Interview – Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

amorphis 2018 interview slide - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Interview – Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Amorphis2018b - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of AmorphisIt is a tried and true adage that many things in life come back around in a cyclical fashion. This is especially true for Amorphis, those progressive death metal titans from Helsinki, Finland. Over a career spanning three decades, there are bound to be personnel shifts. When Olli-Pekka Laine, the founding bass guitarist, left the fold to pursue other paths and other dreams, who could have guessed that nearly 20 years later circumstances would return him to the band that he helped launch.

Recently, we caught up to the talented Finn, to discuss his return to Amorphis, brand new stunning studio album Queen of Time, due for release May 18th, 2018, as well as a few other interesting tidbits and details which fans will want to know.

CrypticRock.com – Looking back at your career, you helped form and create Amorphis back in 1990. A decade or so later, you helped conceive the albums of the mighty Progressive Metal band Barren Earth? Did you ever imagine, back when you started, that you would be a huge part of two successful bands in your homeland?

Olli-Pekka Laine – No, it started as a hobby before Amorphis started to take off. We had no intention to try and get any success. We just wanted to play music that we liked. It was 100% of being a fan of Death Metal and Prog Rock music, any kind of music. Any music we made we would have liked to listen to ourselves. Any success came as a by-product of the music we made. Of course we dreamed of being Rock-n-Roll stars as a teenager, but it was so far away, especially in Finland because there were no successful bands from there back in the day. It was a very distant dream. My son plays guitar nowadays but I don’t know, the world has changed so much. I guess it’s much harder to come up with a successful Rock band these days. Everything seems to be done in the Metal genre, so it’s hard to come up with original band ideas, to break through. Also there is much more opportunities, at least in Finland nowadays, so I would request my son to stay in school and go to a real job.

amorphis 2018 4 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Relapse Records

amorphis 2018 7 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Relapse Records

CrypticRock.com – One would imagine the allure of being in a touring band would be tempting, but a huge risk indeed. When you got the call to rejoin Amorphis, did it catch you by surprise, and how did you feel coming back into the fold? Did it feel like coming home?

Olli-Pekka Laine – It felt like coming home, but of course I felt horrified at first, because I realized it was going to completely change my life. During these 20 years between, I’ve worked with various other bands, studied for 3 different degrees, and I had a permanent job for the state of Finland. I also realized that I have to abandon a lot of it, stay out of the job, and start to tour with the band. Now I’m 45 years old already, so it’s kind of, well it is what I want to do with my life, but how long can I do it? It was alluring to say yes, and so far it has been great fun, and nostalgic, this past year. It has been a really warm-hearted welcome from the fans and the band.

CrypticRock.com – You were certainly a huge part of the band’s seminal albums. Are you looking at going forward balancing Barren Earth and Amorphis, and have you talked about being the permanent bass player?

Olli-Pekka Laine – I’m the permanent bass player. Now, since I have to leave my day job, Amorphis will be my top priority. That is the primary financial source for me, and I have a family to raise and loans from the bank to pay. I have to base my gigs on that. It’s been pretty hard to tour with Barren Earth because of other responsibilities of the band members. It’s been a pain in the ass, and it’s one of the things that made the decision even harder. Because Barren Earth cannot arrange tours and I like to play gigs, and the music of Amorphis is not that far from Barren Earth’s music, Amorphis will be the priority from now on. We are trying to find space in our schedules to do some gigs with Barren Earth.

amorphis 2018 6 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Relapse Records

amorphis 2018 1 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Relapse Records

CrypticRock.com – Fans will appreciate your hard work, as both bands have produced some amazing music. You were there for the conception and recording of Queen of Time. It is such a different album for you guys, but it moves the band forward and is truly a work of art. Can you tell me what it was like creating with your old friends again? Was the old magic there, and what did you personally bring to the development of this album?

Olli-Pekka Laine – The magic was there already, soon as we started to rehearse for the upcoming gigs. I played one or two shows, seven or ten years ago during the anniversary tour, and at all times it is there. When it comes to the album, we started recording it around two months after the last gig of the Under the Red Cloud tour, and we started to rehearse very shortly after that last show.

