Sentenced - Fascinated By Death And Sadness

The suiciders are back! With the new album Crimson, they proved us once again how nice sad melodies can sound and how charming the sound from the cold country is. So, it was clear that after this new piece of melancholic music, we were curious to know more about the guys from Finland. The lyrical head of Sentenced, Sami Lopakka, was so kind to calm our curiosity with interesting facts of the northern metalband.

Woodhouse and Waldemar Sorychta were trademarks of Century Media bands so far, but one by one the bands changed their studios. Crimson was recorded again at Tico Tico with a new and different producer, so did you get what you expected before the recordings? Yeah, I really could say that! We were looking for something new, as we did the Down and the Frozen album at the Woodhouse studios. We wanted something different, actually, we were in four different studios before we made a decision and we really got what we expected.

How did you live the change of Sentenced through the years? Was it a personal evolution for the band or were you just bored of playing the same and decided to change your style after a while? I would say that it‘s more a question of progression. Somehow, we always wanted to make some other things for the next album, it has been a constant progression from album to album and from year to year.

We heard that Janeli Tarva is coming back with a new band. Do you still keep the friendship with him? Yes, I see him like two or three times a month and we are studying at the same university, so we are kind of in touch, we are not very close but we see each other from time to time.

On Crimson, the theme of Suicide is not so much present like on Frozen, but the lyrics are still sad and dark. How do you get along with themes like suicide, death and depressions? Those are things that we are really just fascinated of and interested in. It has been always the way that we could write songs and lyrics. The feelings come up very naturally, there are really dark and negative things always included in the lyrics. On the new album suicide has a less attention than before and we wanted to have a wider variety of different feelings and thoughts. And as the songs are very different, we felt that they have to be also different from each other in the lyrics. There are themes like selfhate, despair, depression and things like that.We wanted to have more themes than the one of suicide like we had before.

In Finland winters are very dark and it seems that the dark mood influenced you in your lyrics and music. Is winter making you sad? Not really, I kind of like it already, I‘m some used to it. It is pretty hard sometimes in the winter when the sun comes up just for a few hours a day, when it‘s very cold. It‘s only a good inspiration for the music. I don’t see the clima here as that negative, I like winter more than I like the sunny summer.

So, kind of darksoul? (Laughing), yeah, kind of

How and when do you feel comfortable and right to write songs, lyrics? Is there a special time of day or of year? It is for me personally always easier in the wintertime. And it‘s also usually in the evening or at night. Writing a song in the morning is something I could never do…

Now the melodies of Sentenced sound softer and also more varied than on frozen. Is there a special reason for that change? No, not really, we just waited to see what comes out and these kind of melodies came out. But I have to say that in the new album we concentrated on building up the melodies in the best way, so that we could really put them on the album. We worked a lot, specially with the chorus melodies, we wanted to make the chorus stand out from the rest of the song, so that the melodies of the chorus were always a bit stronger than any other part of the song.

So, like catching tunes for the ear? Yeah, sounding good for our own ears at least. And some of the melodies turned out to be very catchy.

On Frozen you choosed a mix between suicidal lyrics and melodies which sound rather happy and not kind of melancholic or sad. What was your idea behind this strange mix? There was this idea of having a contrast between positive and negative and actually when you mix up suicidal lyrics and happy musical feeling, it‘s something really twisted and it was kind of interesting. In the end it‘s showing the thing that death is actually a happy event. On Drown there are really dark melodies and lyrics as well, so we were just trying to see what comes out if we mix together different feelings.

The album titles of Sentenced are always very simple and short. Why that and what do you assiociate with the word Crimson? We like to have open titles, so when you just have one word on the cover, it is easier to make up a personal interpretation of the word. For me, Crimson is more or less the color of blood and blood could be seen as a symbol for life, death, love, hate. So there‘s a lot of room for personal thoughts and we like to keep it this way rather than having a very specific title, like „the rotten bones of jesus" or something like that.

So it‘s just a symbol for something… Yes, Crimson is a color, so it reflects the whole atmosphere of the music and lyrics. We never have a theme album, we always mix different things within the same album, so the title‘s cant be so specific.

After a new album is released, we used to hear from the bands that „this album is the best so far, I‘m really happy with it…", so do you think that Crimson is the best album of Sentenced? Yes, I do (seems happy…). But it has always been like that. It helps me, when I feel that the latest one that we have done is the best one. At least it tells exactly where we are with the band at the moment. And Crimson tells it better than any other album and that’s the reason why it‘s the most satisfactory at the moment.

So it‘s a kind of good evolution in your oppinion? Yes, it is, we are going in the direction that we really want to go. I also have to add here that I don’t have any regrets about the other albums either. We always did exactly just the thing that we wanted. We never tried to kiss anyones ass to sell more records or anything like that.

So you do it just for you? Yes, it has to be just for ourselves an than we see what happens with other people.

On the Crimson cd you have also a videoclip of the song Killing me killing you, do you enjoy recording videoclips and how was the recording of this one? We don‘t enjoy it very much, specially this time it was pretty hard and we went to northern Norway…

Cold!!! Yeah, it was very cold, we went to source of the arctic sea to shoot the video and it was like -20 degrees…

It must be terrible to stay there in T-shirts! It really was, and with the freezing wind from the sea it felt like -40!!

It sounds like hard work… Yeah, it took all day, like eight or nine hours and we had to take little breaks all the time and after one shot we were freezing. It was pretty much work in that cold atmosphere.

Beside music, what takes your attention? Is there any special hobby for you? I don’t really have any hobbies, as the band takes so much time, but one thing that I do when I have time is to collect movies, I‘m a movie freak I have to say and I have hundreds of them at the moment…

So the right thing to do in dark winternights is to watch movies…Yeah, it‘s enjoyable..

Who are your personal idols or persons you look up to? I don‘t have any specific idols at the moment. I used to have idols about ten years ago,when we started with the band, like Iron Maiden, James Hetfield of Metallica, Slayer and so on, but now, they aren‘t really musical idols for the band. We even tried to avoid them..

Just to build up your personal music… Yes, to come up with something original, that hasn‘t been done already.

A lot of people call your music as „Suicide metal", what you think about that? It‘s just a title that people have come up with, but I don’t think we play it that much. It‘s just that people have always to create some categories, where they can put you in. I wouldn’t say that suicide is how you could tell people what our music is: I would call it as melodic metal music with really depressive themes and lyrics.

What‘s your personal favorite Sentenced song and which one do you think is the saddest one? It‘s very hard for me to name any favorite song from the new album, as they are only ready for a couple of months and I‘ve only been playing them for about six weeks. But up from the earlier albums, I think my favorite is „The Rain Comes Falling Down". It‘s really sad and atmospheric and it has this kind of depressive atmosphere, the kind of stuff I like the most.

While technology and science are going forward so fast, what do you think would be the first big invention of the 21st century, or what do you with it would be? I would wish that they would take back some of the things that have been already created. I hope that we could go back to an older position.

Do you plan to go on tour now? We start here in Finnland first and play here at least 10 shows and we will have some shows in the United States,we have planned to go to festivals in the summer allover Europe and in Finnland we have a lot of festivals as well. We planned a big headliner tour for 9 weeks, so we will go on tour, but nor right now.


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