Good and hard rock music mixed with this certain kind of melancholy, influenced by metal, gothic or/and alternative sounds - that's something Finland's music scene is famous for. One of the most passionate Finnish bands that has found their own style is Entwine, a sextuplet from Lahti. In spring last year the band released their fourth album DiEversity and some months later the guys were very close to get the great chance they've deserved: They were supposed to support Nightwish on some parts of their European tour in autumn. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for some reason. In the end they were happy to play at least three gigs in Oslo with them. In November Entwine finally came back to Germany to play a tour with German-based band Xandria and the Finnish band lab with its crazy frontgirl.
Is there is a chance for people living in other European countries to see Entwine live? And what are the band's plans for the year 2005? Singer Mika und guitar player Jaani are giving answers.
- After about two and a half years you were finally back on tour - at least in Germany. Why did it take that long?
Mika: After the tour 2002 we had to take a break of touring - in Finland as well - ´cause we needed time to come up with new songs. So we took a long break for that. We spent the whole year 2003 at the rehearsal studio (3 months at a real studio) ´til the end of 2003.
Jaani: And after finishing the album in the studio the record company needs to take some time to book all the promo stuff etc. And of course, they try to decide the perfect date for the release so the album gets the biggest possible tension. This time we finished the recordings in November 03 and the album came out in March 04. After the release we toured in Finland and did some summer festivals there. So it was quite natural to tour in Germany not before last fall.
- But what about the other European countries like Switzerland, Italy or even England - will there be a tour in 2005?
Jaani: Hopefully! Especially England and Italy would be great because we've never been there before and from what I've heard there are lots of Entwine fans in Italy. And who wouldn't want to play in England, the promised land of rock'n'roll? All the mid-European countries have been such fun to play in. On our tour in 2002 we played in Z7, Pratteln (CH) and that was one of the best venues on that tour. The audience was great, too, so if you ask me, definitely, anytime! Anyway, the booking agent plans the tours and arranges the gigs so it's not really up to us where we get to play. Entwine's policy when it comes to touring is that we play every gig offered to us, if possible.
- What was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Mika: Hmm… I can't remember. We've never done anything stupid on stage, nothing like showing our asses or something. I just don't know. Maybe we're a very boring band… (laughs).
Jaani: I don't know if this is that embarrassing, but I had one pair of my gig pants fixed for the last German tour, and the first night I put them on I broke them again from the crotch, I don't know if anyone saw it since I had my guitar, but I felt a bit uncomfortable, but still laughing, of course.
- Scandinavian metal is nowadays quite popular in Europe. Are you scared that people might think that you are just "jumping on the train"?
Mika: Why would I? I don't care! (laughs) A lot of metal comes from Finland nowadays and if I'd think about everything that people do or say I couldn't do my own thing. So, we're doing our own stuff… I don't think that we are the people who are jumping on the train.
Jaani: There isn't much to do if people think that way. We know where we are coming from and we will continue doing stuff in our own way. I believe that as the new fans get in our world at least then they'll notice that we've been here quite many years.
- What is so special about Finnish Metal, why is it so popular?
Mika: I would really like to understand that. Maybe it's the melancholy of the music. Maybe it's just that… and I don't know if it's only metal because The Rasmus is not metal, it's not even gothic music. It's very good pop music. But if you put on your make up and wear black clothes... so that you're immediately called a gothic band… and that's how they are selling it in Germany - at least that's what I heard - as a gothic band… I was so pissed off!
- In the beginning there were quite a lot voices that compared you to HIM…
Mika: I think it's just that we have the same roots... But I never wanted to sound like HIM on purpose... The only thing I want to say is that I think people should start listening to music and not to compare it to some bigger band because it's going to be very boring listening to the same stories or reading this kind of stories again and again where everybody's comparing smaller bands to bigger bands. I got my roots a totally different way. I've been listening to Alice in Chains, Soundgarden… and everything else. Of course, I like HIM but they are not idols for me. They are just a Finnish band and they've done a great job putting Finnish music outside of our country. That's it.
- Let's come to your latest record: Why have you called it DiEversity? Why with that special spelling?
Mika: In the beginning it was just a work name for the album because there was some kinda diverse. We had different kind of songs, gothic parts and kind of nu metal parts. The "E" came because of how people pronounce it. In England they pronounce it in a different way than in America, all different ways. It's just for the right pronunciation. And of course the "E" stands for Entwine.
- So it has nothing to do with death or dying?
Mika: No…oh… yeah it does!! …so it's a bit mystical (laughs). The songs are about the same shit than before (laughs). Love, hate and everything that happens to people in their normal life. The album is about life itself (laughs).
- In comparison to your elder CDs DiEversity is way harder and more rocking. Did you want to become harder or did it just happen?
Mika: It came very naturally. I think we found our teenage again, it just happened. When we started to work on DiEversity we took a break of touring. We didn't play any gigs in that year, we were just like: 'Yeah, now we start to make songs and we ain't gonna think about it: Does this sound like Entwine? Can we put this on the album?' We did everything that felt very good and it was just a very natural way to just go to the point we are right now. It was just a feeling in that time and I think it's the best album we've ever done.
- …and which is the best song in your opinion Entwine have ever done?
Jaani: I can't name only one or maybe we haven't done it yet. Blood of your soul, Time of despair, Bleeding for the cure, Bitter sweet. At least at the moment… Opinions change.
- What about the lyrics. Who writes them?
Mika: Most of the lyrics are written by me. There are one or two that our guitarist Tom wrote. The same time as I listen to the song that is under working, I start to make melodies and sing "gibberish"…sometimes there come a couple of lines to my mind when I listen to the song …after that I just start writing them. There are a couple of different ways to do that but usually it happens like this: Just sing the melodies first, start jamming and then write the lyrics.
- And who is comparable for the song itself?
Jaani: Most of the ideas come from Tom and some from me. It's the cliché way that we start jamming some ideas and add some different parts as we go along. Some parts might end up in another song than what they were first written for. So the whole session is quite open and relaxed. Anyway, it's Tom, Joni, Aksu and me who get the 'spine' of the song together.
- What are the band's plans for this next year? A new tour? Working on new release stuff? Or first a short break?
Jaani: No breaks at the moment. The most important thing for us is to get the EP out that we have planned for this spring. There are also a couple of European tours under negotiation that are not confirmed yet, but I believe one of them will work out - also this spring. In summer festival gigs as much as possible.
Mika: I have a project called Shamrain. It's mostly not distorted guitars, melodic stuff… sounds a bit like the feeling of Twin Peaks, very good therapy for me. I really like the music. I have to keep on working with the new Sham Rain album in 2005. Entwine and Shamrain - both at the same time.
- Some of you are also playing in other bands: Mika in Shamrain as he just mentioned, Jaani and Aksu in Tuoni. Is there somebody else playing in another band? And is Entwine still No 1?
Jaani: Tom has this 'rehearsal place project' that plays good ol' death metal. From what I know they haven't booked any gigs or anything, but we'll see. As you said Aksu and me have this band called Tuoni, singing in Finnish. We'll release our debut album through Spinefarm in February and have some gigs in Finland. But yes, Entwine still comes first for all of us, definitely!!!