Latest release: Stand Up and Fight (Century Media/EMI)
Website: www.turisas.com
Festival website: www.soundwavefestival.com

Finnish sextet Turisas will be another of the Soundwave Festival surprise packages when they hit the stage in full battle metal regalia, war paint and blood and start in with their rousing blend of melodic power metal, folk and Viking metal. Loud caught up with vocalist Mathias Nygård ahead of his arrival in Australia for a chat about what to expect:

Q: You’re going to be in Australia very very soon, and you’re going to see a bit more of the country than the last time you were here.
A: Yes, totally. Really looking forward to it. Last time we only played Sydney and Melbourne and now we’ll be kind of all over, so that’s cool.

Q: You’re doing the festival shows of course, but there’s also two other shows as well.
A: I think we’re playing with Cathedral and Paradise Lost in Sydney and Melbourne, I think, and it’s gonna be great because we get to play a huge festival but we also get to play the club show. Which is always a bit different for the performer and the audience. We get to do them both, which is great.

Q: It’s going to be huge for you too, because Cathedral are playing their last shows here in Australia, and you’re getting to share that with them.
A: Well I think they were already supposed to do their last shows in London or something like that. But their very, very last shows will now be in Australia. I don’t really know much about the package yet or how it will come together, but I’m sure it will still be good. All the bands are very different from one another: Cathedral, Paradise Lost and ourselves and I’m sure we’ll all pull all sorts of a crowd. So it’s going to be an interesting combination.

Q: Turisas seems to be a band that appeals to a very wide metal audience. I know people who don’t normally listen to anything even remotely like you guys, but when Turisas come out or bring out a record they jump on it real quick. What do you think it is about your band that has that broad appeal?
A: I don’t think we have ever really wanted to box ourselves as only a metal band, or been very precise about whether we are this kinda music or that kinda music. We’ve been pretty open to the idea of being a rock act, and sometimes we step on the more extreme side of that, to the metal side, but we’re not really afraid to be soft as well. So first of all, musically we have quite a broad scale, and secondly we like to do all sorts of things live. Because you usually end up touring only with very very similar bands, and we’ve tried to keep that… like for example coming down to do the Soundwave Festival, we are still a band that by some is still considered to be fairly niche of their own and not really the band that plays on a mainstream rock festival like this. And that’s the cool thing about it I think because we get to go out there and play festivals like this and reach out to an audience that hasn’t really thought or heard about anything like folk- or battle-metal or whatever! They listen to Green Day, basically.

Q: Well it’s an interesting line-up in that regard this year with some of the bands that are on. And you’ll get to see some more of the country this time, because they last you were in and out very quickly, weren’t you?
A: We did Sydney and Melbourne. We did have a couple of days in Sydney, but we were quite jet-lagged, so I just kind of remember walking around the city as zombies. We did get a chance to check out Sydney a bit. In Melbourne we pretty much the only thing we saw was the Chinatown, and then we had the show and we’re off to China to continue an Asian tour straight after. Now we actually get a couple of weeks, so we actually get to change this wintery feel for some warm, sunny weather in Australia for a change.

Q: Is there anything in particular that you want to do while you’re in Australia, apart from playing some shows?
A: Well I have to say, I’m looking out through the window and it’s really like, snowing really heavily, so I’m sort of thinking of lying down at the beach and having a drink or two and taking a swim. That sounds like something pretty good to me. But there will be lots of time of go and check out a lot of the sights and do the kind of basic touristic stuff. Zoos… see a kangaroo and a koala, that kind of thing. It’s a bit tacky, but we still think it’s kinda cool.

