Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Not, it´s not really an epilogue. Though I wish it kinda was.

The last week has been literally so busy, that as Virta put it, most of us have only had time for eating and sleeping besides the studio. Some not even that. So, let´s start from last week´s thursday.

Thursday, day 16

Virta and Vreth got to the studio at 10, and started to make Halkodisko better from what it was yesterday. It was top- notch, and after that they made all the choruses for Rivfader, as they were "screamed" while the actual verses are in a bit different style.
After getting to the studio from work at the afternoon, we continued with some keyboards. We got three songs ready, got something to eat and Tundra came as well. B.Dominator also visited us briefly. Then we unleashed Vreth, who sang Rivfader´s missing parts, did vocals for Soutu and....and...hmm. Something? I´m really sorry, but at this point- especially writing it down a bit later- it´s all a goddamn mess in my head.
Then we realized JUST IN TIME that one song´s keyboard/guitar- intro is going to be hell of a similar with another song we´ve done in the past, so we actually spent two hours for think- tanking how should we change it. We tried different sounds, ideas, arrangements and quite a few approaches until we found the exact way we wanted it to sound like. Everybody was very happy with it, and our "business meeting- lookalike" with papers and maps paid off big time. Now said corporate approach doesn´t work with producing metal music?
I dropped Tundra home at 1:30 AM and headed home.

Friday, day 17

It´s all groundhog day. Vreth and Virta were doing takes while I got to the studio, then I started to play keys again. Then Tundra got there. I saw one guitar player briefly on monday, and the other last week. Do we actually have guitarists in this band? We played keys with Virta, poisonized everything with such awesome sounds called as "kanala", "der alte", "munapää" and "pallinaama" and laughed our asses off. With all the keyboards now finally performed, Vreth continued filling his row of X´s with some great takes and we went finally home at 2AM.

Saturday, day 17

I left my car home today, because I swore I will start drinking beer 9AM today. What happened in reality, is that I started doing it seriously at 2AM. But before that happened quite a lot.
We started Beasty D´s Percussion Helvete at 9, and by the time the others got there, we already had recorded quite a load of them. Then I started running around the studio, picking up all the acoustic instruments and played them....a lot. So much different shit. Acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolin, bouzoki...and of course I forgot the guitar leads. >.<
It took a while for me to check out the drum sound Nino (the studio owner) had pre- produced and as I wasn´t prepared for starting producing and mixing at the same time we were supposed to sing, the singing took the hit. While most of the people were drinking beer at the lounge and listening to music and amusing themselves partying, we were at the studio booth trying the compress the snare with an old Urei squasher. So...much....distortion.
We started FINALLY recording the choirs and background shouts at 10PM and decided to only use three guys first in order to get the most "tight" result. Then we backed them up with the "football- choir" and saw it was perfect. The last takes were ready at 2AM and we finally got the chance to sit down after working 17 hours in a row. At 5:30AM I decided I´ve now relaxed enough and went home, leaving still some people drinking beer.

Sunday, day 18

The "some people drinking beer" were actually still there drinking more beer when I got back to the studio the next afternoon. "Cool", I thought, and decided to hit the control room after enjoying loud death metal, general droopyness and awesome drunken stories for half an hour. Gotta admit a spontaneous sunday- afternoon beer sessions would had been quite fun, but also finishing your tasks, preserving your marital status and eating something next week would be even more fun in the long run. Me so boring.
Vreth arrived a half an hour later with a pizza. Me so jealous! Then Virta came as well, the beer- drinkers went to a bar and we started doing the last vocals for Nexro and Marilyn. While I was editing Nexro´s final takes...

"Snap", said the electricity.

"Crackle", said the computer monitor.

"Pop", said my blood pressure.

We found out that a faulty laptop- charger had gone berserk, caused an overload and destroyed the fuse. Replacing that after some phonecalls and general twiddling, we switched on the computer with a drop of sweat. We still didn´t have backups from yesterday´s 17 hour sessions with "guest stars" so if the hard drive would had been FUBAR, we´d be screwed for good.
Luckily it ran smoothly, and we found out that everything was still there. Pheeeeeew.
After backing everything up, we continued with Nexro´s vocals. I had to leave before Marilyn got finished and we still had arrangements to do. What now? A wild brilliant idea appears!
We made the rhythmic arrangements and the phrasing together with Vreth and Virta, but I actually spoke them to the hard disk on the top of the music, so that Vreth could check out from there how we decided it to go. MUCH more faster to do these kind of "notes" instead of either...
a) writing rhythms down for him on paper for three verses and a bridge
b) him screaming everything two sentences at a time, while we´d also had to take care of the overall sound, performance and general "feeling" of the vocal takes which would be the final ones.

I called the guys 22:30 and they had just finished the rest of Marilyn.  Hurray for them! Monday would be mixing the shit down.  Let´s see how that´d turn out! So much to think still, and files and tracks to transfer between computers. More on that later.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Bowling For Tentacles & Mail This To Siberia"

Monday, day 13.

I´m not sharing any names, but one of the guitar players didn´t show up to play his missing parts this morning. Luckily, the other one performed those as well, so when I got to the studio everything was played just as asked, with some extra awesome stuff as well. So kudos for this other guy!

The rest of the day was spent by editing the bass. Playing some parts again, making it sound like it should and finally having MAJOR problems with the tuning, I used all my professionality I could possible have to tune the parts digitally. Then we realized that Tundra´s bass playing wasn´t actually that bad at all, but the autotune had actually fucked up the timing in most of the places, so the more we used it the more the timings went astray. The joys of digital signal processing, I guess.
At the end we had a perfectly pitched bass- track.... which was played like someone who just got his first bass guitar.
After hours, bugged Pro Tools and tons of "FUCK THIS, delete, start from scratch" we finally got it sounding right like it was performed in the first place. And before you ask, no, there was no fucking way we´d play those songs again from scratch. Using 4 hours for editing is less than using 12 hours for playing AND editing.

We got home at 1AM- No keyboards were done due to the bass editing,but at least we sound now like we should.

Tuesday, day 14.

So, with all the "band" now finally done, lagging behind for only three days, it was finally time for me to do something else than edit, repair, instruct, scream and cry. So, enter the keyboards! FINALLY.

We rigged my (t)rusty N364 with Virta´s two better hi- end Korgs and started to ruin all the songs. That was so fucking fun compared to that hell I´ve been through for the last two weeks.

We first layered the "basic" stuff from my N364- Analog Pad, Choir and Strings. Seriously, the strings just sound so good in that machine. It´s the exactly same sound that e.g. Nightwish, Bal- Sagoth and Dimmu Borgir have used, and afaik, Tuomas Holopainen still uses.
Fun trivia: If you got access to that machine (or X3/ X5), pick up Prog C07- "The Strings" and start playing "Mourning Palace". You´ll be surprised. Not to mention that one...whatever, "Festival!" or something, which is exactly this sound. Hailz for creativity.

My wild guess is that back in the mid 90´s when me and countless of other metal keyboard players had access only to one piece of equipment, we got the best overall synth with a reasonable price, thus ending up getting that particular piece which was very popular. However, the number one rule of keyboard players:


Get it? Seriously. Never use them. On the other hand, we found out that Jeremy Soule has a Korg as well. Shame on you for laziness, Jeremy. Then again, we used it for too. We also used some Nintendo- sounds just because it turned Lolbster into a platformer game from the late 80´s. And then it started to sound like Giana Sisters. Yet, even though we love to take the piss on everyone, we´re not actually putting them that audible, so fear not. We´ll still be sounding like Finntroll instead of playing some uninspiring Göteborg- metal with occasional C64- sounds glued on top. No names mentioned.

After playing keys for Blodsvett (using Shakuhachi as a "old school Finntroll tribute I could swear I´d see Somnium clapping his hands for this one"!), Kyyppari (ended up sounding like a Turkish scifi- movie from the 60´s at some parts. Black Metal, no compromise!) and Kylskåp (Ever thought what happens if Demented are Go, Darkthrone and Nightwish clashed together?) , I went to visit home quickly (I live only 12 kilometers from the studio), had dinner with my wife, went to sauna, shaved face and head, and got back to the studio where Vreth already had started to do the vocals. The joys of recording near home. :D

I wasn´t very fond of the vocal sound so we sat down and started to tweak it into more violent. In the end we went with a guitar distortion plugin (!!!) and a compressor so tight you could hear the guy fart in the next room as loud as Vreth screams. The result sounded so uncannily aggressive that we decided to go for it as a template. We did vocals for Blodsvett and Kylskåp as well and headed home at 1:30 AM.

Wednesday, day 15.

