One For The Road: Insomnium Guitarist Ville Friman on the Inevitable Truths of Touring

It’s now almost a year since we last played live. One year without touring is a long time for a band nowadays. In order to make it, you need to push your name out there all the time. Bands are literally living in the van, tour after a tour. Competition is hard, and in the end, only a few bands make it.

We played our last show in Malmö, Sweden. We were tired. Six weeks of alcohol-ridden decadence had taken its toll. The hall was half empty, and I had problems with my wireless and switched to cable after few songs. Yet it was one of the most memorable gigs we have ever had. The reason? Well let me tell you.

Six weeks is a pretty long time on the road. You become good friends with people, and suddenly you realize that you have become part of a family. For six weeks, you sleep, eat, and drink with these same people, share the ups and downs. It might be an odd, freakish, and hobo-like family, but it is a family nevertheless.

The show in Malmö was unforgettable because we knew that after that night, we would say goodbye to this family and return back home to our real ones. Everyone could feel the uneasiness. Once we started playing "Equivalence," I felt really sad. Part of me did not want to leave all of this behind. Being home- and tour-sick at the same time really tears you apart. But despite all of the difficulties and half-empty hall, we poured our emotions into the performance. Such a great tour deserved nothing less.

Like many things in life, music is often a choice between quality and quantity. It’s damn hard to have them both. In our case, one year of no shows was a choice for quality. You just can’t write a good album in a hurry. But now I can’t wait to step into the bus, meet my new hairy family, and salute old and new fans. I want more good memories. Memories that bring a smile to your face many years after the fact. Memories you take with you to the grave, long after you’ve boozed down your merch money and miniscule royalties. Quality over quantity I say. We’re getting too old to live in a van anyway.

Ville Friman is the guitarist for Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium. The band will release 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.

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