Wanaja Festival / Hšmeenlinna 2012

(c) Joonas Brandt

"The lyrics make at least half of the band"

Suiciderock: The band was found back in 1996 here in Finland. What many people might not know is that it was a solo project in the beginning.
Tuomu: Thatís true, our lead singer Marko found the band as a solo project. We joined him during the recordings for the first albums but at the second album we already had formed a whole band. I mean the first album was more like that Marko needed a band for his solo project but we got united and grew together as an actual band when we started to work on the second one.

Suiciderock: Many people know you for playing Metal however you have started out with Grunge and Rock in your early days. Your first two records have even been released with that musical direction. I heard that your record company, which was EMI at that time quit the contract when you told them that you want to do Metal now. Why did you decided to go in another musical direction?
Yeah, our style was different back than. Though I have to say that we are still using couple of elements from the old days. We got kicked out by EMI and after that we kind of went back to the core to start all over again. We started to do what we were really into. This was what we really love. You could already find some elements of our style like it is nowadays already on the first two albums. But we decided to change a bit and that was also when things really started to roll for us.

Suiciderock: Obviously you did better with that change. Did you ever talk to the guys who quit that contract about that?
We did and we thanked them for kicking us out. I think we got more relaxed. You have to know that Marko had only about three songs when he got signed by EMI. They got more of course after some time but the first album which contained ten songs was kind of an demo album. It contained the first ten songs Marko had ever written and it wasnít that different when it comes to the second record. You could say that EMI paid for our demos so to say. I would say we first had found our style and our direction with the third album. We really found our voice at this time. It took us two demos and EMI paid for it.

Suiciderock: Did EMI ever ask you to come back?
Yes. Actually the A&R guy asked us but we didnít really feel to go back. Everything turned out so well for us after that so why should we return. I mean no hard feelings but you have to do what feels right to yourself. There are two guys who have worked for EMI back than and now working for Sony and they actually are responsible for our distribution. As you can see we really didnít have any hard feelings it just felt better that way.

Suiciderock: As you didnít really find a label that fits you, you found your own label called Sakkara Records. Meanwhile there is not only you but also well- known bands like Diablo or Stam1na under the same label.
Tuomu: We didnít find any record label that suited us. We had some suggestions but they wanted to change things here and there and we havenít been fine with that so we decided to do this on our own. After that two first albums that didnít really sell, everybody thought they could tell us whatís best to do. We knew what we wanted to do and so we went for it. We did all the old fashion kind a way, with an self financed demo and self recorded album and things turned out very well for us.

Suiciderock: Is it hard to combine the artist and the record boss site?
Tuomu: It is not easy, it can be tricky sometimes. Especially when it comes to managing the schedules. I mean when you have to decide the best time to bring a record out or whatís the best way to plan a tour and all that kind a stuff. It is a very schizophrenic situation but it works out somehow. I remember only one mistake when we toured with all our bands at our Sakkara Tour in 2006. We had the whole financial risk and plans to make and at the same time I had to be on stage and play a good show. I always had all the possibly disasters in my head while being on stage but at the end it was ok and the tour turned out to be very successful.

Suiciderock: Would you do a tour like that again or was that too much?
Tuomu: We actually did something similar in 2010 but if we do that all again we might have to arrange that a little different than we did for the previous tours. I mean when I play a gig, I really donít want to think about all that possible catastrophes that could happen.

Suiciderock: One nice story is that after the release of your 3rd album, Kurimus, you had the release party still at a small rock bar and a while after when you came back from the tour for the same album you played at the sold out Tavastia. How did that feel?
The small bar was called The Factory Bar if I remember correctly.
Kuisma: We just had released Kurismus and some people had already bought the album but not so many. During the tour the album started to sell so well that we where able to play the Tavastia. It was so great. The first time you sell out a gig at Tavastia in Helsinki you know that your band has reached some kind of level and that you are on a good way. It was crazy, none knew us but after that 60 gigs we have played we were able to do that sold out gig. It was crazy.

Suiciderock: There are so many great and big Metal Festivals out there in Europe. Would you consider to perform outside of Finland as well?
Tuomu: Not really. We have Stam1na. We have sent them out to play there. But I think this is not for us. I donít know, we are pretty happy with our touring situation. We have played in St. Petersburg for example but as I said we are totally fine with touring here in Finland.
Kuisma: Our lyrics are all in Finnish and I think the lyrics make at least half of our band. I donít know if it would be cool to play at some European Festivals where nobody understands what Marko is singing about. Iím sure we are pretty interesting musical wise for the audience out there though. But I donít know how it would fit in the end. I donít know how it would feel to travel 10000 of kilometres through some country where nobody understands what we are singing about.

Suiciderock: Thatís pretty surprising. All bands are dying to play outside of Finland as well.
I think you have to focus. We have reached a certain level here in Finland and build some reputation. Our kind of band plays only on the weekend or maybe on Thursday. So we have at least five days off. If we would tour all over Europe we would get exhausted after playing six gigs in a row. The gigs would loose their energy.
Tuomu: I think the thing is also that Marko is a poet. He wants that people understand what he says. It wouldnít be nice for him if he stands on stage trying to tell his story and nobody would understand a word of it.

Suiciderock: We are at the Wanaja Festival today. You can play in this wonderful old castle of Hšmeenlinna. How does it feel? Did you check out some other bands today?
It feels great to be here. I wanted to see Chisu and later on Petri Nygard. I donít know that is pretty much it. Yesterday there were Stam1na but we have been somewhere else so we missed that. Maybe Turisas would be great later on.

Suiciderock: There are so many festival during the summer. What would you say should be missing if you go to a festival?
You definitely have to have a good spirit and maybe some beer with you. Than it doesnít matter if it rains or not.


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