First half of 2003
Let's probably begin with the latest happenings
in your small "camp". What are you doing nowdays? Do you take part
in promoting "Woodsmoke" or, maybe, this part of show-business
doesn't interest you at all?
Greetings to ye. This be A.T. of Nest writing. The latest tidings
from the camp surrounding the nest are that we have just released
the new album entitled 'Woodsmoke'. It is our first full-length
release, and therefore a milestone in our lives and musical hobbies.
To celebrate the release, we performed live in front of a sold out
crowd in Turku Finland at February 8th 2003. The fact that we performed
as an opening act for Tenhi probably had nothing to do with the gig
being sold out, eh :) It was also our first ever live gig too. Lots
of "first ever" occurances have been going on around us lately.
I'm happy to tell you that a good friend of mine, T. Saxell,
played bass with Nest's live show. I have been luring him into joining
Nest as a permanent member, seeing that he already has contributed
quite a lot of vocals to the previous releases. I am very confident
that he will crack and join Nest anytime now…
At the moment there isn't much else going on. Only
the promotion of the new album, which is mainly handled by the label
Corvus Records. Emil of Corvus is a swell guy, who has done a great
job with releasing and promoting the new album. My part in the promoting
has consisted of answering to some interviews and sending promotional
copies to worthwhile 'zines in Finland. I enjoy answering interviews,
but it is good to have a label to handle distribution and promotion.
I doubt I would have enough energy to handle these things properly.
I also redesigned the Nest web site. It was time to lay the old one
What does the word "nest" symbolize for you, what
does it mean for you personally?
I must congratulate you. You are the first person to
ask me this question. I was wondering when someone would. I applaud ye.
From the first moment on, when I started to think of a good name for
a band, I wanted one that would bring forth images of comfort, solace,
warmth, peace, etc. And the most fitting thing I could think of was
synonymous to "home" - the plase of love and shelter. So there you have
it. For me Nest stands for home, and home stands for the things already
Do you consider music just a mere hobby of yours or
is it something more serious? What part of your life, of your personality
does it take? It might be just one of the ways of self-expression for
somebody and the whole life, the only reason to live for somebody else…
Well, I mostly think of music as a hobby, but I do take
it very seriously. It is a facet of life which brings me great joy and
meaning. It is not my only reason to live, but one of the most important
ones. Although I'm self-taught and have only been involved with music for
about a dozen years I couldn't imagine my life without it. It is indeed
self-expression, but I try not to be too selfish about it. I am aware of
people who enjoy this type of music and I enjoy hearing from and talking
to them. Regarding my personality, I want to do my own small part in
increasing the amount of joy in this realm, so that is what I try to do
What does Finnish folklore mean to you? What books
would you recommend not only to your country-mates but to all people in
the world to learn more about this great culture? Do you like the way
AMORPHIS presented some myths and legends of the Suomi's past?
Amorphis is one of my all-time favorite bands, and their
"Tales From the Thousand Lakes" album is an absolute classic in my ears.
I think they did an excellent job in incorporating Finnish folklore and
traditional folk melodies into metal during their folk period. I do enjoy
all of their stuff, but the most memorable were their folk stuff.
I'm very much fond of Finnish folklore. The Kalevala
and the Kanteletar are naturally the most important written works on the
subject, and they are the ones I would recommend to everyone interested
in taking the first dive into Finnish folklore. It's hard for me to
recommend other written works to non-Finnish people, because I mostly
know folk material written in Finnish. But see if you can find "Boreaksen
Lapset" (The children of Boreas) by Anu Holopainen. It be an excellent
wintry tale. I also like old animal, hunting and other various folk tales.
One particular field I enjoy are the tales passed on by families of their
ancestors and their escapades. These tales which are passed on by word of
mouth through generations, are unfortunately quite scarce nowadays. The
story telling tradition is not what it used to be.
Your attitude to… paganism?
I am not in any way affiliated with paganism. I am
interested in knowing what kind of mythos old folks, like the Vikings,
ancient Finns, the Greek people, etc. had, but I'm not in any way
interested to make their beliefs my own.
What are the main emotions you'd like to express
in your music, the feelings you'd like the listeners to feel and the
thoughts to come to their heads? How do you personally perceive your
music, what does it feels like for you?
