Interview with Sami Hinkka [Ensiferum]

Ensiferum, are perhaps one Finland’s greatest musicial exports, with an ever evolving sound. With the new album out, Nico sat down and had an email-based chat with the band’s bassist, Sami.

Nico: Thalassic is an interesting name for the new album. Given the definition of the word, and based on the track listing, it’s obvious that there is a sea or oceanic theme in the album.  How did it come about to have this theme as opposed to other themes?

Sami: Hi! I’m actually very happy with the album title because as a word it sounds like it’s matching well with the bands name and it sums up the theme of the album. Sea or water felt like a good and “wide” enough because every culture have mythologies and legends that are linked to sea so I knew that there would be more than enough good stories to draw inspiration from.

N: How does the new album differ from previous releases?

S: The composing process went as it usually goes with this band: slowly. Of course the new member Pekka Montin gave a totally new ”tool” for us with his incredible voice and naturally we arranged songs that we made the most of it. Obviously the lyrical theme makes this different kind of album compared to old albums.

For the production team we had one new and one old member: we had the honor to get Janne Joutsenniemi to produce and record and Jens Bogren to mix the album and we are very happy with the result.

N: What was the writing process for the new album like? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to the new album to sound like before writing it?

S: Usually we have raw idea how a new album should sound like but it always depends how the songs are progressing because we always have lots of songs under work and naturally we can’t finish them all so once we have enough songs to record an album, then it’s time to book a studio. This is very cool way because then we always have raw material to work with.

N: Some fans have commented that the singles you’ve released from the album so far, especially Rum, Women, Victory, have a pirate metal sound to them. Would you describe the new album as such?

S: Heh, to be honest I never thought that someone would think this song as a pirate song! It tells about the brave men of Royal Navy and the daily rum dose they used to get. I have no idea what ”a pirate metal” -sound is, I guess Alestorm’ish? And I find our sound to be completely different but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

N: In your own opinion, which song would you say defines Ensiferum?

S: We have such a wide musical horizon so this is really hard. Maybe “Victory Song” has many Ensiferum’s main elements so if I would need to represent the band with one song, I might choose that one.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film, which one would it be and why?

S: Hmmm, I’m sorry I can’t come up with any movie that has such a terrible soundtrack that it would need to be changed.

N: Thalassic is obviously out now. Have you made a start on new music or are you taking a break from writing before you start thinking about the next album?

S: Because of COVID-19 chaos there are no tours coming up in a long time so we will start working with some new material soon.

N: Do you think you’ll follow any other themes in the future with upcoming albums?

S: We haven’t talked about this yet so it’s too early to say. I like working this way with my power metal band Metal De Facto, our every album has a different theme. I don’t know will we continue doing this with Ensiferum but at least we did it once.

Ensiferum’s new album, Thallasic is out now!

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