Finnish Folk Metal legends Korpiklaani are on their way to Australia for a countrywide tour next month, in support of their latest album ‘Kulkija’. Ahead of the tour, I had the opportunity to speak with none other than Shaman Violin himself, Tuomas Rounakari. This will be the band’s second time ever in Australia, and it is safe to say they are excited to be coming back. Rounakari recounted many fond memories of their first Australian trip, gave a little insight on what fans can expect to see at the shows, and discussed the success of ‘Kulkija’.
When asked about the band’s previous experience here, Rounakari said “We have really good memories of that tour, it was really a good experience and also we had no idea how many enthusiastic fans we have in Australia, so now that we know there are actually people over there who like the band it feels really good to come over.” He went on to discuss his memory of sailing in Sydney: “I’ve been sailing all my life, especially with wooden classic boats. And I found out there is actually one beautiful classic boat that’s built in Sweden in Sydney, and I contacted that owner if I could come over and see that boat because it’s quite unusual that those kinds of boats are so far from Scandinavia.”
He is also looking forward to coming back, as this time they’ll be able to see a bit more of the country thanks to having a tour bus. “Now we know that we have the bus, that gives us a possibility to stop somewhere, you know, not for a long time but at least you get some kind of like “Oh it smells like this out here” you know in a nature far from cities so those little experiences are important for myself to sort of like, feel the country, you know, to have a more holistic feeling of how the place is, and you don’t get that in a city. Cities are so full of… fellow humans. (laughs)” The cities according to him are too people-centric, and prefers more nature-based sightseeing.
When discussing the latest album, Rounakari made a point of mentioning the enormous positive feedback from Australian fans. “There were a lot of reviews and a lot of positive reviews in Australia for Kulkija and the feedback we’ve been getting there ourselves has been very exciting. And Kulkija is a funny album, we definitely have done something right with this album because it divides opinions… and well in Australia all the reviews were very very positive and excited, and the feedback has been very exciting from Australia so maybe we made an album that suits you really well!”
He also discussed what kinds of things the fans can expect for the live shows, and since the tour is centered around the new album the set will be ‘Kulkija’-heavy. “The focus is on the latest album, especially now because we as a band are very enthused about the last album – we’ve actually played already almost every song from that album live…there are some songs that we kinda have to play always like Vodka for example we just can’t be without playing it, and it’s actually fun; we aren’t tired of playing that song at all because it just gives such a huge kick to the crowd every single time.” Rounakari also expressed his and the band’s desire to begin touring here more often. “We always want to come but it’s technical things, the long flights and all the extra expenses that we have coming over there so do we meet the ends at the end of the day. But that is totally dependent on people showing up and supporting us by physically coming to the shows and having fun. But I do hope so. I doubt we could come there every year, but you know every second or every third year that’d be fantastic.”
And it appears that we as Australians have gained a reputation overseas – when asked if Aussies are known for their partying Rounakari answered: “Yes you do. (laughing) And I gotta say that the Australians who come to our shows in other countries, they sort of stand out and it’s sort of like – I don’t know if everybody comes to greet us but it happens more than from other places… we’ve met many Australians that are so in euphoria drunk and happy and just you know shining and saying that ‘I came all the way from Australia to see you guys’ and it’s always it feels really good… it’s quite common everywhere that we have a drunken party and a wild crowd so that’s not unusual but somehow – somehow you guys stand out when you come overseas to our shows.”
Don’t hold your breath for it, but we may or may not be treated to a Shaman Violin solo. Rounakari was asked about performing one like last time, and he seemed very keen to: “We haven’t been doing that for a long time. When we were in Japan I had a solo for that, but other than that we haven’t been doing that for a long while. I would love to do more and that’s kind of a nice idea so we’ll have to see how long our set time is and if that would be an option.”
Last year marked 15 years as a band for Korpiklaani, and Rounakari put the band’s longevity and success down to the individuality of each band member. “There are many things that keep us going – one of the things is that we are a good bunch of people in a way that every one in our band and our technicians and all the people that we travel with are very different from each other…that has sort of created a space where we don’t have this sort of group identity that everybody has to do things in the same way. I think many bands fall into this – that you have you have this sort of group identity that doesn’t allow yourself to be authentically who you are.”
By the sounds of it this is a tour not to be missed! Get your tickets HERE!