Interview with Vorna – a very intimate band portrait

Intro
We just do what we do
Introversion in its many forms
Patience, precision and a hole in the wall
We all love the bass
The hawk, the spirit, the cat and …
The 7th member, the elephant and Ukko

Vesa Salovaara, vocalist

Intro

Meeting this band of introvert childhood friends in their Nummirock camp was a very moving experience. Only while doing this script I got aware how deep I dug into their souls and how much trust and faith they granted me in return. Thank you Vorna!

Once more the interview and so consequently also this script is a long one. But travelling deep into their band history and the depth of their friendship both being the roots of their nonetheless stirring and binding music is worth reading it!

Their manager had arranged the details. I would meet singer and bassist at the main gate of the Nummirock festival area. I went there on time not seeing them, which was because I was on the inside while they were waiting for me on the outside. Approaching them I noticed there were not only Vesa Salovaara, the vocalist and Niilo Könönen, the bassist. No, there were also Saku Myyryläinen, the keyboardist and Arttu Järvisalo, the lead guitarist. And as it happens Vorna are members of a traditional camp party attending the festival for the last five years in a row. They invited me for a visit to their camp, which was neatly set up at the beach – a perfect spot as it seems!

Arttu Järvisalo, lead guitar

On our walk to the camp we exchanged our favourite travelling spots in Ireland and preferences in Whiskey. We arrived at the camp – a typical Nummirock-like camp. You will imagine it like this: some tents are set up more or less circling a central spot that usually is roof made from a large foil or a shade or something like that. Below this roof an average camp will have a range of seats such as cosy couches and armchairs, camping chairs or simple stools. What ever you may think to be appropriate seating furniture for the up one week lasting party, you will definitely find it in one or more camps at Nummirock. The heart of the camp mostly is the BBQ, well heated and fuelled. Loudspeakers will provide a selection of music preferred by the camp crew. The Vorna camp was no exception in all, this safe perhaps that most of the camps do not host a whole band from the festival line-up. Although if you will take a careful look you might find more musicians from the festival line up among the camp crews!

We agreed on favouring the smooth Irish Whiskies while arranging some chairs on the beachside of the camp. Our discussion went on as we made ourselves comfy. Other drinks that were discussed being helpful to keep the ideas flowing were Jägermeister (more on kind of historic terms) and craft beers. „We actually had our own Vorna beer, two years ago“, Vesa tells me. „Lager“, Niilo adds. So I wonder if they were in for the malty Czech or Irish beers, such as Murphy’s. They agreed on preferring the stronger beers but while some favoured the smooth malty beers others were preferred the more bitter ones such as the Indian Pale Ales. „I think that maybe the black IPA is my current favourite“, Vesa explains. Niilo agrees „I like IPAs“ in general. Arttu adds that „I drink beer and red wines mostly… “ – “What kind of red wines?” I would like to know. He replies: “Usually they are Shiraz Cabernet from Chile or Australia.” Our discussion on degrees in expertise of wines (of also other bands) and some continental European festivals slowly drifts towards the actual interview start.

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We just do what we do

My basic idea for the interview is to introduce the band to new fans, give an insight how Vorna work and have come to be and how they see themselves:

“Although Vorna has been active for quite some years there is not too much known of you guys – at least beyond the borders of Finland. So I thought we could fill that gap today. What is the outstanding and unique telling Vorna from the rest of the musical world?” Arttu: „Well, is there actually?“ I think: ‘oh yes, there it is again. This horrible Finnish understatement.’ But Vesa comes up with some ideas: „Well, I think that our sound is very diverse. We have a lot of fast songs and really heavy pummelling but also very soft parts and very atmospheric sections in not every song but in a lot of them. Of course the Finnish language is one, quite distinctive thing in our sound and … I don’t know?“ Saku describes: „I think we don’t have actually thought about this much. We just do what we do. And it just turned out this way.“ The rest agrees: ‘Yeah.’

