Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Jonne! Thanks so much for accepting this interview because I know that you are very busy at the moment! For those who do not know Korpiklaani could tell us a little how it all started?
Jonne: I started with folk/metal things already at the year 1993 but first Korpiklaani album came out 2003. So it was pretty long base work before these six Korpiklaani album. At the first it was fully acoustic and I played my first few years actually only in ski resort for the tourists, Levi Lapland. Then late 90’s came the first Shaman album Idja and few tears after that Shamaniac 2001. Korpiklaani is actually same band as Shaman. We just changed the name because it came another same named band from Brazil. Anyway, here we are now with the sixth Korpiklaani album Karkelo, which is just released.
Hanna Tsepesh: The lyrics are written in the Kalevala style (a special metre from the Finnish national epic), right? So what is your inspiration to create the lyrics for Korpiklaani? The band writes the lyrics first or first the band creates the riffs and the melody to comply with the lyrics?
Jonne: Most of the lyrics are written our own guest writer Juha Jyrkäs. He is very into Kalevala and Finnish myths overall. He actually writes the poems and then we write the music around it. Sometimes it goes also upside down. I have a song ready without the lyrics and then I try to arrange Juha’s text to the finished song. Sometimes I have my own idea about the text, like for example Vodka for the new album but most of the lyrics comes from Juha Jyrkäs. I don’t feel myself so good lyricist. Composing is more easy to me.
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite bands? You have any singer that you admire the most?
Jonne: I still have my own faves from 80’s like Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and bands like that. I think James Hetfield is one of the biggest influence to me as a singer. Then there is vocalist from folk and worldmusic side like Mari Boine, Wimme Saari and many others during the years. However, it is very important to me keep my own sound and style. I don’t want to sound like someone of my heroes or artists what I like.
Hanna Tsepesh: I would like to know if you had or have any singing lessons or any other preparation? I like a lot your voice and I think you are very versatile singer.
Jonne: I learnt a lot from Sámi people when I lived up north in Lapland. There I learnt just living with those origin people. That’s why you can hear chant singing style, kind of a yoik from Korpiklaani albums time by time. Never got any real singing lessons.
Hanna Tsepesh: When you start to play guitar? Also you play mandolin, right? It was difficult instrument when you start to learn?
Jonne: I started to play acoustic guitar when I was 10 years old 1984. Then I got the first electric guitar two years later 1986. I bought mandolin only because I wanted too few things to the Korpiklaani albums with it. I can’t say, that I play it very well but I wrote some licks with it just learnt to play those well. Time by time, it is nice to pick the mandolin from the wall holder at home and play some fun stuff just for fun.
Hanna Tsepesh: The band has a new album called “Karkelo”. Once again the band can surprise us with an excellent album! I don’t have anything band to say about this new album. When we listen the music’s we just want to dance, sing the music’s very loud! For people who don’t listen yet can you talk about “Karkelo” and what is the big different for you between this album and the previous one?
Jonne: Now on the new album there is many fast, happy sounding drinking songs as everyone can guess from the name Karkelo, which means in English “Party”. Other hand there is the deeper side of us very well shown as well. Then there is most heavy song we ever written, Huppiaan aarre. This song is almost doom. I’m glad, that we have still something new to offer after so many albums. The sounds are now different than other Korpiklaani albums because now we used the real producer, Aksu Hanttu, who took care about the sounds but also he had his words to the arrangements. Before, we more or less done these kind of things ourselves and I was actually the only who had the whole idea of the album in the head when we went to the studio. It was freshing to let this work and burden for somebody else at the first time.
Hanna Tsepesh: The band feels proud with the final result or you think that miss something? Everything went well at recording studio?
Jonne: We are very proud of it and actually we couldn’t make decision, which song would have to be the bonus track. We had to keep our own little lottery of it. Other hand it wasn’t so easy to everyone of us trust to “outsider” and I got some bad strict feedback for example from Hittavainen (fiddle, other folk instruments) because at the first he didn’t realize why we should suddenly use the producer. Anyway, we are all very proud of the results in the end. On the studio was some tiny technical problems but the atmosphere was very good and I think it also sounds through the album, that we had very fun time to record it.
Hanna Tsepesh: How has the response been to the album by the media and fans?
Jonne: We’ve got very good response about the Karkelo on the gigs, so seems like fans love it and it is the most important thing to us of course. Reviews on the media aren’t been so good every time and they are blaming us to do the same thing again and again but it makes us wonder, that does they ever even listened the album really…
Hanna Tsepesh: The band also has a new video out now called “Vodka”. You guys have fun with the shootings? I liked a lot the video!
Jonne: All of us hate every kind of shootings. Video, promo picture or what ever shootings. We are not at all in our own “landscape” in that kind of situations. When they are shooting during the gig it doesn’t matter of us because on the stage we are always in our own element. We are making the music and shootings are other peoples way of art but of course we know, that it is a part of all this and that’s why we just has to do it.
Hanna Tsepesh: When you guys started the band, it was very difficult journey right? But, you guys keep your hard work and never give up when you see difficulties in your way! I read something about your journey and I would like that you tell to us little bit about it…
Jonne: Yeah, it’s been long and rocky road but I think everything is been needed preparing for what we are now. It’s been wrong dudes in the band, no gigs to play, tours where conditions are not even human, bad managers, who stole the money and let even their liabilities for us to pay. But because of all these things we have perfect line- up, we are lot more wise and strong. Now we are keeping our own rules and we know which kind of people we want to work. It is not so easy all the time nowadays neither but at least everything goes lot more easily now.
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your favorite music in this album and why?
Jonne: This is a very hard question…if I really have to pick something up right now and this mood, I would say Mettänpeiton valtiaalle because it is so versatile or Huppiaan aarre because it is so heavy and emotional in same package…or Vodka because it is so lively…or…
Hanna Tsepesh: You guys have a future concert in here at “Festival Ilha do Minho”. You guys have a lot of fans in here! We are very happy about this concert! So, what the fans can expect from Korpiklaani?
Jonne: At the first I must say, that we are so glad that we can come to Portugal again. Last time when we were in Portugal, I called to home and here in Finland was hell of a snow strorm. I took a picture of Cane and me under a orange tree and sun was shining and sent it to home by hand phone. They went mad of the envy to me...Anyway, people can expect fresh and lively folk metal show, which will be fun as well. Something new and something old songs, in good balance. It will be fun, I can guarantee it.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Jonne: We hope to see all of your happy faces there in Portugal. Listen the albums and sing along out loud again on the gig like last time. See you soon! Greetings and all the best for you!
By: Hanna Tsepesh
To listen to some KORPIKLAANI music’s and for future information’s go at: