Interview with Ville Laihiala

First of all I must to congratulate with you, I read your single went directly to 2nd position on The Official Finnish Singles Chart! I bet you'd be satisfied with it! What's your feelings about?

Yes! It feels good even though it is true exciting I don't really care that much, of course it's a great promotion with it maybe some people who don't know the Sentenced name before maybe look at they starting to buy the single but the real response come of course when you go to play live when you see people who like your music that's of course really great!

But of course a single can be useful to growing up the fan base of a band...

Yes, of course.. even though Sentenced has really ever been a single hit band, but it is pretty good to release singles.. we're learning to do it.. to survive in the music business [laughs]!!

Let's talk about your brand new "The Cold White Light"...your fan base is growing album by album specially after Crimson I guess, so that felt you any kind of pressure to impress and keep your new album interesting?

No. .when we start to write music.. we don't really.. basically we do music for ourselves.. I know it sounds maybe rude even but still we feel that our art should be self expression and I think people at the end they respect that when they hear that the band is doing what they really truly love to doing don't compromise so we're really take any pressure off doing the best we can when we release the album it's nothing other or anymore, it's just if people like it. It's even more rewarding when you know you doing something from the heart, you're honest and people like it. It's absolutely great!

Maybe the pressure is from inside yourself than, trying to do your best when you do something...

Yes, obviously when you grow up as person, and we were also try to grown up as musicians being more creative better innovative and don't just repeat ourselves again, again and again...

Now that the album is finished are you completely satisfied or would you change something if you could?

No we're totally happy...I mean.. I have to explain something...I mean .. We've toured when we did Crimson a lot, and the last was with In Flames two years ago. It was really hard for us because we played so many shows before that tour so we were totally tired and very down and we started to always fight each other so we took a break for like seven months. We just than started to write new music. I like to think that you can hear some elements from every Sentenced album on this new one still even though this new one sounds a bit different and also on more songs.. happy than whenever and the lyrics are not that more suicide anymore because we always like to think that there are more sides to expanses than alcoholic, killing yourself and down. If you look lyrics more closely you can see that we actually sing more about life than death..

Yes, about lyrics I've noticed you started with Crimson to change some lyrics' topics starting to deal with diferrent subjects than suicide, so on "The Cold White Light" you've a kind of natural development?

Yeah, because we can learn too.. I don't know.. open up a bit more and consider more sides to and on this album it is desolated black humour.. you know.. a song as Excuse me while I kill myself you know.. it's black humour!

Yes I know..black humour is also in other old songs of yours as "The Suicider" from Frozen..

Yeah, that also black humour, you know..it's not intented to be taken too serious. And also you know..in this music business you always meet people who are really superficial..actually they think shit about Sentenced music.."Excuse Me While I Kill Myself?" goes like.. "How do you do?..Well..fuck you too!..Excuse Me While I Kill Myself..I don't wanna talk to you anymore!" and something like that too [laughs]! But it's basically black humour.

But taking that Sentenced has become a really big band, do you think the "mainstream" can dig your lyrics deeply and understand your black humour?

I think finnish people can but when we come outside, in Europe for example Italy they don't really understand that it much, but when they..I mean..we get fans in Italy also and them are following the band for long time and also them understand that we're not serious about, you know..it's just.. to joke about something terrible it make feel you better.

Maybe it's something like a therapy..

Yeah! Something like a therapy!

By the way black humour apart, obviously finnish bands are the most depressing ones. Really downcast stuff, you there seems to see the worst in all things! Do you have any kind of explanation for that? Many put their fingers in wintertime..

It could be that and we can't escape that factor..we are from Finland..you know..it's just a way..if you compare Finland with Italy it's totally different kind of culture, you people are really more..like..open.. and we just wanna be lefted alone.. I don't know.. I really don't have any explanation for that, but it's just easy to ride about.. depression or something like that because it comes naturally, I don't know if you live in Italy would be do something like that, I don't think so.. but just it comes really naturally we don't know really why!