I got vacation from work for today, so I headed straight to the studio and started to edit the trumpet and trombone takes. Virta got there half an hour later, and Vreth followed soon. I brought the upright bass track for Piraatti which I had recorded at my office (!!), imported it in and started to lay keyboards for Piraatti with Virta. We had some akward ideas, tested many, and finally started arranging the keys more to suit the upcoming vocal lines. That was one helluva task, yet rather fun. You see, we just got the lyrics for it, and realized that they are not fitting the way we thought they´d do, so we started to think how to "fill the blanks" in the chorus with keyboards.
 After finally getting Piraatti sounding like it should, we ruined Lolbster with all sorts of cheesy organs, 8- bit sounds and horns and whatnot. Then I ended up playing all cool shit into Halkodisko, including something so weird I´ll leave it as a surprise. Let ´s just say that our metal got even more black with this one.

After amusing ourselves with the keys, it was Vreth Tiem. We did vocals for Kyyppari and Lolbster and started to get rather hysteric at some point, after working for 13 hours in a row. We heard Vreth singing lines like "Vi skinka, vi gurka", "Penetratzioon" and whatnot, but finally got everything sounding perfect. Little whipping, little whiskey and he´s topping himself once again. Halkodisko started to sound a bit tired at some point (you try to scream 3 hours in a row at night and let´s see how your voice sounds like, hehe) so we decided that it´s 1:20AM and we should probably hit home after doing a 15+ hour workday.

When we got off from the studio, I realized it was freezing, extremely windy and there was snow everywhere. I dropped Tundra home and drove small roads back home, at max 40 km/h. Every turn was like bobsledding, and I certainly don´t need a smashed, unusable car at this moment. Some World of Warcraft soundtrack on the background, and we ended up chatting with Tundra about....yep, World of Warcraft for the whole trip. Hey, it´s very nice counterpart for doing metal for the whole day.

Got home at 2:10AM, remember pressing the snooze- button at 8AM.... woke up 9:20 with a phone on my hand. FUCK!  Looked out of the window. More snow. FUUUUUUUUUUUUU.
Had to get tires changed and ended up being at the office at 11 instead of 9. Fuck yeah.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"The Purple Army"

Friday, day 10.

Bass, so much bass. I edited guitars for hours, and played some of them again. Then Tundra played bass. Loads of it.

Saturday, day 11.

I came to the studio to EDIT MORE GUITARS. Tundra continued with his bass at the afternoon while I had some family- stuff to take care of. After taking care of that, I got the studio with my son right away, and edited more. And played some while Tundra was taking my son to a "studio- tour" to see "all cool stuff". I also sweared like a seafarer for 10 seconds in a row until I realized my son was right behind me. Nice parenting! Tundra was left playing more bass.
Went home, realized how much we´re lagging on the schedule and had a beer. Is it ok to cry if you´re 34?

Sunday, day 12.

OH FUCK YEAH MORE GUITARS. Don´t even fucking get me started.
Then we started recorded trumpet and trombone. At 17:30 I realized I was already supposed to go to the store in case we want to eat something at home and pick up my son from my parents. After I somehow managed to do these all, I tucked my kid to his bed and drove back to the studio to replace the last out- of - tune guitars (which I had actually played, so this time the blame´s on me solely).

At 22, those guitars were finally replaced. I ended up playing those parts with only the clean DI- sound. This way, we could be 100% sure there´s no tuning problems. Especially Skrymer´s guitar (just ask him about the frustration with that, hehe) has so horrible fine tuning due to...something...maybe crooked neck, don´t really know, that every time there´s a chord present, it has to be tuned "wrong" in order to get that chord sounding right.

Then we started to check and edit the bass takes. That was pretty much a fucking picnic compared to the guitar- concentration camp. Did four songs, we played some parts again and I got home 1 AM, only to wake up 7 AM again. And guess how well I slept while MARILYNBASSLINES HALKODISKOGUITARS trolololol TROMBtrytosleepONE....zzzz.....SURPRISETRUMPEzzzzTLINE....fuuuu....oknowigottopisswhattimeitis.....


Friday, November 23, 2012

"Future Basement & U-Suck"

Previously happened on "Stargate SG-1"

As you know, we are lagging in the schedule quite badly as the guitars got destroyed. So, another hit would be a death- sentence for these sessions. So the poor guitarists (and the respective bandmembers who have engineered the recordings) have done "quite" long days in order for us to make this possible. So, everyone was doing their best on wednesday. The guys actually sat there until 2:30 AM while Beast was recording at the point until they couldn´t do it anymore and went home. So, everything went smoothly and all the guys were definitely pushing their limits and doing their best.
And now, the conclusion.

*enter opening credits*

Thursday, Day 9.

Did you know that smoking can actually save lives? Or at least teeth. You see, when I rushed out of the controller room in a red- hazed rampage, so furious that I have no words to describe it here, Routa was very lucky to be at the downstairs at the moment.

But let´s rewind a bit.
If this is "too long, didn´t read" for you, here´s a spoiler. It wasn´t Routa´s fault after all.

While I was at the office, Routa was playing guitar at the studio. I got there about three- ish while he had already played from four hours and three songs. I edited some stuff and went straight to Kylskåp, on which song we agreed that I will play the both guitars after all. I had played Skrymer´s part on monday, and now it was time for the other guitar then.
So, I started to play. A bit "clean" guitar sound didn´t bother me at all, as I was used to hear the DI box (=clean sound channel) quite loud. I just thought that Routa most likely wanted to hear more of that while playing and I don´t mind playing with the same setup and sound.
While I had performed the other, newer guitar track to Kylskåp, edited and "glued" it together, I noticed that the guitars are not in tune together for some reason. So I deleted everything I had done today and started over. When it was finished, they still were out of tune. Then I realized, after trying and checking everything I could (even using Auto- tune on the clean signal to see how it analyzes the pitch) that the previous guitar track I had played was the one to blame after all. And of course lowering the pitch afterwards caused the sound to go totally fucked up due to technical shit I won´t bore you with (for the studio geeks, one word. Phase.).

"Well, I guess I know who´s to blame...", I snorted ironically and started to play the first guitar again. But using Tundra´s just arrived (15 minutes ago) tuner instead of Skrymer´s, because I knew that Tundra´s one is super. After I had performed the fourth fully recorded take for this one fucking song, the tune was super indeed. There are differences in tuners, trust me on this one. You don´t want to go with the cheapest when recording stuff.

Fast forward. Long story short, I also played Nexro´s other guitar. After I had edited, glued and blabla, I was very satisfied with it. At this point, it was already five o´clock and I was supposed to leave in 40 minutes. So, we started to do the bass sound. The cables and cabinets were rigged earlier in the afternoon, so we only had to put the microphone on, switch some cables and boxes and basically would be ready to start molding Tundra´s sound into something unintelligible. While I was still doing channels for bass in Pro Tools, Virta was rigging the setup.

Then I heard his voice.

"Ummm.....these guitar pedals are not on....what the hell?"
- what pedals, huh...., I mumbled while still occupied with the channel- creation.
"Noise suppressor [hum and noise eliminator, engl.note] and distortion...hmmmm"
-Whaaaaat?????, said yours truly, turning instantly around in the chair, suddenly not interested in the bass sound at all anymore.
"Are you telling, you will NOT, PLEASE DON´T tell me...."
- Yeah...uhm, just how long have these been switched off?
- Well, I didn´t touch them at least before I started to play. I was continuing Routa´s takes and using exactly his sound.
 And now, let me re-phrase again something. Remember this?
"So, I started to play. A bit "clean" guitar sound didn´t bother me at all.....""A bit "clean" guitar sound...."
"clean guitar"

I grabbed Routa´s guitar instantly in a panic, accompanied with a loud "EI.....VITTU" (english translation would be rather desperate "oh fuck no") and pressed record, starting to play.
"Ok, switch the Noise Suppressor on", I said to Virta. He stomped it on, and it didn´t affect anything sound- wise. "Pheeeeew", I said and continued playing....."Ok, now the distortion pedal".
Time seemed to be running in half speed as I was playing the guitar, not seeing what Virta is doing behind my back.
"Please tell me you switched the distortion on already"
- Not yet....wait....ok nnnnnnOW IT´S ON!

At that very second it became extremely clear to me that everything we had recorded today, EVERY SINGLE NOTE AND EIGHT HOURS OF WORK (including me playing Kylskåp three times which seemed like a slap in the face at that point), was unusable because the day´s first player (whose responsibility it would had been)  hadn´t turned the pedals on when the sessions started in the morning.
My heart made two extra pumps. Then it missed four. I grew two years older in a fraction of seconds and lost probably ten years of my predicted life span.
I started screaming. Or rather, roaring. First Routa´s guitar flew into the couch from my lap. Then, flew the chair. And then there was a cry of war. A huge, distorted cry of war, accompanied with me storming out of the control room, looking for Routa to punch his teeth in, to violate him most brutally and bang his head to the metal door. Luckily for everyone, he was at the street, four floors down, having a smoke, completele unaware what is happening upstairs.

