INTERVIEW: Jukka Koskinen – Wintersun

Interview by Lukas


The wait is over! The symphonic, majestic, melodic and epic sounds of WINTERSUN finally reach Australia! Founded back in 2004 by front man Jari Mäenpää, Finnish epic metallers WINTERSUN released their outstanding, highly-acclaimed debut self titled album in the same year. With technicality, speed, precision and high melodic virtuosity, the band instantly made their mark worldwide. Fast forward to 2017 and WINTERSUN return with their 3rd studio album entitled ‘The Forest Seasons’, their most varied opus to date and cements their status as leaders and luminaries of modern melodic metal.

We talk to bassist Jukka Koskinen about the tour and more.


Lukas: I am here with Jukka from Wintersun, I hope I’m pronouncing that right?

Jukka: Absolutely, 100% correct.

L: Fantastic, thanks so much. How are you doing, mate?

J: Yup, doing fine. Being super excited. In a bit less than 2 weeks to go on tour with Wintersun, starting from Australia of course, and then Japan and China. New territories, new countries, new cities, we’ve never been before. So, really really excited, and a tiny bit of butterflies in my stomach.

L: I can imagine. Well we’re very excited for you to come here. Can you tell us anything about the show you guys are bringing out to Australia?

J: Well, when it comes to the show, of course, there’s gonna be [a] bombastic Finnish time coming. And it’s about time in the first place, that Wintersun has the chance to come over there. What I can say about our show, it’s gonna be full of atmosphere, special moments sharing with all you guys that are gonna attend the show. A lot of old songs, a lot of new songs, really gonna be a deep, in-depth set. Hopefully we’re gonna charm everybody with that.

L: I’m 100% sure you will. That sounds very very exciting. As if we weren’t excited enough already. So you guys have been touring with the new material for a bit, how has the reaction to the new stuff been so far?

J: It’s been absolutely great. When it comes to the chart entries in Europe or wherever it is, everything has been going onwards in a positive way that we reach higher levels. And when it comes to the people hearing the new stuff, they’ve been very very positively surprised, since it was a tiny bit of… Nobody was expecting what we would release, everybody was expecting that would release Time II, which didn’t come out. So, it was kind of like at first “what are these guys doing?”, but it was very nice that everybody got into the Forest Seasons album. And I think that the album itself has a lot more focus on the atmosphere of every song. It’s kind of like… I think it’s going deeper musically than Wintersun has ever gone before. So I find it very good and the people have found it the same. There hasn’t been any disappointments, maybe one comment or two [complaining about] “less guitar solos”, but there is at least one, and a very very intense one and a big one. So hopefully the one dude who said there’s not enough guitar solos is satisfied now that he’s heard the actual solo.

L: That’s fantastic. The album was killer, I really really enjoyed it. Hopefully everyone else feels the same way. Can you tell us a bit more about the album, like the process that went into making it?

J: The whole process started 2, 3 years ago. Jari was wandering the woods in the south of Finland and he got very inspired about the forest. I wanted to dedicate one song to the most important thing in the whole world, which is Mother Nature… At the time, we were also planning the crowdfunding campaign and we thought there would be one new song for the crowdfunding campaign but then quite soon we realised that wouldn’t be enough or too fair for our dear fans who’ve been waiting for us, for a new album for a long time. But then it started to grow bigger, we wanted to make a whole new album. And when it came to the forest, the idea of different seasons, what’s happening throughout the year, we wanted to make a forest album. The one inspirational thing, a thematic inspiration, came from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Not musically, since if Forest Seasons is our Four Seasons, then it has a lot more contrast than Vivaldi’s has. That’s where the actual thing started to come out, then of course we had the crowdfunding coming. We wanted to make a new album, have something truly amazing for the fans, and surprise everybody in a positive way. So, that’s what the whole process was about. And I think, in the end, when it comes to the Forest Seasons album, the theme is very nice, that we have four totally unique songs from each other, for every season, and I think the concept is truly great. Very dynamic, very contrasting, diverse. I think easily the most diverse album from Wintersun thus far.

L: I would say so as well. You mentioned the crowdfunding campaign that was definitely very successful. Would you say you guys got out of that campaign what you were hoping for?

