March 31, 2023
Von Hertzen Brothers

“There’s my snare drum,” says Mikko von Hertzen, strapping a thin rail of bells to the side of his boot, holding it in place with what looks like a yard of gaffa tape. His brother, Kie (guitar, vocals), opts for a jumbled ball of small bells to attach to his boot. They walk off with a grin, jingling. Jonne, the most reserved, and youngest of the three, sits happily back in his chair, his bass guitar low on his hips, a low rumble of notes gravitating across the floor of the photography studio in the basement of the Future building in West London where the band are being filmed and photographed. 

The studio is surprisingly full, and it quickly becomes apparent why when the three brothers break into an acoustic reading of River (from 2006’s Approach album), Mikko supplementing his makeshift snare with a bass drum fashioned from a plastic case, he’s playing a guitar too and singing lead, though that could be any of them. As soloists they’re beyond accomplished; together they’re out of this world. After three runs at River – all note perfect, but at the cameraman’s insistence – they cheerily set about rattling off Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, leaving the makeshift audience quietly astonished by their virtuosity, not to mention the fact that they seem able to easily hurdle most of Freddie Mercury’s somewhat testing high notes.

Snow has set in over London, and is falling heavily as the band settle into the Future boardroom, a corner office with tall windows looking out over the crystalline sky. While the UK’s in thrall to a smattering of the white stuff, the three Finns are less impressed. Kie glances out of the window: “You call this snow? This isn’t snow.” 

Von Hertzen Brothers

(Image credit: Spinefarm Records)

The last time the Von Hertzen Brothers felt the cold was late last year on a short European tour opening for Opeth. Their latest album, Nine Lives, their first where the band had opted to record, engineer and oversee everything themselves, was running late. They’d overshot their self-imposed deadline, and consequently found themselves all bunched up in the back of their tour bus, wrapped up tightly in their sleeping bags, recording the final harmonies for their fifth album.

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