(KevinP returns to NCS with another edition in his series of brief interviews, this time talking with guitarist Mikka Lammassaari from the Finnish band Wolfheart, a perennial NCS favorite whose latest album Tyhjyys was released earlier this year and reviewed here.)
K: This is now the 2nd album you’ve been a part of after Tuomas [Saukkonen] handled all the duties himself in the debut, Winterborn. So has your role changed since Shadow World?
M: This is a pretty common misconception, since I was already contributing the guitar solos on Winterborn. On Shadow World my role expanded a bit as I wrote a couple songs and was more involved in the guitar recordings.
On the new album Tyhjyys, I had to step back a little bit because my little baby boy was born and I wanted to shift focus more towards life at home. I still managed to squeeze in the founding of one song and got to write the guitar solos, so I´m very pleased with that.
So my role actually got a bit smaller on the new album, but Tuomas did amazing work writing the songs and recording guitars, so all went well.
K: What songs can we give you credit for?
M: “Boneyard” on the new album, even though from my parts there’s only the chorus left, HAHA. On Shadow World, “The Last of All Winters” and “Nemesis”, which I wrote 50/50 with Tuomas. And a sidenote, I don’t write the vocal parts or lyrics for these songs, so it’s only the instrumentation.
K: So what would you say is different between Shadow World and Tyhjyys?
M: I’d say the main difference is the atmosphere. Tyhjyys is more cold and dark and almost leans to black metal type elements in some parts. Shadow World continued where the debut album left off.
Musically there’s new elements as well. The main focus would be on the orchestral parts, which are very prominent throughout the whole album. Our good friend Olli Savolainen (Shade Empire) did absolutely amazing work with the arrangements. On a couple songs the tuning also dropped a whole step down to G, and as a result we used a baritone acoustic guitar to maintain the same tonality on the easier parts.
K: Where would you say the band is now after three albums? Does this feel like you are finally breaking through?
M: From the get-go the progression has been quite fast and good in every aspect. Now after the 3rd album everything is looking very good for us. Tyhjyys has gotten excellent response, and touring-wise the future seems bright as well, as we signed a booking deal with Continental. We’re a hard working band so I think we have what it takes to keep moving forward. Time will tell how things turn out. I hope luck is on our side.
K: You think you’ll get to our side of the pond this year?
M: We sure hope so! There’s some plans brewing at the moment but it’s a bit too early to lean on those at this point. We’d love to tour the States as soon as possible!
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