On our recent trip to Finland, we got the chance to see the incredible Whispered live in Jyväskylä – our review of which can be read here. In addition to this, we caught up with the band’s frontman Jouni for a chat ahead of the show! See what we asked him below.
So how did you come up with the concept of the band’s sound? I personally haven’t heard anything like it before!
It was actually something I tried a long time ago because I’ve been inspired by the Japanese culture since I was a child. Then I started looking for a band that played this sort of music, heavily influenced by Japanese themes, before deciding to make my own! So I made a demo featuring some Japanese instruments and heavy guitars, and I was like “holy shit! This works so well! I must make more!” So it kind of started that way, I guess!
Last night you played a show in Kuopio with Frosttide – how did that one go?
It went really well! Usually Finnish people don’t go to weekday shows because they have work and everyone tends to get drunk and party like crazy! (laughs) But there was a good amount of people there and we had a great time with Frosttide.
Tonight sees you play a show supporting Turmion Kätilöt. What can be expected from tonight’s show?
We’ll be playing a shorter set than yesterday so we’ve just chosen the kickass and fast songs for this show! Fuck those epic songs! (laughs)
I guess it’s too much to ask for you to play my favourite song of yours, Blade In The Snow, then…?
Sorry! It’s a really cool song but we’ve only ever played two shows where we could fit it in our set as it’s fifteen minutes long!
Quite a big commitment to play then!
Will there be any new material in the set tonight?
No. Well, we will play our new single Sakura Omen but it won’t feature any new material aside from that.
How’s the work on album number three going?
The drums are done, the rhythm and guitars are done, the vocals are done…in fact, most of the stuff is recorded now but we still have to do the orchestration, Japanese instruments and choral elements…and probably shitloads of stuff that I can’t think of right now! There’s still a lot of work to be done. We’re planning to release it next year…hopefully early but you never know!
How do you go about writing and constructing the songs, given their complexity?
Usually I write some sort of concept, idea or melody, and then I start to construct the song around it. Usually the song just builds itself around the melody though! I constantly have tunes playing in my mind and just need to get them out.
With your previous album, you released a YouTube studio diary that included a rather brilliant cover of Backstreet Boys’ Larger Than Life. Is there any plans for something like that with this album?
Well we’re not doing a cover like that this time! (laughs) We do have some really nice videos and some really strange videos too, to be honest! We will release them at some point as some sort of documentary, I think. We have videos all this stuff that we have been doing…messing around and whatnot in the studio, and at my friend’s cabin where we were recording our guitars, which was some wild times!
Speaking of covers, I really liked the b-side to the Sakura Omen single, that rendition of the Boomer Kuwanger stage theme from Megaman X. What made you decide to cover that? It seriously kicks ass!
Thanks! Well, I’ve been a fan of game music for a really long time as well and I think it can be heard in Whispered’s music at times to some extent. I introduced the song to the band and was like “I fucking love this song from Megaman X and I really want to play this shit!” and they were like “Well, this works!” So we made the arrangement. I think we might make more game covers in the future because they’re really fun to make and old NES and SNES music sound pretty metal anyway.
Moving onto some more random questions, if there was going to be a movie released about Whispered, which actor would you want to play yourself?
(laughs) Probably someone better-looking than me, like Johnny Depp! I don’t know…maybe Ken Watanabe, he’s cool! He could really make the samurai thing come alive.
If you could choose an animal to represent the band, what would you choose?
Grasshopper, I think.
They’re fast and furious – and make a lot of noise.
If Whispered could put their name to a product, what would it be?
It has to be chopsticks!
And finally what’s in the works for Whispered in 2016?
Well, we’ll be releasing the new album and will basically play as many shows as possible. I think that’s basically it, really! We just really want to get this album finished…it’s got some really cool songs and everyone in the band thinks it’s the best material we’ve made so far. So it’ll be really exciting to get that bastard out!