There are so many different genres of metal today that it is hard to keep up with them all so I’ll just say that FINSTERFORST is one hell of a metal band with a new album out. Anders Ekdahl ©2016

When you formed the band with what intention did you do so? How easy was it to pick up a thread as to where your sound is going?
Olli: The idea back then was to play folk/pagan metal with accordion. But as guys grew up the sound grew and the intention changed a bit. We’re by no means interested in being part of a certain genre, we just want to play the music we feel at the moment and kick ass with it.

As I haven’t recorded anything I have no idea what that is like but are you ever 100% satisfied? How pleased are you with your latest recording?
Olli: It depends on your expectations. If everything you want to do on a record is sort of set in stone before you begin recording, then I think there is no way you’ll ever be 100% satisfied. Some things just won’t pan out the way you imagined and there are always new influences while you are actually recording. But if you are open to these things you can very well be more than satisfied. We have learned to work with little setbacks and to include new ideas on the fly and we are as close to 100% satisfied with “#YØLØ” as can be. But first time you listen to it outside the studio you suddenly hear things you could have done different, so this kind of satisfaction never lasts too long. But this is what keeps you hungry.

To me a band name is the first thing I notice. If it feels cool then I’ll check the band out. How do you explain the meaning of the band name?
Olli: Finsterforst is kind of a joke. It essentially means the same as ‘Schwarzwald’ (Black Forest), which is the area we come from, but it sounds a bit cheesy to German people. But since ‘finster’ and ‘Forst’ are two words that are used a lot in metal lyrics, the name also fits the music on another level. When I joined I was like ‘Oh my, that name…’, but it grew over time and today I love it.

How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
Olli: We don’t really care how we are perceived by people. I mean, we are playing metal after all, right? Did I miss the point in time when metal became a style for pussies who care about shit like this? At least that’s our personal take on this. But people seem to need labels and set boundaries in terms of what to do and not to do if you play a certain style of music. It really annoys us because with every new release we get the same old “How dare they?” reaction from certain people. I hope there will be a day when Finsterforst is perceived simply as a metal band and everybody stops telling us what to do. When it comes to our fans, we just hope they appreciate that we don’t accept those boundaries and if they ever meet us in person, they’ll hopefully have fun spending time with us.

I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
Olli: It’s the icing on the cake so to speak. You can have the best artwork, if the music sucks it won’t help much. On the other hand, a bad artwork won’t help you sell a lot of CD’s or LP’s, no matter how good the music may be. So it’s an important part of the product as a whole. To us it’s especially important as we put a lot of thought and passion into everything. Even merchandise designs can lead to heated discussions in the band.

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?
Olli: It’s definitely beneficial when it comes to reaching out to the fans. But it’s also challenging at times to not listen to them too much. Of course you want them to love what you do, but there will always be guys who won’t and they are typically the most vocal ones, especially if you change something in your style and take some risks as we are doing with the new EP. Just look at the comments on our latest video “Auf Die Zwölf”, most of the guys there complain about the video, the song, the football theme, but the thumbs up/down clearly shows that more people actually like it.

Something I often wonder about is when you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community?
Olli: To us it’s about music and friendship. We love the music we play and being on the road together is just friends having fun. In terms of the band itself you’re definitely part of a very strong community, you share moments and problems that other people will never be able to fully comprehend. If you mean the scene by massive community, we don’t feel that. We are good friends with a lot of bands, especially those we toured with, but there’s also some kind of friendly rivalry involved, regardless of what some bands might say. Let’s say it’s a very friendly competition.

How important is it to be signed to label today? What can they do
that you cannot do on your own?
Olli: The simple answer: promotion. As a band you just don’t have the contacts, money and power to pull it off. Of course, there’s always these Youtube sensations, but let’s be honest here. We are playing extreme metal with long songs, stuff like that won’t happen for us. So unless you’re doing something very mainstream, you need labels to get your music out there. We are very happy to have Napalm supporting us the way they do.

How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
Olli: We’d like to do more, but we’re all working and don’t make money with Finsterforst, so we can’t tour as much as we’d like to. Outside of Germany it depends on the actual country. Most of the time it comes down to financial reasons. In some countries promoters just can’t spend the money to get us there (flights or gas for driving) and as much as we want to play everywhere, we just can’t afford it. But interest in Finsterforst is relatively big which is surprising to us at times as a band with German lyrics.

What will the future bring?
Olli: YØLØ will show us the way!

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