The last time Ensiferum from Finland played in Greece, was with Children of Bodom in April 2011. As of today, 11 years later, the band’s bass player, Sami Hinkka, recalls memories from that night in Athens and talks about what we are due to see on stage on their upcoming shows with Dark Tranquility in Greece.

How does it feel like to be back on the road, after a certain amount of inactivity? I know that you had your Finnish leg tour in Winter but is travelling hard now for you after being on quarantine and stuff?

Hello! It feels so good to be back on the road. You can really feel that bands and fans have been missing live music. Let’s hope things stay this way and there will be no more lock downs etc.

How has the crowd been so far towards you? I mean, you got to tour for “Thalassic” just now, has the audience embraced the album and you, of course? What vibes do you get?

That’s true. Covid really messed up our world tour plans with “Thalassic”. But now fans had more time to listen to the songs and they are really seem to like the new songs as much as the old material. As a musician that is the best feedback you can get for your new music when fans go nuts and sing along.

Speaking of “Thalassic”, it was out in summer 2020. Ever since have you gotten back to it as a listener, how does that sound for you? I personally loved it!

Personally I always take break of a new album once it’s ready because at that point I’ve listened to those songs for years (composing raw ideas, demos, rehearsals before the studio, the actual recoding and mixing session…). It’s nice to get some distance to the songs and when you listen to them again you can focus on the whole songs instead of details. I’m very proud of “Thalassic” and I think it’s our best album…so far!

I bet the recording process was fun, when did you start breaking the ideas down? Probably before the pandemic, so studio time should have been fun and…drunk?

Composing new songs is a very slow process for Ensiferum. Some songs take years to be complete. Heh, of course we relaxed after hard day in the studio but we have done this so long that no one wants to jeopardize recordings by being there in a terrible hangover. Overall the session went super smoothly with Janne Joutsenniemi and Jens Bogren did amazing job with the mixing.

What is your most favorite track of the album?

I love them all but I really like “Run From The Crushing Tide”, especially as a live song.

That’s a question I always ask everyone ever since the live show maching started rolling again, would you say that the quarantine period was a period of silence, inactivity and re-consideration, or a perfect time to create new things for the future?

I think it was a bit of them all. Everyone handled the situation on their own way. When covid started and no one had any idea how serious and long thing it will be, I thought it was a prefect moment to finally start something I had dreamed for years, my own solo project called “ssSHhh”. I’ve released quite a few songs already and there is more to come. Good thing is that now have bunch of new songs for the next album with Ensiferum. I had to take a day job so that took a lot from my time and energy but luckily Markus and others have been super productive. I have recorded few ideas and once this tour with Dark Tranquillity is done, we’ll continue working with the next album.

Things have been a little tense ever since live shows started happening again, are people on the venues still afraid to be “opened up” due to the virus, or would you say that things got easily back to normal?

I would say people are behaving quite normally. Some people have masks on and I think that is something that might be here to stay. In Asia that has been a normal thingy anyway so maybe now rest of the world will embrace this habit also.

Last time you were in Greece was more than 10 years ago, I think, with Children of Bodom. Can you recall specific memories from then?

Good times. COB guys and crew were super nice. Lots of good memories from that tour. Personally I have a painful memory from there. After the show in Athens we had a day off and I went jogging and due an unfortunate dog episode I twisted my ankle really badly and had to go to a hospital. Luckily nothing was broken but swollen a lot so I could’t walk for a week or so and I had to hop on stage with one leg, our technician brought my bass and I had to just stand by my mic for few shows. The ankle healed completely but it took like six months. So let’s hope that this time there won’t be any accidents, hah!

What should your fans expect 11 years after? You will definitely be having a lot more new people that have joined the Ensiferum fanbase there, what will you present for us?

Damn! Time really flies when you are having fun! Fans can expect a fantastic and energetic evening with great bands. In the setlist we have really awesome combination of old and new material.

Any last words?

Stay safe and heatlhy! See you in the pit!