lunedì 7 settembre 2015

Antti Kumpulainen talks albout The Man Eating-Tree new album "In The Absence Of Light"

“This is the dawn of the new.. music” - Antti Kumpulainen talks albout The Man Eating-Tree new album "In The Absence Of Light" out last march.

LFdM: Hi Antti, thank you very much for your time. It's a pleasure for me and for our readers to talk about your band. So, I think "In The Absence Of Light" is great!  Honestly, this album is one of the best albums of the year, in my opinion of course.. 
What do you think about it?
Antti Kumpulainen: "Nice to hear that you like the album. It took a lot of patience and dedication to be finished the way we wanted it, but in the end we're really happy and pleased about it. Couldn't done it better. We truly shed our heart and soul for this one. No matter how painful the outcome might be. The album shows what we're about at the moment."

LFdM: In these years (since I opened this blog) I learned that for one thing there are a lot of different meanings, the light for example: for someone is just a matter of shades, for others is the glimpse at the end of the tunnel. What is the meaning of the word "light" in this album?
Antti: "The light in this context is quite hard to explain. Maybe because there really isn't much of it! Haha! When we started writing the album we had conversations where we sort of decided that this album should be an absolute barrier-free presentation of what has happened in our lives or what we've come across during the last...let's say 2-3 years. We had to encounter and witness pretty harsh and dark things, with the band and personally. I think the lyrical approach on this album is more personal.
Dark, twisted things we faced almost every day. That's the bottom point about the overall mood of the album and of course that's where the album title comes from."

LFdM: Your ex singer Tuomas Tuominen had a great voice, I always thought he was perfect for you, but after I heard you, I had to change my mind. Why this change?
Antti: "Thank you for your kind words. To answer your question, like they say nothing lasts forever. The band had a different path to follow than its ex-members. No bad blood or anything like that. With the line-up changes that had to be done, The Man-Eating Tree could musically go wherever we wanted."

LFdM: In my opinion you brought a more rock and heavy atmosphere to the band, obviously keeping your personal trademark. Was the songwriting and recording process somehow different than usual?
Antti: "I can't really point out what my presence in the band has brought to the overall sound. Lyrically, I had free hands and that resulted true, dark stories of human life. With the singing, my style doesn't differ that much with my predecessor. Of course my voice is not the same and it was never supposed to be an exact copy of Tuomas. I do things maybe a bit differently and am not afraid to experiment.
The writing process was done differently this time, with the both guitarists Janne Markus and Antti Karhu bringing their own compositions.
During the rehearsals we as a band worked them until we were happy about the result.
The album itself was recorded in two sessions. We had almost all the songs more or less ready when we started the first session. This way we could focus more closely on individual songs. This was absolutely the right way to record this album."

LFdM: I found in "In The Absence of Light" a polychrome sound, starting to epic vibes of Amorphis as far to the sublime decadence of Katatonia. It leaves you with an empty soul, but in a good way. What are your impression about this album?
Antti: "Hmm, it's always a bit difficult to compare our sound with other bands' signature sound. I like those bands you mentioned, but I think they both do their own thing, just like The Man-Eating Tree does. I think with "In The Absence Of Light" we really gave new depth to our own sound. We just took everything further. I mean, someone could recognize the sound from the previous albums but on this new album, there's so much more. There's hopelessness, despair, fear, misused affection, even death and self-destruction, to mention some of the themes on the album."

LFdM: How has your sound progressed/evolved from Harvest to In The Absence of Light? Musically, I think Harvest is much more dark and hard with a lot more depth, Was it something you planned?
Antti: "I can easily agree with you that our sound has progressed from the "Harvest"-album. It was a dark album for sure, but when we look at it as a whole it seems also a bit too narrow, if you know what I mean. On "In The Absence Of Light" we weren't afraid to experiment and do things we maybe couldn't do before. When some song needed a heavy, crushing part - why not.
When some song needed a beautiful, melodic part - why the hell not. We went further than we expected. To us, this new album is much more darker than anything we've done before. Musically and lyrically. The overall feeling on this album is definitely more personal and really gets under your skin."

LFdM: One of your band members comes from a great finnish band, "Sentenced". You play more or less the same melancholic music, with some new elements like keyboards. What are the main differences between The Man-Eating Tree and  other gothic melodic bands?
Antti: "I'm not sure what to think about labeling bands within some genres.  Music should be free from all restrictions. Yes we have melodies, heavy guitars, keyboards and a certain melancholy in our music. If that makes us gothic, so be it! Haha! Couldn't care less. It doesn't define how I should make music. The way I look at it, The Man-Eating Tree is what we are as people. We just do our thing from the heart and that's all that matters. It just happens to be quite melancholic. Period."

LFdM: Oulu is a beautiful place I had the pleasure to visit two years ago. Do you think your sound is influenced by the place you come from?
Antti: "The city of Oulu is quite typical, in Finland I mean. Nothing grand or fancy. I'm not into living in a big city, there's nothing for me. Too many people, in that perspective Oulu suits me just fine. Here I can isolate myself pretty easily, if I want to.  The other thing that pleases me is that here we have real autumn and winter. The summer in here is luckily quite short. But to answer your question about Oulu influencing our sound..? Well I think that is up to you to decide. Can't really tell."

LFdM: You are not a “young”  band,  each of you comes from different projects. What are your most important memories?
Antti: " Yes we all have a background in making music. Especially our guitarist Janne Markus (ex-Poisonblack) and drummer Vesa Ranta (ex-Sentenced) have been doing their share more than the others, but
nevertheless we're all huge music lovers and can't stop making music in one way or another."

LFdM: Who was your first teacher musically speaking?
Antti: "I am self-taught, maybe that's why I know nothing about the theory of music. Haha! But there's a long list of influences if you count that as a musical guidance. Trent Reznor, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Alice In Chains and Deftones, just to name a few. And then there's one band from my hometown that definitely put their mark a deep, deep into my soul. I think you might guess which band I'm talking about."

LFdM: You played in a lot of different countries.  Is there any place or country where you’d like to play?
Antti: "For me, playing live is always an extraordinary experience, no matter where the venue is."

LFdM: Is there any possibility to see you perform in Italy? Also, are there any shows already planned in Europe?
Antti: "Yes there's always a possibility for that, of course. Nothing's confirmed yet, but we'll keep our thumbs high."

Thank you so much Antti for your time, It was a pleasure for me!

Interview by Michela
Editing by Alessia

Photo credits: Matti Riekki And Mari-Anne Lopakka

(HERE our review about the album)