The songs are made by Esa and my input is that we as a band help arrange them as they are on the album. It was kind of a demanding job as well, because those rough demos are made at home and we needed to tweak them to be Amorphis songs, in a way. In that way it’s like we did things together. I didn’t write the music for the album, but maybe that will be different next time. We were touring the whole summer prior and I was working. Festival gigs on the weekend and then I went to work on Monday and there was no time to write music.

CrypticRock.com – That sounds quite demanding, to juggle those two careers. Queen of Time is the second Amorphis album produced by the famed Jens Bogren. Were you familiar with the man prior to the recording of the new album?

Olli-Pekka Laine – I wasn’t familiar with him but I knew what he has done. I knew he recorded Under The Red Cloud (2015), and Sami (Yli-Sirnio, Barren Earth guitarist) from Kreator had been working with him, so I knew what he was all about. I was afraid, can I pull it off, because he is quite a demanding producer. It was a useless fear because I tend to play many notes on the chords, and he kind of told me to play even more, which is totally opposite of what I expected. I thought he would simplify things more, but that wasn’t the case. He let me play how I wanted. Of course I was there for three days playing my bass parts, and it was tough, 15 hour days, but the session itself was really well organized. We track the drums in Stockholm, all together, and then we tracked the demo tracks during the same time, with Snoopy (Jan Rechberger) on the drums. We went there one by one doing our own performances. He’s a great guy, Jens, and really brilliant to work with.

amorphis 2018 3 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Nuclear Blast

amorphis 2018 2 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Nuclear Blast

CrypticRock.com – What a relief it must be to work with a producer who can bring the best out of a band. Two-thousand and thirteen’s Circle was a greatly enjoyable album, but as far as production goes, Peter Tägtgren had a completely different style as opposed to Bogren. Amorphis seems to fit into Bogren’s vision a bit better, do you think?

Olli-Pekka Laine – Yeah, I like Circle as well. It was a good experiment for them getting back to the Extreme Metal roots on that album. Then, trying out Jens, who is a great fan of growling vocals and loud guitars, he always prefers the harder option of the songs. For example, he switched from clean vocals to growling vocals, which is kind of nice because he knows where we come from. I don’t know if its intentional to lead Amorphis a little more to the ’90s sound, but that is how I see it.

amorphis album - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Nuclear Blast

CrypticRock.com – Well the results speak for themselves. Who were your major personal musical inspirations? Who made you want to pick up an instrument and want to learn to play it?

Olli-Pekka Laine – As a kid I was really impressed with KISS, Mötley Crüe, and AC/DC, those basic Rock bands. Those were the bands I really started to rehearse, I practiced songs from. There is a couple of Finnish artists who inspired me in the first place to listen to music, to want to play bass guitar actually. I have a really musical background from my family because my father was a music journalist and we went to many jazz festivals. We played jazz music at home. That’s where it comes from. I think the ’70s/’80s Rock bands were the nail in the coffin for my career.

CrypticRock.com – Very interesting to hear where it all stemmed from. Last question for you, CrypticRock also covers Horror/Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan of these genres, do you have any favorites?

Olli-Pekka Laine – Most of what I like is from the ’70s and ’80s like The Omen (1976), The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and The Shining (1980). Those are the movies which should be watched from crappy VHS cassettes to get the mood. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the necromantic films, snuff films, and Braindead, aka Dead Alive (1992), too. I prefer the classic films. I think The Omen is my favorite.

Watching Horror movies these days, it’s hard to come up with new stuff. The Conjuring (2013) was quite good, but I haven’t been able to really watch any good ones lately. I watched the It (2017) movie. It was good entertainment. The new trend of making movies that resemble the ‘70s era, I like.

Poster omen1976 - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

20th Century Fox

shining poster - Interview - Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis

Warner Bros.