I wish that the listeners of Nest's stuff experience
the music in their own individual way. I encourage everyone to use their
imagination when listening to our music. The emotions I get from and use
as inspiration for the songs circle around tranquility, solemnity,
peace, solace, fantastic vistas, and the like. Depending on the
individual song, of course. I also tend to listen to this kind of
music (not my own, but music similar to this style) when going to
bed. It relaxes me nicely before I fall asleep.
Do you see the point where fields of visual and aural
art coincide? Have you ever crossed the borders between these two forms?
Oh, absolutely. I think these two forms complement each
other very nicely. Good visual artwork can bring a whole lot of depth to
music, and I would also like to see an art exhibit where you could
listen to music or similar while admiring the visuals. But as we
are focusing on music now, visuals can also lead your mind from the
themes of the music. I don't think this can be avoided, so I don't
tend to worry about it too much. When I listen to an album whose visual
appearance is nothing like the image I get from the music I just leave
the visuals be and concentrate on the images brought from the music.
When I produce visuals for Nest I always intend on reflecting the music
in them and vice versa. I couldn't even do it any other way. In Nest
these two fields are woven together so closely that I would feel
something was missing if I didn't do my best with both of them.
Do you spend much time in front of the computer?
It's really hard to believe that this kind of NATURAL music can be
born by the means of "dead" keyboard… :)
Oh yes, way too much time. And my wrists can testify
this. One of my main hobbies is twiddling about with a computer. I use
it to a varied degree in music, visual art, programming, etc. My
profession and studies are also computer related, so I won't be
getting away from "old gray" for long periods of time.
Sometimes I too doubt that this kind of naturalistic
music could be made with the aid of a computer, but it seems possible
enough. I just take the best of both worlds. The base of Nest's songs
are always composed and played live with the Kantele. The computer
is used to record the music and compose the background sounds, do the
effects, etc. I've also recently taken a shine to crafting my own
synthetic sounds and sound effects. The future holds more than just
predefined factory synths from now on. In contrast to this I have
also brought aboard new traditional drums, such as a traditional
drum from Lapland and a Bodhran. So the natural elements certainly
won't be diminished.
Do you have some kind of regular job? And… what's
that if it's not a secret?… Something connected with web-design?
At the moment I don't have a job, but I've been mainly
working with computers in the past. I had a job where I programmed with
Java, managed databases, did web-designing and other graphical stuff,
etc. I enjoy this kind of work, because it touches my creative nerve
just the way I would want work to do. And it didn't get boring because
I had many different tasks to perform. Now I'm studying all things
computer related, and I'm going to graduate in about half a year's
time, so after that it's time to look for a job once more. I have
also done some logos and cover artwork for my friends' bands, but
things have been quiet in this front for quite some time now. And
the last, but not least, work I have done has been delivering morning
newspapers. It's good physical exercise, I tell you.
Could you describe an ideal situation for listening
to your music? (surroundings, time, etc… what would you recommend to
your listeners?) What time of the day do you feel your music's closer
to: morning, daytime, evening or night? Any, by the way, what are your
associations with each of the four? (Something that comes to you mind
first when you think about them…?)
The ideal situation for listening to Nest's music
varies with each person listening to it. Once again I'm advising people
to find the surroundings that suit them the best. But when speaking
for myself, I would very much like to play some songs during a summer
evening at a thing we Finns call a "Laavu". It is a sort of a half-tent
with logs to sit on and a fire in front of the seats. It would be great
to have people listening to the playing, having something to drink and
eat, and generally having a good evening among friends.
I think Nest's stuff suits all times of day, depending
on the song in question. For example, a Winternight Visage is
definitely a song for the night or nightfall, whereas I think that By
the Healing waters could suit morning and day. I personally like all
times of the day, the favorites being sunrise and sunset. The world
of color is simply spectacular during a wintry sunrise or a summer
sunset. The day is for work and play, and the night is for rest - either
sleeping or otherwise.
As far as I can see, your favorite way of
time-spending is wandering in the forests, swaying in the hazy moor
or heath mysticism… How much time do you usually dedicate to these
poetically inspiring walks? Do you prefer to be there in solitude or
in somebody else's company (your girlfriend's, for example)? Have you
seen the scenes, the sights you were especially impressed by, some
exquisite Nature's wonders you can never forget, something that touched
your heart in it's very deep, if you know what I mean……?
