Korpiklaani – Juho Kauppinen (Metal Accordion)

Who doesn’t love a bit of Nordic metal? Korpliklaani released Manala in the US and Canada in August, and they are itching to spread the gospel across the Atlantic. Pour yourself a goblet of mead and read through our excellent interview with Juho Kauppinen of Korpliklaani. He plays the [metal] accordion, by the way. Grab Manala on the cheap while you’re at it!

August. It was a big month for the band. Manala came out in North America. How have you found the adoption of Nordic mythology in a country like the United States?

The reception in the States has been very good and I wouldn’t say it has been any worse than in Europe. Many people in the US seem to be well aware of the ancient Finnish mythology and it is often interesting to see people so fascinated by the Nordic culture and traditions.

Manala is a direct translation of ?realm of the dead?. What was the inspiration behind telling this tale of the Finnish underworld?

The songs just happened to be darker this time and many of the songs on the album indeed deal with the land of the dead. The Underworld is most clearly present in the songs like Tuonelan tuvilla (At the Huts of the Underworld), Kunnia (Honor), and Sumussa hämärän aamun (In the Mist of a Dark Morning). It was not a conscious choice as it has never been. Our albums have contrasts, but it is just a natural process. We do not have to think about how our albums will be, because they are just a bunch of good or pretty good songs that usually form a good whole.

Do you derive any of your ideas from books like Lord of the Rings, or is it strictly tied down to Finnish folk tales?

Battlelore is a Finnish band drawing inspiration from Lord of the Rings, whereas Korpiklaani has for long been heavily influenced by the Kalevala. However, not all of our lyrics are based on the Kalevala. At times Jonne has had ideas even while reading a newspaper. This happened when he read an article on Finnish lumber industry, which resulted in a song called Metsämies (Lumberjack).

What would you say your biggest challenge is in terms of getting people to understand your music outside of Finland, or even Europe?

I don’t think there is much to understand about our music. It speaks for itself. Because there is no ideology whatsoever behind Korpiklaani, basically anybody is free to enjoy our music without thinking if their own ideology fits with ours. Our task is to give our audience a good experience in terms of creating a good mood at our shows. Lyrics matter, but if you do not understand them, it will not be much of a problem.

2009 contained ?Vodka?, 2011 contained ?Tequila?, there?s also been a ?Beer Beer? – why on Manala is there no ?Whiskey??

Because we decided to come up with something more interesting than such an obvious solution. There is a song called Petoeläimen kuola (The Predator’s Saliva) on the album, dealing with the mythological birth of beer.

Manala will include both Finnish and English album versions. How hard is the recording process for both? Do you simply record a second set of vocals that will be layered over the previously recorded music?

The only difference between the Finnish and the English albums was the language in which they were sung.

Is English taught as a mandatory language in Finland?

When you start basic school in Finland, you can choose either German or English, either one being mandatory, but a vast majority chooses English. Most Finns are taught English as a mandatory subject for nine years, after which a lot of them will continue their studies e.g. in high schools and universities.

Who did the Manala artwork?

Since 2006, our album artwork has been done by Jan Yrlund. He has always managed to create the right kind of atmosphere that we have been after, so we see no reason not to cooperate with him.

You have a US tour scheduled for September. It?s a smaller venue tour. Ideally, in 2013, would you like to be part of a larger package and spread the gospel in the US that way?

Why not, but we need to be happy to able to play there at all.

What?s your favorite song off Manala, and why?

Probably Metsälle, because it is the most versatile song on the album. It has an engaging intro, which is followed by various parts.

Do you get on well with Finntroll as a band?

Our relationship with them goes back many years and we still have a very good close friendship and a lot of respect for each other. We are looking forward to playing with them on Heidenfest extended shows which will be a lot of fun as usual.

I think it is a question we?ve been wanting to ask for a few months now ? but can we assume that the antlers on your mic stand are real? If so?what?s the story behind the?

Yes, they are real. We got our first antlers from Niiles-Jouni Aikio, a yoiking reindeer breeder, when Korpiklaani played a concert in Lapland 2005. That’s when we got the idea and the last reindeer antlers that we taken away from us by Chilean customs, were made by Seppä Tervarauta.

Have you ever made your own mead?


When you?re not touring, what is your lifestyle like? What makes the founder of Korpiklaani happy?

Jonne spends all of his free time with his family. When at home, he also works a lot on anything concerning Korpiklaani, because it takes a lot of effort to run this business.

We wish you the best of luck in 2012 ? and look forward to seeing what?s in store in 2013!

Thank you very much for the interview!



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