Star Scene: Sami Hinkka ~ ENSIFERUM 

Sami Hinnka’s scene is one of living in the moment in hope for the future. The bassist and vocalist of the folk-inspired melodic death metal band ENSIFERUMstates: “Most of my time is certainly involved with music but I do enjoy reading, I love movies a lot and I started doing yoga a bit because we’re not 18 anymore, so you need take care of your body, a bit. I wanna see when mankind goes to Mars, and I want to live until I’m 100, I want to think that I’m not even halfway there, I’m 40 now so I try to do more positive things for myself.”

Looking after himself more may be the reason touring is not as difficult as well. Hinkka states: “I’m doing super, a little bit jet-lagged because I just came home from a five week tour from North America, but so far so good. I had day off yesterday, so … that should be enough.” Now touring Australia once again, Hinkka and the band are “excited” stating: “it’s going to be fantastic, we’ve only been in Australia only a couple of times. We’ve been looking forward to that.” Hinkka really “likes” the Australian laid-back attitude and our sense of humour, “that goes a long way”. He reminisces on previous trips: “It’s been like dream vacation. There are only good and literally warm when we’ve been there. Now in the middle of the coldest winter in Finland. It’s gonna be a temperature shock again. Good shows and extremely nice people and one of the coolest memories that I still have, several years ago, we had a show after New Year’s Eve, must have the first of January. We came there earlier so we could be there on New Year’s Eve. And, we were in Sydney. I’d never seen that many people kind of partying in such a good mood. I mean, we have big celebrating days in Finland, also. Of course, there are some idiots, always, in the street. But, yeah, I think it was like, literally, thousands of thousands of people in Sydney and everybody was in such a jolly mood and, like I said, people are super friendly, there’s a mellow atmosphere. Only good memories.”

New memories are sure to be made on this tour. For the actual shows, Hinkka states: “We are going to try to keep the crowds as comfortable as much as possible and according to the previous times we’ve been there, the crowd was always super good so the expectations are obviously high. Since we don’t come there that often, we’re still pondering the set list a bit because we’re now on the touring cycle of Two Paths so we’re going to have some songs from that. But, I’m sure we’re going to include a lot of old hits and some rare songs for the hard core fans who have already seen us a few times. You can expect an insane music show.”

Two Paths is Ensiferum’s sixth full-length album and Hinkka feels that it has come full circle. He states: “The way I see it, the last album, Two Paths, is like a twin to the previous album called One Man Army, and the way I see it, the process that we started with One Man Army, we kind of finalised that in Two Paths. For those two albums, we had the idea of … For many years there have always been live band, much more than a studio band, I love being in studio and we love recording stuff but we definitely have more energy and … much more energy on stage. That’s something that we have pondered for years. Okay, how can we get that energy on an album. That’s the first thing that we were trying to achieve. Yeah, the process started with One Man Army and with Two Paths we took it even one step farther. We even went back to the analogue equipment as much as possible and when we recorded drums, the whole band was playing at the same time. And, there are even songs where drums and bass are just one take from the beginning until end for the one take. And, then, also, where there’s no click track, it’s real. We wanted to have the album based on a little bit more jamming feel that you have when you were a kid and jamming with your friend in the basement. And, I think we did very well.”

Hinkka continues: “I have to say, now that we achieved our goal, and look forward to seeing our next album already. At the moment we’re working just with the songs.” And there’s always democracy and flexibility, “everyone contributes, that’s how it works because there are not just one path where you can go.” Though when Hinkka joined the band, he “kind of accidentally became the main lyric writer”. He elaborates: “I never asked for that but maybe because I love to read and I love to watch movies.
I always encourage others to, everybody can bring lyrics, I always say that. It’s a nice challenge and especially because we’re mainly writing in English. I don’t [translate], I do it straight in English and that’s the nice challenge of it because it’s not, obviously, the native language, so, it keeps me on toes, so to say, and push me a little more. And, that’s something I also enjoy. If you are not speaking your own language, you face this problem [of word choice and suitability]. And, yeah, I sometimes really, it might be words or expressions, first of all, that we have expressions in Finnish but there’s no equal one in English. And, sometimes it’s really tough writing also. You might have some idea for the lyrics but the key punch line is missing because it just doesn’t work in English. That’s what I mean that it keeps me on the toes with lyrics and I’m always harassing my good, British friend who has, let’s say he has a way about average knowledge of stuff like that so, he’s always proofreading for me. Talking about what I’m trying to say and then he’s like helping with find the right words.”

Hinkka is not sensitive about his lyrics; there is pride in his voice allowing the listener to decipher the deeper meanings within the songs. He states: “I have to admit, usually I don’t like to explain my lyrics; it’s a freedom for the listener to find whatever meaning. But, the idea, for King of Storms actually, started from the fear of nuclear war. Or, the usage of weapons of mass destruction. So, it started from that and this kind of atmosphere. And, again, nice challenge to have the heroic theme if you are understanding our music. Most of the lyrics are actually inspired by real life. And, it’s always a nice challenge to find the mega force, the heroic theme. But it’s important that the lyrics have a deeper meaning, also. I know there are metal bands who, literally, write the lyrics at the last thing and so it just sounds cool that they just use words that people want to hear. I cannot do it like that. I need to have a meaning, it’s very selfish but, yeah.”

Find the deeper meaning when you catch Hinkka and Ensiferum on tour:

Australian Tour Dates:

* Thursday 28TH February, BRISBANE, The Zoo

* Friday 1ST March, SYDNEY, Manning Bar

* Saturday 2nd March – MELBOURNE, Max Watts

*** Limited VIP Meet & Greets Available

**** Limited tickets available:

About Mary Boukouvalas 1643 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.