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In Words: Barren Earth

- Sami Yli-Sirni÷ - Feb. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Barren Earth
ę Aki Roukala

Sami Yli-Sirni÷ - February 2nd 2010 (by phone)

Barren Earth is a band with renown musicians and so the expectations are high... So I wanted to know from Sami Yli-Sirni÷, if they felt some pressure due to the high expectations. "Not really. I don't think so, nobody was planning to put up a super group!" the guitarists told me. And he continued: "Except our keyboarder we were all in the same school, in the English school in Helsinki since the early 90's. We are all from Helsinki, except our singer who is from a small place." In Helsinki they met frequently at bars and concerts, so it was a natural process.
The band is named Barren Earth... "Whenever you have a new band, it's easy to find song titles, but nobody really had an idea for a band name. We had some ideas and we let our friends vote. Anyway, this is how it happened. I think if it was Mikko's idea..." And it least it seems that there is no other band with the same name! The album is called Curse Of The Red River - like one of the songs. "Yes, it's a song title, and you can approach the song from 2-3 angles. It's about alcohol abuse!" Sami explains. The artwork was done by Travis Smith... "We sent him the music and he came up with this artwork." Like always Travis Smith did a great job and the cover fits well - as usual.
The album offers 9 tracks, some bands just get together the amount of songs they need, others have tons to choose from... "We had almost too many songs to choose from! It's a luxury problem we have, coz we already have 5 songs for the next album written!" That's a problem some bands would be happy to face and it shows how well Barren Earth members work together. Everybody is involved in other bands / projects, so it seems difficult to go on tour... Or at least needs thoughtful planning... Sami explains: "There will be a European tour in fall! We'll be at Summer Breeze festivals and more good festivals are to be confirmed." Barren Earth combines different influences, "Our music is progressive. We wanted to get as many people as possible interested in Barren Earth. With Barren Earth we wanted to have the freedom to do what we want." But being involved in other bands also means to 'squeeze' Barren Earth activities in between the other schedules. But it seems they manage well...
They just have an EP and this CD, so they have songs to choose from and they can play extended versions live. With a show at the Metal Expo in Helsinki they will get some attention... "We'll play in about 2 weeks at the Metal Expo with Finntroll! For that show we had to cut our set list." That's the way it is when you start with a new band, but they are all professionals and know that it's part of the deal. Sami told me "It's our second gig, We did our first gig in November, here in Helsinki at Dante's Highlight." Some metal fans will travel to Helsinki for the Metal Expo... "'s not the best time to travel to Helsinki!" adds Sami and that he'll soon go to Essen preparing the next tour with Kreator. Their 25th anniversary tour!
Talking about live and Barren Earth Sami explained "I don't know who we will tour with... We are waiting for the right package. We already got a couple of offers, but it's hard to schedule, to synchronize the activities." That's the problem bands have to face when the members are active in several bands. But as they are all in this business for awhile, they will manage.
Just a few days ago I saw Kreator at German TV, at a morning show which had a special about Essen as the cultural capital of Europe in 2010. "It was hard to wake up at 4 AM, just to be there in time." Sami confessed. And they only had time for one song - and the host looked like the didn't liked Kreator... And tried to cut short the performance, but Mille ignored him. "I don't know why we played there, it was not even a full song..." Sami added. It's true, they could have used some live video sequence and talk to Mille live on TV... But it's good that the area gets some attention. "Helsinki was the culture capital a few years ago. It was very well presented and I hope it will be that way now, too." And perhaps the public opens up to other culture then the known one, coz industrial culture and heavy metal are a part of the area - and part of the area's history for more then 2 decades. "It should be in my opinion seen as culture, I really hope it helps the scene to be taken more seriously." Quite true. Sami explains "When opera was the new thing, it wasn't culture, but know it's seen as an essential." At least Metropole Ruhr Festival will bring some thrash metal on stage and it will also bring back some bands from the 80's with Exumer, Exciter, Living Death, Savage Grace and others. A pity that Kreator can't make it, and for Barren Earth live we have to wait even longer. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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