Holland's FaceCulture recently conducted an interview with vocalist Tomi Joutsen and guitarist Esa Holopainen of Finnish melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS about their new "Queen Of Time" studio album. You can watch the entire chat in two parts below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On why AMORPHIS maintains such an active album/tour schedule:
Esa: "Well, we have bills to pay. [Laughs] Yeah, it sounds a bit harsh, like going to the studio immediately, but we had all the songs written already. We've been, during the last year, in between the tours, we had some little breaks and after the summer we started to send the demos, the album demos to each other to check out the songs. We sent them to Jens [Bogren, producer] as well. We actually booked Jens a year ago before we started the actual recording. We knew that we're going to the studio and record the album, so, song-wise, everything was in good order before we started the actual rehearsals. We spoke before we got to the rehearsal place. When we started to rehearse the songs, we knew them already. It's more like trying different things with the songs, like rearrangements and vocal arrangements and try some things in a different key. But, there was no really 'holidays' in between. It was straight after the tour and it was a bit stressful to start to jump into the recording process."
Tomi: "I think one reason is also that we just happen to have really creative people in the band. [Laughs] So, it's not just one person who is composing stuff. So, we always have lots of material when we start to do a new album and that's great, so we don't have to have any extra pressure when we start to do things before the album. That's great."
On whether touring has an impact on how AMORPHIS composes new songs:
Esa: "I don't think it influences the actual writing process at all. When I write songs, I sort of need an environment to clear the head from anything surrounding me or that disturbs me. I just focus on music and getting inspired. Usually, the tour environment is so different. You are surrounded with people and your focus is on traveling and playing shows, so it really would be hard, first of all, to write anything on tour. I don't find it to be a very inspiring place to start to write anything. Perhaps if you write about touring a lot and drinking a couple of beers. [Laughs]"
On whether the writing process becomes easier for AMORPHIS with each album:
Esa: "I think there is no easy way of doing an album, especially now with Jens, I think he pushes even more and wants to get, if we think that we have a good result, he thinks it's not even close to good. [Laughs] He wants great results, so it's lot of work."
Tomi: "I don't know what is easy and what is difficult. Our way to work is not the easiest one, but the good thing in our band, is we have lots of material, always, which is not that obvious. Some bands might not have proper songs when they go to the studio, they have to compose stuff in the studio while recording and that must be horrible. You never know when you start to work with a new album because there are so many ideas and stuff you can put into your songs."
On placing so much trust in Bogren, who helped arrange and eventually pick which songs ended up on "Queen Of Time":
Esa: "It's six guys in the band. We all have a lot of ideas. Good ideas and bad ideas and something in between. We can manage to do a good album with ourselves — we've done it before. If we want better results and we want to offer something new and fresh, it's really obvious we need a producer. Jens is the kind of producer who is a very similar guy to us and we trust him a lot. That's a big key issue when you pick or you choose a producer. It has to be a person you can rely on because there's a lot of responsibility. We basically gave free hands to the producer to filter our crazy ideas and even for rearranging the songs in the way that serves the best results."
Tomi: "I think when we are playing together and rehearsing the songs, we may lose the original idea totally. [Laughs] Sometimes a producer can find something really interesting, some small detail from some song which is the most important thing in a song. That's great."
"Queen Of Time" was released on May 18 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2015's "Under The Red Cloud" includes the use of real strings, flutes, orchestral arrangements and even choirs. In addition, this is the first time that people are able to hear AMORPHIS lyricist Pekka Kainulainen on the album, as he contributes a speech in Finnish.