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Metsatöll
Interview

PRESENT YOURSELVES OUR READERS...
"We are a folkmetal (or metalfolk) band from Estonia, we sing in Estonian and we play old Estonian traditional instruments together with guitars, drums and usual metal-band stuff. (Some of our instruments are self-made, You cant get them from the shop nearby). "Metsatöll" means "wolf". It was believed among Estonians that the name of the wolf can not be said loudly, and that whenever you name a Wolf, it will appear. Thatswhy wolves were called varous different names: võsavillem, vanatöll, hallivatt, metsaisand, metsakutsu, hallivatimees, etc. One of the names was Metsatöll, which roughly translates into "Forest creature" (Mets - forest; Töll - being, creature)."

WHO ARE METSATOLL BAND MEMBERS?
"On this day we are:

Markus - Vocals and Guitar
Lauri - Vocals, Guitar, Flutes, Torupill (Estonian bagpipes), Kannel & other traditional instruments
KuriRaivo - Bass and vocals
Atso - Drums and vocals."

WHEN DID YOU HAVE FOUNDED THE BAND?
"Metsatöll was founded in the beginning of 10212 (10212 years after the birth of land, 1999, an Estonian era, after the catastrophe Billingen, when our land was born. It's strange to count time after the birth of Jesus - what is probably also wrong, because on this day we know, that prophet Jesus didn't born on the "year 0".)"

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY FIRST BEGINNING OF BAND...
"On 10212 Metsatöll was a three-member crew; Andrus Tins (bass), Factor (drums) and Markus (guitar, voc) and started as a national-romantic heavy metal back then with small influences of folk lyrics. Debut album "Terast mis hangund me hinge" was released soon after some first cellar-rehearsals. Metsatöll had given only 2 gigs when I joined the band, we were good friends and lived in the neighborhood, had always those big parties and played here-and-there just for fun, so we just like melted together. Afterwards I played with Metsatöll on some gigs and we made couple of new songs and so it went; I played traditional instruments (and of course guitar too) and it fit together with metal-stuff very well. Interesting is that I found later on, that there is more such metal-bands, who play traditional instruments and sing folksongs. When we started, I knew almost nothing about it, I had heard Scyklad and was a big Jethro Tull fan, and then it was refreshing to hear such bands from other countries, as Mägo de Oz, Skyforger, Tanqueray, etc., but this is already another subject."

WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDING-EFFORTS?
"On 10212 full lenght "Terast, mis hangund me hinge", then on some Judas Priest tribute album one song "Take on the world" in 'Töll's key, on 10215 single and video "Hundi loomine", on the beginning of 10217 net-single "Ussisõnad", on December 10217 full-length "Hiiekoda" and together with Tsõdsõpujaleelo on 10218 project "Mahtra sõda" - for the living memory of men, fought in Mahtra war on 10071 (1858) - old folk-songs and instrument-tunes of war and slave-times in Estonia. And to continue, after two months new release of "Terast, mis hangund.."..."

WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWING?
"We wont rest and as I said, there will be new release of ""Terast, mis hangund me hinge", witch we are recording right now on these days, then maybe some rest-time in the winter and well see, what happens on the next year, some plans have already been made. Hopefully some gigs or a little tour in Europe."

THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS IN YOUR HISTORY?
"I think everything in bands history is important, always there is some crazy ideas and happenings, that when You take a look of it today, if it wouldn't happened, everything would be different. But most important of them.. maybe joining of all new musicians in our crew, that we are this, what we are - Metsatöll. On 10213 joined KuriRaivo, on 10217 Atso, I joined on 10212 - all this have made this music and this feeling to go on and to stand tall...ough, and of course - we won the award of the best "Estonian metal band of 2005" And its mentionable, that that award in metal category was given for the first time, I think, it is a big breakthrough in the metalscene of Estonia."

WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE US "HIIEKODA"?
"Hiiekoda is like a story, a fairy-tale, everything in this release tells about Estonian history; folklore, spells, heroes, wars, feelings, women, beer.. Whatever there is in history and it reflects in now-days too, almost nothing is changed - people are always the same, only language is changed - deep inside of every Estonian there is an old-Ugric spirit. And we tell a story about it on Hiiekoda, if You listen deep enough, You understand it, despite of language barrier."

WHY THIS TITLE?
"At first, let me explain: The word "Hiiekoda" doesn't mean really anything, it is a symbol. It is easy to explain to Estonian, but hard to any foreinger. Actually "Hiiekoda" contains two words - "Hiis" and "koda". "Koda" means home, grove. Hiis is old traditional sacred place of Estonians - shrine. It is the sacred place of tens and tens of generations where people go to celebrate important dates or other important occasions. There can be talk to the powers of nature, experience peace and gain power. Shrine is a limited area together with ancient trees, stones, bodies of water, plants, swing, fireplace, sauna of the shrine and log-store of the shrine. Before going to the shrine body and mind are purified; in the shrine it's not allowed to have bad thoughts, to swear, to break twigs or to gather plants. It's not allowed to be drunk or do any kind of cruel deeds. There are many folk stories about people who have broken these laws and were punished, sometimes even killed by the powers of the shrine. The trees and the stones of the shrine, everything, is alive. People go to the trees to ask for an advice or to tell about their grief. "Hiiekoda" is a thing, that doesn't exist, but it is a symbol of our homeland, as a big and sacred place, with our own unique language, culture, traditions, what needs to hold on to and remember and give forward to our children."

THE SOUND IS VERY HEAVY AND EPIC, RIGHT?
"We did all recordings in old-school way, we didn't compress anything, every metal-riff is as raw at it is, all folk-instruments are natural, we did all as we liked and produced a sound, what we liked most, it is not a "modern" sound, but we felt, that is only possible approaching to Hiiekoda."

THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW ALBUM?
"The whole album is recorded in a few numbered days, digipack version is packed with our own hands. First 100 pieces of digipack came out, packed in linen-bag, with a burned Metsatöll-logo on it - also made by ourselves. Cover artwork (lithography) is done by probably most famous Estonian artist Jüri Arrak, it is called: "Võitlus" ("Combat") and it symbolizes centuries and centuries of fight for freedom of Estonians: the dragon on the right is enemy with three heads - many conquerors; Germany, Russia, Sweden etc.. If You chop one head, seven grows instead, but men are still fighting. In the middle of picture You see small creatures peeking - those are women and children, waiting, what happens; does the enemy win or is it a hope of surviving."

WHAT'S ABOUT THE FEEDBACK?
"The reflections have been different, from wall to wall, but overall, there's been very-very positive feedback and very good reviews. Of course, You cant be honey to every ear, there is some, who compare us to others and have founded us to be not heavy enough and some, who think that we try surely be like some band, we even not heard of in our lifetime. But to all those, I say, come watch some of our gigs and You'll see something, You never seen before!! Then let's see, who's feeding who back. ;)..."

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SOUND?
"The all story. The music and thoughts, philosophy of lyrics and songs have to be as one, so You could tell story so, that listeners can understand it and to remember."

TOURING PLANS?
"Plans are. Waiting and working to have more and to play more."

YOUR LIFE'S PHILOSOPHY?
"To remember and to be remembered. To love and to be loved."

THE FUTURE OF THE BAND?
"To play music and to tell our stories."

ANY LAST REMARKS?
"Thank You for this interview and Your interest in Metsatöll, hopefully we'll see You soon in Italia."


Author: EMANUELE GENTILE
Zine: Raw and Wild
www.rawandwild.com

Check also:
Other interviews
06-04-2011 Sorts - Interview with Sorts
22-09-2009 Bestia - Interview with Bestia
03-09-2009 Bestia - Interview with Bestia
show all interviews


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