VILLE KAISLA (BESRA): “In Addition To The Mood, Our Sound Is Quite Different From The Debut”

Bersa band photo

Finnish Progressive Metal band Besra are set to release their sophomore album entitled Transitions on September 29th. The band’s drummer Ville Kailsa, vocalist Hannes Hietarinta, and bassist Pekko Seppälä took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their upcoming album, the music scene in Finland, their hopes to tour North America, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band Besra are set to release their second album entitled Transitions on September 29th, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Hietarinta: Transitions is a conceptual album that explores the theme of continuous change in the world, in relationships, in the human mind, and also in our music. It consists of six lengthy tracks that are quite different from each other, yet they come together to form a carefully crafted whole when listened to sequentially. From more progressive and faster songs to slower, almost sludgy post-metal atmospheres.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being your second album?

Hietarinta: We began the composition process almost immediately after the release of our debut album in 2018. However, due to the busy lives many people had, the overall process took many years. On the other hand, it’s not a bad thing at all to take the time to carefully consider whether a song’s structure works or not. We had no outside pressure. Several of the tracks were even rewritten multiple times.

Seppälä: We recorded our first album in less than a week. This time we recorded everything in our rehearsal space which is also a studio so it enabled us to try different sounds and techniques and kept some creative breaks if we felt like it. I think you can definitely hear it in this album.

Hietarinta: Finally, we handed the album over to Magnus Lindberg (VRTKL Studio & Cult of Luna) for mixing, and he infused it with an energy that we couldn’t have imagined ourselves.

MER: How would you compare Transitions to your first album?

Hietarinta: Our debut album Anhedonia was fairly heavy, dark and primitive from start to finish, even the mellow parts. Sure the new album also has those elements, but also some unexpected beauty and surprising thematic shifts. In addition to the mood, our sound is quite different from the debut, likely sparking diverse opinions. We also spent significantly more time working on the vocals, and believe it adds a pleasant flavor to the compositions.

MER: What are some differences within the band you’ve noticed since the release of your first album? 

Kaisla: We’ve learned each other’s quirks and have learned to collaborate better. We compose better songs, play better, and tell better jokes about each other. We’ve also finally managed to create a rehearsal space where it’s comfortable to spend time and compose songs in peace. The environment has a significant impact on how we work.

MER: What do you see as plans for you and the rest of your band after the album release?

Kaisla: We’ve already started writing new songs, but at the moment, our most important goal is to fully integrate our newest member, Mika Mäkilaakso (keyboards, guitar, vocals), into the lineup and focus on live performances for a while.

MER: Is there anyone you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Kaisla: If every member could choose one artist to join the tour, we would include Old Man Gloom, Uniforms, City of Caterpillar, Cave In, Leprous and Envy. It would be incredible, don’t you think!

MER: How would you describe the music scene in Finland?

Kaisla: Finland is well-known for its metal music, but in our opinion, there aren’t too many original-sounding metal artists coming from here. There’s quite a bit of what you might call ‘commercial metal’ relative to the population. Our moms listen to Nightwish in big arenas, and the rest of us play in small pubs for a hundred people – to put it bluntly. However, those who succeed in crafting their own sound can indeed achieve significant popularity, but it often entails a strong presence and active engagement abroad.

MER: Is there anywhere that you hope to play live that you haven’t and why?

Kaisla: We’ve played surprisingly few outdoor festivals. Perhaps it’s time to aim for them. Europe is full of fantastic smaller festivals that focus on genres like progressive metal or alternative metal. North America is, of course, intriguing, but unfortunately quite distant for a small Finnish band to do small tours. Maybe an interesting opening slot for a bigger artist will become available in the near future!

MER: How would you describe Besra’s sound for anyone that’s unfamiliar with the band?

Hietarinta: Intense, wandering, occasionally raw but ultimately beautiful.

MER: What are your hopes for Besra’s future?

Seppälä: I know that many of us already have the songs for the new album in mind, but for now, we hope that many will discover us because we believe we’ve created an interesting album that’s worth listening to!


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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