Helsinki 2012

(Photo by Terhi Ylimäinen)

“The difference between good and bad shows is really small these days”

Suiciderock: This is the third night in a row here at the Tavastia. How did the two first gigs go?
Henrik: They went good so far. I would say we’ve done a too many jokes at the first two shows. Let’s see how it goes tonight. But anyway, I think these days the difference between good and bad shows is really small. We try to do less jokes today.

Suiciderock: You have a new album out called “Stones Grow Her Name”. It was released this year in May. Let’s talk a bit about the record. The first thing that hits you is of course the cover. Where did the inspiration  for it come from?
Henrik: Well, I have my own idea when it comes to the cover, but I leave it to everybody else what he or she might interpret into it. It looks completely different if you compare it to the stuff we have done before. The album itself is a lot more straight forward than all the other albums we have done before. It is a good rock album. Many of the songs are not so progressive as before.  

Suiciderock: “Stones Grow Her Name” was recorded here in Finland. Most parts have been recorded at the Sonic Pump Studios. You had a couple of guest musicians on it and for the first time ever a banjo among the instruments. How did the recordings go and why was the banjo so important to you?
Henrik: That’s correct we recorded a lot at the Sonic Pump Studios. The drums and the bass part were done up north.
Marko: Basically all the guest musicians you can hear on the album recorded at the Sonic Pump Studios with us. Other parts of the albums were done in Kokkola.
Henrik: The thing about the banjo wasn’t really planned. We needed to have a bonus song for the Japan release of the album and therefore we needed a special. Tony just put something up quickly and the next thing I remember is that we had a banjo on the demo. Everybody thought he was just kidding. First we started to laugh about it, than we listened to it again and we changed our mind that we actually really like it. That’s how it ended up on the album.

Suiciderock: What’s behind the album title? It screams “graveyard” in a way?
Henrik: There is a line in one of the songs that goes like “stones grow dead names”. When we were thinking about the title we could also hear the whole graveyard thing, but we wanted to achieve the exact opposite. We wanted to have it more positive so we left out  the word “dead” in the title. Of course, there are some serious songs on the album as well, but it´s not all about happy sunshine and all that kind of stuff, but all in all it should be something positive and people should get out of it that there is a light in the end.

Suiciderock: What about the reaction of your fans? If you listen to the new record you can’t necessarily relate it to Power Metal anymore. So you could say your style has changed…
Henrik: Well, our last album was indeed very hard. This had a lot to do with what we were going through in our personal life. That’s why the album turned out to be so dark. This time we talked about what we could do to bring a little bit of positive energy into the whole product. The album also works pretty well life. Every time you bring a new album you get many reactions, but they are always different. But we can´t please everyone so we have to focus on what we like. We did so and we had to keep our fingers crossed the people will like what they hear. Sometimes it works out good, sometimes not so good, but the most important thing was that we are pleased with it.
Suiciderock: So obviously they liked it as you play here at Tavastia the 3rd show in a row.
Henrik: Yeah, obviously some people like it.

Suiciderock: in an former interview Toni said that this might be the most life friendly record you ever had. You’ve played lots of festivals this summer for example. Was he right? How do the songs get along with the older material on your set list?
Marko: It´s true. He was right. We were trying to make songs which you could easily play by acoustic guitar only. The melodies of the songs are also quite easy, so that makes the album including the songs life very easy to play.
Henrik: Of course, we have to check what we have to choose for the set list before. We try to keep the balance. This is our 7th studio album, so we got a lot to choose from. So, we choose the songs that we think are the best. Luckily we have a lot of stuff to play.

Suiciderock Talking about touring… You will still see a lot of cities and stages until early next year. What do you expect from those shows?
Henrik: Will be touring until Christmas than we will have a short Christmas Holiday going on and than we will continue the tour. We have already a confirmation for next years Wacken Open Air next year. So we will be touring touring and touring next year as well.

Find Sonata Arctica on their homepage