Barren Earth Bassist Olli-Pekka Laine Discusses New EP "Our Twilight"
Band Photo: Barren Earth (?)
Newly formed Finnish death metallers Barren Earth are set to release their new EP “Our Twilight” on November 9th in Europe and November 17th in the US through Peaceville Records. The group consists of current and former members of Swallow the Sun, Amorphis, Moonsorrow, and Kreator. Samples from the EP and more information on the band can be found at their MySpace page and mini-website. Barren Earth’s bassist Olli-Pekka Laine spoke with me about the new EP and the group’s plans for touring in support of their upcoming full-length album.
xFiruath: How did you personally get started in music and what got you into metal in particular?
Olli-Pekka: The first bands were basic stuff like AC/DC and Kiss. At that time I think it was “Animalize” by Kiss in the early ‘80s. That was my first step into metal music. From there it kind of developed naturally to harder stuff like Manowar, Metallica, and Slayer. Then I got into Bathory. From there I think I bought Death’s “Leprosy” album. That was when I first started getting into real death metal albums. I was a huge Kiss fan forever and then it got more brutal from there. After that it was stuff like Entombed and Morbid Angel. After that I didn’t really listen to metal. The direction it went wasn’t that much to my taste. What metal was in the late ‘90s I think it somehow lost something. Bands like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, that’s how it ended up. It seems like now it’s coming back though.
xFiruath: Congratulations on getting signed to Peaceville. How did that come about?
Olli-Pekka: Thank you very much. We’re really happy about that. There were several labels which offered us a deal but we thought Peaceville would be the perfect label for us. It’s not the biggest label but it felt so natural to go to Peaceville because they’ve done the most classic stuff from Paradise Lost, which is pretty much related to us. They don’t have these power metal bands at all, which suits us pretty well.
xFiruath: You mentioned how you have a bit of a connection to Paradise Lost as far as your sound goes. How else would you describe the sound of Barren Earth to someone who hadn’t heard your music?
Olli-Pekka: For me it’s really hard to say. There are people who wonder why we call ourselves a death metal band. For me that comes from the growling vocals, but we don’t have those down tuned guitars. Our songs are arranged in different ways and then sometimes we have totally clean vocals that have nothing to do with death metal. Our idea when we first formed the band was to be a death metal band, so we like to keep it there. I’d use the term “progressive death metal,” but I don’t know, how do you think it sounds? The progressive influences come from ‘70s progressive music. We don’t have that basic arrangement in our songs. We take the song wherever we want. We don’t necessarily follow the rules. It’s really hard for me to explain it, I think someone else has to do it for us.
xFiruath: Since you guys recorded the “Our Twilight” EP and the upcoming full-length album at the same time I was wondering if you have a title or release date yet?
Olli-Pekka: There’s no specific release date. I think it will be released in March of 2010, but that’s something Peaceville hasn’t told us yet. We’ll just have to wait for more information there.
xFiruath: Are you guys playing any live shows in the near future?
Olli-Pekka: Yeah we have one gig coming up in November, that will be our very first gig. It will be a release show for the EP. Of course our intention is to do tours and have as many gigs as possible. With this line-up it’s really hard to mix the calendars of all the members though. After the new album we will probably be touring in Europe and the U.S.A. We will probably concentrate on festivals and then maybe do a tour in Finland. It’s kind of hard to say at this point. It all depends on how the EP and the album are received.
xFiruath: Outside of Barren Earth what bands are you listening to?
Olli-Pekka: There’s so many bands, but I have to say that I don’t listen to music that much these days. Whenever I do I listen pretty much to bands like Porcupine Tree and old progressive albums like King Crimson. I tend to stick to the old classics like the early Morbid Angel, Entombed, and Death albums. Paradise Lost. Those kind of classic albums. I’m not following the scene too much these days. I want that new Kiss album. I don’t have it yet but I ordered it. There’s also that Ace Frehley solo album. I probably won’t listen to it that much but I’d like to have it in my collection. I’m kind of stuck in what I used to listen to in the early ‘90s. When I quit buying vinyl I kind of stopped listening to new music. Since I’ve got a family now the first thing I do when I get out from work isn’t to listen to Morbid Angel or Slayer these days. Have you listened to the EP yet?
xFiruath: I have.
Olli-Pekka: I’d be curious to know how did you like?
xFiruath: I was definitely enjoying it. I liked how there are a lot of different elements like the death and the doom and the gothic stuff.
Olli-Pekka: I have to say that I would have liked it be just a little bit rougher, maybe with a little more distortion. I’m glad to hear you liked, how would you have described it?
xFiruath: I’ve only listened to it through once and I usually like to hear an album a couple of times before labeling it, but based on what I’ve heard I think “progressive death metal” would probably be the closest genre I could come up with.
Olli-Pekka: Thank you for the interview, hope to see you on tour!
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