Insomnium – Beyond the Harrowing Years
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: So many bands get sucked into that 18-month cycle between putting an album out and touring.
Friman: It’s hard to find some middle ways. Not having two months gap of doing the album, but also having a social life and work [laughs].
Blistering.com: You’re handling clean vocals now and they’re very impressive. You’ve had guest vocalists in the past, so what brought upon you doing them?
Friman: We had been thinking about doing clean vocals for a long time, and I think now is the right time to try them out. Of course, we could have use Jules or other vocalists as well, but it’s not the same thing live. It gave me the confidence when we did the tour with Dark Tranquillity – I was doing live vocals then and they developed because I was singing all the time.
Blistering.com: A song like “Regain the Fire” instantly comes to mind. If you build off of that, you could go some places with clean vocals.
Friman: We like to keep some surprises in the mix so we don’t have all clean choruses all the time.
Blistering.com: I’m not going to name any bands, but you know when the clean chorus is coming.
Friman: Exactly. You need to have some surprise element in there and use it in different ways.
Blistering.com: Have you started thinking about the next album?
Friman: We have some ideas. It will be nice to have Markus involved because he’s such a good writer. Before, I’ve been doing a lot of stuff by myself, then working with Niilo [Sevanan, bass] on his songs. Now, it’s more collaboration. I think about the idea of coming up with a few riffs, then sending them over to somebody to work with. If you have one song ready, just demo it, but it would be interesting to have that cooperation. We have some things ready, but it will take a bit more time work on once we get back from the U.S.
Blistering.com: I remember very vividly picking up your debut In the Halls of Awaiting. Has it hit you that it’s ten years old?
Friman: It makes us feel kinda old [laughs]. With this tour, for once, we aren’t the youngest band. Basically, we end up touring with guys that are older than us. We have done quite a lot work-wise and everything, but time just flies. It was totally different times. The internet was the coming of things and you had CD’s and cassettes. You didn’t have the technology to have good demos at home…it wasn’t there. It wasn’t like the 90’s or anything. It was totally different; we were trading CD’s with other bands in Finland. We were young and everything was new.
Blistering.com: It had to be hard for you since you weren’t from Helsinki.
Friman: The scene is quite small, yes. It was more local. It wasn’t as serious, but we were dreaming what would come of this. Many things have come of this, like touring with our idol bands like Dark Tranquillity and Amorphis. We have seen a lot, but I think this ten-year period is where you learn what the band life is. You’re now repeating the cycle; you go to the different places you haven’t been before, like Asia. You’re repeating the cycle, but in different ways.
Blistering.com: Sentenced isn’t around anymore, but Amorphis is still going strong. Do you feel any responsibility toward carrying the torch once they hang it up?
Friman: I don’t know if it’s responsibility or pressure, but I think it’s nice people think that we are doing the same thing and in a way, we’re keeping the flame alive and that we are inspired by those bands. You can hear it in our sound and we’re taking it further. I got a really cool compliment from [Sentenced guitarist] Sami Loppaka – he sent an email a year ago saying, “Thank you for dedicating the song ‘Across the Dark’ to Miika [Tenkula].” It was a really nice compliment.
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