Ah, Korpiklaani. The more-Finnish-than-thou folk metal band has had a staggering career so far, releasing nine albums packed full of Nordic drinking ballads. “Vodka”, “Tequila” “Beer Beer,” you get the idea.
They’ve also stepped into epic fantasy territory a few times, as well as plating songs of travel and life. Truly, there are none more folk. Korpiklaani have returned this year with Kulkija (which means wanderer in Finnish). Never ones to pass up a digital pint, we caught up with guitarist Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi through the Internet to discuss Finland, fantasy and, of course, folk metal.
First of all, thanks for speaking with Bucketlist!
Thank you for having me!
This new album, Kulkija, is Korpiklaani’s tenth full-length release. What makes this one different from the others? We’ve seen from the advertising that it is about a central character called ‘The Wanderer’. What can you tell us about that?
The new album continues where we were left off with the last album. Again, the folk melodies [play] a big role. Sami had more time to arrange those lines this time and you can really hear the difference once again. In the studio, we wanted to catch all the emotions and feelings in the best possible way. Also, the sound is this time more natural and lively, not that compressed. Lyrics are, instead of [about] mythology, more about freedom, traveling, and life itself. Songs include very different kinds of feelings, the same feelings [that] you experience in your everyday life.
Finland’s folk metal scene is undoubtedly the biggest in the world. Do you find you really get to know the guys in the other bands? Or is it more of a work thing?
Yes, we do. Many of us are good friends outside of work also.
You guys haven’t sung in English on an album since 2009’s Karkelo. Is it safe to say that there isn’t much English in Korpiklaani’s future?
We don’t plan ahead what we’ll do next, but I think it’s quite safe to say that. We’ve been using a lot of Tuomas Keskimäki’s texts and he writes only in Finnish.
Korpiklaani has toured so much of Europe and North America by now. Where will you be heading, once the album is released? Is there a favourite place you have to tour?
We will start two-week Russian tour on the day album is released. Four weeks in North America will follow in November. Then we’ll tour Europe again in March 2019. I guess that there isn’t a place that we “have” to tour, but the whole band enjoys, for example, touring the US very much.
Do you find that crowds respond better if they can understand the Finnish lyrics?
Well, it’s hard for me to know who understands the lyrics and who doesn’t. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t change a thing. Response is always good [for] our gigs.
Do you, yourself, listen mostly to folk metal? What other kinds of music do you listen to?
No, I don’t listen to folk metal. I hardly listen to metal at all. All kind of roots music is close to my heart, especially old tunes in blues and country.
I’ve always wanted to ask this, but if the members of Korpiklaani were a fantasy adventuring group, who would be who? Who’s your tank, your archer, your wizard?
I must admit that I know nothing about fantasy groups or things. Referring to LOTR, we would probably be just a bunch of drunken hobbits in the background.
What is on your Bucketlist?
Nothing. I hate to think that you really have to do something in your life.
Thank you so much for speaking with us.
Thanks! See you in November!
You can get Korpiklaani’s new album Kulkija worldwide on Sept. 7th via Nuclear Blast!
Written and compiled by Max Morin
*edited by Kate Erickson