Interview The Man-eating Tree: Vesa Ranta

The Man-eating Tree is een Finse band die sinds 2009 bestaan en ondertussen twee albums hebben uitgebracht. Een review van hun laatste album 'Harvest' kan u alvast hier lezen. We kregen de kans om drummer Vesa Ranta te interviewen.

Hi all! This is Tim from Festivalblog and I have a few questions for you. With who do I have the pleasure? Would you be so kind to answer them?

Hi, I'm Vesa Ranta, the drummer from The Man-eating Tree. Sure thing, go ahead.

There are a lot of Finnish metal bands. How do you think you can separate yourself from them, in other words what makes your music special?

As you said, there certainly are a lot of metal bands in Finland. However, I believe that the exceptionally high level of contrasts in the music of TMET is the thing that distinguishes us from the masses. Our music has a lot of emotion: in the same song you can find extremely sensitive moments of interpretation as well as ultra-heavy instrumentalism. To caricature I could say that, in our music, the heaviness of Black Sabbath meets the ether of Sigur Ros.

What inspired you to become musicians?

We have all played our instruments for a very long time. When we were young, some of the mates invested their energy in sports and others in music. I myself belonged to the latter group, for which I am happy because now, at the age of forty, I would no longer be a very fast runner. I still have many years of playing music ahead of me, though.

How did the band come together? Could you give us a little history, please?

We founded our band in summer 2009. The band is constituted of members that are familiar from several different metal bands, such as Sentenced, Poisonblack, Fall of the Leafe, Embraze and Reflexion. Around the time of the band’s creation, all of the musicians were looking for a new band. So we had a great deal of luck with the timing, due to which we were able to put together a band with such an experienced line-up. We have now made two albums, the latter of which is called Harvest  and is about to be released just now, at the end of November.

I notice a lot of feeling in your songs, especially on your last album. Is this sort of the goal of the band, to try to emotionally touch the audience?

I think the most important aspect of music is melody – more specifically melodies that touch a person from deep within. I believe that creating moods and atmospheres is our greatest strength as a band. Melancholic music like this just feels closest to home and comes naturally to us.

About that last album called Harvest, where came the inspiration from for this album?

The inspiration comes from the lives we have lived. Judging by the songs, our lives are sometimes a bit depressing and melancholic, with small glimpses of light shining at the end of the tunnel every now and then. The atmosphere of the album turned out to be quite ‘autumnal’, so we decided to call it Harvest.

What was the most difficult song to make on this album?

Hmm… I think our guitarist Janne Markus made about 20 different demos of the single track Armed, changing the arrangement of the song every time. However, the final arrangement of the song seems to work quite well even though it all seemed to be turning upside down at some point.

Are there any bands that influence you?

Oh yes, there are several. Our common favourites include bands like Type ‘O Negative, Alice in Chains, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Anathema and Katatonia. I believe our musical preferences sometimes come through also in what we’re doing ourselves. All of the above mentioned bands are linked by a strong sense of melody along with an open-minded approach to making music. These are the very same things that we as a band wish to bring forward.

How would you describe The Man-eating Tree to someone who doesn’t know the band yet?

Our music is very complex. It is melancholic, heavy, ethereal and sometimes even has a progressive touch. The kind of music that is more likely to be suited for concentrated listening than as background music at a home party.

What are the plans for 2012? Is there any Belgian show in sight?

We’re supporting Amorphis on a Central European tour and we will stop in Vosselaar in Belgium on January 14, 2012. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

In October/November 2010 you were support of Finnish heavy metal pioneers Tarot. How was it to support for those guys?

Although Tarot’s music represents a far more traditional type of heavy metal, the tour was a very good experience for us as well. Before the tour we were afraid that our audiences would not meet. Luckily we were wrong and we gained quite a good number of new fans on our very first tour. The chemistry between the two bands on that tour was absolutely excellent; we had the same crew and got along wonderfully.

Are there any other bands that you would love to play with on tour?

If I got to choose the top three, I would say Tool, Porcupine Tree and Alice In Chains.

Just one more question, how did you come up with the band name? The Man-eating Tree isn’t really a common name, isn’t it?

The idea came from guitarist Aaron Rantonen who was a member of the band in the very beginning. The name comes from old folktales about explorers who came across man-eating trees – carnivorous plants of sorts. What is also a fact is that we will all be food for the trees after we die.

Thanks for this interview! I wish you guys the best of luck, I hope to see you again here in Belgium!