Roaring and outbursting my rage, I leave you also unaware on the not- very- nice- things I yelled and the amount of stuff that flew throughout the studio. Not the mention the studio´s metal door at all. Lucky thing it´s made from metal. Thick, solid metal.
After about half a minute of that sort of rampage that would make Donald Duck´s rage seizures look like a sloth on Ritalin, Skrymer said something.

"Dude, DUDE! Wait! The DI box- sound! Fuck, we can RE- AMP IT!!!!"

And there was silence. Accompanied with "OH...MY....fucking.....god....... eivittujätkäonneroeijumalauta.......aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa". This would mean that we could actually just drive the clean DI- signal through the amps, this time with the distortion and use everything we had recorded after all. So, only 30 minutes waste of time instead of 8 hours. Also, please note that after the earlier guitar- mishaps, this really was the last straw that snapped the camel´s back for the sessions. We would had been seriously fucked for good if we had wasted one more day and would had probably cancel the mix and postpone it for months.

I jumped two meters up and hugged Skrymer for at least five seconds. And that´s a lot for a brohug.
Nevertheless, I was very fucking pissed still at Routa at that point, so when he came back up, I said to him what was happened and told him to fuck the horse he rode in with. He said that he was EXTREMELY SURE AND ANAL that everything had been switched on when he started. In fact, he even checked battery levels and everything. So, "fuck you too".

I apologized him quite a lot and we started to think what the hell had happened. The only possible explanation was that someone, while rigging the bass in the afternoon, had switched the pedals off- either by accident or on purpose, in case while forgetting to put them back on when he was finished.
We know by now who was behind it, but it´s not really necessary information to badmouth people here. Especially, as technically, it is us who´d have to notice these things even though there wasn´t any suspections that something had changed.
What happened, happened and the most important thing is that it can be fixed.
And no, it wasn´t Routa. And not Virta either, because that´s what you´d think next. Let´s just say that it´s a big studio with a lot of people coming in and out, and people are sometimes in a hurry and things may get fucked up if you do them too quickly.

After I had restored my balls from somewhere between my navel and throat where they first jumped when I realized what had happened, we calmed down (or to be honest, I was rather the one who needed to calm down) and started to mold Tundra´s bass sound. Seemingly the Gods of Karma were pitying us, as we nailed it in 10 minutes. Tundra started to play his parts very excitedly, and I had to leave to pick up my son from my parents.

2:21 AM I received an SMS from Tundra.

"Let´s start about 1PM- ish. Just got home from the studio.

I just have to lift my hat to these guys´ work ethics. Let´s see how today´s turning out!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"The Human Show"

Wednesday, day 8.

Seriously. The guys played over half of the missing guitars in one day and managed to do it even better, just like some people actually predicted in the internetz. I went there with my son for an hour, edited Soutu into final and left the guys ripping again.

This morning all the brass arrangements got finished, Mp3´s extracted, notes scanned and finally printed. And I can tell you there were quite a many. Close to hundred pages, to be exact.

And below you can get some perspective on the amount of them. Seven songs are getting a brass- treatment, with different stems for trumpet, trombone, alto and tenor saxophone. I´m not sure who´s going to sweat more- me writing and arranging those or the players at the studio when they start recording those. :D

It looks like I´m going to edit the guitars in another computer while Tundra´s playing his bass, starting today. We should be ready with the guitars and bass on saturday afternoon, which makes us only half a day late from the schedule.

After the guitars are edited and bass played, we will do some additional feedbacking for them as well. As you can probably imagine (or I´m crushing your delusions, in which case I´m horribly sorry) normally people don´t play guitars in the same room the amp is located as it´s FUCKING LOUD.
So, that means the guitar doesn´t feedback at all as it´s not close to the amp. And if you have thought of having some feedback somewhere (in, for example, some "mid- part" where the guitars are having a long and open chord) you have to do it afterwards while standing in the front of that FUCKING LOUD amplifier. I have already marked all the feedback- sections down so it´s pretty much one hour and we have captured those. Then we just glue them to the actual rhythm guitar tracks and are having a blasting feedback all the time it´s needed. A bit cheesy, I know, but unless you´re playing everything live, it´s almost impossible to create the sound otherwise. The guitar amp is blowing over 100dB, so imagine how loud your headphones would have to be in the recording session.....not really healthy at all.

While the guitar adventures continue, I will accompany the guys in a couple of hours after I get away from the office. Meanwhile, riddle me this. What´s in the picture?

I´ll leave you thinking.

Later, peeps.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Tentacle Jail"

Tuesday, day 7.

I didn´t cry. I didn´t even scream. In fact, my first reaction was laughter. Ironic laughter, that is. Followed with a very long sigh.

All of the recorded, edited and polished guitar tracks were gone for good.

It all started with a innocent, "...yeah, I´ll just start backing up the stuff and then we can leave it be and go home for the night". And then, something went horribly wrong and the guys were left with a stupefying expression on their faces. Backups had somehow being replaced by four days earlier backups and as a bonus, the latest versions were gone from the actual hard disk. I heard that Vreth was literally shaking when he realized that every single note we had recorded since friday evening had been blown up into cyberspace forever.

It could had happen to anyone, so I don´t give a rat´s ass who pressed any buttons at the moment they got destroyed. When the computer says "no", you fucking dance to it. No options.
Then the guys made the computer dance, but it was already too late. Nothing could be found for good. So they actually stayed the whole goddamn night AT the studio, trying to figure out what the hell can they do to restore the files. At morning, when Nino (the studio owner) got there, he was explained what had happened. Needless to say, he was quite frustrated for us. Especially as he know what kind of a battle it had been to record those guitars.

Luckily, when I had edited and gone through every guitar part, I had consolidated them as 100% mixing- ready files with all crossfades and edits done. This would also help me to keep in track in what was 100% approved as I could see that if the file´s in one piece, there´s nothing that I should do to it. So, when we realized that if we can recover anything, we don´t do a flying fuck with thousands of "gtr_mesa1_57_fade.wav" files which last for 0.5 seconds each....until we realized that my consolidating was a gift from Gods at that point. If we could recover, we´d have the exact guitar tracks in one piece instead of thousands snippets. And on the top of that- if we could only find the consolidated DI- track, we could re- amp from that in case we´d miss e.g. Skrymer´s cabinet #2. 
(The tracks per guitar were Mesa + 57, Mesa + 421, Orange + 57, Orange + 421, DI). The only recorded songs I hadn´t consolidated yet were Blodsvett and Soutu, because they were played just before everything got destroyed while I wasn´t there and thus I hadn´t had any chance yet to check, edit and consolidate them first.

So, the guys started recovering the files with some software. After three hours, we found snippets from someone´s Orange amp miked with a SM57.... 1 minute of Halkodisko´s Skrymer- side and some years- old drums from some other band. And then, we found Piraatti´s guitars! Or, at least....the DI´s. So, we re- amped them and.....yeah, that´s about it. 40 hours of time wasted. Ten songs recorded, of which NINE were destroyed.

"Fuck", said Skrymer, and grabbed his guitar. "FUUUUUUUUUUU," said Routa, and grabbed his cigarette pack. And "FUCK MY LIFE", said yours truly and bummed a cigarette from Routa.
I quickly made some estimations, we thought a perfect plan how to proceed and decided that there´s no time for cursing, being cranky nor going all drama here. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So here´s another plan for now.

We know 100% sure we can´t rescue Blodsvett or Soutu because I hadn´t consolidated, a.k.a "glued" those guitars together before the Great Destruction. (read the studio jargon- part if you want more on the subject) So, tonight´s plan was Blodsvett again, Soutu again and then Kylskåp and Nexro (of which both hadn´t been touched yet). And after that, the guys leave and leave a "deep scanning recovery" doing it´s job for the whole night. That will take MANY hours but might be more effective than the normal recovery they ran yesterday.
So, if the deep scan finds anything usable, great. If not, Skrymer starts to play his parts again from the beginning. It should be faster now, as he has already played them once and knows exactly what to do. And when Routa comes at the afternoon, he continues.
It´s going to be a 4- day job in two days if we want to keep the schedule even somehow, but it should be manageable. We´ll see what happens, but I can assure you this won´t be exactly a picnic.

There will be no shit captured, were it a hurry or not, so this may turn up quite a task. "This is good enough", is not good enough. And we have basically only today and tomorrow. But we can do this, because we are Finntroll. Wimps and posers, leave the studio, we´re here to CRUSH and no fucking hard drive failure will stop us doing so, even if it took us 30 hours per day.

