Jyri Vahvanen


Battlelore is an interesting case of a band basing its work upon the writings of Mr. Lord Of The Rings J.R.R. Tolkien. But they don't stop there! Even their visual concept is based upon Tolkien's work. Their new album, The Third Age Of The Sun, brought us in the way of guitarist Jyri Vahvanen. Let's see what he had to say...
By Michael Dalakos
November 7, 2005
Jyri Vahvanen (Battlelore) interview
Your third album is entitled Third Age of The Sun. Is it a coincidence?

No, it is not a coincidence, we wanted the title of the album to give a hint about this, but also it represents a certain time period in the words of Tolkien as you might know. This describes the beginning of the new age in his words. It was also the beginning of a new period for us since now we have two new members in the lineup. So no coincidence here (Laughs).

Can you give us some general information about the recording sessions of this new album?

Ok, we recorded the album in France, in Marseilles, with Terje Refsnes as the producer who has also produced bands like Sirenia. An amazing producer, very talented person. We spent five weeks in the studio. We didn't have any problems during the recordings. It was an enjoyable experience. Actually it was very nice because when we recorded the album in Finland it was winter but in France the sun was shining. It was really nice.

All our previous albums were recorded in Finland and this time we really wanted to do something different. I am so happy with the result that I want to record our fourth album the same way.

I like all you albums but I can't really say that I have found any big differences between them. Even in the new one. Am I mistaken?

I think that the atmosphere of the new album is more organic. Maybe this album is a bit more melancholic. This time Jussi [Rautio - Lead Guitars] our second guitar player wrote half of the songs. In the past I was the main composer. I think that brought a fresh touch in our sound. I never said that our albums had major differences between them, but I think in the new one the atmosphere is in a whole new level.

Most of the times bands that try to play this kind of Metal become parodies of themselves. So far you have managed to avoid such a thing. You have managed to keep a variable approach. How important and difficult is this for you?

For us it is quite important. Of course I understand that when you try to enjoy the music you are playing you will make some mistakes along the way. You must also keep in mind that many bands get intervention in their music from the business side of the industry. I know it is a bad thing but it happens. We take our music really seriously and we enjoy it.

Do you think that an average Metal fan can understand the meaning of your music?

First of all someone must have the lyrics in order to understand our music. Then again you must have some connection with Tolkien's writings, otherwise you will probably not understand many things. This might be a little difficult for an average Metal fan. Regarding the music, I think we have some mainstream parts. But it was my decision to have a band writing music only based on Tolkien's word and I haven't regreted it so far.

Will you shoot any videos for the new album?

Yes, actually we did a video. Just before I called you I had a phone call from the video producer; tomorrow I will go check out the editing of the video. It is for the song Storm Of The Blades.

Will there be any limited editions?

Yeah, there is a limited edition and it includes three bonus tracks. When we recorded the album we did 16 songs but then our label asked us to save 3 for a limited edition. I think it is a good deal because it is not one of the crappy limited editions with one bonus track taken from a demo or something. These are three songs destined for this album. No leftovers. These are 100% Battlelore songs.

Last year you released a DVD with only two full length albums in your arsenal. Where did you base that decision?

I know what you mean. It wasn't our idea. It was our label's idea. We wanted to do a video clip but the label convinced us to do a whole DVD. It was a surprise for us. Many people asked us about this, well, even I am a bit confused about this (Laughs). But I think it turned out quite nice. Indeed it was really early for us. No one really knew what we were doing.

Touring plans...

I think it is too early. We will do a European tour as soon as possible. I am still waiting for a call from a company.

Modern society has forced us to live in a very stereotyped way. Do you think that your music can offer a window to another world for the listener?

I hope so. In my case it does. I am a huge Tolkien fan and the way he created his imaginary world. That's what we are trying to do with our music. I want to believe that our music can offer such a mind trip. Having a 9 to 5 way of life is really boring and I am not saying it to offend all those people following it. Most of them hate it as well but as you well mentioned this is a forced way of life.

If Tolkien was able to listen to your music... how do you think he would have reacted?

Oh my god! (Laughs) I think he wouldn't like it. He wasn't a fan of Metal music as far as I know [Laugh]. What I also know is that he wasn't very happy when people came to him and asked him details regarding his work. If he liked it... that would have been a huge honor for us.

If you had the ability to change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?

I would make the music industry more human. More chances to new bands. It's all about money today. Huge labels create artists, they squeeze every penny they can make from him and then throw him away. This is terrible. You can see this in all the Pop stars but don't be fooled that such things don't happen in Heavy Metal. They do happen.

Can you tell us your biggest dream regarding Battlelore?

The biggest dream will be to be able to make all my living out of this band so I won't need any regular job. I don't want to make huge money or something. Just to be able to work on a 100% basis for the band and nothing else.

Thanks for your time. Close this interview with a message to all our readers...

Thank you Michael. I want to thank all those who keep supporting us all those year. I wish you like our new album, it is 100% Battlelore magic!!!

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