Q: Is there any other bands you might want to catch up to while you’re here? There’s something like 75 bands playing – any that you want to see yourself?
A: You’re right, the bill is really amazing! I can’t really understand how they can get all these bands down for the same concert at the same time. That’s pretty cool in itself. I think we’re playing fairly early at the festival, so I don’t know what our tour arrangements will be like. Because I’m expecting we will be heading to the next city when we’re done in the day, so that means we’ll be missing all the headliners. And I have to admit I can’t really exactly remember… I’m taking a quick peek on the Soundwave site here… anything from Slipknot and System of a Down… I like to see all kinds of bands. It’s not like… to go and see a band live, you don’t even really need to necessarily love the band’s music so much. Some bands it can be very entertaining to go and watch, something like Dillinger Escape Plan even though it’s not really my cup of tea because it could be really, really cool and exciting.

Q: Do you think that’s what happens to a lot of people who come and see Turisas without knowing much about you?
A: Well absolutely. A lot of the people who become Turisas converts are the people who come and see us at a festival without really knowing what to expect and they get blown away by the show and the energy and everything. So I think that’s exactly how it kinda goes. And a lot of those people are the people who would be there for very different kind of bands but then come across a very different band and get excited about it. It’s a very varied festival too. There are bands from all sites of rock music too. You can go and see Watain after Kittie, or whatever. It’s very different and varied.

Q: Are we going to get the full Turisas show while you’re here? Obviously the Soundwave show is going to be pretty short, but will we get the full blown experience from you guys?
A: I think we only have thirty minutes on stage. It’s definitely very short. But other than that, yes, you’re going to get the full show. It’s not like we come down for only half a show, so you only get half the band. You have the whole thing with full staging and full costumes and full paint and blood and everything. It’s going to take us about four times the time to get ready and cleaned up again than we’ll actually spend on stage. (laughs)

Q: [Laughs] Well, seeing you guys on stage in the middle of the afternoon, after a few beers, coming on like that is going to be an experience that some people may not have had before!
A: Absolutely. It’s gonna be a bit different, the schedule from festival to festival but I think at some festivals we are actually playing at 11am, so we are actually gonna be like opening the festival with a bang. It’s only a one day festival, so people shouldn’t be that hangovered from the last day, I guess.

Q: Well it won’t be as if you’ll be playing to no one, but there will be a lot of people who’ll be wondering what the hell is going on when you come on stage.
A: That’s how we like it. Kick them in the ass, wake up the festival and get them going. We are honoured to be opening the whole thing and, as you said, we will be spending so much time with getting ready and getting showered after the show that we will really be making those thirty minutes count.

Q: So is there any possibility that you’ll be able to come back again sometime on the back of a new album or something?
A: Absolutely. We don’t have any set plans yet. We have this Australian run and then we’re gonna do the States to do a tour in Spring. That’s pretty much everything we have set for 2012 because we decided that we want to kind of keep this easy and already get working on a new album this year which would mean we might even be able to squeeze down the gap between albums. It’s usually been three years for us, maybe something a bit less, and then come out with a new album and do some more touring. It’s very easy to get stuck in that mode because you just go on and on and on and by the time you get around the globe you can start again, but I think it’s important that you have new music as well. So I think that this year it’s gonna slow down for us a bit and then next year we’ll be back with a bang and hopefully include Australia. I always look forward to playing some headline club shows. It’s get to be up on a festival stage and play to a very big audience for thirty minutes, but headline shows to your own crowd is the best thing.

Q: Before you go, is there anything you want to say to Australian fans before you say goodbye?
A: Everyone who’s coming to see us at Soundwave should be early and not miss us. It’s gonna be the best start of the day you can get. Come and see us!

Soundwave Festival 2012 dates-
Saturday 25 February – RNA Showground, Brisbane- SOLD OUT
Sunday 26 February – Olympic Park, Sydney- SOLD OUT
Friday 2 March – Showgrounds, Melbourne- SOLD OUT
Saturday 3 March – Bonython Park, Adelaide
Monday 5 March – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth

Turisas will also appear at the following shows with Cathedral and Paradise Lost :
Monday 27 February – Factory Theatre, Sydney
Thursdau 1 March – Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne