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.
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.
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?
Tuomu: 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
Obviously you did better with that change. Did you ever talk to the guys who
quit that contract about that?
Tuomu: 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.
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.
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
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.
Would you do a tour like that again or was that too much?
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.
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?
Tuomu: 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.
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
Thatís pretty surprising. All bands are dying to play outside of Finland as
Kuisma: 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
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.
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?
Tuomu: 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.
There are so many festival during the summer. What would you say should be
missing if you go to a festival?
Kuisma: You definitely have to have a good spirit and
maybe some beer with you. Than it doesnít matter if it rains or not.