Simerock 2007

(Photo by Jarkko Tiitinen)

"You Have To Show Your Roots"

Suiciderock: Tarot has had a long and successful career in Finland and remains one of the country's top metal bands. But for everybody outside who does not know so much about you, could you give us a short summery about the most relevant facts of the band?
Zac: Five ugly, angry men doing some heavy stuff, he he! Seriously... from the eighteens we have been envolved a lot. Today we are more considered musicians as we did back in those days. We've done seven studio albums, one live and two collections. Our style is very heavy, but in the same time very melodic.

Suiciderock: Name one thing that describes the character of each of your bandmembers perfectly.
Zac: Earth, wind, fire and water, as the Tarot cards do. Actually, now we have the fifth member in the band, so he will be the Joker, he he!

Suiciderock: If you take a look back in time what would you say is the main difference between the present and the past? First for the Finnish music scene and for you as a band? What was the most remarkable, the most beautiful and what the most sad experience for you?
Zac: At 80`s Finnish music scene was at amateur level in every aspect and of course we just started our career, so the difference was huge compared to today. One of the best memories from the day we started was the first big festival gig on the main stage at the midnight summer festival -86, Ranta Rock. There were about 15000 people and we were so scared to go on stage. Okay... the gig went fine, but the feeling was something we haven't ever experienced before.

Suiciderock: You performed under a different name when you started. Your band was called  "Purgatory" back than. Why did you change the bandname into TAROT and what made you pick that name?
Zac: At this time we started to do our first record, we had noticed that Finnish people wrote and pronouced our name wrongly in every possible place, so we decided to change the name to something easier and at some party the name Tarot came up and that was it.

Suiciderock: You released 9 records within your career from 1987 till 2006. How has Tarot evolved musicwise? Would you say you kept a certain style or did it change within the years?
Zac: We never think which way we are going, we just do our music and it's been envolved to the way it is today. When we were younger the style was more in NWOBHM, but after the "To Live Forever" album 1993, in my opinion our style crystalized to the way we do now. Somehow after every album to the next, music has become heavier and heavier.

Suiciderock: Your current album "Crows fly back" was released in 2006 with 10 tracks on it. You said yourself that it has been the darkest album in the history of Tarot. What was the reason for the darkness?
Zac: I think it comes from Marcos lyrics, of course the music is not so happy as well. So there was no reason to do as dark album as it is, it was just natural happening.

Suiciderock: What inspired you for the songwriting? Do you work on the songwriting as a group? Or how can we imagine that process?
Zac: The ideas come from training guitar playing and in the same time I record my ideas to a hard disk. We don't compose the songs as a group, me, Janne and Marco take the time and show our ideas to each other and then we put the best ones on a demo.

Suiciderock: You were supposed to perform at the Earthshaker Tour earlier this year. But the tour had to be cancelled and I heard that there was a lot of trouble going on due to bad organisation. What happened?
Zac: It's a too long story and we try to forget it, but we did the first half of the tour and after that everything was and turned so bad, it was impossible to carry. The Metallysee organization which did that "doomsday" tour, fucked up everything you can imagine.

Suiciderock: Besides some festival gigs here in Finland you will also perform at the ROCKSTARS FESTIVAL in Murcia / Spain further more youŽll perform in Austria and Germany together with Nightwish. Are there any plans for an own tour outside of Finland later this year?
Zac: Actually we won't do the gig in Murcia / Spain, there were problems with managers as well. We are expecting a lot of those winter fesivals, but we don't have time to do more gigs 'cause Marco has so many gigs with Nightwish and it's our time to take a break for a while.

Suiciderock: You are touring since many years now. Do you still get fun and interest out of playing on stage together every night or did you get tired of jumping on a bus that brings you into the next city, to the next venue?
Zac: Of course it is fun, otherwise we wouldn`t do this. Sitting in a bus and travelling with a plane is not so comfortable, but when you go on stage, you forget that and just enjoy to play rock.

Suiciderock: What`s typical for a TAROT show?
Zac: The chaos, he he! Everybody is doing something before the show, but nothing goes as it's expected. Somehow when it's the time to go on stage everything is ready to go and in order. The gig is about five guys having fun and rocking as hell!

Suiciderock: Is there any band that had a constant influence on Tarot? Anything that can be found in your music again?
Zac: We are old school guys, so you can find elements of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc in our music. I think that you have to show your roots.

Suiciderock: What kind of advice would you pass on to a young band who`s just starting their career?
Zac: Patience, nothing comes easy, hard work and believe in what you are doing. Maybe someday you'll find yourself playing in front of thousands of people.

Suiciderock: If you had the chance to redo one of your own songs, as it had never been release before what song would you pick to do so?
Zac: We have done couple of newer versions of the old songs, but there's no particular song we would like to redo. If I could change something or redo something, I would remix the Stigmata album, 'cause I'm not so happy of the way we mixed it.

Suiciderock: Are you currently working on new material? When can we expect the next Tarot album?
Zac: Yep. We already have few lyrics, bits and pieces. As a matter of fact, I'm going to studio today to demo some of the riffs I got. Heavy stuff!

Suiciderock: If you had the chance to settle your own festival? Which bands would be on the line-up?
Zac: Huh? What a question! Black Sabbath with Dio headlining the show, maybe Judas Priest, Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Rammstein, Deep Purple and of course us.

Suiciderock: You future plans for the band?
Zac: To do more albums and tour as Hell. 
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