J: Yes, absolutely. And a lot more. We believed in that from day one, or day zero, that we would definitely do something new and nice and unique with our fans. Working directly with the people, and…

(Here we were interrupted- Jukka had to find the embassy)

L: So, we are back! Before, we were talking about the crowdfunding campaign, whether or not you got out of it what you hoped you would.

J: Yes, we did, and a lot more than that. We believed in the crowdfunding from day one, that we would definitely do a good thing and something new. Working directly with the people, with the fans, without anyone else being in between, and totally honestly and transparently. Pre-selling our new album. And what we did also, on top of it, we wanted to give a lot more than just the new album. I don’t know if you, did you follow the campaign yourself?

L: I followed it, but I didn’t have enough money at the time to contribute, sadly.

J: Oh no, don’t worry about that, I just thought that you would know about the content. We gave out isolated tracks and all kinds of stuff on top of that. We wanted to make at the same time a silent thank you for all our dear fans for waiting for such a long time for us. But yeah, it was a major success. And it’s very nice to see that people appreciate it, that you do something honestly, transparently, directly. And… I think it’s just an amazing thing to do that everything is out in the open and we give so much more than we were asking for in a way, money-wise and content-wise, that people really appreciated it.

L: Yeah, absolutely.

J: And it’s amazing to see that so many guys and girls are still out there, who are standing behind Wintersun and believe in the band, and we couldn’t be more humbled.

L: That’s awesome. So, over time, how would you say you’ve seen the Wintersun fan base grow and change?

J: Oh, that’s a hard one. I think the change… I don’t think- I don’t wonder that there’s been a change, I think there has been… What it is with Wintersun is that people are still there waiting for us because when it comes to us it’s been taking a long time to release, [there’s] many years between releases. I think the people who believe in the band are truly amazing, but I guess at the end of the day, the magic behind all this is the music. Although we’re a band for whom it takes a long time to release anything, we do things kind of like a book author in the way that we want what we release to have it the best that we can, the quality of the release. No quantity, only quality. And in that way, make people happy and satisfied. And release something new, and something unique. That’s what we aim for, so when it comes to the fan base I think there have been truly amazing people for so many years and they’re still there. I think the thing is they find the band interesting, that we are able to create something new every time we release an album. So I think, there it is. That’s the best I can say.

L: Alright, nice. So what would you say are some of your favourite songs to play live, both from the new album and the older stuff?

J: I would say when it comes to the old stuff, Starchild is a song that has all kinds of different vibes and different elements in it that is very amazing and very epic to play. When it comes to Time I, the song Time is something that is truly amazing and very emotional. And when it comes to the new album, that’s an amazing album to play because they’re so different from each other, and different from the previous material of Wintersun. Like let’s say, for example, Eternal Darkness is an amazing black metal song, and is totally new and totally different for us to play something like that. We’re pretty excited about it when it comes to playing it. I would say even the song Loneliness on the new album is something differently driven, a slower song. I find it’s a song that reminds me of an Alice in Chains song, like a slow, tempo-pushing-forward. Not that it has anything to do with Alice in Chains, but the tempo and this kind of gloominess is very interesting. Of course, normally the new album is the most exciting live because it’s new. But I have to say, when it comes to the Forest Seasons songs, I like them the most to play.

L: Alright. Of course. So just to wrap it up, have you got any parting words for the people?

J: Ooh. Well, we’re coming there in a few weeks. We’re gonna bring a super bombastic Finnish show for the Australian guys and girls and I hope you’re gonna come around and see what Wintersun is all about, cause it’s all about a quite epic, unique journey. Together we can create something special and a very nice energy in every show. And when it comes to me, personally, I’m so much looking forward to being in Australia for the first time. Hopefully I can see a glimpse of other things as well, besides the backstage and the tour bus.

L: Fantastic. Thanks so so much for joining us, very much appreciate it, and very much looking forward to seeing you guys.

J: Yeah, definitely. I’m really really excited for what’s gonna happen in two weeks.



Nov 2nd – Melbourne, Max Watt’s
Nov 3rd – Sydney, Max Watt’s
Nov 4th – Brisbane, Max Watt’s
Nov 6th – Wellington, Valhalla – *Wintersun only


 Wintersun Australia Tour 2017