Rock Impressions

INTERVIEW WITH TENHI (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you give us an introduction to your band with the history of your group?
In 1996 I wrote three songs for Tenhis demo, which we then recorded together with Ilkka Salmine inn 1997. That demo led to a deal with our current label Prophecy Productions from Germany. Ilmari Issakainen joined the band soon after and nowadays we are the creative core of the band. So this is special 10th year for us.

Can you tell me more about your lyrics?
The lyrics I wrote from Maaäet are stories, thoughts and my interpretations of certain moods. I often dress them up or at least connect them to events seen in nature. On this album they are more person orientated and darker than before. I try to use words also in English translations so that the mere words and phrases evokes something in listener, I also try to write very visual lyrics so that together with the music create a landscape or some kind of place before listeners inner eyes.

How do you go about the process of composing songs?
I often have an idea of the songs before I start to compose. About the general feeling or theme, or a visual idea of the songs scenery or merely just an idea for some instrument. Many of course come just by accident and unaware. I compose with guitar or piano but on the result the original instrument might be dropped and replaced with more suitable one to the feeling, it all comes clearer when we mix and produce the album ourselves. The song might be living until the very end, until just before it is mastered.

How much tradition and how much modernity there are into your sound?
Even though we often aim for an old and traditional feeling on instrumentation, we are a modern band and we don't want stuck on strict traditions, not even our own. We abuse our instruments all the time to find new and interesting sounds.

You sang in your native language, why this choice, don’t you think that people would prefer to hear English lyrics?
We would sell probably more if we did sing in English. But Finnish forms one layer to our music, which is part of our sound and people have found it exciting and exotic. We are not going to change. It would be interesting to do something in English but not with Tenhi, maybe some other band in the future.

Your music sometimes is very dark, which is the message that you want to say to your listeners?
To realize what is essential in life, too study the feelings and to value the nature more. The modern material world drags you down.

In your opinion, which are the differencies between your records?
Visually Kauan was a lake, Väre was a tundra and Maaäet is forest.

With your music do you look for an aesthetic result or for a spiritual one?
Both in a way. I consider myself more as visual artist than musician as i have been drawing and painting all my life while music came along when I was teenager. So I always connect the aesthetic side to music as well, if that is what you mean.

How much time do you spent for your band? Have you got other jobs or do you live just playing music?
As much as possible, playing, composing and writing lyrics, but unfortunately we are lucky to get money from the band for paying for our instruments. We all are studying and working in the fields of architecture, art and design, but together with Ilmari we are setting up our own producing company called UTUstudio and hope to get it businesses run in near future, we are interested in producing other artist as well. We have released our second bands Harmaa album airut:aamujen (second chapter in airut:sage, which started with Tenhis airut:ciwi) though that collective a year ago, but now it will be re-released by prophecy productions, which is Tenhis label.

Are you planning a tour to support the album?
Yeah, it might be a special tour with just three acoustic guitars and violin. But nothing sure yet, hope we would get chance to come to Italy as well. Really looking forward to that.

What is that caracterize your live performances?
It is quite similar to our albums, the general feeling is calm and hazy, fight of dark and light moments. Not too much head-banging or stage diving.

What can you tell me about the musical scene in your country?
Well of course Finland is loaded with great metal bands but last two years there has been more interest to this kind of music as well, couple of new bands like October falls, which is also acoustic guitar driven music. Still no one does similar to ours.

Fans of the old school of progressive rock tend to consider the bands of today as "regressive" because they lack of innovation and creativity and they don't look to the future but they look to the past…, what do you think about?
I understand them. I wonder where the bands get the energy to copy other and play something done yeas ago... I mean I love the old bands and where they have guided us on our musical path but even though we should respect and be aware of the roots we should find new ways for the music to bloom, though it must be a only purpose just to find new ways and pointlessly do something just because it hasn't been done. It is enough just to bring a little bit of yourself to the music and make it somehow personal.

What kind of music do you listen to? What are your favourite bands actually and what are your inspirations from the past?
I can't possible name all my favorite artist but to name more well-known bands and persons whose career I respect and been following for ages are such as Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Glenn Danzig, Jim Morrison.

What does it mean for you Paganism, do you are Pagans?
I have never been part of any church and my whole family and relatives are very unreligious atheists. Pagan traditions interest me and are a source of inspiration but I am not pagan in religious sense. Moreover I am interested in all religious and ways and traditions of the past in a historic view and studying of roots.

In the album there are a lot of folk/traditional influences, can you tell us more about your interest in folk music?
I have keen on old traditional folk music as it is so clearly connected to the history and origin of the country or even smaller place or community. Through music they handed over the traditions and tales to next generation, it was part of social happening and rituals. It interest me to learn about other cultures and especially my own.

There is a long tradition of artists that play medieval and folk music: Jethro Tull, Gryphon and Horslips from the '70, Dead Can Dance and a lot of gothic artists fron the '80 and so on... do you know these bands and their records?
Some of them yes. But good folk influenced bands are rare to find, they intend to be very lame somehow. I am more into darker folk like the gothic bands who flirt with it.

Nowadays there is an important folk scene, can you tell me more about that world, are you in touch with the other bands, there are some that you like?
We are outsider in every scene I guess. Of course we are in contacts with other bands but just every now and then... and there are loads of good folk/neofolk artist but we just do the music as we please. Music is the only that matters. I don't want to flirt with anyone just to be accepted to certain circles or scenes. That is irrelevant for me.

Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical carreer?
This all. Be able to share my visions through music. But maybe the feedback for our first album was the biggest surprise. We came out of nowhere and with no expectations for our Finnish sung music and it got really excellent reviews and people seemed to like it all around. We got fan letters even from Mexico and South Korea, just amazing.

What do you feel about Internet and the file sharing? Do you fear it or do you think it will be an opportunity for the artists?
Generally I don't care, I think most of our fans will buy the album anyway, or I hope at least. I don't think one can enjoy our music as much as with the cover art etc and translation of the lyrics...we do the covers ourselves to add depth to the music, it is crucial part of it. I think artist should get royalties and they should get paid for the work they have done. I always buy the album if really like it, I like to have a little collection of the works I admire.

Do you have a philosophy… your vision of the world is…
The world is too fucking materialistic. Seek harmony.

Feel free to end this interview with a message…
For a journey in spheres get your hands on our new album MAAÄET (earth mother). Until then stay untamed.


Reviews (in italian):
Väre; Maaäet; Airut:Aamujen


Back to the interviews' list

| Home | Articoli | Recensioni | Interviste | News | Links | Rock Not Roll | Live | FTC | MySpace |