Korpiklaani – Jonne Järvelä Interview

The almighty Jonne Järvelä from Korpiklaani sat down with SMNnews for a quick Q&A. Check it out below.

Hi Jonne, that?s for taking the time to talk to SMN News!

Hello! Thank you about the chance J

Korpiklaani have had an impressively quick album release schedule over your career, do you ever struggle to come up with fresh material?

We haven?t had any struggle to come up with fresh material and that?s why we are able to release albums pretty quick schedule.  If we wouldn?t have enough good material, we wouldn?t put an album out. I really like the song writing and new songs makes me happy. It is not a ?work? for me. It is more like ?need? to me.

Korpiklaani was interestingly formed out of a traditional folk duo you where in ? what made you interested in combining the sounds of Finnish folk music with heavy metal?

When I started to listen music and buying own albums, it was early 80?s. Back then the metal music really hit me down. The first W.A.S.P, Kiss, Motörhead, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Peer Günt and Iron Maiden were my heroes. I?m always been metal head but also folk music is been very near my heart. 1988 I founded my first own band and it was kind of hard rock/heavy rock band and 1993 I got a feeling to do something totally different. I sold my amp stack and electric guitars and bought good acoustic instruments. That time was kind of searching myself. I also moved up to northern Finland Lapland and started to make music with Scandinavian native nation Sámi people. They are like Indians in America. I lived in the forest life hunting and learning so much in that time. We also sung and played very much. I lived there five years and when I moved back to southern Finland I had pockets full of new music and culture. Then it was just time to play some metal music again and I just fill it all what I learned during the years?and here we are with this mixture of my life with you. I really want, that the life sound through the music. Then it is as pure and honest as it must be.

What made you decide to sing in Finnish, as opposed to English?

We have also many songs in English on the past albums but now for this new album just didn?t come any texts in English. There are translations about the lyrics and inspiration of each song on the album booklet, so everyone knows what the songs are about anyway.

In what way does new album ?Ukon Wacka? vary to your work in the past?

On the new Ukon Wacka album we have even better songs. This may sound cliché but I really think so. I?m glad, that I can honestly say this album after album?so far. Biggest difference is, that this time we used dividual producer for the folk instruments. Aksu Hanttu was again as a producer like on the last Karkelo album but Tero Hyväluoma arranged and produced the folk instruments. Before I didi this work myself but because I?m just a vocalist and I play the guitar I never was the best choice for that. That?s how we got our sound to the next level. I?m sure we will continue with the method like this.

What does title ?Ukon Wacka? refer to?

Ukko was the pagan god of weather, he was worshipped especially by farmers, who believed that he, as the ruler of lightning, thunder and rain, could help produce good crops. He was worshipped by a ceremonial gathering called ?Ukon Wacka? where beer drinks were consumed in his honor. It is certain that drinks were raised for many other occasions too, especially at the springtime planting season.

Ukko was worshipped for a very long time. As late as 1545, the peasants in Finland complained to the King of Sweden Gustav Wasa, because they had been fined for worshipping Ukko.?In 1662, drinks were raised to Ukko because of a drought in Hauho. In the spring of 1679, drinks were raised to Ukko when cattle were let out to pasture in Sulkava. At the change of 1800-1900 there still prevailed the worship of Ukko.

People today are horrified by the cults that were associated with these rites of fertility: ?when all the beer intoxicated young and old women, many shameful acts were committed that could be both heard and seen.

For those who don?t speak any Finnish (like myself) what are some of the news songs about lyrically?

There are four lyrics on the album, which I wrote and almost everything else by our long-term lyricist Juha Jyrkäs. The album doesn’t have a consistent theme, but there are plenty of familiar elements that resemble the ones on our previous albums. A couple of successful extracts from the album can be seen on the songs “Korvesta liha” (“The Flesh from the Wilds”) and “Päät pois tai hirteen” (“Cut Off Their Heads Or Hang ‘Em). The former reveals the fact that “Forest needs no hunter like the hunter does the forest”. The latter is a some kind of a farmer’s elegy. Having lost everything, in his bitterness he’s bitching and moaning in the flank of his bleak farm: “The field’s freezing over. The horse bit the dust. The fork bent and snapped in two. The barn’s falling apart. The plow’s rusting. The mistress leapt into the fodder pool. Drinking is one of our biggest inspiration when thinking about the Korpiklaani lyrics and of course manly needs. It?s two of them, cold beer and hot women!

What inspired you to cover Motorhead?s ?Iron Fist??

I?ve been huge Motörhead fan since 1984 when Motörhead?s No Remorse double compilation came out. I got it finally as a leather cover version last year after 26 years the release date. Back then here in Finland was very difficult to get those limited edition versions. You couldn?t order anything by yourself from abroad because it wasn?t Internet or anything like that. Then we got a chance to go to Motörhead gig 1988 when they played in Hämeenlinna, near the village called Vesilahti from where I?m coming from. Jarkko, our bass player was grown up at the same village and we were on the gig together. It was great?and loud! We chose the song Iron Fist mainly because we had already been playing the song a few years back during our tour in the UK. The song met with a warm reception, so it was obvious the song had to be recorded as a cover.

What are the band?s plans for 2011?

We are going to play some gigs at first here around Finland and then beginning of March we are going to start European tour headlining Paganfest 2011 Tour. It will go around Europe few weeks. After that it will start summer festival season. Then at September if everything goes as our plans we are coming to U.S.A., Canada and Mexico.

Korpiklaani recently took part on the inaugural 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise ? did it live up to your expectations?

The best thing all of this was timing for us Finns. At home it was freezing ?20 Celsius and we could get a chance to go to Miami and Caribbean Sea. It was also great cruise with all those metal heads and band dudes around the world. There was at least enough alcohol but still everything went without any troubles.  I heard from the cruise staff, that on the ?normal? cruise there is always many ways bad behaviour, fights and nagging about food and everything. Cruise staff said, they can?t believe how fine everything went because they feared about the whole metal cruise idea before it happened. The bands were good and it was a great to let out your own little metal fan there and check the gigs from the bands like Death Angel, Amon Amarth, Saxon, Obituary and many other great bands.

Korpiklaani are well known for their odes to various types of alcoholic drinks ? if you where stuck on a desert island and could only drink one type of alcohol for the rest of your life what would it be?

It would be beer?or vodka?maybe tequila? too hard question! If you would have many kids, would it be easy job to pick up just one of them to a desert island?

If you could create your own mini-festival of six acts, which bands would play on it?

If I would have unlimited budget the line-up would be Motörhead, Tuomari Nurmio, Metallica, Värttinä, Peer Günt, Korpiklaani. I had to put my own band to the list as well because that?s how I could fill my dream to play with these bands.

Cheers again for your time, have you got any message that you?d like to pass on to Korpiklaani?s fans?

Thank you about the interview and see you soon on the gigs! ?til then, Cheers!


  1. Eden says:

    great interview hehe ^^ im going to check out the bands Jonne suggested for his mini-festival
    and..Korpiklaani, please come back to Israel with the tequila!!!!!! hot weather here just for you