There has been a long debate and controversy about the upcoming Wintersun crowdfunding campaign and its subsequent album, The Forest Seasons. We got the opportunity to speak to Jukka Koskinen, Wintersun’s bassist, to learn a bit more about their feelings surrounding the campaign, the negative reactions from some fans surrounding it, and their relationship with the label!
If you haven’t seen their Indiegogo page, you can check it out by clicking THIS LINK! As of March 3rd, the campaign has made 220,000€ of its 150,000€ goal.
First of all, talk on since social media has suggested that there have been extensive negotiations between Wintersun and Nuclear Blast, so what the relationship between band and label at the moment? Have things been sorted out so that both parties are satisfied? Presumably, if Nuclear Blast is promoting the new album, you haven’t parted ways just yet at least.
Everything is on good terms with Nuclear Blast. We wanted to offer them a new kind of business plan to make things better for the band, but also for the label. We wanted to chance the fact to offer our album directly with the fans via crowdfunding so that we could seriously get out from the unfortunate “nothing happens” situation and build our own studio. This is the best solution time and money-wise, since we are not making a living out of Wintersun; that might be a myth amongst some people who think we do.
Most people out there don’t know much about the inner workings of bands and labels, so how did the negotiations go? What were the biggest roadblocks to the final outcome?
Of course this outcome we came up together with Nuclear Blast is a totally new situation that the band can make a crowdfunding. The label will release the physical versions of the album like normally. We, the band, do not have anything to do with that process. Nuclear Blast is the pro on the physical items so it is better that they handle that side ☺
There has been a lot of negative feedback from fans surrounding this crowdfunding campaign, with some people saying that they “don’t want to pay for your sauna” and things like this. I personally think that’s a foolish way to look at is, as no matter what, crowdfunding is first and foremost optional, and secondly, you still get a product if you pay for it (in this case, an album). Do you have any thoughts on this controversy?
This is something that is very unfortunate that some people just are negative without thinking about the simple fact that Wintersun is selling the album totally normally. Actually even more, since we are transparently telling everyone where the money will go. Isn’t this the fairest way possible to work together and directly with the fans? I think it is. It’s interesting that everyone needs to know all of a sudden where the money is going to go. Nobody cares where your smartphone company’s money is going or other things you buy in your daily life, right? So it’s kind of weird how some people react in our case. Of course we want to be transparent with everyone and to show that we are now seriously working our way up at last to release Wintersun albums faster, with our true vision, and with the best production in the future. And we are really reaching that since our crowdfunding campaign is going great! Thank you all who are participating in it, we know we can make this happen together!
Many people out there don’t know how recording studios actually work. We’ve heard that Time II is awaiting the proper tender loving care provided by your own studio, but is there any reason you guys couldn’t have recorded at, for example, Sonic Pump Studios? (as I know Teemu works there) – what prevented you guys from using an existing studio?
This is the controversy that 3rd party studios cost hundreds of euros per day. Especially TIME I and II are massive cinematic productions, and technical projects where music meets mathematics, where all the hundreds of tracks need to merge with each other, you know. This would require so much money that it would just be a waste. Thus building our own studio would be the right choice and not to spend immense amounts of money (which we do not have) for a 3rd party studio and lose this money. Isn’t this the best way possible that all the crowdfunding income will be invested to a Wintersun studio to ensure future album releases in the best possible way? I think it is ☺
There is some speculation that the new album will be a placeholder – a sort of in-between album before you make the album you want to make, or you’re doing it to fulfill your contract with Nuclear Blast. After all, if you can make this album, why not make Time II? What would you have to say about such speculation?
The new album, The Forest Seasons, is a full, solid Wintersun album made with the current resources we have. It’s more primitive (but deeper and more emotional than before) and that gave us the possibility to make this album, since the productions are not as massive as on TIME I or II, though the album sounds majestic in the way it was made. We definitely do not want to disappoint anyone by releasing some ‘in between’ album. Time I sounds 60% like it was supposed to after making too many compromises, since we did not have the resources to complete it, so to say. This time, (<- haha) we want to really make things different and better.
All albums need a specific [type of] production and especially if the vision you want to do is [definite] and it’s 100% in your head – then it is like that. You need to aim for the goal with as few compromises as possible, and then you are satisfied.
Apart from the seasonal theme, is there any sort of message that’s a part of the new album that you’re hoping to share with the world? What was the initial inspiration to make this album? Is there anything you’d like everyone to know about the album when it comes out?
The album has such a deep emotional charge related to emotions, life, and death, and the beauty and harshness of nature. You need to listen to it and see for yourself.
The initial inspiration came from the Finnish forest while Jari [Mäenpää] was walking in the woods and started to be inspired to write something about the majestic nature surrounding us. Especially Finland, the whole country is a big forest, so there’s a lot to adventure and explore.
The Forest Seasons is the most emotional album ever from Wintersun with the most contrast – four unique songs about each season of the year and songs from beautiful melodies to harsh black metal. We are so proud of it!
Thank you very much for your time, and best of luck with the campaign!