So you don’t care much for any trend or what fans want? You just do what you want? What you feel like doing now?” I ask. Vesa nodds „Yeah.“ And Saku goes on: „In the early days we had a lot of folk influences. But nowadays, I don’t think we have it. We don’t have anything like a strict guideline to our sound.“ The others murmur „yeah“ in between to show their agreement with the statement. Arttu tries to sum it up: „I think the most common style is like melancholic death, not in every song but that’s the most common.“ And Vesa draws the bottom line: “Yeah, melancholic moods and melodies.” Arttu supports „yeaaah“ at the same moment. So Vesa points out: “That’s our thing.” And Arttu confirms: “Yes.”

Vesa Salovaara, vocals

“I am sorry that I don’t speak

Finnish so I don’t really get the meaning of the lyrics. Is melancholy there a topic as well?” Vesa: „Yeah“, smiling, „it’s kind of built in.“ They watch laughing my wondering expression. „Describe please a bit more …“ I beg him. Vesa does: “Yah, the topics are quite dark at times. But there’s also always …. hm, not always actually but sometimes, a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.“ Some Elvis oldies sound from the loudspeakers … „But the story doesn’t necessarily always go for the end of the tunnel“, he explains frowning.

I would like to know if „They are more story-like lyrics or are there lyrics describing moods, are they more poem-like dealing with a situation or a mood you’re in?“ Vesa considers a few seconds and then decides: „Maybe the latter nowadays. When we had more folk influences in the music, there were also some songs telling basically the story of old Finnish myths or something. But nowadays it is kind of more universal approach. Mostly some kind of either struggles of human mind or something. You tell me“ he says looking at Saku. “Yeah”. The band nods and after a moment Saku adds: „And I think some of the newer songs are even optimistic in some way.“ — „Yeah“, confirms Vesa. „I think so, too.“

I sum up: “So the light at the end of the tunnel is a little bit closer?” „Yeah“ agree the four before Vesa adds: „Especially our newest single „Tie varjoista“ – the title in English is basically ‚A journey out of the shadows‘.“ — „That sounds really optimistically“, I support Vesa’s statement. Then I notice the negative options in the title and add „at least if it is not ending like: it is not working, I failed.“ They nod and utter half silent “yeahs” but seem in the same moment following their ideas taking them a bit further off.

Is there a common spirit driving you as a band all together? Some basic idea, ideal or motivation you jointly follow? Vesa’s view wanders over to the bassist: „Well I and Niilo, we’re old childhood friends. We go way back like 20 years or something. More, actually. Over 20 years.” Arttu explains: “And me and the other guitarist, Henri, we are also childhood friends. And these two groups just united in one evening.” I wonder how they did come upon their keyboardist then. Saku says: “Through YouTube.” I frown askingly. Vesa confirms: ”Yeah …” I am surprised: “Really?” Then Saku explains: “I had some cover videos there.“ And Vesa points out the most important: “But Saku is now family, too! And Mikael ….” Saku comes to the key of it: “And what I think that really combines us, is a sort of introversion.” The others nod and murmur momentously. „It combines us really well“, Niilo adds.

Mikael Vanninen, drums

“Ok and how did Mikael end up in the band?” Vesa says: “That’s a bit funny story actually. I’m not sure if we ever really asked Mikael to join the band. Somewhere around spring 2009 Henri’s little brother sent one of our early songs to a friend who also happened to be friends with Mikael. We didn’t know him at all back then. I don’t remember who was this mystery friend linking us together, but he basically asked Mikael that „my friend’s big brother Henri’s band is looking for a drummer, listen to this“ and he was immediately interested. We were in fact a bit angry at first because all of this happened behind our backs. But nevertheless, Mikael showed up in next rehearsals and here we are. Really glad he did.” Then Arttu remembers his first meeting: “Yea that is a bit weird yet fortunate chain of events how Mikael ended up to Vorna. I remember when I was picking him up for our first rehearsals at the bus station of Kangasala and also met him for the first time ever. Wow. That was awkward. He didn’t match my expectations AT ALL. We shook hands and said like ’hi’ to each other. And as I led him the way to our rehearsal place we didn’t speak A WORD. The whole way I thought we have been screwed and this guy is not black metal enough. But I guess he was, eventually.” [We filled this gap only after the actual interview.]