But what's your feelings about religions? I mean.. any kind of religion.. it's just for weak people or can believe in something be help when you fall in depression?

It depends on a person really religious kind of human be, but.. I became father last summer and now when I watch my son growing up, it makes me left think about myself and my problems a bit less. Look at life a bit more, more positivity, not everything is shit in this world!

So I suppose you don't agree with ones that say black metal bands when they say that believe in something is just for weak people?

It's up to you..I mean.. this is a free world..you can believe in anything you want, but I don't saying that christians are weak people or satanists are weak people..I don't really care, everyone has the right to believe in what they want to believe and other people should respect them.

Back to the music..I've noticed your album names never carry any song title, Is it 'cause in this way the whole album, the feelings on it, can be better introduced than with a song title or are there any other reason about this or is it just a coincidence?

No..it's because we feel like if you put one song title to represent the whole album it's like.. at least we get this feeling.. that what you wanna to say is in that one song. It's better the title'd to be open. We just always looking for a word for Sentenced that just descript the whole feeling of the album and still rapresents the songs best.

So what "The Cold White Light" represents? Is there any particular meaning behind that title? Could it be intented as the moment when you dead and pass to afterlife..you know..the belief about a white light that embody you after you die..

I know..it can be that or it can be feeling of hope, love or whatever..I mean..this is not necessary picturing about death, I think what we want to represent here is that there is some kind of force, hope or whatever..but..I mean for some people it can be death, like as I said I don't wanna really say that there is only one meaning for it. This is what I mean. Because even though we write some lyrics and we try to say something, and still people find a different kind of meaning to the original concept. So that cause titles are a bit open, making a point of this.

Well so if I found the meaning I said maybe 'cause I'm a bit depressed!

Ok! [laughs] Ok!

Another red line connects your albums...the covers.. all have a color motif, one basic color. So do colors represents something like the mood of the music on it too?

Yes..the whole artwork on this album is made by our drummer by the way..he did all the artwork in this one. Yes the horizon, this shine of light..it can be hope or whatever, this guy step far away the light so it's picture the solitude, all long we are here after all so whatever. Still we want the album cover stand up for music also, to make a unique package..when you listen to the album and read the booklet you can feel the same feeling

Your line-up is stable since 1997 when session bass player Sami Kukkohovi became a full member, it about 6 years now! I guess it's important for a band..

Yeah because you can in that way create a chemistry..we've been playing together for so many years now so we cannot what everything else thinking when we're playing live that's the reason because a band sounds good together. Take any band that just have been playing together for many yers, they play together very well, and the reason is the chemistry.

With Crimson you were on number one on the overall national charts! Did you ever think that all those years ago that it would lead to this? What is your feeling about it?

I mean.."Down" went to the charts also, it was like number 24 or something.."Frozen" was number 2 and "Crimson" went to number 1, so we can expecting to go to the charts but not to number 1 and stay to number 1, so of course it was a big surprise...I mean..when I joined this band 6 years ago I can't never dream of something like that, so it was a happy surprise of course. In Finland there are sold out shows everywhere and it's nice because we got to play to alot of people, it's something you don't really expect..it's really great of course!

But is something changed in your everyday life? I guess you are something like stars there in Finland!

No..no..because my hometown isn't that big town I been living there almost 30 years now so I know everyone and everybody knows also, when we go to a club people don't come up to like "Sentenced, sentenced, sentenced" and with friend of ours we don't talk about music of stuff like that. It's different in Helsinki, there are people that think the rockstars but still I respect that..I mean.. you can be whatever you want ..I mean..who I might to judge anybody? I left home at sixteen so I had to survive on my own on sixteen so I get learn to respect that you don't have to have much but you can still live a stable life.. I mean..if we get now big like Metallica what I'll think about is that I'll have no need about money anymore but I don't think that I'll become a totally assholes rockstar or whatever..I guess I'm too old for that [laughs]!!

