Battlelore, formed twelve years ago in Lappeenranta, Finland. They found themselves signed to Napalm Records no less than a year later and released their sixth studio album, Doombound in January this year. The delightful keyboardist and flute player, Maria Honkanen speaks to Miss Bomb about touring, J.R.R Tolkien and the hopes for Doombound in 2011.
Miss Bomb: How are things at the Battlelore headquarters?
Maria: Things are good, we’re training the new songs for live gigs and are eagerly awaiting the next show!
[MB]: With Doombound being out a month, how has it been received?
[MH]: It has been received really well! A lot of journalists and interviewers have said it’s the best album so far and shows a more versatile, progressive, mature and confident side of Battlelore without forgetting about the epic and atmospheric parts.
[MB]: What were your expectations for the release?
[MH]: That’s a hard question. We don’t usually set big expectations on the music or how it sells or whatever – we were hoping that people would understand the album even though it is not as straightforward and “easy listening“ as the previous albums, and luckily it’s been taken in really well. It needs a few listenings to open up fully and reveal all the details.
[MB]: What can you tell people about the concept of Doombound?
[MH]: Doombound tells the story of one of Tolkien’s most tragic character’s, Túrin Turambar, and his kin. Túrin faces a lot of difficulties, battles etc. in his life, makes some wrong choices and has also some bad luck, and the tragedy ends with him throwing himself at his own sword. All in all it’s a tragic, melancholic story, even though there are some beams of hope every now and then. Tolkien drew his inspiration for this story from the Finnish National Epic, Kalevala, and the story of Kullervo, so it’s close to our hearts. One of the songs is sung completely in Finnish in appreciation of the connection.
[MB]: What was the hardest part about recording Doombound?
[MH]: To be honest, I don’t know! I thought that everything went really well – we had a studio and a producer we already knew, the circumstances were good and we had all prepared really well, so we didn’t really run into any difficulties during the recordings. Before the recordings I know that Jyri had some problems with the lyrical concept, but Tomi (vocalist) and Jussi (guitarist) helped him out and in the end all worked out great. Of course composing and creating a concept album is always a bit more demanding than writing separate songs, as the atmosphere needs to be right for all the songs to tell the concept story. It’s ok to try out different things, but everything needs to serve the same bigger purpose and fit in with the rest of the songs and the concept. This time around we definitely concentrated on creating the perfect atmosphere for the songs and the album.
[MB]: What music/artists are you listening to at the moment that you can recommend to your fans?
[MH]: Well, I listen to quite different sort of music than Battlelore myself, but… I know that there are some great Finnish bands releasing albums in February – for example Moonsorrow and Turisas, and some of our fans might like them. I myself have been listening to Sólstafir, Hinsidig, Bolt Thrower and oldies goldies (At the Gates, Edge of Sanity) lately.
[MB]: What are your tour plans for 2011?
[MH]: We’re planning on making festival gigs during the spring/summer/autumn of 2011. No longer tours as two of the guys will have more family members in the early summer – some things are just too important to miss! So far we haven’t confirmed any shows in the U.K., but we do hope to visit you guys soon!
[MB]: Do you have festivals booked you can confirm for this year?
[MH]: We’ve confirmed Ragnarök Festival in Germany at the end of April this year, and one other show in Dresden. Otherwise just plans, no confirmations.
[MB]: What are Battlelore’s plans for the rest of 2011?
[MH]: Hopefully you’ll see us around Europe doing some festival gigs!
Maria’s Final Words
Thank you for the interview and hope to see you guys soon for some beers and music!
Doombound is available to buy now through Napalm Records.