Let´s see how this will turn out.

I just talked with Virta and Skrymer on the phone. Seemingly, the deep scan had found shitloads of files, yet NONE we could use. So, we´re back in saturday afternoon. Skrymer starts playing this moment until the point Routa arrives after 4 hours, and then Routa will play his parts to the songs Skrymer has recorded today. I´ll come to do editing for at least two songs at the evening with my son and continue editing tomorrow after office work. The plan is to have everything recorded and edited by saturday morning. Fuuuuuu.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Tentacle Headquarters"

Monday, day 6.

I had taken a whole day off in order to concentrate on the guitars today. So, Skrymer was already at the studio at 10:15 when I got there and we started to check how Mitävittua was caught on Pro Tools. A couple of hours of tweaking, editing, some "play this tighter" and "we weren't sure about this one ending so we left it out" and we were ready to wrap it up and start with Marilyn.

After several hours of serious cursing, we finally got Skrymer's guitars recorded. I have to admit it's simultaneously fun, yet quite a double- edged sword to start demanding more from people playing- wise each session.
This time, it was Marilyn's main riff, consisting of small rythmic variations which really are the core of the riff- otherwise it would only sound like some bad ZZ Top- esque. And the whining of yours truly when it sounded like that. "There are no gaps, you have to punctuate the off- beats as hard as the main rythm in between while playing it as militant as you can...and please, remember that first syncopation on the second round".
Well, at least I'm still alive writing this. After Routa had his parts recorded, we noticed that -despite of our completely anal approach on the issue- the guitars sound that they are slightly out of tune with each other. We ended up downpitching Skrymer for 3 cents (yes, it is that accurate for you studio geeks out there) and most likely it did the trick. Let's see what the rest of the instruments will do, if it's still too "chorused", we might have to play it again. Noizzzz.

We hopped into Soutu, I clarified a couple of riffs and parts to the guys and gave them a lesson how to read my guitar notes I had made for myself with both guitars. If they can read the rythms and notes from those, they can also use those as the final FINAL double- check if they can' figure the stuff out from the rehearsal Mp3's.They seemed to get the idea so I'm glad I had made those!
I had to leave the studio at 18 in order to pick up my son, and Vreth hopped into engineering- part while Virta was supervising the playing. Tomorrow morning there should be Routa's part of Soutu as well, and both guitars of Blodsvett. I'm going there at 13, and should have enough time to check and edit today's playing. I have no doubts the guys are doing their best, so thumbs up! We'll get into the bass sound most likely on Wednesday, so the schedule is looking like it should.

This will be one hell of a record if everything keeps going as planned, I can tell you. ^^

"Tentacle Disco"

Wednesday....what happed in Wednesday? That was day 1 out of 27. Wait, I remember. Kick, kick, snaresnaresnare. This tom is too tight. This one's sounding too hollow. Did I go through this already?

Thursday, day 2 out of 27.

I have done quite a few albums, sessions and gigs with Beast Dominator. But I swear to Rivfader this guy has never, ever played this well. And seemingly he senses it too, as he's full of ideas and spreading ridiculously groovy and technical (yet extremely fitting) drum stuff to upon the poor listener. Seriously, if rehearsing pays off this much, we gotta start doing it more often. Besides, the more input and enthusiasm I get out from the other people, the more excited I am, which leads to even better results production- wise.
Trust me, when your only feeling is frustration and lack of all hope, you don't want to ask someone to overachieve himself and simultaneously doing the same yourself anymore. You just want that shit to end, mimick the demos precicely, finish it with pride and walk the fuck out. "Yes, it's good enough".

This is not definitely a "serious case of Finntroll", but rather universal. We've all been in a situation when you just want to wash your hands and walk away from that mockery of professionalism you've been shoved into, but obviously you can't. You may be leading it (in which case there's maybe a mirror too look on), or you might be responsible for your boss for the outcome. Whatever the reason is, you're stuck, screwed and want to punch babies.
With Finntroll, it happens sometimes. And with other bands or projects as well. I was once doing a movie score- choir recordings where the "professional" singers were actually a hungover bunch of metalheads and schoolgirls who were too shy to sing. I ended up doing the last Gregorian choirs by myself at my office, using a SM58, a harmonizer plugin to get my girly voice low enough and a fucking airport- sized reverb to mask those whiny exhales of mine into something more credible. The females got some serious "guest starring" from EastWest "female aahs a-e" and I am still so goddamn proud of how I actually got the final result to fool everyone, including the singers. :D

You know, motivation usually leads to better results. Add fun (I haven't had this much fun ever in a Finntroll- studio), people constantly pushing each other way beyond their skills, wacky ideas and awesome last- minute hooks and you're on FIRE.
And that particular hairy guy lit over half of the songs ablaze in one day. Jebus christ. Motivation, we all can haz it!

Friday. Day 3 out of 27.

It all started with arranging the brass section and printing notes for the players. Which I didn't do at the office in the early morning if anyone asks, by the way.
Beast decided that he's gonna start with The Dreaded One today and played it without me, using only the backing keyboard track. Vreth and Virta were producing the final versions and while I was reading the news at the kitchen, poor Vreth edited the approved and grooviest takes out from The Dreaded One. Beast was put to play it over and over again, because we thought he could play "less safe and more dangerously". We wanted drum fills which sound like a hulking orc in a car crash instead of a couple of cymbals, you see. And most of the stops and breaks were sounding so much better when played a tiny bit too "fast" compared to the actual tempo track that we wanted more of those as well. Like in Reign in Blood, where the music sounds all the time it's going to fall apart because it's played so uptempo. :D

If you're wondering what song is so dreadful Tundra is sweating constantly while rehearsing it in half tempo, Routa is turning from red to even more red and I refuse to record any guitar players, it's Nexro. Probably the hardest song for anyone in this band's history. When you hear it, you'll shit bricks. And when you hear it, spare a half-a-minute silence for the people who actually performed it onto tape for you.
Silence aside, Beast performed...or rather ass-raped with a hammer the missing songs and went to buy some well- deserved beer at that point. I was rather keen to see Mgla performing at the city, but yet spent two hours of watching people guitar- porno- ing amps, cabinets and whatnot. At 22, everyone was so tired that we went home. I didn't like the guitar sound at that point, but I was 100% sure the guys want to redo it tomorrow when they have slept overnight and hear it again. :D Missed Mgla, missed sauna but at least we had ice-cream at home!

(No, I don't actually give a rat's ass about guitar sound in general in this kind of music, to be honest. It's anyway so "traditional" that as long as there's enough distortion we can mold the sound in the mix instead of spending hours to think how many cabinets we need or what pickups give the best plectrum-hit-sound before we still have to mold it in that mix. Add ten thousand synths, play buzzing riffs with that sound you made for three hours and more drums, vocals and compress the fuck out of them and suddenly no- one hears any difference on that sound. And no matter what people want to experiment, it's going to be that 57 and Mesa anyway what they decide to use for the final sound. ;)

Saturday, 4/27.

Surprisingly, the guitar sound was tweaked to be actually good. For my great delight, all this had happened before I got to the studio so I was more than happy. Instead of the traditional "Skrymer plays all his guitars first and the Routa plays his guitars" we decided to have a different approach- when Skrymer has played one song, Routa plays his side immediately after. This way, he can get the same instructions Skrymer got at the same time and they both know what each other plays and we can test arrangements right away. We are also taking the clean signal for emergency, so we decided to do the most naziest, most evil and prolly the most anti rock'n'roll producer trick ever and made the guys actually hear the clean sound as well. No more timing problems, fuck- ups with wrongly rehearsed stuff or tune problems- with the clean sound accompanied, not a single fuck- up passes the producer's ears now unnoticed.

I recorded the guys playing Halkodisko and Kyyppari and left them at 21 to play Rivfader, which Virta recorded. I didn't see Necros Christos performing (yes, there was a BM- festival ongoing: we don't usually get darkthrones and gravelands playing every tuesday at local pizzerias here if you wondered that) either, but at least I got home before midnight.

Sunday, 5 of 27.

No, we don't rest, thanks for asking. In fact, we don't have a single day off during the whole session. Today we started with playing about 30% of Rivfader again. Could had been much worse if you ask me, so kudos for the guys. Then we stormed through (red clouds and holocaustwinds) Piraatti and Lolbster and I left Tundra to record the boys playing Mitävittua.
I have decided that in order to keep my mental health, making everyone's motivation better and actually being able to do my best, I won't do everyone's and their grandma's job at the studio. Thus far, it hasn't been a problem to anyone, but everyone have been doing their parts and even more. Just like a real band does.

Tomorrow I'll have the morning off from work so we start earlier with more guitars. Now I need some sleep. Later, peeps!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Building The Fire"

9:50AM an SMS arrives from Beast.

