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Jonne Järvelä Interview

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Chad Bowar: How have Korpiklaani’s previous albums been received in the U.S. compared to Europe?
Jonne Järvelä: What I’ve seen in the reviews seems like the previous albums were received as well as in Europe. That’s why we are eager to play gigs there and see if the people like us as well as in Europe.

How did you get started in music?
It was 1983. I was 9 years old and I asked my parents to buy me as a Christmas present, the Kiss Lick It Up album. I got it and I listened to it all the time. A funny memory from that time. I asked my dad at the Christmas table, “What does Lick It Up mean?” Dad answered, “Eat your food, you will learn it later.” A little while after that I bought Iron Maiden Piece Of Mind and W.A.S.P.’s first album, which finalized my way to music.

Was there a song or album that inspired you to want to perform music?
Yes! “I Wanna be Somebody,” “Ace Of Spades,” “Where Eagles Dare,” “Aces High,” “Bark At The Moon,” “Seek And Destroy” and many others at that time made me perform in the front of a big mirror with a tennis racket as a guitar. It was clear to me already then what I’m going to do with my life.

How did Korpiklaani get started?
Korpiklaani get started after many curves. I founded my first band with my friends in Vesilahti in 1988. Vesilahti is a little village in southern part of Finland. I moved from Vesilahti up to northern part of Finland, Lapland in 1993 and at the same time I got bored with metal music for a while. I sold my electric guitars and amps and I bought a good acoustic guitar. Folk music filled the hole which metal left in my life. I started to play acoustic music and I did it for about five years. Then little by little I became interested in metal music again and I wanted to put both musical worlds together. That happened in 1998, and in 1999 came the first Shaman album Idja. The first Korpiklaani album was going to come out as the third Shaman album but we decided to change the name during the recordings of Spirit Of The Forest. That’s how it came out as the first Korpiklaani album and this band was born.

What sets Korpiklaani apart from other folk metal bands?
Our musical roots are very deep in the Finnish forest ground. There is no other folk metal band who dare to play as folk as we do. We are using only real instruments like fiddle, accordion, many kind of pipes. We are not using synthesizers as so many other folk metal bands do. Many other folk metal bands are more like black metal but we are more like regular heavy with folk elements. Korpiklaani’s folk music rocks like a reindeer.

Do you have a day job, or are you able to make a living playing music?
I have no time for a day job so I’m trying to survive by playing music.

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