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Introversion in its many forms

Returning to the introversion aspect: “Is it introversion you put out into the songs?” Arttu: “Well, I would say absolutely.” And the rest agrees. Actually they were laughing a bit. Hidingly. Perhaps feeling somehow trapped. But the relaxed situation helps to stick to the intimate topic: „Yeah and we all like get each other in that way“, Saku continues while in the background some Hawaiian-like melody comes from the radio giving the situation a touch of surrealism.

„So you all share some similar kind of introversion?“ The opinions differ here a bit. While Vesa agrees, Arttu does not. So he describes it: „Not really similar. It is more introversion in its many forms.“ This seems to fit Vesa’s idea, too so he adds. „It is usually dead quiet backstage with us.“ Arttu: “Yeah? And?!” So Vesa goes on: “And it’s so totally ok.” The others once more utter their agreement.

Henri Lammintausta, guitar

“Sometimes this is exactly what friendship proves, I agree, to be able to sit next to each other not speaking.” All: “Yeah.” “… but enjoying the silence together.” Vesa: “Yeah – without it being awkward.”

“Exactly.” A perfect moment to move on: “Vorna has been founded in 2008?” Vesa: “Yeah.” – “That is quite some time by now, soon ten years. “Yeah, we were 17. Hm Mikael, our drummer, was 15.” It is well hidden, but listening carefully you could hear that he and most likely all the band is well aware of that achievement. “I have not noticed any changes in the line up. That is quite a challenge. How did you make that? Considering you will all have day jobs, studied or something and perhaps have or are about to have family… You all need to arrange your occupations and so on. And still you have kept it all together in this family-like spirit as a band. How?” Vesa suggests: “Maybe we are all some kind of diplomats by nature?” Saku: “Yeah, I think so?! Maybe it’s just luck.” – “I don’t know …” replies Vesa apparently with a differing thought on his mind. Arttu: “I don’t know why. But we have actually discussed this matter in the band. It’s even more and more difficult to arrange things as we go forward but somehow this works still.” Vesa: “And of course, we do have arguments from time to time.” Arttu: “Yeah!”— Vesa: “And of course some difficulties but …” It seems we’re about to find the answer. Niilo explains the perhaps most important: “But we always want to find the solution.” Arttu: “Yeah, everyone!” They all agree on that.

“So to keeping the band as it is, is still considered a very high priority by everybody?” Once more they all agree and Vesa adds: “Yeah and I think it is the most important thing. And if something is wrong within the band, we kind of throw our attention to those things and maybe … in that moment don’t work so much on the music but to get it sorted out.” Saku points out: “We all know that Vorna wouldn’t be what it is without this exact line up.”

I am excited to hear and feel their commitment, knowing exactly how rare this is. “It seems to me that many bands make it up to like five years plus in the original line up then often a period of many changes follows before the band line-up settles down often only when the band is about 15 or more years old. There seems to be a breaking point in everybody’s personal development.” They agree with me. “… that crushes a lot in bands. And getting through this seems hard.” Arttu begins: “Yeah and I think pretty common error is that they don’t speak about their problems. Problems are there. But they never talk to each other about them. And the stress and everything gets higher and higher ….” Saku compares it: “Like a big relationship.” We all laugh on the comparison only to see it fitting the situation. Vesa points out: ”I think the most common thing in the bands causing problems in the band is communication.” Arttu: “Yeah. Agree.”