 "Samuli, Mössö, Henu; Does any of you have BOSS Metal Zone?"
"Nope, but I wonder if Mathias has? I´ll ask around from my contacts"
"I got the most peculiar idea coming up..."
"I like it already"

I wonder what the hell mr. Beastur is up with this. :D

Yesterday we spent storming through the drum sounds, which sounded helluva good. No triggering, loads of room ambience and TONS of cymbals. Cymbals are aggression, and aggression is good. While the other guys went home to do whatever, we started to record "Mitävittua" with Beast after hours of twiddling and testing. I played the guitar, Vreth recorded, Virta took notes and both of them produced. The groove was astonishing, so it really helped that we rehearsed a lot beforehand.
We´ve normally used my earlier- played- and- imported guitar files for him to play with, but he wanted to be more old -school and thus I was playing with him real- time. That was really fun and makes a ton of difference to the final outcome concerning the groove.
At 9PM Beast was tired as fukk (for he had woken up 4AM to go to work before the studio) (!!!!)  and we called it for the day.

Today´s drum agenda will be about 4-5 songs, and I have no doubts they will sound as crushing as Mitävittua was. We´ll start at 13PM and continue as long as Beastur can pull it off. Luckily he didn´t have to wake up that early today, so I don´t have any doubts about him performing like hell also today. I, on the other hand, am so tired I could smash my head to this keyboard while falling asleep and couldn´t probably notice a thing. Nice 13+ hour day coming up. :D


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Brewing Up a Storm"

Dear diary,

approximately 9 months I have shared my life with you. And the three readers as well!
We finally pulled the shit together with loooong days at Trollhorn's office, not even mentioning the individual work all the people did at their homes. We did countless of hours planning, talking, and thinking. And when the songs were finally composed and arranged, they were taken to the final test lab- the rehearsal place. There we spent tens of hours rehearsing, planning, trying different tempos, arguing and tightening our performance.

But before all this, we wondered what is the purpose of these songs. Why are we doing this the way we do it? What is the essence of Finntroll that makes us sound like we do?
Is it the folklore-elements both in music and the imagery? Or perhaps the cartoon- esque way of presenting some of our works? The videogame- references mixed with the elements of black metal? Or the sheer aggression, rushing onwards like an orc on steroids?

We never got the answer but kept pushing boundaries instead. Combining our trademark sound with even more influences from non- traditional genres in metal music, we have created 11 songs which show you everything we want to offer. And boy, wasn't that one of the hardest task for some time. After all, how do you keep your sound fresh, yet familiar,  after 6 albums and 15 years?
At some point, we were afraid that the songs are not melodic enough. Then we started to fear they became too melodic. Then we let the songs rest for a while and molded them more in a way that the non- melodic stuff got something to hum with, and the cheesy pop- songs were arranged more stripped and aggressive. We were confident, yet sometimes scared what will people think of the stuff we've been doing so hard. What if they hate it? That would be fine, but if they would hate it because the material was uninspiring, boring and done-to-death, that would be a huge disappointment. So, we kept pushing and tried to keep it fresh all the time while still having the "this has to be Finntroll because no other band sounds this insane"- grinning going on.

In the end, we were left with eleven new songs, which we think represent Finntroll the best way ever, combining everything we've done with shitloads of something new to chew and gnaw on. We are entering the studio tomorrow knowing that we have done our best, and can only hope you feel the same when you hear the final product when it's out.
From now on, there's no turning back. No more new riffs to try out, no more countless hours of arranging. It's time to turn up the amps, grab the axes and shove a fork up this so called scene's ass.

Hope you brought your own lubricant.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Meeting Ben Franklin"

To: Olli Vänskä
Date: 08/11/2012
From: Henri Sorvali


Needless to say, he approved this.

On the other, small and unimportant things, all the music is composed and arranged and after we rehearse the last ones, we´re definitely ready to hit the studio with a very strong confidence this will be our coolest album ever. Yes, I wrote it down. WE´RE FUCKING READY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11 songs,  a bit over 41 minutes and tons of blood, sweat and tears.

for we are Finntroll. And we are many.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Goodbye, Dead Cousin Ted"


"So, you haven´t actually done a jack shit until this moment- and there´s no way in Hell you can pull if off due the deadline anymore even though you started now?You want to keep up the appearances and look professional and interested?"

Just repeat these magic words with me and once you´ve mastered them, you present them to the people waiting for your "almost done" work a week before the actual deadline. It´s easy and convenient, and no- one can´t really blame you for not doing your job in time even though everyone knows what´s the real deal. It´s like in a American court- tv- series: all about pokerface and bluff.

"So, when was that deadline again?"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Ned & Jed Edison"

I spent last tuesday at work while having over 38 degrees of fever. And on the top of that, the day lasted 13 hours in total, including some serious Finntroll- sessioning afterwards with Tundra and Vreth. However, I managed to change Blodsvett into a Fucking Awesome Song (tm) instead of being A Good Song With A Mid Part I Didn´t Like Which Felt Totally Out Of Place (tm).
After I finished that by myself, we stormed through Piraatti together, experimented with trombones, tomwaits and whatnot and had shitloads of fun. And yes, it is ready as well. :)

So, because of my stubborn mentality of work- comes- before- health, I actually spent wednesday and thursday with high fever at home. On friday morning, I decided "I have stuff to fo and besides, I feel so much better" that I went to work despite of the doctor´s orders (...)  and to the company Halloween party afterwards. (..........)
Which led into fever on saturday again. Which I tried to calm down with ibuprofen. Which, my stomach -despite of the doctor´s earlier warnings- couldn´t handle anymore so I got the change the experience probably the worst pain in my life ever and got rushed to the doctor, who kindly told me that I am having severe symptoms of peptic ulceration. I was sent back home and told to come back if the symptoms re-appear. And now I have to eat these stupid fucking pills for some time.
So in the end, I got prescribed medicine in order to be able to take other medicine. Sounds...healthy? Add some horrible headaches for days in a row on top of it, and you got youself someone who is starting to get a bit worried about burning the candle from two ends simultaneously.
(If I can see my arm is bleeding, I know why and how long and what to do with it, but it´s a bit more scarier situation when all the pain is constantly happening "inside" and you have no idea what causes it and what the fuck is wrong and how wrong it is. I guess you all know what I´m talking about.)

So now I´m taking everything a bit less rushed and try to say myself that the "world doesn´t end" if we don´t have the lyrics in advance or we´re still figuring out how are we getting Skrymer to Helsinki. I´m not supposed to take care of everything, and I am much more useful doing most of the stuff I was supposed to do instead of lying in a fucking hospital bed, covered with tubes, pissing in a goddamn plastic urinal bottle. Especially in a situation I´m having going in the background besides this band- stuff. "Well, nurse, the father of this child is in the next hospital, so he couldn´t attend to the birth unfortunately". :D

Last week left before we enter the studio and I still have one song to finish. Except for Piraatti, all rehearsal tapes are posted to people and everyone knows what to do and when. If I can´t make it to the rehearsals, bad fucking luck. I will do my work at the office, figure out the last song meanwhile in all peace, breathe properly and play Super Mario 2 with my son.

My point? Even though managing, scheduling and everything is helping, there are times even they are not. So, if you get sick, BE SICK. I told Virta and Vreth to stay the fuck out of rehearsals in order to rest while they have fever, but somehow I thought I am so important I have to go there, no matter what. So, I might want to stick into my head the fact that while I am maybe important to some, I´m irreplaceable to some others.

To nicer things- I didn´t remember how freaking awesome Mortiis´s "Crypt of the Wizard" was. :D Despite all the horrible performance, awkward melodies, and rather...ehm... peculiar sound choices, this is one of the feelingful albums ever made. So cold, so northern and so...home.
Home is where the North is. <3

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Red Edison"


That´s the name of the new Wintersun album. That´s also the name of my main problem. I wish we had two weeks more to complete and rehearse everything without this slowly-creeping-in-panic.
The last two weeks were spent by composing, orchestrating and mixing this movie score I´ve been slowly doing since the beginning of the year. However, I had to make a final crunch and did 9-13 hour days in a row for two weeks, resulting with over 30 minutes of ready music made in that time span. The mastering session is next sunday, and then I´m finally 100% ready with that.

But this is not only about "woe is me", but rather...


 "How to keep you shit together in a tight spot".

