Interview by Laura MedinaSusanna Vesilahti is the female vocalist of Unshine, a Finnish druid metal band from Finland. Unshine’s third album, “Dark Half Rising” is currently out now via Massacre Records and features a more “stronger and powerful presence than ever.” What I like most about Unshine’s lyrics is that they are written about ancient histories of civilizations that existed long ago and they write about nature topics that make you want to continue listening. I got the chance to chat with Susanna about Unshine, “Dark Half Rising”, her pre-concert rituals and much more. Hi Susanna and welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! Thank you so much for allowing us to interview you today! I hope you are doing well today.
Hi Laura, nice to talk with you! Greetings from rainy Finland!Would you mind telling our readers a little about yourself and your band, Unshine?
I am the singer of the Finnish druid metal band Unshine. Unshine is a band with five members: me, guitarist Jari, bassist Teemu, drummer Stibe and Harri, guitarist and keyboard player. The band was formed many years ago in Helsinki, Finland. Our music can be described as a mixture of folk, gothic and symphonic metal with nature-oriented lyrics. We have released three albums so far, “Earth Magick” (2005), “The Enigma of Immortals” (2008) and the newest “Dark Half Rising” in last August.Unshine was formed in 2001, what is the meaning behind your band’s name Unshine?
Name Unshine can be thought as a combination of humbleness and darkness.What can we expect to hear in your latest album release “Dark Half Rising” that is out now via Massacre Records?
It is an epic Celtic theme album connected to real history which took place during Iron Age. The place of the events, the Ardennes, is nowadays in the area of France and Belgium. Basically, “Dark Half Rising” is a story of those people who defended their homelands from the invasion of Romans during the time of Gallic wars. Every song has its own perspective, some of more abstractive and some of more concrete.Unshine’s music is best described as druid metal. Can you talk us through what druid metal means to you as a band and what it means to your fans?
We think that our music combines different musical styles in a quite a unique way. And our inspiration to music and lyrics comes from nature and nature forces. It is quite difficult to place our band under well-known genre, so in our opinion druid metal is the best word to describe our band.Can you explain to us about the lyrical themes/subjects or topics that are present in your music on “Dark Half Rising”?
Our themes have always some kind of a bond to the Mother Earth. Not always so obvious, but it is always there. As mentioned, “Dark Half Rising” is a thematic album connected to real events in Iron Age Celtic society, so themes in the album base on that.What type of influences, interests, ideas or inspirations do you find when thinking of new material to produce and record?
The idea of “Dark Half Rising” was to do a very melodic album with heavy backgrounds. And we wanted to do it carefully, concentrating in every detail, so it took quite a long time to produce and record it.You supported Lake of Tears and Amorphis in the past. I saw Amorphis open up for Nightwish in 2012 in Los Angeles and thought they had great stage presence and were really good. Could you tell us what was it like touring with the guys from Lake of Tears and Amorphis?
Oh it was so cool! These bands and guys are very nice; it was pleasure to perform with them. The atmosphere and audience were awesome in the gigs.“Arduinna” is the Gaulish (Celtic) goddess of the Moon, hunting and the forests. What about Arduinna or Gaulish/Celtic history caught your attention enough to devote a whole album to that particular theme or idea?
The whole album theme started as an idea, where a tribe of people defend their homeland from the invasion of intruders. Slowly, the location and the real history behind this showed its head and we realized that the album will tell about the history of Gallic people. Arduinna is connected tightly in to their past. Her animal representator is on the album cover, by the way.Do you have any future plans to release a single or make an official video for “Dark Half Rising”?
Official video would be nice and we have some plans to make it, but nothing has been decided yet.“Dark Half Rising” is your latest third full length album release and your first album on Massacre Records. What can you tell us about your band’s current music direction and how it evolved since your debut album “Earth Magick” in 2005?
Well, I think we have evolved to the better direction from the days of “Earth Magick”. Every individual in the band has got better with his instrument through intensive practicing and touring. And I’ve been trying to improve my singing through practicing and also taking some singing lessons. I hope that audience can hear it too, at least I hope so!Susanna, what are some of your favorite Unshine songs to sing on-stage live?
It’s quite difficult to say, I may honestly say that I like every song. Maybe at the moment the song “Ikuinen Taistelu” is one of my favorites, because it differs from other songs being a long, epic and in Finnish language.When I meet my favorite musicians in person, I get all nervous, giddy and stumble all over my words when I talk to them and feel like a complete nerd. Have you ever been star struck when meeting your favorite musicians or bands?
That is so familiar to me; I am a quite a bundle of nerves. But luckily the most musicians and bands I’ve met have been so nice and friendly, so it is easy to relax around them.Susanna, could you walk us through your live concert routines such as vocal warm-ups, getting dressed, eating, relaxing just to name a few?
Before a gig I have a habit that I walk around and sing Finnish traditional songs by myself. Yeah, it sounds clever, but it works for me! And as I mentioned, I am a bundle of nerves, so I can’t eat hardly anything in the same day before a gig. But when I hit the stage and start singing, all anxiety somehow disappears and the feeling is great.How would you describe your band’s music and sound?
Melodic, dark, heavy and soft at the same time.Do you have any special live festivals, special performances or concerts planned to promote “Dark Half Rising”?
Our album release gig was at the Festival-Medieval in Selb, Germany. It was so great experience! After that we have been touring in Finland. We have serious plans for more gigs to abroad and to Finland in near future, let’s hope all is going to work out!Any final words you would like to say to our fellow readers, your loyal fans and everyone else reading along? Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us at Femme Metal Webzine today! It was a pleasure once again to speak to you and wishing you all the best of luck and more!
If you haven’t yet, check out our music and hopefully we see you at our shows! Thank you Laura and Femme Metal Webzine for the interview, it was pleasure to answer to these questions! Druidic blessings!