Interviewed and Photos by Zenae D. Zukowski
Zenae: My name is Zenae and I’m here on behalf of MyGlobalMind, and I am speaking with?
Mitja: Hello my name is Mitja, I play guitar in Moonsorrow.
Zenae: I saw your performance last night, it was amazing, one of my favorites from the first day.
Mitja: It was an amazing response from the crowd. We weren’t expecting anything because you never know how it’s going to be. It was a full room and everything was great.
Zenae: What is your drink of choice from this cruise?
Mitja: Let’s see.. well, it’s very hard to drink beer on a Caribbean Cruise. You need some cocktails [laugh]. So, I think I’ll pick Mojito or White Russian.
Zenae: I Love White Russians.
Zenae: Which bands would you like to see?
Mitja: I already saw Suffocation. I would like to see Uli Jon Roth and Grave, Marduk guys I saw yesterday and some friends like Amorphis and such. Those would be my highlights at the moment.
Zenae: Awesome. Have you been receiving great feedback from the crowd with the new material (Jumalten aika)?
Mitja: Oh yeah, very positive. Hardly any negative ones, but yeah mostly the album has been taken very well.
Zenae: It was an incredible album, one of my favorites from 2016.
Mitja: Thanks, we worked really hard for this album, harder than ever. It’s great to hear that people are really into it.
Zenae: Was the writing process different than previous albums or?
Mitja: I think it’s always different for us. This time we tried new methods of arranging for example, and that took a long long time. So, in the past, we might record more straightforward. And this time we were having bits of pieces and trying them in the different order and so long so it took a long long time. But in the end, we worked very hard and we got it together but at some point, it felt frustrating and the process was the longest we ever had. We had a good material, but just to find the right spirit and the essence of music, that’s what’s the most important and difficult as well.
Zenae: Is there a favorite song from the new album (Jumalten aika) that you like to play live?
Mitja: Yeah, personally I like to play “Ruttolehto” (“Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän Päivän Kansa” ), the second song. It has so many elements we don’t have that much. Usually, it involves Jonne (Jonne Järvelä) from Korpiklaani to sing those dramatic parts and we don’t have him on board so we can’t do it. We did a couple of tours with them, so he would come to the stage every time to sing his parts. And it was amazing to see people actually crying in these parts because it gets so emotional in a way.
Zenae: Would you guys return for another combined tour in North America?
Mitja: We have done many times [laugh]. Yeah, naturally, but the last tour it was in 2012 with them and then 2010, I guess or 9. We’ve been touring quite a lot together. They’re great touring companions because we are on the same level. All though the music is very different but it’s so smooth because you know them so well.
Zenae: I can see that you guys working well together with the two different energies.
Mitja: Yeah on and off stage, it’s great and very good, I think. Some people think it’s strange that, because they’re very traditional folk metal kind of, quite happy music, but we’re on this other side of the coin in a way.
Zenae: Yeah [laugh]. They cheer us up before we get really depressed [laugh]. Do you have a favorite Moonsorrow album?
Mitja: Ah, No! I cannot say so. I also don’t have a least favorite. But I’m pretty happy with all of them. They represent different times and different era of our songwriting but I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t listen to our albums at all because when it’s finished you kinda leave it aside and move on but. If I would have to say a favorite it’s either the new one (Jumalten aika) or Verisäkeet because those are the most important right now to me.
Zenae: The new one is very dramatic.
Zenae: I relate to it being one of my favorites as well.
Zenae: What advice do you have for the young starting out musicians?
Mitja: Well, what advice which is not the easiest one to accomplish is to find your own voice because every band starts with copying other bands. For example, we still do, we still copy other bands in a way of having kinda tributes and influences, that’s natural and that’s good. But to find your own voice, trying to think okay what makes us this band that’s important, that something that you should think and finds a new angle on stuff. If you want to be a brutal band it’s difficult to find kinda cliff that makes you stand out from other bands. And that’s the most important thing you need to do. Whatever the genre is you need to find your own recipe on how to stand out and.
Zenae: Be original?
Mitja: Yeah, be original and have self-criticism. But still, have fun with whatever you’re doing. Don’t be narrow-minded. None of the bands that are very influential, they’re never narrow-minded. They never just went in a formula of something. They always had something from outside that works in the mix so they became something different. So, when you keep that in mind then it might help.
Zenae: I think that’s really good advice. You do hear a lot of bands that want to sound like someone else instead of trying to be original. It doesn’t help them stand out from the crowd. You guys definitely stand out producing incredible work.
Mitja: Thank You!