So, riddle me this. Besides the movie scoring and work, I´m obviously responsible for the Finntroll´s album pre- production very much. But wait, there´s more! I´m in the process of trying to sell our house and we´re expecting to see a rather small, wrinkled and screaming early x-mas present as well. Who, by the way, is calculated to arrive at the next day when our mix is over. I´ve expressed my deepest plea to "it" to let me finish the mix first, so let´s see how the omnipresent fatherly advice will work. So the last month hasn´t been exactly a picnic in my head. Sometimes this happens- and as long as it´s temporary, there are ways. If you´re always screwed with schedules and to- do´s, you´re doing something wrong. Trust me, I have experience with that years ago and it didn´t go exactly very nice as some people know. But that´s another story.
But how to keep that shit together when it hits the fan?  Sometimes things stack and you´re screwed. And here´s something that might help you to survive it.

The most important things are that you mark shit down. You divide shit. You priorize shit. You delegate shit and ask help for the shit. And you get rid of shit by force. And now, let´s dissect that shit!

1. Marking shit down.
Use calendar. Heck, I use one self- made Excel- calendar, online Calendar to sync with my phone (to see "agenda" for the next two weeks and to have necessary reminders for stuff) and a task list- app for Android. Which, by the way, is highly recommendable. Finntroll- to- do runs in the task list, while my "private" events run in the online calendar. Calendar tells me where to be and when, task lists tell me what I have to do until a deadline and the Excel tells me more "bigger picture" with holidays, studios and stuff. The more stuff you get our of your head, the more you can concentrate on the more important issues. Clearing head is Zen. And Zen is vital (see #5).

2. Dividing shit.
Fuck multitasking. That is the stupidest thing to do ever. Multitasking is for robots and computers. You are a human. Human brain works best when concentrating on one thing at the time.
Instead, divide the tasks. Make sure you are organized. Today, you do this until 11am. After that, you have a break BECAUSE BREAKS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER IN A STRESSFUL SITUATION.
(Seriously, I can´t punctuate that enough. Take breaks.)
First, you decide that "next three days I will do only this project". And that means, nothing else unless it´s a one, 30 minute brainless job meanwhile. And only if really really necessary.
When you´ve micro- organized your day in the morning, you survive it. And no, you don´t start tomorrow´s job "because you were so fast" unless you really feel like it and have the drive for it.
Instead, you have a mug of tea and lean back while listening to good music. You need also time to "settle down", and if you come home only to eat and sleep badly, you´ll be as stressed tomorrow as you were yesterday when you hadn´t read my excellent advices yet. :D

3. Priorizing shit.
My tablet´s battery problems are probably not worth of spending 4 hours fixing it right now. Also, doing a job for someone who didn´t do it in the first place isn´t. And I´m sure my friend understand that I don´t have time for 1.5 hour lunch right now, but we could do it on thursday if he is still free. And obviously, family comes first in all the priorities, but you probably knew that already. The first person you take time away is you, as this whole mess is your fault and not your family´s.
Just keep in mind that without you, the stress- causing things are not going to end until they are done for good. So take care of yourself and you can take care of other stuff much better.
You can play that computer game, browse news and read that magazine when everyone else is sleeping. Even though you need time for yourself, don´t be a poop and let other people suffer too much for your fucked- up schedules. Kids deserve dads and wives husbands, no matter how busy you are supposed to be.
And yes, you are allowed to say "no" for people. If you´re polite and too much of a yes-man, you can always use the "i´d be delighted to help you a bit later"- tactics. If people are asking you something, this means they are prepared for a "no" as well.

4. Delegating shit and asking help.
Vreth is taking care of organizing the horn players for the studio. Virta and Beast are arranging rehearsals. Tundra is spending his time to post- produce the pre- produced songs. My mom helps me out picking up my kid from school for those days I know in advance I have to be at the studio and couldn´t take off-days from work. My wife does a bit more of the stuff at home and my workplace is extremely nice and understanding at the situation as well. There are many things you cannot delegate to others, but those you can, ask for it. Make sure though how much you appreciate the help of others and do not misuse their good will. If you´re using your mom regurarly to pick up YOUR kid from school, you´re doing something very wrong. Your mom did that already with you. Asking for temporary help is different than leeching it, remember that.
ALWAYS be grateful of the help you get, because without getting it, you´d be royally fucked. And remember to help back. (Yes, hello, it´s me, spare Jesus here.)

5. Getting rid of shit by force.
What happens in the office, stays in the office. This means I do my best to leave the think- tank there where it´s being done. When I get home, I go to sauna, make food, watch Stargåte and Hercule Poirot, a ton, do crossword puzzles at bed, discuss politics with my wife, teach my son to play Monopoly and go for a flashlight-trip in the nearby forest with my family. Besides one non- used spare midi keyboard and an electric guitar, I don´t have any musical equipment at home and that´s a conscious choice.
It really doesn´t help at all if you keep thinking that failed arrangement in the sofa while watching O´Neill whopping Goa´Ulds around the galaxy or dying in a WoW boss encounter because you were thinking of meeting schedules instead. This doesn´t come easy- you have to force yourself to Zen. And by Zen, I mean very simple practice: You do one thing at the time. As I said, multitasking is for machines. In time, this starts to come more natural and you realize you actually managed to spend the whole evening with only once thinking how those next week´s rehearsals should be arranged!
(Also, using that calendar helps with this, trust me.)

And here´s another good bunch of ideas as well in that storm of stress.

- Don´t listen to loud and aggressive music at the evenings- instead listen to classical music and ambient. This is not an advice from someone who´se getting old and wimpy but because it really helps me clearing your head
- Excessive use of alcohol and general intoxication is a great idea. IN ABOUT 1 CASES OUT OF TEN. In a stressful situation, you need all the clear mind you can get, you are horribly dependant on serotonine, you need quality sleep even more than I need to continue? When you go drinking, make sure you will "remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". That will be your well- deserved day off. And you can´t afford many day- offs, so spend it wisely. Working in a stressful situation with a hangover is pretty much not working at all but just wasting time.
- Remember to eat well. Hamburgers are not an option because you don´t have time to do food. Yes, you have. There is always time for making food. By the time it takes you to walk to nearest Pizza Hut, waiting for your order and walking back, you would had already prepared that meal twice at home. "But I´m not home, mr. Trollhorn, but at the office/ studio/ car repair center!"
Make more of it when you do, and take some with you to the office/ studio. You´ll save money as well!
- When you do, whatever you do, remember Zen. As everyone should know by now, it´s been clearly studied that an average work day has only a certain amount of productive time and the rest is just farting around and bullshit. Why don´t you actually decide those thresholds by yourself instead of going with the flow?
 -Write a futile blog text if you don´t feel like working. Just make sure you have time still do the actual work, too. Calendar!

Now I´m going to enjoy some coffee in all peace, and then work my ass off for the next two hours with no breaks and achieve more in that time than in a regular 6 hours. What a fucking great plan!



PS: This has got to be some sort of a joke, I got a phonecall in the middle of writing this where I was asked to give a lecture about game music composing at Unversity. :D Honored as fuck, I had to ask them to get back to me at january. :P

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"A new look to Stars and Stripes"

Me and Tundra made an awesome new song, and the guys spent the weekend playing in Mone...Pag...Heathen...somethingfest. I also took the liberty of udoing a demo preview- compilation and put it to our Facebook- page. Feel free to surf there and go nuts while you're reading this!
 I've been drowning on finishing the last half of a movie score besides the album- writing, so needless to say, I'm close to going slightly mad very soon, heh. I still have about 8 minutes to do before I can concentrate more on the Trollish stuff-which means that later next week I should be able to continue finishing the last material for the album. Finally caught that flu too everyone and their children were having, so it's been quite a pleasure doing orchestrations mixed with "duets for a tissue and a mug of lukewarm coffee".

 I also made finally a Twitter- account yesterday where I can act like I was some sort of a professional composer,so hook me up from there if you're interested @trollhornmusic. Now I'd need some sleep but am still too excited of reading the newest issue of Android Magazine.^^ Sorry for turning this into a diary, it seems. Next update will bemore band- related, I promise!

PS: Either it's me or this blog service is way beyond horrible to edit with a tablet. >.<

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Hotel Exteriors Future"


Changelog 4.3 (Release Candinate)
Project Compiling Nexro13_erilopetus_transp.cpr
Project Output Versiot_master3

Vol 3.2
- Break at 2:54- duration doubled. Added guitar.
- Implemented Heroicriff 1.1
- Main melody used at [EXIT]

Vol 3.3
- Implemented Heroicriff 1.3
- Added Ska 2.2 (unstable version)
- Heroicriff 1.4 compiled, new version.

Vol 4.0
- Removed Heroicriff 1.2
- Removed Ska 2.2 (stable version)
- Heroicriff 1.3 used at [EXIT]
- Added drum break at [EXIT]

Vol 4.1
- Removed Heroicriff 1.2
- Removed Ska 2.2 (stable version)
- Heroicriff 1.3 used at [EXIT]
- Added drum break at [EXIT]
- BUG REPORT: Missing parameter "%EXCITEMENT"

Vol 4.2
- Reverted back from 3.3 with some additional tweaks from build 4.1

Vol 4.3
- Removed Main melody from [EXIT]
 -Added parameter "%EXCITEMENT"


Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Hotel Exteriors Present"

The plot is thickening.

