Helsinki 2012

(c) Shining Official

"Escaping the winter to write new songs"

Suiciderock: We are at the infamous Tavastia today where you will perform tonight. Itís not your first time in FinlandÖ
Munkeby: I heard many things about this club and our sound guy was working here before. This club somehow fits to us as a band. Itís not only a rock club that concentrates on a certain type of genre, itís open for everything. I saw they also have some sort of disco here on the weekends. Our band is also open for any kind of music. Of course we are playing more metalish music now but we also have an audience that listens to all sort of stuff. So Iím very happy when we happen to play at a place like this. Plus this place have seen a lot of good bands so far.

Suiciderock How was your day so far. We have a little bit of spring coming up here, I think weather wise it is not any different from Norway?
Actually it is brighter here than it is in Norway at the moment. But in general we have pretty much the same weather: Dark and cold heavy winters. But I can escape this as Iím actually going to Los Angeles for one month now. I can deal with any kind of weather right now due to that.

Suiciderock: Los Angeles sounds nice. Are you going alone or are you taking the rest of the band with you?
No, no the whole band is going. We will work on our new album there.

Suiciderock: You changed a lot when it comes to your style during the years. You started as a pure Jazz band at the very beginning of your history. Is that correct?
We started as a pure Jazz band. We all grew up with Metal and Rock music. I started saxophone when I was about 9 years old. So I kind of had that classical background. I started to get into Jazz music when I was 15 years old. Later in the age of 18 I began to study Jazz. I did that for around 10 years. The band was started back during our time in school. The players have been Jazz musicians at that time but of course they where listening to all different kinds of music styles as well. We made two albums together as a Jazz band we started to gain back some of the Rock and Metal elements.

Suiciderock: Your 5th album ďJazz Metalď was released in 2010. You gained a lot of attention for that oneÖ
Yeah, thatís true that album received a lot of attention from the people outside. Because it became really clear what we do. It contained the Metal elements as well as the Jazz elements.

Suiciderock: Would you say you invented  the term ďJazz MetalĒ than?
Munkeby: No, I wouldnít say that. There are a lot of bands out there who have been doing the same stuff as we do. Especially in the 90`s there where many bands but those bands did it in another way than we do. I would say that we arenít the first band that plays Jazz Metal but thatís what we ware known for. Many people may think we are but we are not. Itís hard to invent something completely new especially when it comes to music nowadays. Einstein said that ď You are standing on the shoulders of giantsĒ that means we are just taking inspiration from stuff that has been done already. Thatís nothing bad to do at all. Iím happy that there are some people who think that we are the first band to do that. That might mean that we are the ones who are most known for doing that. Thatís what we are about.

Suiciderock: There is another band with the same name. However they are from Sweden. Does it happen to you very often that someone confuses you with those guys?
No, not really. You know our audience consists of many people. Of course, we have our dear metal lovers, than we have people that are more into Rock, there are some fellows who love Lady Gaga, whatever you can find out there. Iím the same. We are on a metal label right now. They are good in giving us the right promotion. As it is a Metal Label they organise many interviews with Metal magazines or whatever. On the other hand I also want to make sure to cover the Jazz part of the whole thing. This Swedish band is more Metal and so it could happen in that case. Itís more unusual but though it happens from time to time.

Suiciderock: It doesnít bother you if it might happen?
No, it doesnít bother me at all. There is a big world out there with enough space for all of us. The Swedish are in the same boat. They also have to deal with that kind of name confusion.

Suiciderock: Did you have any legal problems by using the name and does it have something to do with Stephen Kings well know book ďShiningĒ?
Not with that Swedish band. Itís more about Stephen King. He wrote the book and so he invented the whole name and so on. But there is no problem between the two bands. Thatís a very American thing. American people go to curt more than other people regarding those things. But both two bands have their own fan base. We only have the name in common and we donít want to waste our time fighting about that name thingÖ

Suiciderock: We mentioned it a little earlier, ďJazz MetalĒ is your 6th album by now. It is a life album. Why did you decide to bring out a life album?
Well, I think that the band is a really good life band with really good players in it. There is a lot of energy in our music which you canít capture in the studio. It is much easier to have a DVD along with the life album was because we thought that it might be easier for people out there to even see that energy along with hearing the music. There happens a lot of communication between the songs on stage. It simply is easier if you see what happens there also between the songs. Having the video to the show makes it much more clear what we are about as a band.

Suiciderock: You have also been involved in the artwork of the albumÖ
I personally like being involved in everything around the music as well. I like to work on the album cover or whatever. We made up our own number system on the life. I found this kind of system in an old book. We have designers working with us but I like to work with them.

Suiciderock: You have been around since a long time now. You had to undergo some line-up changes during that time. How did you deal with them?
We broke up a couple of times during our career. No, it was not really like breaking up but we had our time out from time to time. Our musicians usually stayed for one or two albums. You know people change and they are allowed what they want to do. You also have to consider that we have also changed. We started as a pure Jazz band than our style changed and so some of the old members didnít really feel like fitting into the band anymore. When someone left we found another person to take his place. A band evolves during itís history. Thatís a normal process. It was not easy to adapt everything to someone new. There are a lot of bands out there that donít treat their musicians well. We do that but still human beings change and so does our music. We changed and so did our members. It has always been better after one of this changes happened.

Suiciderock: You and the drummer are the ones who have been in the band ever since. Do you see the band as a community or is it you two who decide where to go?
Munkeby: Well, of course we are some kind of community. There are several ways of having a band. Everybody is involved. Iím not deciding everything on my own. I would say it is more like a company. Iím the boss, than our drummer is the second one and the other guys are important as well and they make decisions as well. It is important for us that they feel good and that they play good music.

Suiciderock: What are your expectations from tonightís show?
I expect nothing. It sounds like I would be disappointed if the things wonít go as I wish them to go. What Iím hoping is that there will be some people. We will give our best on stage. Finland has always been a good country for us. There is some connection. Maybe it is because the people are so equal. Ok, we donít have saunas in Norway like you do have here in Finland. But thatís the only thingÖ

Suiciderock: Your future plans for that year?
Munkeby: We are working on a new album. We will go to Los Angeles. And we hope to have it out in 2013. There might be a couple of concerts every here and there but no big tour as we want to concentrate on the new record.
We have four songs ready so far. We wonít make a huge change when it comes to our music. The songs will be a little bit shorter than our foregoing ones. They will sound like we picked the best from all of our records. We will work with the same people we used on the last record. So Iím pretty sure it will work out just fine.


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