“Makes sense to me.” Absolutely? New question then: “Do you have a mastermind behind the scenes or is it a democratic band and everybody comes up with something?” Vesa starts: “More democratic.” They all murmur some kind of confirmation while Vesa goes on: „Everybody in the band has composed songs in the past at least. And we all contribute to the song writing process, and we all have some non-musical …” They’re discussing the missing vocabulary in Finnish with the band mates, than they agree laughing on the word ‘task’. “… task in the band“, Vesa continues while the others are reconsidering the word. “We have all set tasks. Arttu is our visual …” – “Visualist”, the guitarist explains. Vesa: “Visual mastermind. And Niilo handles the merchandise. And Saku handles the…” – once more they discuss the vocabulary – “… book keeping and website and stuff. And I handle the social media. I think I have been kind of all around.“

“So you do most of the marketing yourselves?” Vesa starts: “Yeah, together with Iiro, our manager. Nowadays. He does a lot of things.“

And he is working late! … Is there one who is more the integrative person? Keeping everybody together?“ As they don’t seem to see my point I describe a little more. „Often in groups you have one person a bit more empathic, sensing a bit more if there is something to discuss. Or has the band grown together for such a long time that this works equally with everybody?“ Vesa: “It is hard to tell. I think it differs from time to time.” Arttu agrees.

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Patience, precision and a hole in the wall

It seems hard to put into words what the band thinks on this matter, so I continue. „I have a kind of bit more complicated idea. I’d like everybody in the band to be described in three points: First, what is your musical motivation. Second, what is your most valuable feature for the band? And third, what kind of character, legend, myth or creature represents you best?“ Vesa’s „ok“ sounds like I asked him to carry the weight of the world – just for a couple of hours. The rest of the band falls silently into thinking. Then Vesa chuckles while Arttu buys time: „What was the first one again?“ The background music reminds me a bit of a soundtrack for some oriental Technicolor epos. I kind of see the cobra dancing out of her basket. Within the next minutes this music a couple of times is the only thing you could hear – due to heavy considerations going on:

„Your musical motivation. What drives you?“ Looking into Arttu’s face the others laugh. So I suggest starting with the most important feature for the band. Again silence falls. And before that becomes awkward, I ask if this feature might be important or represented in the non-musical tasks within the band. Vesa breaks the silence with a momentous sigh and after yet another break, Saku wonders if the question is limited to the song writing or the music. So I can explain that it could be anything and surely more than the music. Like managing matters or a contribution to the atmosphere within the band. Vesa breaks the spell of silence: „At least, Niilo is a very patient person.“ He turns to him: „You never loose your temper. Whatever the situation.“ The others smile and chuckle, so Arttu adds: „And if you loose, you never show it.“ Vesa then comes up with the opposite quality: „I am the one who punches holes in the walls.“ As the others laugh, he admits: „that actually happened, once!“ Before I would ask for details he says: „But let’s not talk about that!“

Saku Myyryläinen, keyboard

Smiling I only ask if the hand has fully recovered. Happily he agrees. So I express my faith in his abilities and add: „The wall has not I hope?“ A low „no“ follows. „And we moved.“ Saku explains: „Past is past.“ While Niilo gives in to his memory: „This is a cool wall.“ Then Vesa explains himself: „It needed to be punished!“ I couldn’t agree more. But before I can get to the next feature, Saku says: „We covered it up with a painting.“ – „A circle of 5th“, Vesa says. Now I am getting curious and ask for a photo. Vesa says smilingly: „We do have a photo“ and then lessens quickly, „maybe, somewhere… it was our old rehearsal place. We moved from there about three years ago.“

All distraction cannot take me forever. I want „more features, please!“ Vesa: „What about Saku?“ He looks up: „you tell me!“ More silence broken by my insisting demand: „That sounds like understatement. There is something.“ Vesa comes up with: “You want to work with extreme precision with everything you do.“ Hesitating Saku admits: „Yeah? … Yah!“

„Everything has to be perfect?“ And Saku replies: „Maybe not perfect but well thought-out.” – “Is it more about the planning or more about the result?” Silence. Then he explains: “Well I think the result is what you hear out. So in that sense it is more important.”

