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In Words: Norther

- Jukka Koskinen - Mar. 2008 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Jukka Koskinen / Norther
Jukka Koskinen

Jukka Koskinen - March 22nd 2008 - Bochum (D), Matrix

With N Finnish band Norther returned and soon hit the roads - with label mates Turisas. As the album was out only for a few weeks I took the chance to talk to them about their lates work and some other things. My interview partner was bassist Jukka Koskinen who also plays in Wintersun and so we didn't just talk about Norther. But my first question was about the album title N, coz there are many different interpretations floating around. "Yesterday I did an interview and someone really got it right! N indicates North (sign) and it's always stand for Norther - for us. It also stands for a new beginning with a new label. Many do a self-titled album then, for us this is N. Our deal ended in 2006, so we needed a new record deal for the next album. We sat down and really thought about what we want. At that time there was no good offer and outside Finland we have had a bad distribution. So we needed to improve!" Explains Jukka. "Century Media approached us already in 2007 at Metal Expo. But we not just have a new label, we have a new booking agent and management, too." So it really is a re-start. When I told Jukka that somewhere I read the theory that their next album will be called O - as its the letter following N he first laughed and then started joking around.. "'Oh, you have a new album?' 'O!'" This got quite funny, but no way to transport this.
Norther are already on tour for a few weeks and hit the road only a few days after the release of N. "The tour started March 1st; the whole tour is pretty nice and easy with Turisas. Good package and working out good, too. At the first 2 shows were so-so, but then we got into touring and it was really good. The 2 weeks in the U.K. were amazing!" During this tour they will also play 2 festivals. Still Norther are compared with Children Of Bodom... "There are some similarities, perhaps at the first album, but not in the last 5 years. We have our own sound. The songs sound like Norther." Jukka comments. "We got this stamp especially in Finland." In many reviews Norther is still compared with Children Of Bodom - and I guess this won't change soon. Luckily Jukka and the other Norther guys take it easy. And a song like Frozen Angel shows that Norther aren't CoB copycats! The song was initially released on the Finland/Japan-only EP No Way Back and is now re-recorded for N. "Actually it's re-re-re-recorded!" Jukka tells laughing. "We weren't that happy with the EP version and so we had to re-record it. The song was first released in Finland on a soundtrack, then made it onto the EP. It's excellent that it's now on the album, so that everybody can hear it." And it's a good song to hook up people. Something I witnessed when they played Masters Of Rock 2007, so it was a good idea to put the song on their new album. At the moment only 2 festivals for this summer are scheduled, both are in Finland. "But there will be some festivals, we only have nothing fixed so far." I wanted to know, if it's difficult to schedule things as singer / guitarist Petri Lindroos is also a member of Ensiferum. And Jukka is also playing in Wintersun. "It works so far, everything is going well. We talk about everything upfront. We are good friends and talk about all and everything, so it's no problem." So communication is the key. As Jukka mentioned Wintersun I wanted to know what's going on in the Wintersun camp. "Our new album will be called Time, coz it takes a long time." he says with a smile and explains: "It takes time to do it, coz we had e.g. problems with our equipment. Some stuff broke down, we got a replacement which wasn't working and had to wait again for some replacement. It was 1 1/2½ year of problems so far... I have no idea when the album is coming out. One day it will be released. It already took us a long time, and now we don't want to hurry it. We want to have the best product we can!" But back to Norther... and their plans for 2008. "Our new album will be released in September in the USA and we are pretty confident to tour there. We get a lot fan response from the US." Thanks to Century Media they can release their new album in the USA. "Our US fans download the albums, coz beside Mirror Of Madness - was licensed by Century Media US - the albums weren't released there. So I can understand that they download the albums. But most fans want to a 'physical' copy, not just mp3s. I'm still a fan and I want to have a CD in my hands, look at the booklet and read the lyrics. Luckily most metal fans see it this way." Jukka confesses that he also downloads some stuff, but prefers CDs and is still buying music. But with downloading it gets even harder for a band to live their dream... "With MySpace it's easy to get attention. Bands don't necessarily need a label. And small labels can more easily put out songs." And Norther is a band which uses tools like MySpace to communicate with their fans. "Some of us are taking care of our message board and MySpace. We keep in touch with our fans, coz it's important for us to get their feedback. This time we just put one song - beside Frozen Angel - on our MySpace. But we got a lot positive feedback for the album through it." Jukka tells. One of the highlights on the new album - and the show - is We Rock, a real metal anthem. "This is our new anthem! We got a lot nice feedback about this song. And people were telling us that we hit the right spot with this song!" And it seems Norther have a momentum....

Claudia Ehrhardt


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