NETTA SKOG (Ensiferum): “It’s not easy to be a full time musician in Finland”

NETTA SKOG (Ensiferum): “It’s not easy to be a full time musician in Finland

I have always thought that if there would ever be a popular metal band with accordion, it would definitely had come from the Balkans. But Finland proved me wrong. Thinking about it now, it’s no big surprise. It’s Finland after all.
And so, during Ensiferum’s visit to Budapest, I took a chance to talk to Netta Skog. Once known as Turisas‘ accordionist, left the band to explore her musicianship and is now finally back 100 % in yet another quite popular metal bend – Ensiferum.

Interview: Martina Šestić |

VENIA: How do you feel now at the end of the tour?
NETTA: Relieved 🙂 But it’s been a great tour with really great bands. Actually this is the second time I’m touring with Iced Earth. My very first tour in 2007 was with Iced Earth. So it’s like a reunion.

But it’s been a great tour with really great bands. Actually this is the second time I’m touring with Iced Earth. My very first tour in 2007 was with Iced Earth. So it’s like a reunion.

VENIA: What would you say were the best things on this tour?
NETTA: Well in my opinion… The best thing on every tour is that you get new friends and on this tour we had so many wonderful people – the crew and the bands. So I think it’s always the best thing.

VENIA: You were really young when you became touring musician. How did it shape you as a person? How did your family react when you said “hey guys, I’m going off to play with Turisas”?
NETTA: Yeah, I was 16 years old.
VENIA: And they were a bit older than you.
NETTA: Yeah… Well first reaction from my parents was absolutely no. And I was like “but I want go, I want go, this is the greatest opportunity, let me go”. Than my dad spoke on the phone with the singer (Mathias op.a) and he explained to my dad that it’s going to be cool because at that time we didn’t know anything about touring. Of course, I knew nothing about touring. Well after that phone call my dad said yes, and, well, here I am 🙂 Actually they said it was their best decision – to let me go on that tour.

VENIA: Do you still listen to Turisas? How did you like the new album?
NETTA: Hm… What was the latest album?
VENIA: Turisas2013.
NETTA: Oh, that album? Actually I don’t have that one. I listened couple of songs and it sounds… like Turisas. But different kind of Turisas.

VENIA: But now being part of Ensiferum… How does it feel to be back in metal?
NETTA: I think metal has always been in my heart. I belong to heavy metal scene. I just needed to quit with Turisas at the time and try to find myself in the right band and the right ways to find where I belong. And when they asked me to join the bend, it was an immediate yes. I didn’t even think about it. I knew them from before, we were already friends and I think that was just the right time for that decision.

VENIA: And your solo career?
NETTA: It’s actually going pretty well. I have taken huge steps during these past few years and I’m doing lots of solo gigs in Finland and outside of Finland too.
VENIA: Do you have any plans for a solo album?
NETTA: That’s been always my dream but I’ve been trying to find my way how to do it, what kind of music… Of course, it’s going to be something mixed with heavy metal and pop. But I still don’t know how to do it and it’s been on my mind for the past 10 years. Already.

VENIA: So you also sing as backing vocal in Ensiferum.. Will you get more space on the next album?
NETTA: Maybe, maybe 🙂 We will be discussing about it. Now they have female singer in the band so, why not.
VENIA: Do you like singing?
NETTA: Actually yes 🙂
VENIA: You were also competing in tango singing?
NETTA: We don’t have to talk about it 😀
VENIA: On that note, why is tango so popular in Finland?
NETTA: I have no idea. It’s been like that for ages but to be honest, tango is not for young people at all. But my goal was to make it popular for the young people too and I think I succeeded pretty well. There were a lot of people watching the competition because of me.

VENIA: How did you chose to play accordion?
NETTA: When I was five years old my mom put me into this children’s music school. Actually I was younger, three or four. And the teacher was playing accordion and I said to my mom “I want to do that too!” So, when I was five years old I got my first accordion. And the same teacher that was teaching at that school became my teacher. And she is still really close to me. Like a second mother.
VENIA: It is so nice to have such a nice role model and influence.
NETTA: Yeah. Exactly.

VENIA: But, tell me, what is you favourite Ensiferum release? Or maybe the song?
NETTA: I have to say One Man Army because that is my first album. Sorry guys, OMA is my favourite 🙂

VENIA: What your plans after the tour?
NETTA: I’m flying back tonight. I have an early filight and I’m going to do three Christmas concerts with this one heavy metal singer. Three shows, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and I’m going back home on Friday and then I will have vacation for one week. So that for this year.
In January I have lots of solo gigs. I’m going to Berlin for one week again… shows in Finland… Then work on the new album. Which means lots of songwriting, practicing…

VENIA: Are some of the songs already written for the next release?
NETTA: Yes, there are. Of course. We’re planing to go to studio in March.
VENIA: And there’ll be lots of accordion?
NETTA: Yeah, maybe not accordion sound but everything played with accordion.

VENIA: What kind of accordion is your favourite one?
NETTA: Mine 😀 Digital accordion. That’s my world. Definitely my world and I can pay bills with that instrument.
VENIA: So you’re enjoying being full time musician?
NETTA: Yes, I am. And I am so grateful for it because you can not… It’s not like… It’s not easy to be a full time musician in Finland. It’s really hard and I’m really blessed that I can do it.
VENIA: Well, what can I say… In the Balkans, with accordion you can earn a lot of money. But you’ll have to play for the most of time thrashy folk music. Especially on weddings.
NETTA: I know that. I also do weddings.

VENIA: It’s been fun talking to you. Thank you for the interview.
NETTA: No problem, any time 🙂

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