A Finnish Legend’s Thoughts On Death Metal, Beer, LARP, White Russians, Finnish Chicks, Beer, Orgies, American Politics, Drunks, 80s Action, Being Drunk, Ruthless And Wimpy Norwegians Who Can’t Handle Thier Liquor/Battle Axes

Mike from Hobart basically fucking rules…

Hail Wilska! So, I’ll just skip all the introductory nonsense and get right to the good stuff– the Finnish metal scene. It has kind of exploded in recent years, has it not? Throughout the 90s, Finnish death/black metal was definitely overshadowed by what was coming out of both Sweden and Norway. Now, it seems as if you guys aren’t quite the bitch-slapped, red-headed stepchildren everyone initially thought. What are the reasons for this? Despite bands like Beherit and Impaled Nazarene, why did it take more time for the scene to really get going in Finland?

Well, the scene was up, running and going places since the beginning of the 90s. It just took a lot of time from you yobs outside our borders to catch up. I guess the scenes elsewhere in Scandinavia were so much cooler and media-friendly than us rednecks up here, so they had sweeter asses to kiss. I think while everyone else was busy copying that troo grim Norwegian BM sound or the Swede Deathcrunch for their albums, the Finnish village idiots stayed at the rehearsal place developing a sound of their own, and yes, we have our copycat bands but still there is a healthy idea of getting your own sound and ideas going ’round here. Why then didn’t a lot of these supposedly great Finnish bands ever get noticed you may ask? Well fuck me if I know, but to your original question, yes, the Finnish metal sort of got famous really quickly, and I do believe a lot of bands deserve all the attention they get. You can just see the diversity of bands that are coming out of here in recent years.

What kind of response has Finntroll received since being backed by Century Media? How has this been good for the band? Are you now singed to Century Media, or have they simply licensed the new material from Spikefarm? And why in the flying Finnish fuck have you not come over and toured the United States? Sure, we all know this place sucks, but c’mon, any plans to come to Los Angeles? Hell, you can stay with us while you’re here. Do we have a deal?

Yes, we have a deal indeed. I can here and now finally state that we are flying over there to kick your collective arses in the spring ’06, after we release the next album. Considering the label situation, we are still signed to Spikefarm and licensed to Century Media. But who knows what will happen in the near future…I don’t, really. Century Media has done a lot of great promotion for us and we actually do have a great relationship with CM Europe guys. They come to our shows, we all get shit-faced and party…same thing with Spike. As to why we have not come over there before, nobody has booked us, duh. We have had negotiations on a few occasions but nothing happened.

As much as I enjoy Jaktens Tid and the older material, I really think the Natfödd-Trollhammaren session resulted in the most accomplished Finntroll material to date. The song writing, vocals, and production are top-notch. How do you feel about the progression of the band over the last few years? What are you guys currently working on, and when can we expect another release?

Thanks mate. I see this band’s career as constant evolution. That’s what makes it interesting and worthwhile for us as musicians. After I joined the band in 2003, we have been touring a lot, way more than they did before, and I think that has been a big factor in bringing us together as a band and people. I also think that doing stuff like the Visor Om Slutet, acoustic, ambient music, proved to us that we can pretty much do anything we want and there will be people who allow us that leeway and appreciate what we try to accomplish. Still, I think making music for us has always been a lot of fun and when it ceases to be that, we’ll do something else. Now we are working on the next album. We should be going to the studio in September and getting it out in February next year. Expect the unexpected…

As you might have guessed, most of the people on the Ruthless staff, me included, are big drinkers. We drink a lot of beer. In fact, Jonny brews his own award winning beers. How often do you drink? Is there an official Finntroll beer? Vodka? I prefer Finnish vodkas like Finlandia over the Swedish variety myself. Absolut is absolute dogpiss for the most part. Thoughts?

As you might have guessed, the Finntroll gentlemen occasionally enjoy a drink or two, for purely medicinal purposes of course. I am just in the process of writing a tour report of our last tour in Europe and here’s a rough estimate of what we consumed on those 34 days on the road: 100 cases of beer, 50 litres of vodka, 15 litres of whisky, 20 litres of tequila, 30 litres of assorted treats (Bailey’s, Bokma, local booze surprises), 100 bottles of red wine.

