Despre religie, istorie si multe altele cu Turisas - interviu

de Cristi Nedelcu

Despre religie, istorie si multe altele cu Turisas - interviu

Turisas se intoarce in Romania pentru a urca pe scena Metalhead Meeting pe data de 12 Iunie. Am schimbat cateva vorbe cu finlandezii, iar ceea ce iesit puteti citi mai jos.

1. You are about to be part of one of the biggest metal festivals in Eastern Europe. How do you feel about playing at Metalhead Meeting?

We’re looking forward to it very much. It’s been ages since we played in Romania and even then I think we would have only played a few songs on the support tour we were on. So in some ways this will be the first full Turisas show in Romania ever.

2. When it comes to Folk Metal, this kind of genre is very popular in Romania, and everybody is looking forward to Folk Metal albums. Will we have a new Turisas album in the near future?

This year we have been touring less, to focus more on working on new material. It is becoming a very large project as it seems, so we are not really stressing too much on the schedule right now. We’ll take as much time as is needed to make it right.

3. I know that Stand Up and Fight, which is my personal favorite album was inspired by the history of the Byzantine Empire. How did you end up writing about the history of this?

SUAF continued where the previous album The Varangian Way left off. TVW is a concept album about Norsemen, or Varangians as they were called, who take the Eastern European river route to Kiev and finally Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. On SUAF the story continues with the Varangians doing mercenary service for the Byzantine Emperor.

As the viking explorations have been covered so many times in popular culture, I felt that the Eastern route was much less covered. It also presented an opportunity to combine other influences from for example Finno-Baltic and Slavic cultures both conceptually and musically. Same with the Western Roman Empire being standard popular culture material, whereas the Eastern Roman Empire not so much.

4. Do you think about 'exploring' other historical periods as well in your future albums?

I’m sure we will, it’s always had a role on our albums in one way or another.

5. I am very curious to know your position when it comes to religion. Usually Folk and Pagan Metal bands are quite attracted by their ancestors' history and tradition, but you are writing about an Empire that was deeply religious.

I would say usually Folk and Pagan metal bands are more attracted to the romantic idea of history, tradition, and pagan religion to some extent, which is more a product of the later half of 19th Century and onwards - some kind of nationalist fantasy and romantic noble savage -idealism. By no means do I claim us to be above it, as I still see ourselves operating in the broader field of popular culture, but I think we are not as naive as some. We also play with this a lot, and often get misunderstood.

When it comes to placing things in religious surroundings, I don’t think there is a corner in Europe that wouldn’t have been heavily shaped by religion and in fact most cases the whole foundation lies on it. Denying this is again writing about some fantasy-land in our romantic minds. Let’s face it, the reason for example vikings did so well was their ability to adopt. We see religion in a very idealistic way, but for instance for the vikings in our example, I believe it would have been much more a practical thing. You offer something to a god to get something in return, fish for example. If some other god gives you a better deal, you’d probably go with him. It’s like the misquoted Darwin quote: It’s survival of the most adaptable, not the fittest.

Anyway, the religious empire offered a good contrast to everything else and in the end it is the combination of opposing things that makes it interesting.

6. When it comes to Folk Metal, you are considered some veterans, what is your opinion on nowadays Folk Metal bands?

I wish there was more young, ambitious bands who would go beyond the obvious pseudo-celtic melodies and offer concepts deeper than the empty sword-waving fantasy. I also wish these young bands would copy the veterans less and bravely do their own thing.

From the veterans I would also wish more balls to develop and explore new paths instead of playing it safe album after album to secure a nice and steady career.

7. What is the meaning of your corpse paint? When it comes to Black Metal, it is usually associated with inner demons, even if it slowly became a trend, but what is the meaning of your black and red corpse paint, taking into consideration that you are a Folk Metal band?

When we started out in the 90’s, black metal was really popular and folk metal didn’t really exist as a genre as it is today. It sounds funny now, but we felt that our roots were in the black metal scene, but at the same time that the visual look of black metal was too cold and dark for our sound, so we basically developed it more towards our sound.

8. You look like you were destined to play Folk Metal. If it wasn't for Folk Metal, what genre would you have picked?

We never decided to play folk metal, and we still don’t consider ourself a folk metal band. I think this is another important lesson to young bands out there: don’t make music to a genre, but make music and let it become a genre.

9. One final thought for your fans and our readers?

See you all very soon in Romania! Can’t f*****g wait!

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