Tour Dates:
JUN 08 ROCKFEST HYVINKÄÄ, FINLAND
JUN 09 SOUTH PARK FESTIVAL TAMPERE, FINLAND
JUN 13 SHIBUYA CLUB QUATTRO TOKYO, JAPAN
JUN 14 UMEDA CLUB QUATTRO OSAKA, JAPAN
JUN 23 ROCKFELS ST. GOARSHAUSEN, GERMANY
JUN 24 HELLFEST CLISSON, FRANCE
JUL 05 ROCK HARZ OPEN AIR BALLENSTEDT, GERMANY
JUL 06 RANTAJAMIT LOHJA, FINLAND
JUL 12 BANG YOUR HEAD FESTIVAL BALINGEN, GERMANY
JUL 13 MASTERS OF ROCK VIZOVICE, CZECH REPUBLIC
JUL 15 ILOSAARIROCK JOENSUU, FINLAND
JUL 20 JOHN SMITH ROCK FESTIVAL LAUKAA, FINLAND
JUL 27 ROCKCOCK KUOPIO, FINLAND
JUL 28 QSTOCK OULU, FINLAND
AUG 03 WACKEN OPEN AIR WACKEN, GERMANY
AUG 10 ALCATRAZ METAL FESTIVAL KORTRIJK, BELGIUM
AUG 11 LEYENDAS DEL ROCK VILLENA, SPAIN
AUG 18 KAPAKANMÄKI TUULOS, FINLAND
SEP 07 GRAMERCY THEATRE NEW YORK, NY
SEP 08 CORONA THEATRE MONTREAL, CANADA
SEP 09 IMPERIAL DE QUEBEC QUEBEC, CANADA
SEP 10 THE OPERA HOUSE TORONTO, CANADA
SEP 11 PIERE’S ENTERTAINMENT CENTER FORT WAYNE, IN
SEP 12 HARPOS CONCERT THEATRE DETROIT, MI
SEP 13 THE FORGE JOLIET, IL
SEP 14 THE CABOOZE MINNEAPOLIS, MN
SEP 15 THE PARK THEATRE WINNIPEG, MB
SEP 17 THE STARLITE ROOM EDMONTON, CANADA
SEP 18 DICKENS CALGARY, CANADA
SEP 19 RICKSHAW THEATRE VANCOUVER, CANADA
SEP 20 EL CORAZON SEATTLE, WA
SEP 22 UC THEATRE BERKELEY, CA
SEP 23 CITY NATIONAL GROVE ANAHEIM, CA
SEP 24 WHISKY A GO GO HOLLYWOOD, CA
SEP 25 BRICK BY BRICK SAN DIEGO, CA
SEP 26 THE PRESSROOM PHOENIX, AZ
SEP 27 HOUSE OF BLUES LAS VEGAS, NV
SEP 28 LIQUID JOE’S SALT LAKE CITY, UT
SEP 29 HERMAN’S HIDEAWAY DENVER, CO
OCT 01 TREES DALLAS, TX
OCT 02 THE ROCK BOX SAN ANTONIO, TX
OCT 03 SCOUT BAR HOUSTON, TX
OCT 05 THE ORPHEUM TAMPA, FL
OCT 06 KELSEY THEATER WEST PALM BEACH, FL
OCT 07 MASQUERADE ATLANTA, GA
OCT 09 DIAMOND PUB & BILLIARDS LOUISVILLE, KY
OCT 10 MOTORCO MUSIC HALL DURHAM, NC
OCT 11 SOUNDSTAGE BALTIMORE, MD
OCT 12 TROCADERO THEATRE PHILADELPHIA, PA
OCT 13 THE PALLADIUM WORCESTER, MA
OCT 14 UPSTATE CONCERT HALL CLIFTON PARK, NY

For more on Amorphis: amorphis.net | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

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Nicholas Franco
Nicholas Franco
[email protected]

Nick has been writing for CrypticRock.com since October of 2013, covering mainly artists and albums from slightly more obscure corners of the musical realm. From interviews and live event reviews to retrospective analyses and album reviews for new releases, Nick enjoys sharing a fresh perspective from a fan's point of view. He is also counted on as an occasional editor and proofreader. In addition to his work with CrypticRock.com, Nick is a contributing writer at Metalinjection.net and SeaofTranquility.org.

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