This week’s featured Meet The Band artist is the Finnish melodic death metal group Sigir. Their debut album is Rainmaker. Vocalist/guitarist Viljami Toikkanen introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Sigir.
Viljami Toikkanen: We started doing this music back in 2019, at Vesanto, Finland. Back then we had no name yet, only a handful of riffs and melodies which then led to total of four song demo. Back then the lineup was Viljami Toikkanen on guitar and vocals, Paavo Luttinen on bass, Eetu Pennanen on drums and Henriikka Haatainen on keyboards. After we recorded our first demo we parted ways with Henriikka. In 2021 Valtteri Pitkänen joined us on second guitar. Band’s name was invented in 2021 also.
Describe the songwriting process for Rainmaker.
Basically I made like 90 percent of all the riffs and melodies at home. Like the skeleton of the song, which I later brought to the table to arrange with the rest of the bandmates. All the songs started from some kind of a mindscape that I had. Like scenes from memory or some landscapes near where I live. Lyrics were made last mostly. Guitar solos we did share in half with Valtteri. It was pretty tough process, since I needed to be perfectly satisfied with all the riffs, before even showing them to my bandmates. It took about three years to finalize some of the songs, but luckily we had our producer Euge Valovirta with us, who helped a lot. When I felt lost in some song structures, he came up with some refreshing ideas.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
When we recorded drums at Top Floor Studios in Gothenburg. It was basically that moment when we started the whole recording process, since we recorded drums first for the album. And because of that we were super excited and stressed at the same time. But our drummer Eetu did fantastic job there, which kept our producer Jakob Herrmann pleased. And that was the best feeling ever, when everything went on so easily while recording, even though Jakob is a bit of a strict producer.
What was the biggest challenge in recording it?
Probably getting onto the right plane in Zurich airport. (laughs) But seriously all the recording sessions went on quite nicely. Everyone in our production team are fantastic dudes. And there was no complaining about studio facilities etc. Some logistics were a bit difficult since we haven’t travelled abroad that much.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
I think it’s quite raw, old-schoolish melodic death metal. Vocals and guitars aren’t that modern sounding, which in my opinion gives that raw and brutal feel into it. In some parts I would call it a bit epic, but that’s not what we are about completely.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Lyrical themes vary between old Finnish folklore, nature and life in general.
How was the video shoot for “Rainmaker” and how did you develop the concept?
It was a great experience. Our first time doing a music video was really exciting and fun. We were really certain about the song “Rainmaker” to be the song we make a video for. The script was made by Jani Wilund, our label manager and it was perfect. We gave responsibility to the professionals here to make the script and the screenplay so we can just concentrate on expressing ourselves.
How did you come to sign with Gramophone Records?
Our label manager Jani Wilund found us after we did our first demo EP, which we had spread to some managers and promoters. I believe it was in 2020. Jani wanted that we do an audition for him, which we did in 2021. Later he contacted us and told they want to sign us to Gramophone Records.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Of course we want it to get great feedback, but besides that if it opens doors to more shows for us, that would be perfect. I don’t have that many expectations. I don’t want to get disappointed if my expectations are too ambitious. Of course I dream about success, but I don’t expect it to happen right now.
What has been your most memorable Sigir live show?
Probably the one we did at the Bar Ottopoika, Kuopio in August. Kuopio is kinda like our second hometown and all our best friends were in the crowd. We played with our great buddies Marrasmieli. The most memorable feeling of that gig was when I look at the crowd, I see nothing but friends jamming to the music and supporting us. That was pure magic.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We are doing some club shows in Finland next year. There’s no solid plan yet for doing shows abroad. We wish to do a tour as soon as possible.
Who are your all time top 5 Finnish metal bands?
Amorphis, Wintersun, Ensiferum, HIM and Mokoma
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I like to go walking outside in nature sometimes, just for relaxing. Besides that I don’t actually have any hobbies that don’t relate to music.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Lately I have been listening a lot bands like Faith No More, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Black Sabbath and Omnivortex. Great bands in my opinion.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Listen to our band, check out our Rainmaker music video and buy the album from Recordshop X. Hope to see you guys at shows!
(interview published November 4, 2023)
Watch Sigir – “Rainmaker” Video