"Keep the whole thing going"
Suiciderock: You are already well known but could you give us a brief introduction of the band to began with the interview?
Ben: The band was started when me and our drummer were still teenagers. We are the only ones left from the old line-up. We started with Pantera Covers but than over the years we began to write our own songs than comes the usually story how a band is put together. We found some friends who wanted to join us, we made some demos, than we got a record deal, we went through a couple of line-up changes. We had the honour to tour with a bunch of great bands like for example Amorphis, Finntroll. We have played over 200 shows now, also a couple of them in Germany. “Beneath” is our current album, the second one which we recorded with our new singer Ari Koivunen.
Suiciderock: Ari is in the band since three years now. How does it feel to have him in the band?
Ben: It feels great, Ari fits perfectly to Amoral.
Suiciderock: Ari is the winner of the Finnish Idols competition. Was there any problem regarding the fact that he took part in some kind of casting show. As many people judge those shows to be bullshit?
Ben: Yeah, we got lots of that kind of feedback from the fans and the media. Everybody asked us why we made the decision to get him into the band as he took part in that Idols competition and so on. But come on, show me anybody who sings better that Ari does? He was a fan of Amoral before he joined the band. He was always partying with us after our gigs and stuff. When he heard that we are searching for a new singer, he immediately asked if he could try. There is nobody out there who fits better for Amoral than Ari does. We can do anything we want. Ari can sing everything, no matter if it`s a song that requires to sing high or anything else. Furthermore we knew before we even decided that he joins the band that there will be some noise around this decision. We knew that it won`t be easy and that a lot of our old fans would turn their back on us.
Suiciderock: Would you say that this became better? Are people more convinced now?
Ben: Well, you still can feel it but it`s nothing comparing what it was two years ago. Luckily time goes on and already with this album it`s going to be much easier than it was with the foregoing one, than comes the next one and someday people will only focus on our music and not on the fact that our singer once won a casting show.
Suiciderock: “Beneath” is already your 5th studio album by now. What were the recordings like? Would you say the work at the studio gets more and more like a routine after 5 records or does the excitement comes back always when you start working on new material?
Ben: We recorded again with Janne Saksa in Hämeenlinna. Our producer has become part of the band already as we have done so many albums with him. It´s like we meet him every two years to make a new record. So the recordings where quite easy when it comes to that. I think with “Beneath” we made a natural progression from our last record. I mean if you liked the previous album, I`m pretty sure that you can also enjoy this one. “Beneath” sounds more like a whole package. It was also easier for Ari as for the last record he joined the band just a few days before we went to the studio. This time he has been with us for three years. So I think it must have been much more easy for him as singer as well. We couldn`t be more happy with the entire album. The whole band is really satisfied with “Beneath”, it`s the best album we`ve made.
Suiciderock: Everybody says this after the release of a new album…
Ben: You should say that about every album. I know it is a cliché but why should send something to the record stores when you are not 100% confident with it. That would make no sense. Would it?
Suiciderock: How does the song writing in the band work out?
Ben: I was responsible for most of the songs. Unfortunately our guitar player left the band a while ago but we found a new one just before we went into the studio and he wrote two songs together with me. Maybe it will be like 50 / 50 when we work on our new album. Let`s see what happens. It`s not that only I`m the guy who is responsible for the lyrics, should one of the other guys have a great idea for a song we discuss it and it surely will find it`s way into our set.
Suiciderock: You have announced a tour to promote the album. The tourstart will be here in Helsinki tomorrow, after that you will present the new material all over Finland until early December. Will you go outside of Finland as well after that? For example Japan where the album also has been released?
Ben: Tomorrow is actually more a warm-up show. Will will play at the Radio Rock Party at the Green Room here in Helsinki. They asked us to play there, so we agreed. But the actual touring will start in November. We will play some gigs in November and December and than we have many many plans for next year. Nothing is 100% finalised yet, but I hope we are going to play some gigs outside of Finland as well. But we will definitely play a tour here in Finland next February. The Finnish dates are so easy to fix. We are already here, so we just jump into a car and drive wherever they want us to play. When it comes to tour in Europe we have to figure out so many things around the whole tour so this takes a bit more time. I`m sure we gonna do something next year in Europe as well.
Suiciderock: “Beneath” is going to be released in Japan as well however it will hit the stores with a different tracklist over there. It will include “Staying Human” as exclusive bonustrack and you had to remove “Closure” from the album. What made you choose “Staying Human” as bonustrack and why do you think do the Japanese always need something special when it comes to album releases?
Ben: I think this is because the CD`s are so expensive over there. So there has to be something special or at least something different comparing to the European releases. It is really expensive if a European band releases their album over there and people have to buy it from the stores. The prices for this albums are ridiculous. I think it`s kind a cool to have something different. Plus it is the only way that it is guaranteed that the fans will buy the Japanese version of the album.
Suiciderock: You had a special idea for the people who pre-ordered your record. Not only that the album was signed by the entire band, your fans also got a 18 – page poster booklet made by an Spanish artist called Marta Nael. How did that idea come up? How did you meet Marta?
Ben: Only the signatures are special when it comes to the pre-orders but the poster booklet will be in every copy of the album. When you buy the album at the stores you can only see the CD cover but as soon as you open the booklet you will see the whole picture of it. It`s going to be pretty cool. It`s kind a funny as we have never actually met Marta in person. I was introduced to her by the guy who owns our web shop. He got to know her somehow and he liked her works. We gave it a go and checked her out and than we realised quite quickly how cool her work was and so we thought that she fits perfect to the vision we had in mind. She did a great job.
Suiciderock: If you look at the cover of the album you feel like diving into the ocean. Who had the idea for the cover?
Ben: The idea for the cover was ours but as I couldn`t realise it myself we had to find some help out there and we perfectly did with Marta.
Suiciderock: You mentioned it in the beginning of the interview that you went through a couple of line up changes within the career of Amoral. How do you deal with such things?
Ben: There are always ups and downs. It was pretty hard when we lost our guitar player. He has been with us for about 10 years and he has also written many songs with me. Of course, it`s always a punch in the face when something like this happens but on the other hand when you get someone new to join the band and he is so full of energy it helps the whole group. If you are new you always want to show the world out there what you are able to do. So that means you put a lot of effort in what you do and the way how you play. For our band it was such a boost of energy when Masi, our new guitar player joined. Also on tour the vibe was so much better. I remember before we had this fancy tour bus when we supported a bigger band and on our last tour we just had this crappy van where you almost sleep on top of each other. But it was much more fun than the previous tour. We didn´t really care, just had a blast.
Suiciderock: So you prefer the van instead of the fancy tour bus than?
Ben: Haha, I prefer a good group of people I`m touring with along with a good vibe. Of course, I prefer a fancy bus. What kind of question is that? *smiles* But if I have to decide between sharing a van with two guys I really like or a nice tourbus full of people I don`t necessarily want to have around me I take the van.
Suiciderock: Your future plans for the band?
Ben: Ah, just promoting this album as much as possible, making some new videos, playing as many shows as possible. Than we want to start working on a new album of course. Just keep the whole thing going.