’s been quite odd to have this three months without doing anything and going to the store and eating and sporting, so, it’s like something is missing. [Laughs] It’s just what we do.”
On choosing “The Bee” as the lead single from “Queen Of Time”:
Tomi: “I think from the beginning, it was quite obvious that it was going to be the opener of the album. I think we all agreed to have that as the first single or first taste of the album. I think that song has a lot of different elements which are presented in this album anyway. There’s a lot of old things, old elements of AMORPHIS, but also some new, I think, fresh ideas. I think it’s good to have that kind of taste so you can maybe expect something interesting from the album as well. But, normally, a record company is the one who actually decides which songs are the singles. We didn’t want to think about that too much because we cannot say it because we are too inside the sounds and we have six different opinions about that. Of course, [producer] Jens [Borgen] is also helping with that because we can trust what he says and he works with the record company as well. But, I think it’s a good choice.”
On the use of a real choir and the guest appearance from current VUUR/former THE GATHERING vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen:
Tomi: “Jens had this idea when he was in a rehearsal place and pre-producing things and he had this idea to include a real choir and replacing some of the keyboard things with real instruments. We were like ‘Okay, whatever.’ [Laughs] He was organizing all of this. The first time we heard the choirs was when we heard the first mixes, so, we, of course, were like ‘What the hell is going on?’ But, it sounded massive and great. Jens wanted it to be like one louder and it’s a little bit more organic than our previous albums because there’s real humans making these things instead of keyboards or something. But Anneke, we asked her because she was guesting at this one special gig two years ago in Helsinki and we already were talking about if she would guest on something in the future, like our album. Now, there’s a song which is clear for a duet. It turned out great. We have known Anneke for quite a long time. She’s a great singer and a great person.”
“Queen Of Time” is set for a May 18 release via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2015’s “Under The Red Cloud” will include the use of real strings, flutes, orchestral arrangements and even choirs. In addition, this will be the first time that people will be able to hear their lyricist Pekka Kainulainen on the album as he contributes a speech in Finnish.