The bad interviewer insists: „Yet another feature to go“, looking at the guitarist. Hesitantly he mumbles something like: „Some visual stuff, I don’t know.“ He stretches the sentence a bit and adds then: „I can see very clearly in my mind.“ Saku goes a bit deeper: „Yeah I think, Arttu has a good vision of the atmosphere of the music.“ But Arttu means: “And not just the music, I meant images and if there are some videos and so …“

„Do you give your artwork to be done externally and then you’ll check the result?“ Arttu seems to move now on save grounds: „When we create artwork it’s done by a professional graphic designer because …“ He is missing the vocabulary so Vesa adds: „It is so time consuming.“ Then Arttu launches more into details: „Yes, it’s so time consuming and difficult to do it by yourself. It is a better way to communicate with a graphic designer, and we just build it up together.“ Vesa specifies: „We draw some ideas, and look for perhaps some reference pictures.“ Arttu refines: „Actually, we precise ideas to what we want.“

“So the focus is on your ideas and how you want the artwork to be done. It’s not so much the ideas of the graphic designer?” Arttu agrees with my summary, as does Vesa.

Then we are back to the question of your key motivation in music. And silence falls again. At least the queer song in the background is finished. But the musicians have become a bit more open and seem to find it easier to put so far unconscious and opaque facts into words. Saku starts: “For me it is the will to create something new, unique, that hasn’t been done before. I think there is too much metal music that sounds the same. So for me, I want to go away from that.”

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We all love the bass

Niilo Könönen, bass

“Do you feel free to put in everything you like? Or does it have to meet a particular style or genre or standard?” – “Maybe not everything but I think I still have a pretty free hand to experiment in Vorna. At least like sound-wise. Creating the keyboard melodies and stuff and sounds”, Saku explains his motivation. “For me, I think”, the vocalist states, “the music is like a diary. I write some kind of lyrics almost every day…” Arttu: “I just want to be honest with myself in what I do and do my best work with that.” – “One more to go”, looking to Niilo again, who sighs silently: “Yeah.” He takes a conscious breath: “I think, I try to somehow … because the bass is many times like the instrument that is not like the most important. I like to somehow make some interesting parts in the songs. And I really like to do some really different rhythms, melodies. Not always play the same thing as the guitars.” Once more the band stands in for another member: Vesa: “There are some pretty juicy bass melodies …” “Yeaaaah”, supports Arttu and Saku follows immediately: ”Yep!” Then Arttu highlights the importance of Niilo’s bass play: “And I think that’s also one thing that makes us bit different from many other bands. Because we have really lively bass lines.”

“That was what I was thinking yesterday, watching you guys on stage. There are bassists having easier *blinking* well actually more ‘boring’ jobs.” All laughing in an agreeing manner. Vesa puts their thought into words: “And we all love the bass. We want the bass to have interesting lines, and maybe some really melodic parts as well, and Niilo has also really sweet sound. Like a really sweet sound.” The funny music in the background once more adds a surreal note to the otherwise very intense, yet fully relaxed atmosphere. Niilo summarizes his motivation: “Making the bass more known, perhaps” It’s marking him a passionate player of his instrument.

So I wonder: “Is there another bass player you like in particular for his way to play, giving you ideas how to play things?” “Well? I do but, I don’t know, but I’m not copying”, he replies. Vesa suggests another vocabulary: “imitate …” But I meant it in another way: No, I did not think of copying but … inspiring.” So the bassist names his favourite inspirations: “Well there are some as Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse, I would like to be as fast as he is. Then there are some like Lauri Porra from Stratovarius, he is that kind of guy who wants to go out from the playing the same parts as guitar. Especially when he plays live there are like middle solos everywhere.” Vesa also has a name on the list: “Also Sami Hinkka from Ensiferum.” – “That’s ridiculous how much he plays”, explains Vesa.