With eight releases and almost 10 years under your belts, what do you feel your band brought to the scene? Something new?

I don't know if we brought something new..we always like to think because we've been playing together for so many years that we've created our own sound. We sound like ourself and no one else, when you hear a Sentenced album you can hear it's Sentenced album and just not sounds anyone else. That is one of the reasons that make feel me proud of this band, because somehow we made that sound unique and original and not trying to copy anyone else.

What do you think about bands that copy Sentenced music? What's your feeling about? Are you happy to
see your band inspiring other ones or you've just hard feelings about?

It's flattering when some band..you know..young guys start to play music for example because they like Sentenced but if they make a career just copying, it can be Sentenced or Iron Maiden or whatever band.. if you just wanna play something totally rip-off I think that it would be totally stupid. And at more to that..in Finland..HIM is now a really big and not just in Finland, in Europe also..and the record labels in Finland are looking that sound like HIM, I think that it's stupid because I've.. there is this rock pub in a hometown and where locals bands play who that haven't a record team and there some of these bands are really good and I think they'd like deserve a record team but companies don't give a fuck about them because they don't sound like HIM..because they wanna make money..

I know..thousand of bands that come out from Finland lately sound like HIM..you know Entwine, To/Die/For and so on..

Yeah..it feels just cheesy is ..because they not even tried in to do something original because they're just following the success..but still anyway I mean..it's a free world..

About that.. how important do you think a "Good Looking Image" is, for a band? You believe that a band should depend on it for their success?

Of course it isn't bad.. if you have good looking singer in the band because than all the girls would like it [laughs]!! But apart the kidding..if you only build a band only around a good looking guy I don't think that it'll work because there are to be some good songs also. They can only look at this good guy for a while and then take further from the band.. but it helps of course..

But I hope we never will see a photo of yours on a Sentenced cover as HIM do with their singer [laughs]!!

Ohhh..no way man..no way! With the make up..no..without shame..My friends would kill me [laughs]!!

Tragenda is an Internet magazine. What do you think about the Net..is it useful for a metal band?

Yes it is because more and more people are using internet..you know..every band have your website of course..it's good thing for spreading music and something like that..expecially for the new bands..because if you haven't a record deal you can do your website..it's a really great thing..you can put your demos there for people to download it and something like that..it's get more faster to spread your demos..

What can you say us about supporting tour for "The Cold White Light"? Will you tour only Europe?

We will start to play club shows and festivals in Finland in two weeks and we'll have also a festival in Germany and right after that we can go in America for two weeks, and October European tour we headlines one of our support will be italian Lacuna Coil..

Have you yet listen to Lacuna Coil?

Yes..we know..I mean..I'm actually here in Century Media office and there on the next room they're recording their new album ..we were drinking the other night with them..so we know that! so about that tour..of course we will play in Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain and many other countries possible

About live concert..you played 2 years ago in Gods of Metal here in Italy..what do you remember about that show? It was a great concert!

Yeah..it nice to play there, of course..Iron Maiden was headliner so was great to see them..even though I don't really like today Iron Maiden..old Iron Maiden album sound better..anyway..yes it was a great experience of course because we haven't played that much in Italy and to play in a place like Gods of Metal we reached so many people at the same time.. and maybe someone that like Maiden.. you know..someone who like other bands..it was a good chance for us..

Will you record any video to promote your new album?

Yes it will be last one "No One There" we're gonna to start to record that video next Saturday..

Can you say something about the script of thatvideo?

I can't say anything because I haven't seen the script yet..I don't know what director scripted yet..

Oh..I forgot.my girlfriend said me to say you are a really good guy!

[laughs] Ok!! Tell her Hi!! [laughs]

Well that's just about all I got. We want to wish you the best success for the new album. Anything else you wanted to say?

Thank you! I wanna thank all the people who have with passion await this album for two years.. we get letters and messages around the world, so I wanna just thank those people.

interview by strenuus


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