Metal Overload met Juho and Mikko from Swallow The Sun. We had the chance to talk with them about the band and their latest album “When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light” which was released in January.

Let us begin with a short presentation. Who are you and how would you introduce Swallow the Sun to people who don’t know you ?

Mikko: I am Mikko, the vocalist of the band. That’s Juho who plays the guitar. We play pretty melancholic Finnish music.

Juho: I think we’re kind of reluctant to call ourselves “metal”. People seem to think that Swallow the Sun is a metal band but maybe those people should know that there are going to be like different moods and it’s not just like straight up metal or natural death metal. So, there are like melodic parts. It’s supposed to feel like atmospheric and not just like straight up death metal.

What are your musical influences ?

Mikko: Well I guess originally, when we did the first album, it was a bit heavier the music we listened to back then. I think the main influence were bands like My Dying Bride or old Paradise Lost, Type O Negative stuff like that. That was some time ago. So, I think we have kind of found our own way of composing music and created are kind of like own sound.

Juho: I think that each one of us brings something different to the band because there are lots of black metal and death metal guys in the band but there are also a little bit “popish” guys who like more that kind of stuff. So, it’s hard to call it metal. The influences are rather broad, within different genres. I think that our personalities fit in really nicely and of course Juha is making the songs and he has like a really cool way of building them up: the tension with the mellower parts in between, it’s not just going to full blasts and so on.

Who writes the lyrics and what inspires you in your writing ?

Mikko: So, most of the lyrics are written by are the main songwriter Juha and I help him out sometimes. I write lyrics sometimes. Usually the inspiration comes from our own lives. The lyrics are always being pretty personal for us. It’s not very happy stories all the time but it is what it is, it’s life, I guess.

A place where you’ve never been but where you would dream to play and why ?

Mikko: I would say maybe Australia, that would be nice to see.

Juho: Yeah. I used to dream about going to Japan but that was like 10 years ago when I played there for the first time. So, I guess it’s Australia because I’ve been to almost everywhere else but not in Australia so that would be nice to see.

What can you tell me about the local underground scene in Finland?

Mikko: Well. It used to be big, but it seems that metal music is turning more into music for middle aged people nowadays. I don’t think kids listen to metal that much anymore.

Juho: It seems to be all about rap music now.

Mikko: You’re right about it but I think metal scene is still going pretty strong because there’s a lot of bands.

Juho: I keep seeing Iron Maiden shirts on teenagers, but I don’t know if that’s only for the fashion or the music. For example, after Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest, metal was like a pillar point in Finland. After that it just changed into rap music. But I guess it’s coming back.

I’m hoping to get people into the small venues and clubs again because it was really difficult during the past five years. Now I keep hearing that people are coming back to see shows. I don’t know it’s hard to tell. It’s been good for us and in Finland at least we are not an underground band anymore, people can easily find our shows. But I’m hoping that the younger generation is coming to shows again.

What can you tell me about “When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light” ? What’s the story behind this record? What can you tell me about it?

Mikko: Well it’s a story about personal loss. One person who was really close to this band like died three years ago. I guess everybody who reads the lyrics and think a little can figure out where the theme comes from but in the end, there is still somewhere out there a little positive side on the album. In general, it seems that people like the new album.

Juho: It’s about loss but it’s also about coping with that loss and about life winning. So, there is seeing silver linings to everything.

What’s next for 2019 ?

Mikko: Well, we have got a couple more shows on this tour then we’re going to Japan then summer festivals. More tours maybe next fall probably still keep going next year as well. So, it’s going to be busy.

I leave you the last words of this interview.

Mikko: Well the days on tour are pretty much all the same every day. Just a lot of waiting. But it feels nice to see fans every day and to see that people are still supporting music in these days. That’s something that’s always nice to see because of course music business has changed quite a lot these days compared to what it was like 15, 20 years ago. I really appreciate the support we receive.

Juho: I really appreciated the show yesterday in London. It seemed like that the audience really got what we are and understood what goes into the music, the feeling of everything. So that’s always nice to see that people are invested on a deeper level and not just in it for the occasional beer and the headbanging. So, I want to thank those people who understand what you are doing.

Want to know more about Swallow The Sun ?