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The hawk, the spirit, the cat and …

Arttu Järvisalo, lead guitar

Knowing that question is yet another challenge, I remind the band: „So we’re up to the creatures, myths and legends.“ A deep sigh runs through the group of musicians, covering the silence and shooing the weird music from the background. Arttu repeats: “Creatures, myths and legends?”“Indeed, yes”, I confirm. “Something that is a metaphor or symbol for each of you.” — ”As a person?” Arttu wants to know. I nod. “Ah. Ok.” He thinks one more second: “Well I think mine would be a flying thing like a bird. Some hawk or eagle.” „Because?” I ask curiously. „I don’t know. I just want to be free“, he says a bit hiding in a shy laughing, however, I assure him that is this kind of symbolism I would like to address. „That is a wonderful reason!“ Then Vesa clears his throat before explaining: „I think I would be some kind of forest spirit, wondering around the nature not bothering anyone.“ He ends laughing hidingly as well. The others are laughing cognizant in the background. Finally Saku admits: “This is a hard one. Maybe a cat or a scorpio. Because I am a scorpio. But I don’t know.” I wonder how different cat and scorpio are. He refines: “I somehow can relate to a cat pretty easily.” – “Due to the cat’s independence?” I ask. He says: “Yeah, they want their own peace, and quiet and distance.” Vesa agrees while my view wanders to the remaining person’s face meeting his view. „Damn, you again.“ Niilo feels a bit trapped as his faces gives away. Finger nails tip in changing rhythms on a beer tin. “Yeah?!” he is laughing once more as it seems to hide a bit of embarrassment. Silence. “It is a hard one”, Niilo surrenders. “I don’t have an answer.“

“Well, you can think about it. We have some more time left as I have some more questions left. I hope this is fine with you? I take a look around. “Because we already exceeded the half an hour” (Well honestly, we had met nearly an hour earlier and there was some more to come…) Vesa assures me: “We don’t have any schedule.” The others agree. So I think they enjoy the conversation as much as I do. “We can sit here all night”, he says (it is roughly 2:00 pm). The band highlights that we are well equipped with the essentials: “Because we have vodka and beer …”

Vesa Salovaara, Saku Myyryläinen

“You were touring a lot in the beginning of the year.” They all agree. “With very different bands. Is there one band with which it worked really very well? Or is there even a band you would choose if you had to do a very, very long tour?” Vesa: “Well we have played a lot of shows with Whispered. And we get along really well.” The others support the statement by nodding. “And maybe also a bit exotic combination with us, we really had a great time with Thyrgrim from Germany although we play very different ways of styles but still …” Arttu mumbles supportive.

“This seems to work out rather well as I have seen quite some line ups of touring bands that cover a really wide range of styles and genres.“ Vesa agrees: “And also in 2015 when we toured with Thyrgrim which is a German black metal band and in the same year we toured also in Sweden and Finland with Swedish Grimner which is really …” Arttu fills in: “cheerful folk.” Then Vesa continues: “Humppa. And we kind of fit in both categories so to speak.” Suddenly he wonders: “I don’t know what is our genre?” Arttu replies: “We are actually some kind of in between those two bands style-wise.” Vesa: “Yah, we have black metal, and we have folk metal.” Saku and Niilo remind on a third direction of the music. But as all speak at the same time I don’t catch their details. So Vesa and Arttu go on in their thoughts: “Yeah.” Arttu: “Middle?” – Vesa laughing: “We can basically tour with anybody.” – “Almost. Almost!” limits Arttu carefully. But Vesa points out: “We have similarities with many bands. We have a so wide range of styles combined in our music.” This time the background music illustrates in a way their statements. A weird “Cotton-eye joe” cover.

“What decides which songs you play on such a tour? Do you arrange your set list to fit the list of touring bands, perhaps?” Arttu: “Maybe a little.” But Vesa insists: “We don’t have that many songs released. But we try to make it fit.” So Arttu says: “We consider those things, too.” And Vesa refines: “For example, yesterday, when we played here, we tried to put more of those atmospheric songs in the set list …” – “… that would fit into midsummer mood”, fills Arttu in.

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The 7th member, the elephant and Ukko

“But you have started already, writing the material for a third album, as I heard.” “Yeah. … two years ago!” admits Vesa laughing: “Because we are writing all the time, basically.”

