Crannk Interviews Korpiklaani-Sammi Perttula

Jai That Aussie Metal Guy caught up with Sammi Pertula from Finnish Folk Metal Legends Korpiklaani to talk about the 12th Studio album “Rankarumpu” due out Worldwide on April 5th through Nuclear Blast.

RANKARUMPU, out April 5th, now available for pre-order:

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Let’s start with a metaphor: imagine that wonderful moment when you are walking familiar paths in the deep woods. The good spirits of the majestic forest penetrate your innermost being and free you from the dreary world somewhere far away. Then suddenly you blink and look in wonder: have these ancient stumps or that cluster of mossy stones always been there?

Exactly such vibes evoke when you enter the fascinating world of the new studio album by Finnish Folk Metal Superstars Korpiklaani. Superstars? Well, what else can you say about these extraordinary fellows who have offered us a lot of unforgettable songs – oh, shall we have some vodka? – and so much other stuff.

The vivacious ensemble, founded by a shaman at heart Jonne Järvelä (vocals/guitar) in 2003, has been able to create an effortlessly recognizable style over the past two decades – actually a rare occurrence in the world of heavier music of the 21st century.

“Rankarumpu” will not disappoint you or anyone else: Korpiklaani’s twelfth studio album is once again full of tasty folk metal and its different flavours, but it also offers new spices. Perhaps the ancient gods of joyful music have decided to bless their own sons with some new miraculous extracts?

“Whenever I start writing something new, the material always finds its own path without any forcing – that stuff just comes from somewhere deep inside me, completely naturally”, commences Jonne Järvelä.

“Anyway, when I started to come up with the material for “Rankarumpu”, I set myself a goal. A couple of previous records, especially “Kulkija” (2018), were a bit slower as a whole, so this time I wanted to benefit from a bit faster tempo – a bit like the old Korpiklaani.”

This is exactly what “Rankarumpu” is all about. Of course, Korpiklaani sometimes slows down and gets seriously emotional, but for the most part “Rankarumpu” – as a whole, probably the band’s catchiest album to date – rushes forward at a faster pace.

“The very first thing I finished was the anti-war track “Tapa sen kun kerkeet“. Well, guess what? It’s a fast-running Korpiklaani song with a catchy chorus. When I had this song in my hands, all of us – guitarist Cane, bassist Jarkko Aaltonen, drummer Samuli Mikkonen, accordionist Sami Perttula and violinist Olli Vänskä – knew that we were going in the right direction.”

“In the later song writing phase, we brought a lot of other spices to our old oak table. For example, the song “Viikatelintu” has exciting angles that we haven’t really tried before. It’s a ballad-like song with a calm vocal melody – a rare one on this record! – but then if you listen to the background of the song.  .. There’s a lot going on there!”

“Speaking of other new – or “new old” – vibes, “Saunaan” is a perfect example. Some of you may already know, but we have a new member, Olli Vänskä (ex-Turisas), and he has come rushing into the band. In addition to other great things, he wrote “Saunaan“, which in many ways sounds like the old school Korpiklaani – only better. In other words, Olli already beat me with my own weapons… Ha ha! And you know what? I love it – it’s amazing to have more and more musically talented forces involved!”

There are more interesting aspects to “Saunaan“, as Samuli Mikkonen, who joined the band in 2019, wrote the lyrics. And not just any nonsense words: what would suit the Korpiklaani better than a catchy song about a steaming sauna?

“Samuli is an extremely talented musician, and he has brought a huge amount of new energy to the whole group… And today he is also an important part of our song writing team: in addition to typing the lyrics for “Saunaan” and “Kalmisto“, he also brought great melodies to the latter. I just wonder what other talents will be revealed in him later?”, Järvelä laughs.

When we talk about all the lyrics of “Rankarumpu“, we come to a very noteworthy fact: for the first time since the band’s early days, Jonne Järvelä has written all the lyrics (except for the two mentioned).

“My dear friend, Moonsorrow’s frontman Ville Sorvali, once asked sincerely: “Jonne, why don’t you write lyrics anymore? You should get back into business!” I really didn’t agree at first but a bit later I started to change my mind. Then I just did one and did another… And I really felt like this works again after a long break!”

It is clear that Korpiklaani’s new lyrics once again have many distinctive Finnish themes, and many of the stories are related to northern landscapes, old myths and so on – and of course, getting drunk and going to the sauna. What makes the difference to the previous records is that Korpiklaani head honcho’s lyrics definitely have their own recognizable twist.

“There are a few reasons for this. It’s been a while since I moved from the city to the countryside. I live in the middle of forests, there are many beautiful lakes and so on – and many of Korpiklaani’s new lyrics are directly inspired by these wonderful landscapes. Already in the opening song “Kotomaa” I sing about “blue skies and snowy white lands”. It doesn’t get more Finnish than that!”, Järvelä smiles.

“Somehow in these terrible times – you damn know what I mean! – it feels like our own beloved and free country feels dearer than ever before. I just want to share these feelings with everyone!”

“However, it’s not only about telling stories about Finland, our traditions and so on. For example, the title song “Rankarumpu” is about us – Korpiklaani. It is a fully conscious tribute to this band and its members. This song just sums up what Korpiklaani is.”

One of the most wonderful features of “Rankarumpu” is related to the folk instruments. Although Korpiklaani has done one or maybe even a couple of unforgettable things in the realm of folk metal, this time Olli Vänskä’s violin and Sami Perttula’s accordion may surprise even die-hard fans.

“Overall, “Rankarumpu” is our most carefully prepared album. Related to this, I would dare to say that folk instruments have never been such an essential part of our sound”, insists Järvelä.

“Olli and Sami were very active in song writing, pre-production and actual recording, and the intensity of their work was completely new to us. One more thing about Olli: “Rankarumpu” is of course his first Korpiklaani record, and he really wanted to give all his skills and energy to this record. And it caused some incredible results.”

Rankarumpu“, like two previous records, was executed with recording / mixing engineer and producer Janne Saksa. It seems that the collaboration between the band and Saksa has reached a whole new level with the new album.

“By these days, Janne knows us perfectly, and he is able to bring out all our strengths. He simply did an excellent job in every possible way. When you add legendary mastering engineer Svante Forsbäck, known for his work with Rammstein among others, there is no doubt that “Rankarumpu” is the best sounding Korpiklaani recording to date.”

Then finally, the easiest question in the world… When the band has such a brilliant album in their hands, what will they do next? Of course: they will tour the whole world!

“Let’s see… We’re doing an intensive UK tour with Alestorm in February/March. Then we will go to North America in April. Then we will play at festivals. Then we will do a European tour… And then we will tour some more. In other words: we’re going to be busy promoting this fantastic new record to fans everywhere. And we can’t wait!”



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