Today´s agenda is all about keeping your shit together, a.k.a organizing. Running a band isn´t actually that far from running a business, believe it or not. Money aside, though- you don´t get anything reasonable out from this unless you run a record company, promotion agency or management. Ironic, isn´t it? However, when you´re preparing for an album it´s extremely important that you know exactly "what, when, where and why" you´re doing stuff.

In the above- placed Excel- sheet- snippet you can see how it goes in the Camp Finntroll. From left to right the rows go as following:

|"Working title | Real Title | Duration | Tempo- Key | Music done | Lyrics done | Rehearsal files delivered | Rehearsed"|

This following example keeps us perfectly on track on stuff we have done and what is yet to be done. As you can see, there are some songs which don´t have duration or music marked- that means they are to be done but not ready yet. Production- wise, it´s very important to see what´s going on all the time and what are the key points to concentrate on within the next milestone. With this, we can see that e.g. "Halkodisko" is completely composed, rehearsed and we also have lyrics for it too. That means we can put that song completely on hold for now and concentrate on the missing X´s. 
So, I see we´re missing lyrics for "Lolbster". Email Katla and ask him about them. No rehearsal tapes for "Kyyppari" yet? Do them, and then delegate Beast Dominator to arrange the actual rehearsals for the upcoming week. Keep this in shared Dropbox/ Google Drive so everyone has access for it all the time. Which reminds me, gotta upload the rehearsal files there too.

I kinda like this organizing and during the last eight years at my work in this game house I´ve adapted quite a lot of production/organizing methods to my band- related hobbies as well. In theory, if we were indeed a games company....

Rivfader [Release Candinate V3.2]
Kyyppari [Beta 3.0]
Halkodisko [Release Candinate 2.2]
Soutu [Alpha 1.2]

F&F Alpha: 5/2012 -
Next Milestone: Kyyppari RC 3.1  09/26/12
Closed Beta: 11/14/2012 - 12/11/2012
Public Beta: TBC
Gold: TBC

All bug reports to or
Outgoing information and press releases to

Lead Design Director: Skrymer
Senior Designer: Katla
Audio Director: Trollhorn
Senior Audio Designer: Tundra
Audio Designer: Routa
Audio assistant: Virta, Vreth
Outsourcing manager: Vreth
Accounts manager and additional Audio assistant: Virta
Technical assistant: Virta
Public Relations: Vreth, Skrymer
H&R: Trollhorn

All subjects are to change. (c) Finntroll Games Inc, 2012.
Finntroll Games Inc is a part of Century Media Entertainment.

This reminds me, I actually got some real work to do. Tundra is coming after work hours to help  me with Nexro, which might be that opening track I´ve been trying to figure out. 7 weeks left before the studio starts, 75% of the material ready. With a bandmembers and material like this, we´d be fucking majorly screwed if there wasn´t schedules, shared Excel- sheets, emails and telephone communication.


Your Friendly Neighbourhood Audio Director.

PS: Even though I´m goddamn excited about this new album, my only wish was that Blizzard would had delayed the release of Mists of Pandaria until December but apparently "don´t release it yet, we have a Finntroll -album to do before that" wasn´t a good reason enough. Bollocks!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Hotel Exteriors Past"

First rehearsals went like a blast. Today we´ll figure out some more songs. But first, do you know how we actually prepare for rehearsals? Gone are the days when you showed someone "this riff goes like this": today we´re using way more advanced technology than back in the days. "What is that technology, mr. Trollhorn", you say? Well, you didn´t say. In fact, you probably wouldn´t give a rat´s ass about it. Nevertheless, I´ll tell it to you anyway.



So, I make rehearsal "tapes" to people. How? Why?  Let´s concentrate on the "why" first.
Because of time limitations mostly. With this method, we will save shitloads of time as everyone can check out what to play beforehand, and we only go to rehearsals to practice and tweak stuff together, not using half of the time showing people how to play their parts. This also gives people opportunity to....

a) ...doublecheck stuff, a.k.a "how did that part go, shit, I cannot remember and I can´t reach that composer by phone now when I have finally time to start rehearsing"
b) ...take the songs piece by piece. You don´t have to spend two hours in a row while you can do 15 minutes now and 30 minutes tomorrow. Or just play it in the background while driving your car in order to "brainwash" your memory.
c) ...not waste time arranging hook- ups at the other side of the city while you´re hands full of something else right now. We all have our personal lives too, so it´s pretty fucking convenient this way.
d) stuff. Seriously, just how great invention email is for musicians? I could kiss the one who invented attachements. Smack!

So, that was "why". And then, the "how"- part!


You might, at this point, know that I use software for demo recording. Cubase 6 in particular, with tons of plugins, romplers and samplers. Mind you, all bough and paid for. If you earn money while using someone else´s creations to do it, you DO NOT STEAL THAT CREATION. Keep that in mind.

So, let´s continue. Now we have a Cubase project open with everything up what you hear in the demos. For starters, I fix all usual playing mistakes I have done for those tracks. Trust me, there are always some. That combined with some magical copy/paste and people should be hearing riffs sounding exactly the same all the time when they re-appear. My arranging style contains quite a load of variations, so I have to make sure that a random bum note every here and there doesn´t accidentally get counted as a "variation", and I´ll hear someone faithfully repeating my playing mistakes at the rehearsals because "this was how you played it". :D
As I use plugins for guitars, there´s a neat trick I use: Distortion is turned way down, so the player can hear more clearly what to play. Another very good upside using plugins in demos!
On the top of that, I usually tend to compress and EQ "that particular instrument" in a way you can actually spot everything even better as I don´t have to care about the overall sound in the mix at that point.After that, let´s mute stuff people don´t need. Vocals, out. Most of the keys, out. Drums: Lower the volume of cymbals and put some top end to both kick drum and snare. Why? Because the drums are being used as a quiet metronome only and the top end from kick and snare will punch out nicely from the demomix still, even though the drums will be very low in the mix.

At this point we should have something that is easy to pick up. But that´s not all! I use standard EADGBE- tuning while the band doesn´t. So, something I actually learned with these sessions by a mistake ( :D ) is that if I then take the file to Sound Forge and pitch it there into D- tuning (DGCFAD) but do not touch the duration, the guys will hear basically 10-15% slower version of their rehearsal "tape" too! Now just how awesome is that? You can actually start listening to your personal part with an audible tone, played slower than usually!


And of course, I notice two hours before the rehearsals that I had accidentally sent some people unpitched versions of the songs. Which means that while the rest of the band plays the song from F#, Routa has practiced it from G#.

I wonder if the good old pen´n´paper method still has it´s advantages.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Hotel Interiors Future"

I remember when we were doing Midnattens Widunder, Katla used to play Motörhead´s "I´m so Bad (Baby I don´t Care)" every single morning. Those mornings weren´t exactly very pleasant, waking up from a floor of a horribly filthy 25 m2 flat with five other people. Smelling your own and their farts, banging the bathroom door, begging Somnium to get out from the toilet so you wouldn´t have to piss into a soda bottle. Then we walked two kilometres to the studio where we drank coffee and waited someone to play his parts so we could do something else than drinking that bad coffee.

Someone found a ketchup- bottle which had expired a year ago and we used it on our food. We didn´t have any money to buy new ketchup to use with our plain macaroni, so we had to take that risk. If I remember right, no- one actually got sick. But for some reason, we always had some money for alcohol. Except for when we went to local Black Metal guys´ rehearsal place to drink some homebrewn stuff. Was Sotajumala already formed at that point? I´m not really sure.

After all, it´s 13 years ago.

One thing though, that never seems to change is how I get my inspiration. I don´t. It gets me.
My "PERR....rrrrr*grunt*....KELE.....*grunt*" was maybe a bit too harsh when I bounced up from my bed 2:20 AM, as my wife almost bounced up too, but only because I had woken her up with my swearing.

"*gasp*...what? Godyouscaredme...whatthehell????"
- Sorry, I have to go, be back later!
"What the....where are you going.... why are you going?"
- Gotta go write notes down, sorry about waking you up, I´m going to another room, where´s my pen goddamnit".

Using the other side of my son´s drawing sketch from the afternoon, I quickly scribbled notes and guidelines for that Most Awesome Chorus (tm) I had just invented (or force- fed, depends on your point of view). It´s supposed to be a perfect match for Tundra´s Most Awesome Main Riff (tm) and when I got back to bed I had already figured out how 75% of the song would go with an extra riff I had invented while I wrote down the other.

