Sorry everyone for the delay, it has been a long few weeks. We are back now with an interview with Jarmo Puolakanaho (guitarist) of Eternal Tears of Sorrow. If you did not know, they are a symphonic melodic death metal band from Pudasjärvi, Finland.
MP: Please introduce yourself and what you do in the band:
ETOS: I’m Jarmo Puolakanaho. I play rhythm and melody guitar and I’m one of the two remaining founders of this band.
MP: How did the band form?
ETOS: Back in the late 80s and the early 90s, we were two teenagers who lived in a small Northern Finnish town and didn’t have much to do. The only nice activities were doing sports and playing rock/metal. After some thinking, we started musical projects that slowly evolved and finally become EToS in 1994.
MP: How did the name Eternal Tears of Sorrow come about?
ETOS: We had had some weird names in 1993 and were not really satisfied with them. When recording a demo tape in April 1994 in our high school classroom, we started writing a lot of words on the chalkboard. Then, we started erasing the words, one by one, until we had three words. Eternal. Tears. Sorrow.
(Actually, if I remember correctly, we erased some of the words by throwing a chalkboard eraser (i.e. a sponge) onto the chalkboard, so some of the words were removed accidentally. )
We also wanted a long name, so these three words were a nice combination for a band name.
MP: Tell us about the early years of the band?
ETOS: We really loved writing new songs. But we still had just one goal: to sign a deal with a record company so that they could release our music. It could have been an EP or even a 7” vinyl. And we were lucky to get a record deal in less than two years. In early 1996, we were signed to a very small Swedish label called X-Treme Records who released our first album in late 1994.
MP: What inspires your music?
ETOS: Emotions and good stories. Sometimes even good music, even though it is very hard to get inspired by a good metal song after listening to metal for 35 years.
MP: How did you guys come about playing melodic death metal?
ETOS: It just came to us naturally. Our first real band, Andromeda (formed in early 1992), was originally a very bad thrash metal band. Then, we heard Paradise Lost and started writing doom/death metal songs. Soon, a lot of melodic death metal bands had their first albums out, so we were influenced by them, too. So, between 1992 and 1994 our style changed a lot…
MP: Are you inspired by any bands in the scene or outside inspiration?
ETOS: I think we’re influenced by very few bands nowadays. Every now and then, we hear a song that makes us think “oh, so you really can write a nice song that way, too” but after listening to it, we don’t want to write songs in the same vein. We just get inspired by it and write more songs in our own style.
MP: You released “Saivon Lapsi” in 2013, can we expect new material soon?
ETOS: Not for a while. We haven’t got any new songs finished yet. We’ve decided to dedicate the next year for writing new material… But we’re really busy nowadays, so I’m not sure if one year is enough for writing eight or nine new songs.
Also, year by year, it also takes a lot of energy and time to write even better songs. It’s not that we can just pick up our guitars and write a song in one day. It takes a lot of time to write a new song nowadays because we don’t want to repeat ourselves.
MP: What about tours? Any upcoming tours at this time or in the future?
ETOS: Earlier this year, we had some plans of doing some live shows by the end of the year. But we had to abandon those plans because our timetables are just too full this year. Next year and 2019 could be different, though.
MP: What is your favorite EToS song and why?
ETOS: The next song that we finish!
MP: Will EToS be taking a new direction in upcoming music or return to the original sound like “Sinner’s Serenade” and “Vilda Mánnu?”
ETOS: I don’t think we not getting back to the sound we’ve had twenty years ago. That was then and this is now. It could be fun to try something from that period, once again. But in the long run, writing old-school songs wouldn’t be interesting to us.
In addition, we couldn’t write another “Vilda Mánnu” even if we wanted to, because we had a different line-up back then.
MP: If you guys could tour with anyone and anywhere, who and where would be your dream tour?
ETOS: I think we’d enjoy playing anywhere if the conditions are right, as long as the tour is full of professional people who enjoy what they are doing.
MP: How do you prep for tours and events?
ETOS: We rehearse as much as we can. And then, there’s a lot of boring technical stuff we need to take care of, too.
MP: What do you think of today’s metal scene? Any bands catching your attention right now?
ETOS: Hmm, Khonsu and Myrkur are the most interesting new metal acts these days.
MP: Any advice for upcoming bands?
ETOS: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! And don’t get depressed if you get bad reviews. There will always be people who don’t like our music. Just ignore them.
MP: What does the future hold for EToS?
ETOS: That’s a good question. We don’t know. Something will happen in the future, in 2018 or 2019. Most probably, it will be releasing new songs and doing more live shows. But at the moment, we just want to concentrate on writing new songs…
MP: Any plans of heading to North America?
ETOS: No, unfortunately we have no plans like that. For a very strange reason, none of our albums have actually been officially released in North America, which makes it practically impossible to do any live shows there. That hasn’t been our decision as it’s always the record companies who decide on where the albums should be released.
MP: Any last words for the readers?
ETOS: Thanks for reading this! Hope you like our music!