JONNE JÄRVELÄ (KORPIKLAANI): “We Have Kept The Band Fresh And In The Right Direction”

Korpiklaani band photo

Folk Metal pioneers Korpiklaani are set to release their twelfth studio about entitled Rankarumpu on April 5th. The band’s vocalist/guitarist Jonne Järvelä took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their upcoming album, their busy touring schedule, the longevity of the band, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band, Korpiklaani are set to release their 12th studio album entitled Rankarumpu on April 5th, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Järvelä: The new album is in a way a return to the old, because the tempos are faster on this album than on the previous few Korpiklaani albums. However, it also offers a lot of new things because our line-up was renewed when violinist Olli Vänskä joined the band.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being your band’s 12th album?

Järvelä: In principle, in the same way as before, i.e. I make a demo of the song right from the writing stage, largely including all the instruments. I also compose the violin and horn parts while playing them on the guitar, but I give Sam (horn player) and Olli (violinist) the freedom to change them to suit their instruments. Sometimes I leave them completely free to arrange the folk parts to their liking if I don’t have a different theme that I want for it. Nowadays, our drummer Samuli Mikkonen also actively participates in pre-production and he often comes up with good arrangement suggestions for songs. For this album, he also composed the song Kalmisto with me and wrote the lyrics to it. He also wrote the lyrics to Olli’s song “Saunaan” because he likes to sauna a lot. Olli also contributed a lot to the album in addition to the arrangements but also by writing songs.

MER: You’ve released a song from the album entitled ‘Saunaan’, how did it come about having this being the first song to release? 

Järvelä: It is fast, fresh and quite a typical Korpiklaani song, so it was good for the first single. I think we also managed to put out a nice video for it without stumbling into the cliché that we were just sitting in the sauna, which would have been perhaps the easiest and most obvious option for the video.

MER: You’re currently touring the UK, and then Ireland with Alestorm, shortly after that you’ll be touring North America with Visions of Atlantis, what are your expectations on your band’s busy touring schedule?

Järvelä: We are currently on a UK tour and everything has been going well. Of course touring is also hard, especially with our lifestyles, but we really like touring. It is a big part of our work and we have been touring practically all the time since 2005, except for the interruption caused by the Corona epidemic.

We are already looking forward to getting back to America after a year’s break. It’s sure to be fun!

MER: Is there anywhere that’s been your favorite place to play live? If so why?

Järvelä: It’s fun to play at home because you don’t have to travel, but it’s a bit boring without an audience… just kidding… in fact, I don’t really have a better place than anyone else. The best place is one where there is a good crowd and everything goes well at the gig and it goes as if by itself.

MER: You also have a number of open air festivals scheduled including Bloodstock, how is it touring both clubs and festivals?

Järvelä: I like both. On the other hand, it’s nice to play in a club, where the crowd can be seen better and it’s easier to be present in the situation. On the other hand, it’s also nice to play at big festivals. Then the contact is different and for that reason also in a way easier because the audience is just one big mass. In general, smaller concerts excite and scare me more than larger ones.

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

Järvelä: We have played practically everywhere except Africa. It would be fun to play there, for example, at a local music festival. Take, for example, a safari on the same trip.

Many times we only play at metal festivals for people who already know Korpiklaani, so it would be nice to be able to play more at mainstream festivals as well, where there is a lot of different music. Also a folk music festival would be nice to tour more. Of course, I also appreciate metal festivals.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why? 

Järvelä: It would be fun to play a tour with a really big band like Metallica, Rolling Stones or some other similar sized band and see how it works at a much higher level.

MER: If you could create a Big Four of Folk Metal, who would it consist of and why?

Järvelä: Moonsorrow, Finntroll, Eluveitie and us of course. We are the original, most unique and the biggest still well going folk metal bands.

MER: Out of your bands 12 albums, what is one you would suggest to a new fan and why? 

Järvelä: Our new Rankarumpu record absolutely. It’s nice to reach this stage in our career, that we were able to exceed the level of the previous albums again. Often, bands always praise their latest album, but it’s really great to be able to honestly share that opinion without any marketing ulterior motive.
MER: Korpiklaani is a band that has been around for over 20 years and has had a significant number of lineup changes, what has been the key to keep the band going for so long?

Järvelä: Maybe those lineup changes are the reason for that. People have changed at just the right time before it has accumulated to affect the dynamics of the band too negatively. We have kept the band fresh and in the right direction. Our band has also improved due to member changes, but I also appreciate the contribution of our former members to the band. Without them, we wouldn’t be at this point. We are also currently more popular than ever before and we get to do our work as much as we want and can.


  • 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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