I personally like good cocktails like Screwdrivers, White Russians, Bloody Mary’s when I’m out and I’m really partial to British type dark beers and real ales. If I am home I go out to bars almost every weekend, although as I’m getting on in years I have had to tone it down a notch. The official Finntroll beer? Free beer. As for vodka, I do like Finnish vodka a lot but there are some truly great Russian varieties that piss on all other products. Absolut? Hmmm…there are some flavoured Absoluts that are kinda ok but I prefer other brands. There is actually an “official” Finntroll drink we consume and share with others all the time. It is called Fiskarens Fiende (Fisherman’s Foe) or Ze Infamous Brown Water. You make this drink by taking up a litre of any decent vodka, taking a gulp of the bottle, then introducing a bag of Fisherman’s Friends candies into the bottle. Close and let the candies melt into the vodka until it is disgustingly brown in colour. Consume in good company while yelling, growling, and slamming the bottles to the table after every swig. The best part is that this drink can be used to replace brushing teeth on tour.

In Ireland, there is a small population of people called “Tinkers” or “travellers.” Essentially, they’re a nomadic group of uncertain ethnic origin, probably pre-Celt. They speak Shelta, a language that is not spoken by the mainstream Irish population. They are generally looked down upon and considered to be ugly, primitive, and mischievous. Finland has its own population of “travellers,” the Sámi, who also speak a different language/dialect. How are these people looked upon by the Finnish majority? What political stance does Finntroll take in regard to a subculture that has 400 different words to describe reindeer?

It was not until the 1970s that the “witchcraft” section was taken out of the Finnish law, which stated that if a Finnish person meets a Sámi person practising witchcraft, i.e., Yoik-singing or playing a witchdrum, it was legal to kill the Sámi on the spot. The Sámi culture is fascinating, and we have taken some aspects of that culture into our music and lore. We have used Yoik-singing and taken stories from the Lappish sagas. They are a minority that live far away, on their own, and a majority of the Finnish public never encounter their culture. But yes, what can you say of a people who sing incomprehensibly, drink a lot, and castrate their reindeers by biting? Fascinating.

Ruthless is big in Finland, as well as the rest of Scandinavia. At one point, just after the release of the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics, 12% of our traffic was coming from Finland. Why do you think Ruthless and Finland have come to love each other so much? Also, what do you think of our 80s Action Guide? Do you enjoy the candid violence, gun-worship, and rampant homosexuality of 80s Action movies as much as we do? If so, please give us your personal top five 80s Action movies…

I actually didn’t know we get along so well. There is something special about the Finnish sense of humour that doesn’t go down too well in various places in the world. And I think your site matches that quite nicely. 80s Action movies…oh man. I was actually always a bit more into the really trashy 70’s exploitation flicks–Ilsa series, Dolemite, Russ Meyer’s tittyflicks, etc. There was this video store (well actually a gas station) near my house that was a virtual goldmine for us kids seeking good clean wholesome fun. I mean, the amount of great action and horror shit me and my bro El Peso got from that place…we actually still from time to time have these quality movie nights with beer, popcorn and old Lee Van Cleef or Bronson movies. I still collect movies a lot so here’s my Top 5:

  1. The Exterminator: this movie was amazing when I saw it at the gentle age of 15 and it is brilliant still, unmatched in sheer brutality, violence and lyrical storyline.
  2. Octagon, Delta Force: Chuck Norris movies are the shit. It’s impossible to name an absolute favourite but these two stuck in mind the best, total slugfest and Chuckie’s dry humour.
  3. Shogun Assassin: can a movie with ninjas where over 500 people get killed in very graphic ways be bad? Fuck you, says I.
  4. Death Wish series: what can I say about Charles Bronson that has not been said a million times? Ol’ stoneface excelled in westerns but really hit the jackpot with these totally immoral and cynical vengeance sagas. Four thumbs up!
  5. Commando: there is something so inherently gay about this Governator movie, but still one of the coolest “how many guys can we possibly waste in one scene” flicks in movie history.

Turisas are a fellow Finnish metal band. Perhaps you know them? What do you think of this picture? Has Finntroll ever played naked?

Turisas are actually quite good. The picture, what can you say? If ya got it, flaunt it. With risk of sounding Ruthless I would say, if you cannot use your head, show your cock! That was actually the title of one great old Finnish punk song. We have never played nude because that would be just too fuckin’ cruel to the viewers. Our keyboardist had a habit of playing shows without pants under that sack cloth thingy he used to wear. Brutal! Offstage we show our manhood to anyone even remotely interested. Very few people actually are.

Everyone seems to describe Finntroll as a Humppa, or polka-metal band. I’d rather refer to you as a very unique and diverse death metal band, but to each his own I suppose. What concepts and instruments do you borrow from this traditional form of music? Are there Humppa clubs in Finland where people go and dance? Have you ever been to a Humppa club? Don’t you fucking lie to me either.

