I'm often asked in interviews, "What has the response been like to your new album?"
This question is often hard to answer because I do not read any reviews about our albums. I only know about the reviews that I accidentally come across through people's Facebook profiles, or through our band e-mail. Otherwise I'm blissfully unaware of what people might think. The reason for this is that, while it's nice to hear that reviewers like the album, the negative comments always get to you. In a way, I'm protecting myself by choosing my own sources of feedback. I mean, who would go to a house of mirrors to find out if one has put on weight?
In the end, you are not doing music for the reviewers. You are doing the music for yourself and your listeners. But one might ask, how can you then be sure that you’ve got it? That you're on the right track? The funny thing is, you can't. You just need to be honest with yourself and believe in what you’re doing. You need to look at the mirror every day and face the truth--without hair dye and sucking your stomach in. Work hard and hope for the best. Even though my weak ego secretly feeds off the good reviews and chart positions, the most important feedback comes from the fans and the people I trust. In other words, my band-mates make sure that everything is up-to-par, and playing the songs live always reminds me why there needs to be rock bands: it's about coming together and sharing a moment that is larger than the life.
On our last album, we decided to dedicate the closing song, "Man Weighed Down With Sorrow", to departed Sentenced guitarist Miika Tenkula. I never met Miika personally, but I was hugely influenced by his song-writing and playing-style when I started to play guitar myself. A week ago, we got an e-mail from another former Sentenced member, Sami Lopakka, thanking us for this gesture on behalf of him and Miika's closest friends and family. For me, this is the biggest compliment that I’ve ever gotten. It also proves that music isn’t about numbers. It's about having the courage to put yourself in line. It's about carrying the torch and keeping the flame alive.
Ville Friman is the guitarist for Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium. The band released their latest album, One for Sorrow, on October 18 via Century Media Records. For more on the band, check out their official website and "like" them on Facebook.