Barren Earth's Sami Yli-Sirniö Talks Sophomore Album From The Recording Studio
Band Photo: Barren Earth (?)
Just finishing a stint holed up in Helsinki’s Sonic Pump Studios, the gentlemen from Finnish super group Barren Earth are cooking up a slice of new progressive death metal tracks to be served to the hungry metal masses this coming Fall.
As Barren Earth finished recording and sent the tracks off to Dan Swano for mixing, I had the opportunity to pick the brain of guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö about the follow-up to the band's debut album "Curse of the Red River" (reviewed here).
Sami explained the recording process for the album, discussing the band's debate on deciding which of the 12 recorded songs will actually end up on the release, and also revealed the guest musicians from Korpiklaani and Finntroll who make an appearance on the album.
xFiruath: What studio are you currently recording at, and are you staying there for the duration of the recording or able to go home at night?
Sami: We have been recording at the infamous Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki which is pretty close where everybody lives. We´ve been doing long days but fortunately everybody has had a chance to go home in between. Our keyboarder Kasper Mårtenson has been writing a studio diary which you can find on the Barren Earth Facebook site. Highly recommended.
xFiruath: Who are you working with in the studio?
Sami: Mr. Jukka Varmo (who also produced CotRR) is engineering and co-producing the forthcoming album. In addition we have an assistant engineer Petri Ahvenainen and also the owner Nino Laurenne drops in from time to time. The studio is very convenient and has state-of-the-art equipment. From the next studio behind the door we have been able to borrow some nice original retro keyboards such as the Hammond C3 with a Leslie and so on. You can expect a very authentic but at the same time modern sound on the album.
xFiruath: I understand there was the possibility of a bagpipe player showing up on this album, has that actually happened?
Sami: Mr. Mårtenson composed a while ago this song that has the working title "Scotland." The main theme melody sounds very Scottish so therefore we thought why not have a real bagpipe to play it. Mr. Lemmetty from Korpiklaani was the only one we knew who could master the instrument so we invited him over. His reward was beer and ten cans of sardines.
xFiruath: Which guest musicians are you working with this time around?
Sami: Of course the bagpipe player because none of us is familiar with this instrument. Also Finntroll singer Mathiass dropped by for some additional growls on one song, as well as our friend Markus Vanhala played one "godly" guitar squeel on the song "Dead Exiles." Other than that we wanted to do everything by ourselves.
xFiruath: How does the new material sound so far, and what different things are you guys doing to avoid the "sophomore slump?"
Sami: I´m very excited about the album and can´t wait until it is mixed. If you compare it with our debut album the spectrum of sounds and compositions is wider. The brutal stuff is more brutal and the proggy parts more progressive. Lot of dynamics for sure.
xFiruath: How many songs are you recording and how many will end up on the album?
Sami: This time we recorded 12 tunes and since they are pretty long ones I suppose 8 or 9 will end up on the album. It´s a nightmare to decide which ones to drop and the discussion hasn't ended yet. Everybody seems to have quite different opinions. However this day and age there will be some way to release all songs at some point in some form.
xFiruath: When did you guys write this material and how does Barren Earth write songs?
Sami: The main reason for us make albums is that songs just emerge and once you made a demo version the urge is very strong to record a proper version and release it. The songwriting process is very democratic. although the most productive ones would be Oppu (bass), Kasper (keys), and Marko (drums). But everyone contributes to the songwriting.
xFiruath: Is there a definite title for the new album yet?
Sami: Probably around 50 ideas but 1 has to be chosen.
xFiruath: Do you plan on doing any cover songs?
Sami: Would be nice. This time there was too much originals to choose from though.
xFiruath: Anything else about the new material you’d like to mention?
Sami: Dan Swanö just started mixing it in Örebro Sweden and if everything goes as smooth as last time we should have something to listen pretty soon. The album is to be released at the end of September/early October.
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