This is the best part in writing music. Nothing beats the feeling of IGOTTAWRITETHISDOWNFAST which hits you like a truck while you least expect it. And usually, these tend to be the best ideas done. You know, those ideas what you don´t think. You just know what to do.

Or rather, are being told.

We have our first rehearsal tomorrow for the new stuff. Let´s see how this goes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Hotel Interiors Present"

Somehow it struck me.

The problem with "Rivfader" was that while there was nothing wrong with the actual song, it was played in so high key that it sounded too "light" to the other´s ears. So I took an hour to re- record all the stringed instruments again in different tune (transposed, not down- tuned) and blatantly pitched manually all the keyboards. Then I added a bit more variation to the last chorus and gave it a spin.

The result was uncanny. Going from C- minor to A minor did not actually make it sound heavy -like the other songs-, but I could also go lower in the places when the original riff clearly needed it. And, if you play guitar or bass, you know how much nicer it is to be able to use more open strings.

So, I boldly renamed the song as "rivfader_demovoxVITUNKOVA.mp3" ("vitun kova" would be directly translated as "fucking awesome") and posted it to the guys. An hour later I got an SMS which said "Rivfader_VITUNKOVA on oikeesti ihan vitun kova!!!!" (...".is really fucking awesome!!!!").

Trouble well spent. Moral of the story? Sometimes you can´t see the forest from the trees no matter how far- sighted you should technically be. Also, Blodsvett was greatly appreciated. This is awesome!
Now I need some coffee and a small break from composing alone- don´t want to end up repeating myself too much. Or I might call Tundra and ask him to drop by later if he´s cured from his Czech tour hangover by then....then again, knowing him, he´ll be having the same hangover still at thursday. :D

Later, peeps.

PS: Don´t forget to participate on the question "How are YOU imagining new Finntroll- material sounding?" on Facebook!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Hotel Interiors Past"

"Rivfader säger, nu ska vi äta någo kyckling
Nu ska vi äta någo kyckling
Och vi tycker det är GOTT!
Och vi tycker det är GOTT!"

-Trollhorn, 2012 a.y.p.s.

Usually, there are no lyrics done before music. Then I tend to use some old shit. Like, for example mentioned earlier, one new song went in 6/8 so I just took Blodnatt´s lyrics and used them. But sometimes there´s nothing old which would fit the exact rhytm I´d want to demonstrate in "how I imagined the vocal lines to sound like". So, enter complete and utter bullshit lyrics!

This above-quoted line is the chorus of "Kyyppari" which fits like a glove. Everything is always debatable and I don´t want to give super- detailed instruction except for some certain parts where certain timing is absolutely necessary. And this part was CRUCIAL to have this certain timing, so I just took the first words that popped into my mind, twisted them a bit to match the pattern even better and that was it.
It seems that I need some lunch, I guess.

On the other hand, "Blodsvett" got completed this morning. After I spent four (!!) hours trying different things from certain point onwards, I woke up this morning and realized which of them I should definitely go with. And when I had recorded that, I instantly knew how to proceed.
Oh, and there´s a guitar solo coming up.

I wonder what people will say when this album is going to be out. It´s really hard to say if this is the same band that did Vätteanda and Svampfest, but more of the band who did Mot Skuggornas Värld. Then again, every time I start to listen to the new songs thinking if this is going to be too "straight- forward" album, I tend to be positively surprised with the lurking evilness behind.
I´m going to promise myself I´ll do some faster shit now, otherwise we´ve got too much of that groovy shit. Even though how good they are supposed to be, no- one wants to listen to an album which has only straight- forfard mid- tempo- ish punk songs with palm- muted guitars. :D
And folk! We definitely need some more folk. Luckily the three songs I´m working with are all very heavily based on that stuff. Let´s see!

I guess it´s Nexro tiem then. Seven finished songs already and studio starts in three months. Do we actually have time to think about them with the whole group and make them even more better together? I really hope so.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Don´t tell my boss but I accidentally Finntroll the whole day.

Nexro is completely arranged and cleaned from crap riffs until 2- minute mark and I spent the rest of the day doing a new song. (!!!) We´ll call it "Blodsvett" for now.
It started as a cheap Amon Amarth (!!!!!!!!) riffing, but evolved out to be quite sporty piece in the true Finntroll style (tm). But then that bad Amon Amarth- riff got kicked out as I started to hate it, and I replaced that with a completely new, good main riff. Today´s wisest decision.

Add that to the "upcoming list" in your head, now I gotta flee home from the office.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Visited By IRS"

(This summer has been busy as fuck, everyone being on vacation at different times, which has left us not so much time to do music together. However, something has been done indeed. So hear, hear!)

1. Prologue

Did you know that I have 142 game music soundtracks, of which roughly 25% are official soundtracks and the rest ripped out from game files? My most beloved soundtrack is the game music rip from World of Warcraft, containing every single musical snippet ever existed in the game.
Which are a lot. 1722 files, to be exact. I usually put it on shuffle when I´m driving my car and enjoy the orchestral soundscapes of Azeroth while trying to not to lose my temper in that usual traffic jam.

So, why am I telling you this? Because I spent one week of my summer re- arranging, polishing and tidying my collection and uploaded it into a cloud where I can stream the right into my mobile phone or tablet. Some might say I´m insane, but I´d rather use the term "enthusiast". My wife tends to lean on the looney description, though. Good thing I´m already married; if you´re not, I suggest you still keep on pretending you like her music collection and "are bored with yours right now, so just put on anything you want, honey" for now.

No, that wasn´t what I supposed to tell. I was supposed to tell you some updates for the new Finntroll album, that´s right! Routa has made one semi- ready song now, and me and Tundra finished one of Tundra´s half- made song. Or rather, buttraped it with Balkan influences! (Yes, we´re apparently Trollfest now. Or Finnfest? Trolltroll? Nevertheless, I´m sure you will like it. In fact, I´m pretty sure it has some potential hit material within.)

2. To the point, Batman!

Speaking of hit material, I´m starting to be convinced this is actually going to be the best album we have ever released. Apparently 65% of the material is now written, and each song has turned out to be almost better than another, having individual hooks and melodies to remember and they all groove like David Hasselhoff on poppers.

To wrap it up for you, in May we had:

  1. Rivfader (ready)
  2. Marilyn (ready)
  3. Rocklolbster (old version which was ready at that point)
  4. Nexro (total mess, not nearly finished)
  5. Tomboijohnson (somehow later this became Jorma and...Jorma, well, disappeared?)
  6. Jorma (??? :D )
  7. Soutu (same situation in May and in August)
  8. Tonttuparaati (killed in action)
So, what has happened? It´s August and we have.....

Ready songs (5 pieces):
  1. Rivfader
  2. Marilyn
  3. Rocklolbster a.k.a new title, "Piraattilolbster" (new version, complete but needs demovocals* recorded and that´s it)
  4. Halkodisko
  5. Jorma (or Tomboijohnson??) a.k.a new title anyway, "Kyyppari" (complete but needs also demovocals*)
 *(I´m going to the office at Saturday to do the vocals, which means that they are 100% finished demos then)

Not ready songs, but certain when finished (3 pieces):
  1. Nexro (60% complete, main melody finally nailed, arranging is a mess, absolutely no more riffs needed)
  2. Routa´s song a.k.a new title, "Kiguli" (70% complete, arranging is a mess still, need to sit down with Routa and Tundra)
  3. Soutu (40% complete, not sure if it´s good until the point it stops and nothing is written since. Main riff is awesome, though.)
Uncertain (3 pieces):
  1. Tonttuparaati (this has been done to death, turning it into 6/8 shuffle made it sound like the first Covenant album. Maybe I´ll do it, maybe not. Probably not.)
  2. Samin uus, a.k.a Tundra´s new song (no idea of the process, I just know he´s doing "something")
  3. Punkki  (a.k.a Routa´s (unheard) punk song which might fit combined with one punk melody- idea I have.)
3. Epilogue

We´re probably going less synth, less producing and polishing this album, and aiming more towards a rougher production. The package you will hear will be much simpler this time, as the arranging and synthetic ear- candy in (especially) Nifelvind is pretty much unbeatable for us. So, while others paint themselves into the corner, we´re eating our way out of it. And yes, you can draw parallels to Kivenkantaja- Verisäkeet- leap if you will. Or even Now, Diabolical, if you will. We are skipping the "11th ending of this riff is having a different crash cymbal here" and "let´s add a third synth bass here to emphasize that seventh quarter- note of that riff on the last round". Instead, we´re bringing you mountains.


This album shall bring them to you. And to Mohammed. Be warned.
(In fact, it will probably split Mohammed and whoever stands there in fucking half. Hey, he asked for it after all, according to that phrase.