“Music is a selfish thing — you have to please yourself before you can please others” – Markus Vanhala of Omnium Gatherum
Omnium Gatherum have had a very slow yet steady rise. From humble beginnings the band has toiled away and has seemingly only just started to reap the benefits of more than twenty years work with largely positive receptions for their most recent albums Grey Heavens and The Burning Cold. While there is still more of the mountain to climb, Omnium Gatherum’s seems to be riding that high wave and relentlessly touring in any corner of the globe that will have them. Ahead of their Driven by Conflict and Sin tour of Australia with Orpheus Omega, Metal Wani had the chance to catch up with Omnium Gatherum axeman Markus Vanhala to discuss touring Australia for the first time, the departure of bassist Erkki Silvennoinen, the success The Burning Cold, Meet and Greets, and the challenges involved in being a key member in two very successful bands.
Opening the conversation by discussing the Australian tour, Vanhala seems excited about finally making the journey to Australia with Omnium Gatherum, claiming “We’ve been looking forward to this for years and just waiting for the right moment, and now it seems that it is. I’ve been there with Insomnium and it seems that there is quite a number of fans for Omnium Gatherum too!”. He then goes on to discuss the value in touring and provides a retrospective insight into whether or not he anticipated the band being able to tour globally on its formation 22 years ago.
The topic then shifts to Meet and Greets and whether they are something that the band enjoys doing. Candidly speaking, Vanhala states “Well, to be honest, as you know we are Finnish, and Finnish people are very antisocial, stereotypical way antisocial, so I have to say that meet and greet is usually the promoters idea, or the agents’ idea — not the bands. But of course it can be cool, it always depends on the people” before canvassing the greater perception around Meet and Greets and how they have risen to prominence over the past decade.
In light of the recent revelations that bassist Erkki Silvennoinen had departed the band, Vanhala was asked about how such news had impacted on Omnium Gatherum coming so close to a very big tour. Vanhala discusses how this news was ‘a very long time coming’, and noted that it was very difficult to keep a musician like Silvennoinen down due to the demand that he has elsewhere, commenting that “He’s basically a musical mercenary, he just went to more bigger music business things than Omnium Gatherum are, because we are still playing death metal which isn’t exactly a big business”
Closing out by discussing the difficulties in being in two very successful bands, Vanhala is asked about whether or not performing in Insomnium causes conflict with Omnium Gatherum’s schedule. Reflecting on the release of Grey Heavens, which also dropped the same year as Insomnium’s Winter’s Gate, Vanhala speaks about performing almost 200 shows in a year in 2016 and 2017, before noting that it’s been good to have staggered releases for this round of album which have allowed him to tour amidst writing and recording for the new Insomnium, scheduled for release in September/October 2019.
Stream The Entire Interview Below:
10th April – Canberra | The Basement
12th April – Sydney | Crowbar
13th April – Brisbane | Crowbar
15th April – Wellington | Valhalla *
16th April – Auckland | Whammy Bar *
17th April – Adelaide | Enigma Bar
18th April – Ballarat | Karova Lounge
19th April – Geelong | The Barwon Club
20th – Melbourne | The Corner Hotel
26th April – Hobart | The Brisbane Hotel **
27th April – Launceston | Mode Bar **
* Orpheus Omega not appearing, ** Omnium Gatherum not appearing