Insomnium is currently on tour with Epica, Alestorm, System Divide and Destiny Potato (uh, yep, Destiny Potato), supporting their newest effort, 2011's One For Sorrow. Punknews interviewer Jason Epstein caught up with bassist/vocalist Niilo Sevanen at the band's New York City performance to chat about the band's sound, their tour and his day job as a cultural center's event planner and right-hand man.
How do you think Insomnium has changed since it began?
Well I hope we've gotten better in 15 years, and I think we've learned a lot about songwriting and life in general. I think we've evolved in many ways.
Do you have any goals as a musician or goals with Insomnium that you still haven't achieved yet?
There are places to visit where we haven't been like South America [or] Australia which would be nice to do at some point.
Why haven't you visited those places yet?
It's so far away and it's so expensive [to get there]. I think it will happen sooner or later.
Yeah they're probably waiting for you.
Yes they are.
How do you achieve Insomnium's thick, rich, "wall of sound" approach to metal music? Does it have to do more with the songwriting, the recording process or both?
I think mostly it's the songwriting and how you arrange the songs. I think that's the one thing that we've learned during the years: how to arrange the songs and of course you also have to think about the live situation for the songs. It's not okay if they only work in the studio and on the record. [They also have to work] live.
Yeah. I mention that because Insomnium songs are played I think with two guitars, but it sounds like there's a hundred guitars playing.
Yeah, and of course on the album you can put as many guitars as you want, but basically the songs are made so they work with two guitars in the live situation.
So, you're the program manager at a cultural center?
Can you tell me about that a little bit and what it's like working with people in an office environment versus your band and the contrast between those different styles of workplaces?
It's like two different lives. But it works okay. We're not financially dependent on the band. We can do just the kind of music we want. We don't have to worry how many records we sell. Basically, my day job is arranging cultural events. Actually, we have one of the biggest summer festivals of Finland in there.
Like a music festival?
Like a maritime festival, there's a lot of bands and theater stuff, it's kind of a multi-cultural thing. [I do] a lot of event planning, organizing stuff and I'm like the second man in the organization…I'm not sure how you say it in English, but I'm taking care of the stuff. It's a nice job.
It's pretty awesome that the Insomnium website gives fans access to your self-financed demo from 1999. Are there any plans to make album b-sides or any other rare material available for fans?
I think the next album we should plan it so that there is some extra material recorded. Usually we only record those songs that are ending up on the album and then when the record company asks for bonus tracks, 'Oh, we haven't done anything', so we should think of that in advance and do some more stuff.
What's your least favorite interview question?
Usually something which shows that the interviewer has not done his background work…something, most basic stuff about the beginning of the band that you can read on the website or something.
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Check out our album and come see the live show, you won't be disappointed.