Well that is an easy label for people to put up on us. The things we take from Humppa are the alternate picking bass lines accompanied with the drumbeat, and the use of accordion. That’s about it. But especially for Germans it’s an easy enough label to pin on us. (Ed Note: Fucking Germans!) There are not really Humppa clubs, but there are these smaller dance halls all over the countryside where people gather to dance the traditional Humppa, tango, waltz, and yes, I have been to those. When I was younger and growing up in the country, we used to once or twice in a summer just go to one of those places in my friend’s ’65 Chevy Bel Air, dressed in black suits, and drink a lot of booze and get into trouble. Great fun at the time. Plus I have sung in a dance music band like that for one year as a very cruel inside joke in which I will not go into any further.

So Abbath and Immortal have decided to challenge Finntroll to an old fashion Midsummer’s Eve brawl. Your national pride is on the line, Norwegians vs. Finns. Immortal show up drunk, wielding the very weapons featured on the cover of Sons of Northern Darkness. While you (Finntroll) outnumber Immortal 2 to 1, you are only armed with your instruments. Yes, Trollhorn will have to fight with his keyboards. It all comes down to the last man standing. Who wins?

We do. You said that they arrive drunk? Norwegians can not compete with us if there is alcohol involved. This has been proven many, many times with for example members from Dimmu Borgir. The only Norwegians that have taken and prevailed in the Finntroll drinking challenge are our mates Enslaved. Those fuckers can really pound it with the best. Well, back to the brawl. Do you really think a souvenir axe is a match to a Gibson Les Paul? You can do some REAL damage with that baby. But still, I think this would end in the best possible way as we are not violent men. We’d probably just skip the violence and proceed to settle this by a good-hearted drinkfest until we all speak the common language known as “drunken idiot.” The misty morning would find a merry bunch of men singing lewd songs with Trollhorn accompanying with his keyboard. Then we would raid the surrounding countryside for moonshine and farmers’ daughters. Just basic Scandinavian midsummer activities.

Skrymer plays guitar for Finntroll and also does all of the cover art and illustrations, which are exceptional. Does he work as a professional artist in Finland? What kind of side-jobs do you drunks have?

Nah, he just sits at home–high–and draws. Last time he had a job he was behind the counter in a record store. Most of us have day jobs, as we are not yet huge, filthy-rich rockstars. I work in a music store and do tech support for studio equipment and software. Trollhorn has a job making sounds and music for games. Others have odd jobs or study.

So tell us a little bit about Finnish women. Is it easy to get them in bed? How kinky are they on the whole? Does Fintroll have its own harem of groupies? If so, how often does the band engage in sexual activity with said groupies? Has Finntroll been involved in an orgy of any kind? Please explain…

Finnish women–can’t live with ’em, can’t practise heterosexual sex without ’em. Finnish women are not easy to get in the sack, except while drunk. And they drink as much as us men so this has never been a major problem. Then…define kinky? Heh, I guess all women all over the world get pretty down and funky when given a chance and a consequence-free environment, and Finnish ladies are no exception, believe you me. Finntroll doesn’t have a groupie harem; we have a small clan of wives and girlfriends who are able to kick our asses thoroughly so we refrain from the groupie scene. Not that many ladies would be willing to put up with this bunch of drunken, over-weight Finnish goons anyway. All the so called groupies we encounter seem for some reason to be either considerably older or suffering from severe mental problems. Orgies? As a band, no way Jose. I could put it like this: You are in a room, naked. There are ladies and then there are your band mates. All of you have erections. You see the erections of the other guys and are still able to retain yours? Hello!!! Is there anybody in that closet? So, no, but as private individuals? Do really believe I’m going to tell? (Ed Note: I knew it! Finntroll are gay.)

Are you familiar with the term LARP? Has Finntroll ever practised Live-action Role Playing, or LARP? By that, I mean have you ever dressed up in chainmaille and other assorted garments and fought each other or anybody else with padded weapons or imaginary magical powers? Have you ever re-enacted an ancient Finnish battle of any kind?

Does drunken fighting among the band count as re-enacting? Guess not. Well, I am familiar with the term, LARP, but I never got into it much as I HAVE A LIFE!!! The idea of running around in woods with other geeks wielding padded swords is so fucking alien to me that…dunno. Then I was slain by an elf…

Lastly, I and the rest of Ruthless want to thank you and the rest of Finntroll for the interview. Any final comments?

Not really. I can just say I enjoy your site way more than I enjoyed this interview and you owe me a stiff drink when we head your way next year. Nah, just keep up the good work, and to all ya’ll people out there in la-la land: drink beer, worship Satan, listen to Black Sabbath, and elect Scott Baio for your next president…he’s the true American hero. Or Ron Jeremy. Cheers!

About Mike von Hobart

Mike has 4 skills in life- drinking, reviewing black metal, being unemployed, and general uselessness. He writes about 2 pieces a year, but they are invariably our most popular because our readership is comprised of 17 year-old Scandinavian virgins, by which we mean 28 year-old Scandinavian virgins.