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Interviews : “It’s a little bit back to the roots” – An interview with Olli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis)

By on May 7, 2018

Amorphis – Olli-Pekka Laine

Amorphis is a long-running prog-death metal band from Finland that has been issuing albums since the debut, The Karelian Isthmus, launched in late 1992. Along the way, the band have won plenty of fans and admirers for their constantly evolving brand of musicianship.

Arriving this year, Queen Of Time is an album that contains the DNA of the very best of Amorphis; folk-inspired musical passages, the light/ shade of sung/ death-growls across verses, choral interludes, epic choruses and performance that allows each musician an opportunity to demonstrate considerable chops. One of those musicians is Olli-Pekka ‘Oppu’ Laine, the band’s foundation bass player has returned to the fold after an almost two-decade absence. These are his thoughts on Queen Of Time.

“Well, it’s a great album and I think it’s a little bit similar to Tuonela (’99) actually. The band went through various directions after that, a little bit jazz and progressive metal or whatever, but I think the sound is a bit more similar to late ’90s currently than what it was at the beginning of 2000. It’s a little bit back to the roots and I think maybe Jens Bogren (producer) has something to do about it and also Tomi Joutsen (vocals) has taken the direction of the band bringing back a little bit of that extreme metal to the sound.”

That man’s name yet again… Jens Bogren. The Swede has worked with Opeth, Kreator and Sepultura to name only a fraction of the bands he has teamed with over an exemplary 15-year career in the limelight.

“The guys did the previous album with Jens as well and because of that, I guess the production of that album was so good that they decided to go for it again. Jens is, surprisingly, favouring the growling vocals, and a little bit harsher guitar sound, so he is a really good choice for the band.”

For the reader approaching middle-age, it is rather easy to identify with the reasoning for Laine’s absence from the band. The arc of one’s existence is long and rock’n’roll isn’t the most bankable career choice. In many ways, re-joining Amorphis is Laine’s second wind and the break allowed him to achieve many significant milestones.

“That is the question I am asking as well because it’s around one year since Esa (Holopainen- guitars) called me. I have been studying, working and raising a family for 20 years in between, so, my life is totally different from what it was when I first left Amorphis. It was kind of an exciting thing for me to join the band because I am an officer in Finland’s parliament as a day job, so, I have a career on my own, so, I had to come up with the question, ‘Should I go for it and change my life again?’. I have to quit working (in parliament ) with this decision.”

Music… Amorphis, over a career attending to the needs of the Finnish parliament. Rock’n’roll is clearly in Laine’s life path, destiny if you will. The timing was right for both man and band and the reunion was happening.

“So, Esa called me one year ago and I thought about it for one day and called him back with, ‘Yes, let’s go for it!’ I think Niclas (Etelävuori- former bass player) had made decision to quit the band and they were in the USA touring there and when they came back from there they had some gigs in Russia booked and also the festival gigs of the summer, and a pretty big arena tour with Volbeat.”

Queen Of Time is out 18th May via Nuclear Blast Records.

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith