Swallow the Sun – The Mourning Has Come
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: With the new album, I think the proper reference point would be the Plague of Butterflies EP from a few years. That helped spawned this new direction, I would think. Do you see it that way?
Munter: Yeah. On the first three albums, we were cautious how they sounded, like “These are the things Swallow the Sun should do.” But on Plagues of Butterflies, we incorporated black metal-ish things…it pointed us and was where we started expanding our sound. I think on the new album, I really like how we sound. I think you’re right – we started it on Plague of Butterflies and have carried it over with this album.
Blistering.com: Plus, Mikko’s [Kotamäk] clean vocals have really come along. They’re one of the best aspects of your sound.
Munter: Yeah, yeah! He’s definitely grown in that department. I’ve known the guy for like 15 years. We were in a band together before, and he’s never done any clean vocals before, so it’s something new for him.
Blistering.com: “Cathedral Walls” is another song that stands out and has female vocals, which I believe are from Nightwish’s Anette [Olzon]. How did you guys end up hooking up with her?
Munter: We’ve always had some type of female vocals on previous albums, but we were looking and thinking of who to do it. We wanted something different. Juha [Raivio, guitars] stumbled upon Anette’s personal Myspace page and her old songs were up, and one of them she sang in the voice we liked, which she ended up using on “Cathedral Walls.” It’s not what she normally does in Nightwish, so we thought they’d fit perfectly. I didn’t know what to expect. She recorded her parts in Sweden, so when she sent them over, I was like “Oh damn, they work!”
Blistering.com: Your ascension has been gradual. You’ve put in quite a lot of work since the debut, and it’s not like you blew up overnight. What can you attribute it to?
Munter: We all have been playing in different bands since we were kids. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I didn’t do music. We are usually relaxed about everything, but albums, we always go every detail to the extreme. It’s important for us to do our best. It would feel like cheating if we didn’t do our best and didn’t take it as far as we could. We are thinking of doing something around the 10th anniversary of the debut. We will do something next year.
Blistering.com: You almost have to.
Munter: When we do know and we’ll let you know [laughs].
Blistering.com: And another thing with that, is your lineup with the exception of Kai, has remained intact.
Munter: We’ve known him since, forever. He played on our first U.S. tour in 2007 because our drummer back then couldn’t. He doesn’t feel like the “new” guy…he feels like the right guy [laughs].
Blistering.com: Any specific recollections from when you were putting The Mourning Never Came together?
Munter: Back then, I remember I wasn’t even into our type of stuff [laughs]. I was into faster stuff, so I was like, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll play with you guys!” I remember recording our first demo, I think that was the point when we were all listening was when realized we had something special. That’s when it became a natural band; when we heard what we had done. It helped us realize what we were going to do.
Blistering.com: You’ve done some guest spots in the past, including some live work with Insomnium and studio work with Ghost Brigade. Do you normally make yourself available to do guest work?
Munter: I really love working with arrangements and stuff. I’m a really slow composter, but I can do arrangements. If someone like Insomnium calls, we’ve known each other for so long and they’re personal friends. Of course I’ll do it for them. If it’s someone else, I might be open for some sessions. It’s more of a timing issue, than an interest issue. I love working with music; any kind of music and I’m always interested in having new experiences.
Blistering.com: Is there anyone you’re really interested in working with?
Munter: I would love to work with Katatonia. I think with Frank Default, he’s doing a marvelous job.
Blistering.com: He’s like the sixth member of the band now.
Munter: On their new album [Dead End Kings] he’s really prominent. He did such a good fucking job.
Blistering.com: I’ve seen you a few times live and I’ve always wondered: Why do you have such an angry look at your face while playing the keyboards?
Munter: I don’t know [laughs]. Our music is sometimes ridiculously serious, so being all smiley and serious onstage wouldn’t fit the mood.