This live interview with the vocalist Ville Laihiala of Sentenced was done by Silence and Alexa Kasparek on August 19th, 2004. The live photo above is copyright of Silence.

Sentenced was formed in the autumn of 1988 under the name Deformity. Back then they were playing death and thrash metal but a couple of albums into their career they started moving towards a new sound. They brought a whole new meaning to Finnish melancholy with their hymns to suicide and became one of the leading bands of the European gothic metal scene. This year they played at the German Summer Breeze festival where frontman Ville Laihiala was kind enough to talk to Alexa Kasparek and Silence. [The Editor]

Hello. How was your trip?

You’ve played at Summer Breeze two years ago. How much did the festival change in your opinion?
The place is the same I think. It’s hard to say how much it has changed. You have to ask me after the show, but I’ve seen a lot of our friends here and you know it feels like nothing has really changed. So we’ll see after the show.

How would you compare Summer Breeze to other festivals and what’s your general opinion about it?
This is the second time we play here, so I can’t really talk that much about this festival because I don’t know that much about this festival, but usually the audience in Germany compared to any place…they’re like in Finland, they’re drunk and they’re getting crazy. I mean it’s really hard to compare audiences. I just go on stage and try to have fun.

What kind of weather do you prefer for your shows? Rain fits better to your songs, doesn’t it? (note: The whole festival was very rainy)
Yeah. But it’s not my fault that it’s raining. As long as people have fun, the band has fun and that’s okay.

Most of your lyrics are written in a depressive but also ironic way. So do you think that your fans understand them correctly?
No. Because most of the people think that we’re actually singing about suicide. We are, but sometimes suicide doesn’t mean like killing yourself. It can mean like ending a relationship, escaping life… you know, whatever. So… I think most of the people misunderstand our lyrics. But there is, thank god, a lot of people who totally understand what we mean.

You’ve got a new album coming up. You’ve said before that at summer festivals you won’t play a setlist with old songs only and you’ve already played some new songs [Everfrost and May today become the day] at the past shows this summer. How would you describe the style of the new album?
It’s gonna be faster… Hard to say, we have like six new songs, so it’s really hard to say. But it’s gonna be harder, more like Rock, more like really attitude…

So rather back to the old albums?
Yeah, I think like the style between Amok and Down. Something like that.

Did you plan to change your style within the last albums or was it a natural development?
We are old men. So we grew up and we’re not that angry as we used to be. We want more from music that just aggression or depression. There has to be something more.

Last year you’ve recorded a song in Finnish language. How do you think Finnish lyrics could fit to your music?
That was just a one time thing. We did it for our hometown hockey team. And that was the only time when we wrote a song in Finnish.

Do you already have planned to record a promotional video clip for your new album?
There’s gonna be some DVD along with the new album and after the new album we’re gonna record a Live DVD.

DVDs are very popular nowadays. So how will your's look like?
It will be out after the summer with some live stuff and stuff from the studio and stuff while we’re drunk and doing silly things.

Are German fans different to fans in other countries?
I would say that German fans are pretty much like Finnish fans. They’re drunk!

Thanks for the interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
No… (laughs) …of course I do. This always goes like… I could say blablabla thank you or blablabla. I don’t really have anything special to say, so I’d rather not say anything. But just thanks to everyone for supporting us.

Links of interest:

Century Media
Summer Breeze