Hello Jarkko, hope you’re doing well. Your new album “Jylhä” (Rugged/Wild in Finnish) is to be released in about a week (5th of February) by Nuclear Blast records. It’s been three years since your last full length album- ‘Kulkija’ – was out. You have been touring for about a couple of years, and then there was Pandemic – no more live shows/ no more touring- so, how did Covid affected your mentality in writing procedure and studio approach of the present album?

Well, it didn’t really change the album approach at all, because the album was basically written before the Pandemic. The songs were ready. We were touring constantly after the previous album, and we had scheduled to record the next one in March /April of 2020, we had also a lot of shows planned, tours and everything like that but then Pandemic arose and everything had to be cancelled. Basically, all the shows were cancelled. So suddenly we had plenty of the time, and we decided to deal with the preproduction of the album. We have written drum lines, guitars, and bass before, so when we actually got into the studio we were well prepared and I think we managed to create all those tiny little things that made the album more interesting. We had more time to concentrate on what we were actually going to do. So basically, for the album I think the pandemic was actually a good thing, because of the situation we managed to make a better album, but everything else about pandemic is just shit.

I can tell from “Niemi” that “Jylhä” it’s going to be a more diverse, and a little bit heavier, album than the previous one. Can you give us some hints about what should we expect from the sound in your new material?

We have already released 4 video clips from the new album, so I guess people have actually already heard like a quarter of the album. Fans may have noticed that there is a broader musical scope, but I think that everybody has the tense to compare this album with the previous one. Actually, the previous album was probably our lightest one, we had more of this nice/soft kind of songs there, this one on the other hand is definitely heavier, it is not that much faster, but at least heavier. Also, we experimented a little bit more with different sounds, especially with the guitars, you ‘re going to get the slide guitar on this album, and you can hear as well the banjo, so it is more complex, heavier and better executed.

Considering your folk/ traditional Finish oriented identity and plentiful discography throughout the years, how much more can you get out from this particular thematology? Is it endless, or should we expect from you a turn to another Korpiklaani era? Are we going to see this different side of you in “Jylhä”?

That’s a difficult question; I have always, honestly, felt that, when an album was out, it was always better than the previous one. Nevertheless, for a few albums I have been wondering, at least since “Noita” was out, how could we make a better album after this one? So far we had always been able to achieve that so, at least for now, there are still plenty to do with the current band’s thematology. Jonna on the other hand has his own solo career were he plays more of this acoustic, even more folk stuff, so I guess that’s his way of getting that kind of material out of his system. Korpiklaani will continue with the music and thematic identity that has been chosen from the start.  

Greece’s mythology enhances also the origin and nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and other creatures. Cult and ritual practices are always considered to be triggering.  Same goes for every other country’s mythology (such us Finnish). Can you enlighten us a bit about who or what “Jylhä” is? What does it symbolizes (as a title or even for the album itself)?

The tittle is just an adjective that describes landscape or scenery, there’s nothing mythological in that. We avoided using a mythological concept and on the top of that starting structuring a whole album. There is finnish national epic “Kalevala“ for example that we have purposely avoided to use in  a large scale. We do have used though a lot of folklore legends’ stories in our songs. Finnish national epic has always been Amorphis’ band trademark.  They started doing that repeatedly, so we never wanted to step into the same territory. We made one or two exemptions, a few years ago, we had a song that was about “Ilmarinen”, and we thought back then that maybe we can do it now, because Amorphis at the time hadn’t used that much this specific material, and so we released it. The awkward part of this story is that at the same time Amorphis released also a whole fucking album about the same guy. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we have consistently tried to avoid obvious connection to that part of our legacy. 

Have you programmed any live- streaming events in order to promote your new album (given that no gigs are allowed at the moment)?

No we haven’t planned anything yet. Basically, we had actually live shows with limited capacity till now, but current regulations in Finland that are valid till February 17, are stricter, so all shows are forbidden at the moment. Unfortunately, two live shows that were already programmed in Finland got cancelled, so we basically have nothing else planned right now. We did have some shows last year, but in a major scale we haven’t been touring for a year, so that is one of the reasons that we decided to release so many videos of the album, so that given the fact that people cannot see as live, at least they get some visual entertainment from us.

Your popularity has risen through the years (in Europe too). At the end of the day, do you feel that you have reached enough peaks (11 full length albums, live albums – touring- played in huge fests like Wacken)? What else is the band anticipating for?

Not the end of the world yet. There’s plenty of room to grow, I think inspiration never stops. Let alone that I’m not a millionaire yet. I want to move to Switzerland and live next to Phil Collins (laughing).

How is the band going to measure success during this COVID era? I mean, production costs and no shows can be arranged to support your income. How does this affect the band? How do you see the next day in music industry after the pandemic?

Once again, that’s a difficult question. Obviously, there are no live shows to measure anything on this field, but the good thing is that in a financial basis album’s sales and live shows are two totally different factors (so one problem less). I don’t know… Heavy metal audience is a nice audience, because it’s still considered to be record buying. They still want to own the physical copy of the album, even the young generation is traditional, and they are not that satisfied only with Spotify or YouTube.

I loved the green vinyl edition by the way; I’ve already arranged my pre- order.

So like I’ve said, you can tell from yourself, metal audience is still going to buy the album even though people are a little bit tighter with the money right now, still when they do have the money, they will buy the album, as they want to listen to it. I’m thinking that when the Pandemic is over, no one knows how the life circle is going to be, will it be as it used to, or it will differ somehow? But I still count on the same people, thus in metal community itself as an underground brotherhood or sisterhood were everybody takes care of its other. I’m confident; I’m still hoping that the audience will return once the Pandemic is over. It’s like when you go to a metal show or to a metal club, and even if you don’t know anyone, you still feel like you are meeting your friends and you support the band by buying a shirt or if you don’t have money for the shirt, you buy the one euro keychain or something similar from the merchandize.


Back in 2015 we had the chance to see you on stage for two live shows in Athens (“Kyttaro” live stage), and in Thessaloniki (“Eightball” live stage). Did you enjoy the atmosphere as much as we did? Do you plan to return in Greece during another European Tour (when the circumstances permit it, of course)?

Yeah, both were nice shows. We did enjoy them, and we did enjoy our stay as well. Of course we stayed in Greece only for those two days because we were on a tour, but overall it was a very nice experience. Actually, I don’t understand why we cannot be there more often, but it’s probably because you are a little bit far away from major stops of our tours, that -you know- focus on central or western part of Europe.

Thank you so much for your time and this interview, I wish you guys all the best. Let’s hope live – partying – days with a beer or vodka in our hands will be back soon.

Thank you too, this was quite enjoyable. As for the second part, we are all hoping so!