“So what is the signal to draw the line and go into the studio?” Vesa replies smiling: “Iiro!” We all have to laugh. And Arttu manages to admit: “True. True!” somewhere in between the laughing. Vesa: “He sets a deadline and says ….” Me: “Now!!!” Vesa: “Yes! You have to be done by then.” “Does it work?” I wonder. Vesa: “Well, it has so far. But it’s kind of stressful.” And Arttu agrees: “It’s very stressfull, yeah.” Saku: “Well the songs tend to be some kind of incomplete by that moment. We refine them a little more by the time we go into the studio.” Arttu explains: “But we always find the compromise between artistic things and schedules.” And Vesa thinks: “But it is very hard to let go and maybe we need the deadline.” — “Yes, it is very hard to let go”, Arttu adds.

“Iiro seems to have a very critical position within the band? It seems to me he has a position really in the band and is far more than an external advisor/manager.” Vesa: “Yah. He is kind of a seventh member of the band. And that’s actually just the thing we wanted. We talked about this already like five years ago. That we would need and want a seventh member. Who kind of organises things and does all the ugly stuff that no one else wants to touch.” Niilo: “Especially the gig booking.” Vesa: “Yeaah, that’s a nasty business.” – And we all agree on that.

“Yeah, that means usually polishing a lot of door knobs.” Time for the final task. The elephant question! I illustrate the question as if we had met before their gig so that having a real elephant following at your heels unavoidably is a terrible and actual threat to your forthcoming gig. In the end of my illustration there is utter silence. And to underline the weight and size of the issue I point out, it would be surely no hobbit elephant but a huge one. Brave Arttu suggests: “Well I would talk to stage manager.” All laugh out loudly imagining Arttu speaking to that person, an elephant on the leash and saying “could you äh … hold that … animal a bit.” Laughter ends his statement. But in my mind the story goes on and so: “Oh, I see that poor stage manager been dragged all over the stage by the

Niilo Könönen, bass

elephant.” Vesa points out that “We also had three roadies” but the relative silence among the other band members let me think they had their doubts of three roadies and one stage manager being enough to hold the elephant back. But Vesa has an idea to use the elephant as part of their show: “Maybe I find a spare hat and take it on the elephant and make the most of it?” – “So, include it into the show?” – “Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.” – “I mean, the stages here are large enough.” Supportive mumbles from the band. Saku expands the idea: “I’d tame the elephant and make it do tricks.” We all laugh and in between the laughter more ideas pop up. But Vesa points out: “But the elephant is not a slave.” General and loud “No!” highlights: “It’s a pet” – “The elephant has to do it willingly.” So we can hope for Vorna soon to come up with their pet-elephant-friend on stage?

Yet all the laughing may not disguise the fact that someone is still owing me an answer. I look to Niilo: “Well then, we have one creature, legend, myth left.” He seems not too happy being reminded. “Ooooh yeah” sounding a bit painful. I frown: “I did not forget, sorry.” Arttu stands in: “Is it the elephant or?” Once more we’re all laughing. While Niilo is digging in his minds to come up with some idea, Vesa suggests: “You have that ring of Ukko.” – Finger nails tip again on a beer tin. “Yeah”, he sighs relieved. “The Finnish Thunder god” I get informed by Vesa: “Just be Ukko”, he suggests to his friend. Niilo remains silent and not fully convinced. “We actually have called Niilo ‘Ukko’ at some point of our career”, Arttu explains breaking the silence. I cannot help but another question slips my mouth before I can stop pressing on Niilo: “Are you so thundering? I thought you were patient?” The others agree on Niilo being very patient, however “his bass play is thundering”, as Vesa ensures me. And Arttu asks: “Did you see his fingers yesterday?” I did! I find it a wonderful final image, Niilo’s fingers creating thunder on his bass guitar and even more a perfect situation to show the deep-routed friendship among the band members. They all stand in for each other. Automatically. Supporting. Immediately.

Thank you Vorna for meeting me amidst your camp!

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Interview with Vorna – a very intimate band portrait

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„It has always been this way!“ – I heard this phrase too often and it became the best reason for me to make it (whatever it is) my own way.

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