Yes, I do enjoy roaming about in nature, and I spend
quite a lot of time doing so depending on the season. In the late
spring and summer I walk and also ride a bike approximately 3 hours
a day, but during the autumn and winter I mainly walk and not so often.
When walking I do it both in solitude and with my better half (the
girlfriend), and when I'm riding, I prefer to do it alone. I generally
enjoy picking a random direction and just going as far as I care to,
and then finding another way back. These ventures have brought me many
delightful sound and sights - very fond memories.
The most memorable scenes I've seen include most of
Lapland and the lake-filled areas of Finland. Some especially fantastic
places that have left their image perpetually in my soul are a certain
small lake some 10 km from my home and one lake formed into a split
hill, between two steep rock cliffs about 50 meters high in central
Finland. The small lake is an embodiment of tranquility, with enchanting
coniferous forest hills circling it. The lake in the split hill is an
unbelievably majestic place. It's a humbling experience to think what
force has been at work to split a hill in two and form a lake in the
bottom. I would really like to go there again to play and just soak
up the atmosphere, but It's quite hard to reach from where I live.
Do you consider yourself a happy person? What's
happiness for you, by the way?
I'm not as happy as I would like to be, but I have
nothing against being happy. I have been known to be very happy at
times, but there are also times when I'm "not so cheerful". For me
happiness means being able to enjoy life, friends, activities and
generally being content with what I've got. I also gain joy from
producing music, visuals and other stuff that may bring joy into
other people's lives.
Your favorite styles of metal-music? Your
favorite bands in…
My favorite styles of metal are Doom, Melodic
Death, and folk influenced stuff. I tried to list my favorite bands
by genres, but I noticed that it was quite difficult, as I don't
know what to call certain bands. Well, here goes… My favorite "Doom
metal" bands include Skepticism, Shape of Despair, Agalloch, Ashen
Mortality, Yearning and The 3rd and the Mortal. My fave "Death metal"
bands include Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity, Orphaned Land and Ensiferum.
I don't listen to Thrash, Heavy/power, Black or Gothic metal too much,
but my faves in "Thrash metal" are old Metallica, in "Heavy/power" Blind
Guardian, Rhapsody and Grave Digger, in "Black metal" Summoning,
Catamenia and Rakoth, and in "Gothic metal" old Theatre of Tragedy.
Have you ever heard the band EMPYRIUM? What's your
opinion on it?
It is a good band, with some excellent songs. I
especially enjoy 'Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays' and certain
songs from Weiland. It is a shame that we won't be hearing more of
their stuff. I hope they have new equally impressive projects planned.
Do you know anything about Russian folk-music? Ever
heard something like that?
I Haven't heard too much Russian folk music, but I'm
always interested in hearing new stuff. One name 'Moon Far Away' comes
to mind. I don't know if it is actual Russian folk music, but it is
great nevertheless. Russian music is quite rare even here in Finland
that is right next to Russia. It's a shame because from what I've
heard I know there is lots more quality stuff there that I have yet
Your TOP 5 of the latest releases, please…
I haven't been paying much attention to the latest
releases, so my list includes albums from quite a wide time-span.
Tenhi's Väre is an excellent new progressive folk album. They also
performed the new song very good live. Agalloch's The Mantle is an
excellent combination of dark/doom metal, acoustics and atmosphere.
Skepticism's The Process of Farmakon is a formidable piece of funeral
doom and promises great things for the new album. Dark Tranquillity's
Damage Done is once again a successful melodic death metal offering.
These guys don't seem to be able to produce bad or even mediocre
albums. And last, but definitely not least Ensiferum's self titled
debut album is the greatest piece of folk influenced melodic death
metal since Amorphis' Tales from the Thousand Lakes. Ain't I
That's probably all… (if you wanna add something,
please, feel free to do it. I could have forgotten something really
important…) And… Thanxxx for your answers - I hope this interview
wasn't too boring…
Thank ye very much for this interview. It was a
pleasure to answer to it, not boring at all. All the best to ye and
yer publication. Before I go, I wish to invite everyone reading this
to stop by at Nest's www site at < http://iki.fi/atolonen/nest >.
All the best to all ye out there. -A.T. & Nest