With a new album out now ENSIFERUM are back with a blast. Read this interview with Sami. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-I’m really happy with the result. The album topped my expectations on many level. I think on the album you can hear all the traditional Ensiferum -vibes but we did them much better than ever before.
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-When Markus started the band back in 1995 he found the name from Latin-Finnish -dictionary by just opening it and there it was ”Ensiferum -a sword bearer”. It fit perfectly his idea of the band.
Personally I love our band’s name. It represents our heroic theme very well and it can also be interpret on metaphoral way.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-I makes me feel extremely humble. Of course we would make music even though no one would have heard of us and wouldn’t come to see our gigs but the fact that we are able to travel around the world and play our music and share unforgetable moments with our fans really makes us the luckiest people on Earth. We wouldn’t be in this position without our fans’ support so thank you, we salute you!
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-I think band’s shouldn’t try to build artificial image but represent what the band stands for and what comes out naturally from its members. For me the most important impression I want to give to our fans that you shouldn’t idolize anyone, we are all just humans. But of course Ensiferum has this fantasy/medieval/heroic/pagan/whatever -theme so it’s only natural that we want to look like that outside during the shows. It’s also part of the ritual when you go on stage that you put on your stage clothes.
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-It’s very important that everything matches, so that the album is like ”a whole package” and everything is linked together. I’m also huge fan of like old Iron Maiden album’s cover arts. I remember how cool it was as a kid to search all the details from the covers.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-This is not a black/white issue. I love how technology goes forward and that information is freely shared but I also respect privacy a lot. Personally I don’t care at all what goes on in the artists’ life hows work I admire or even what kind of personalities they are. But it seems to be important nowadays to tell people when you have a beer and when you brush your teeth, heh. We are actully really crappy band social media-wise because that kind of stuff doesn’t come out naturally from us. We are musicans and our music is the thing we want to share with people, not what we eat or what color our boxers are we wearing today. 😀 Anyway, social media is good tool to reach people around the world so it really has good sides too.
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-I would say music gives me meaning in my life and our band is the embodiment of that. I’ve always loved to play with cool people and create own music. Being a fulltime musician who is on the road almost half of the year was not why I got my first bass, it was just because I wanted to play music with my brother and friends. And that’s still the cornerstone of my relationship to music.
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-I don’t really follow the scene. I love metal but I have no idea for example of upcoming bands. It’s a pity in a way but I’m so interested about many things that I simply have no idea about the latest news of the scene.
I know that we have been told like 7 years already that “the folk/pagan/battle/viking -metal” scene is diminishing and many bands are losing their fans but for us it’s been growing year after a year. I know we are not playing stadiums but from our point of view the metal scene is doing well!
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-Actually we do only couple of shows in Finalnd per album cycle and 95% of the gigs are abroad. We love to play live and we have the greatest fans in the world so even thought traveling and the endless waiting in the airports etc. sucks but when you get on stage and face the roaring audience, it’s the best feeling in the world.
What will the future bring?
-The new album will be out on 15th of September and the we’ll tour around the world for few years before heading back to studio and record the next album. That’s the way it goes, the cycle of life for a band.