Barren Earth Keyboardist Kasper Martenson Discusses Touring North America For The First Time
Band Photo: Barren Earth (?)
It's been nearly a year since the prog laced death metal atom bomb "Curse of the Red River" was dropped on the world, and for much of that time North American fans were denied the chance to see Barren Earth rock the songs live. That oversight was rectified with the Finnish Metal Tour 2, in which the super group was finally able to alternate between destroying fan's ear drums with blasting death metal and then soothing things over with melodic proggy passages.
Barren Earth keyboardist Kasper Martenson found the time to chat with me about the tour as the band worked its way through the U.S. and Canada with fellow acts Finntroll, Rotten Sound, and Ensiferum.
During our talk, Kasper discussed hitting the road in the U.S. for the first time with the band, gearing up to record a sophomore album, and the direction Barren Earth will be going with new music in the future.
xFiruath: You guys are still on the road right now, right?
Kasper: We are, yes, we just arrived in Rochester, New York. We just arrived like 20 minutes ago.
xFiruath: How have the shows been so far and what’s going on with the tour?
Kasper: It’s been really good. We’ve been having a really good time. We’ve been on the road now for almost a month. The only bad things have been that during the first week of the tour we had to cancel two shows. That was because of the weather conditions with the snow making chaos on the roads. Other than that it’s been really good. The audience has been supportive and we’ve been enjoying ourselves.
xFiruath: This is Barren Earth’s first North American tour, but have you guys been here touring before with your other bands?
Kasper: Yeah actually I’m the only one who hasn’t. I’ve been in North America before but never in a playing situation. The other ones have toured America. I think Marko counted that he’d played in the U.S. or Canada on separate occasions.
xFiruath: This has been your first chance to show the North American fans the new album “Curse of the Red River.” What has the reaction been like so far?
Kasper: I should say really good. The headliners are the bands that people by and large come to see and I think Barren Earth is probably a new name for the majority of the crowd. In that respect they’ve been really supportive and open. In every gig it seems like the reception has been positive.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about touring alongside Finntroll and the rest of the bands on the bill.
Kasper: The Finnish Metal Tour 2 is four bands. It’s us, Rotten Sound, Finntroll, and Ensiferum. In quite a few places there have also been one or two local bands. It’s been great with Finntroll, we share the same bus with them. We get along just fine and we didn’t really know them before hand but we know them now.
xFiruath: After the tour is over, will Barren Earth be working on the next album?
Kasper: Yeah, we have already booked the studio. If everything goes as planned we’ll start recording the next album towards the end of May. We’ve already written most of the songs, so we just have to rehearse them and play them until we feel comfortable with them. But basically the majority of the song writing process is completed. If everything goes as planned we’re aiming for release sometime later in the year, like September or October.
xFiruath: Will the band be following the same format like last year with an EP released first?
Kasper: That depends on how much material we’ll be able to complete. I think that there will be an overabundance of material. We’ll try to keep the album within a reasonable length. If there is material left over, then sure that’s what will happen.
xFiruath: Will you be recruiting any guest musicians for the upcoming album?
Kasper: There is one song with a working title of “Scottland” and we have discussed the possibility of involving a bagpipe player. But we don’t know yet. It’s probably going to be bolder I’d say in some places. There are some songs which are more aggressive. Some songs are simply more brutal and harsh. But then again some songs are even longer and more adventurous with really progressive parts here and there. It’s somewhat the same as the previous one, but with added depth.
xFiruath: Any parting words about the tour?
Kasper: Thanks to everyone who has come to see us. We really feel welcome in America and if you are interested in Barren Earth or the tour I’ve been writing a tour diary that I update every now and again. There’s plenty of information and anecdotes from the road, so you might find the blog interesting.
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