In the lead up to their hugely anticipated debut Australian tour, OVERDRIVE had the chance to speak with Wintersun guitarist Teemu Mantysaari and bassist Jukka Koskinen about the upcoming tour, gear, and everything Wintersun.
Overdrive: This tour marks your first time playing to an Australian crowd. How’re you feeling about it all and what are your expectations for the shows?
Teemu: “Personally I’m really excited to go to Australia for the first time. I’ve heard a lot of good things and it’ll be nice to get to a warmer place than Finland at the moment (laughs). We’ve heard a lot from our Australian fans that they’d like to see Wintersun so we’re looking forward to coming over and making some great shows there.
Jukka: Of course this is truly amazing that Wintersun are going outside of Europe and North America for the first time. These are exciting times and it’s very adventurous because we don’t really know what to expect. We’ve had so many messages from our Australian fans and we’re so happy and relieved that we finally have the chance to come and play. We want to share special moments with as many people as we can, wherever we can.
Overdrive: Are there any landmarks or sights you’d like to see in your downtime over here?
Teemu: I think the schedule is pretty tight but we always try to go out for a little walk and ask the locals what they recommend near the venue, or if we have a bit more time take a car and see some places. There’s gonna be a lot of cool and different things to see than we’re used to over in Europe.
Jukka: Personally or with Wintersun I’ve never been into Australia so I’m really looking forward to it because I don’t have too much of an idea what is over there, so I’m sure anything we get to see will be truly amazing.
Overdrive: You’ve just finished up a huge European tour in support of The Forest Seasons, how did that go and how did the new material translate live?
Teemu: It was really great. We’ve been doing 3 songs from the new album and all the new songs have been working really well live. They all have different moods and add really nicely to the setlist. We have a different light show for each and have been putting them in the set where they flow nicely. There’s also the older material in-between to break it up.
Jukka: It’s been incredible, they just bring so much more atmosphere when combined with the older songs. They focus more on the mood in the actual song, even more than the older stuff. Where previous songs have been a lot more jumpy and progressive, this new material brings a lot more depth and atmosphere to our live set.
Overdrive: You took a lot of time off touring to record the new album, will this record see Wintersun touring extensively in support of it?
Teemu: That’s the idea now. We’re going to be as active live as possible, all the way through 2018 as well. We’re currently booking more shows and hoping to go to as many places as possible, including heaps of places we’ve never been before like Australia, Asia and Eastern European countries.
Jukka: We’ve already started hard with the European tour. 90% of the places were new for us, even in Europe. So we’re definitely planning on touring much more. A lot is up to the promoters and the people to get us there, but of course we’re trying to get to as many new places as we can. Things are very different to in the past where we’d do a bit here and there but not tour continuously like a normal band, so now we’re aiming to be more like a normal band (laughs).
Overdrive: You’ve got Claim the Throne and Orpheus Omega supporting you all around Australia, as well as Claim the Throne coming with you to Asia as well. Are there any Australian bands that have really gotten your attention?
Teemu: Airbourne of course, I love their stuff. Ne Obliviscaris have put out some really cool stuff too. Every once in a while there’s some cool Australian stuff coming out but those are the ones off the top of my head.
Jukka: That’s a good one. It’s hard for me because I haven’t been following the scene in so many years and I’m a bit out of touch with all the newer bands. I did a background check on Claim the Throne and those guys sounded very nice indeed. Ne Obliviscaris are the band that caught my eye with the whole crowdfunding thing because it was so different to how bands normally do it. My time is the old Sega Mega Drive days when Midnight Oil was playing, so it’s been a while since I updated my software (laughs).
Overdrive: What does your touring rig consist of at the moment?
Teemu: We try to keep it really simple and flying friendly at right now. Currently we’re using Axe FX for the guitars, which has all the patches we use. We go direct in so there’s no cabinets on stage, and everyone uses in ear monitors so that’s really convenient. We use the Line 6 wireless gear as well for both the instruments and the vocal mics. Wintersun exclusively uses Ibanez guitars and basses, and now all of my guitars are setup with Evertune bridges which is so convenient live because it helps with the intonation and keeping the guitars in tune which can be a problem when you’re going from one climate to another. Other than that it’s pretty simplified at the moment.
Jukka: We’re a bit different in that regard because we’re an almost fully digital live band. We use a backing track for all the symphonic sounds because we can’t afford a live orchestra, so that makes us a very mobile band. I use a Darkglass preamp so it’s only myself and the drummer that are using analogue gear at the moment. There’s so many different guitar sounds on the album which makes it very practically brilliant to use these digital rigs, to the point where we don’t even need to use pedalboards live anymore. All of the elements need to be there when playing live, so that we can make it sound even better than on the albums. We want to make it an atmospheric journey for everyone in the audience.
Overdrive: Now that the crowdfunding campaign is over and the album is out, what are your thoughts on how it has been received by the fans?
Teemu: It went really great and we’re extremely thankful to everyone who took part in the campaign. We’d been planning it for a long time and had a lot of trust in the campaign, but it was a really nice surprise to see exactly how well it went. We’ve heard a lot of good feedback from fans about how much they love the content. We’re already thinking about the next campaign and what we can offer all of the fans to try and top this one. We’ll start putting that together after all of touring we’ve got lined up, and then we can start working on the next album as well. We also learnt how to do a lot of the things better. Other bands had done similar kind of things but not quite the same because the package we were offering was really special. The next one we do may not have the same kind of media hype but we’re gonna come up with something even more special to make it more interesting for all the fans.