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In Words: The Man-Eating Tree

- Toumas Touminen, Janne Markus & Vesa Ranta - Nov. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

The Man-Eating Tree
© The Man-Eating Tree

Toumas Touminen, Janne Markus & Vesa Ranta - Nov. 7th 2010 - Bochum (D)

With The Man-Eating Tree a very interesting new band is trying to make an impression. The album Vine did, so I used the chance to talk to them before their show in Bochum. After their sound check we sat down to do the interview. For the interview I met vocalist Toumas Touminen, guitarist Janne Markus and drummer Vesa Ranta of The Man-Eating Tree. Keyboarder Heidi Määttä joined us, but not the conversation.

CE: You are kind of a new band, you just got your debut out. How long did it take for you to get prepared to get the demo out?

JM: Six months.

CE: That's pretty quick, so you had many songs prepared?

JM: Yeah, we had talked about it for 5 years. We had some demo tapes, worked and started to rehearse those songs, and made better demos, and I said: 'Guys, shall we start!' And pretty much set the musical direction.

CE: So how did you come up with the name The Man-Eating Tree?

TT: The name is actually a brainchild of our founding member Aaron Rantonen, but he is no longer with the band, but from what I know, he had a fascination for a fear of new unknown things. This fear somehow drew peoples minds out of proportion.

CE: It doesn't give a way what kind of music. The cover is more in bright colors... Most metal bands use dark colors, black...

TT: We are not a metal band.

CE: People would categorize you as one, maybe it doesn't fit.... Lot of people compare you musically with Opeth with clean melodic vocals. The webwheel is a good chance for a new band. I had a chance to listen to it that way.


JM: I am pretty happy, if we have something new, because there is so many metal bands that sounds like the same. The names are the same, everything is the same. The world is full of that.

CE: It's always hard to tell someone, who can't listen to it, about a new band. There is no easy way to compare it. It's like this and like that, but if you already have a few albums out, then people know you. A lot of bands need more albums to get to their own sound. That isn't a secret. Tuomas, you have a very unique style...

TT: I like to stay off the more mellow parts so to say. I like to sing gently and I like it especially when I can go from soft singing to full power singing within one song.

CE: You are creating an atmosphere, for someone who don't understand the lyrics or the language at all, it's like another instrument, because you can tell a lot from the way you're singing.

TT: I try to put a bit of heart into it.

CE: I think music always should come from the heart. If you don't feel it, people will realize it.

TT: That's right.

CE: How was it to get the first reactions to the album, were you satisfied with the reactions?

JM: First reactions were wild. People seem to like it...

CE: People have expectations when musicians they like are starting something new. Did you feel pressure?

TT: Of course you feel vulnerable when you put something out there for everyone to chew and bite on.

CE: It can always be shocking that people really understand what you want to tell them, especially if you do something unique.


TT: You can not do this in order to please, you have to do it for yourself and then it works out.

CE: Sometimes it takes 10 years to get to a certain point. I think it is still a lot of people coming to your shows, don't know you.

TT: We can actually see that.

CE: It's time to warm up.

TT: Yeah, it means a bit of a kick start.

CE: It's still part of the way to go. So this is the first show after your tour in Finland? Anything else, are you coming back for a tour in Europe?

TT: Lets see! We have maybe more shows to announce soon.

CE: You need to get on tour again, because it's always a different thing, the atmosphere live is more intense.

TT: We need to promote it this way.

CE: Do you like to play in different countries? I know you played in Czech Republic and other shows in mainland Europe, so maybe we will see you next year at the festival here and there?

TT: We will have to see.

CE: So... Festivals, you are talking about details. So people can expect to see you somewhere next summer?

TT: That's for sure.


CE: So, you write the majority of the songs. How much influence have anybody else in it?

JM: A lot.

CE: So you write the basic idea and develop the song with the band?

JM: I play some guitar and some drums and piano, and then at some place put it together. I put together the ideas at home. You can just send it by mail to the others.

CE: It's a lot easier these days, and people are on Facebook and posting all the time and get feedback. Or was it better in the past before Facebook? Or getting in touch with people directly?

TT: Well, I think it is a two-sided coin, if you will.

CE: Everything is good and bad. I hope you are positive about this, get rewarded.

TT: Yes, I feel that way. It's a good tool for immediate feedback. It's up to you how sensible you are about it. And what you post.

CE: You shoot two videos, I think. For a while there wasn't so much music videos as there aren't many music TV channels. It was more the internet nowadays, YouTube and alike's, so that's also a new development. Are you gonna do some live show videos? Or something else?


VR: Yes, some still-photos to accompany the song.

CE: Like a slideshow to the song?

VR: Just for the new song.

CE: It's always good for people to check it out that way.

VR: The same atmosphere as our music, it's a nice thing.

CE: The atmosphere can tell the a lot about story you hear. So, some shows wit Katatonia in Finland... So the Katatonia fans like your music?

TT: Let's hope so.

CE: I think the chances are good. So now you continue to write songs? Or just go on tour again? A lot of bands just make one record and then start working on new stuff....

TT: Many compositions are already done, we do text and vocal arrangement, arranging all the songs.

CE: Is the live experience as a band, to go on tour together, that will help the band to grow together... What do you think?

JM: I'm sure it will be beneficial.


TT: We actually have one extra song coming up here, on the Vine album, called Vultures. About a month ago I put vocals to it.

CE: A kind of appetizer for the new coming album.

TT: You can look at it as a road sign, this is the direction. It will be on the website for free.

CE: This is always the idea to get people to hear it. Something special for the fans. It's always a nice idea to have something special these days. There are tons of other releases, so it's pretty hard to get attention. And if you somehow stick out, it helps. But I hope next time the package is also available outside Finland!

Well, let's hope that they can soon hit the road again, coz TMET is best live. Meanwhile I can just recommend to spin Vine, but be aware it's addictive!

Claudia Ehrhardt
(transcription: Lars Björn)


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